I genuinely feel so guilty about having put off reading Allegiant. I think I’m probably one of the last people ever to have read this novel which is bad considering I powered through Divergent in one sitting. But in my defence it is a hefty sized book so I needed time to commit to it and with exams over the opportunity finally arose. Now I’m not saying I didn’t like the conclusion to Veronica Roth’s trilogy but I couldn’t help feeling let down by some elements of the story.
On the off chance that you still haven’t read this book and have miraculously managed to remain unspoiled I will warn you now that this review contains huge spoilers, so best check back later if that’s something you want to avoid.
First off, there were several elements of Allegiant that I thought worked really, really well. This included the writing style which, as always with Roth, flowed smoothly and simply without any unnecessarily complicated language. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is that’s so great about it, it is just very easy to read and get in to. I also really liked Tris and Four’s relationship and the emphasis that was put on trust and communication. Both parties tried (with varying degrees of success) to make sure there were no secrets between them and even though it didn’t always work the fact that they tried really relieved me, since a lack of communication in YA is always a major irritation for me.
What else did I like… oh yeah, Peter’s subplot! Peter is a character I have grown increasingly fond of, for some obscure reason. I’ve gone from hating his guts to secretly rooting for the guy. Don’t get me wrong – I know he’s a jackass, and I don’t approve of everything he’s done, but I keep hoping he’ll come good in the end, which I guess he kind of does? I was pleased with how his story ended, with him erasing his memories and starting afresh. That he would choose to do that was something I found intriguing and made me really want to know more about his past. I would certainly jump at the chance to delve into his psyche and read a novella or something from his perspective.
Now for the interesting part. So here’s the deal; I actually didn’t have a major problem with THAT ONE THING that happened. In fact I actually enjoyed reading a twist so shocking and unusual. Yep, that’s right: Tris’ death! Killing off the protagonist of your novel is not an easy thing to do and I applaud Roth’s decision to push those boundaries. It was a seriously bold move on her part and I know it has divided opinion among readers. Personally I felt it was a fitting end for Tris, in-keeping with her character. The dual POVs allowed us to see the aftermath of her sacrifice too, which I really liked.
Oh boy, where to start? Under different circumstances this novel might have gotten a much higher rating from me, but as it was I found that I had some massive issues with the plot that were simply impossible to overlook. I’ll start with the pacing, which was a little inconsistent if I’m being honest. Practically nothing happened to begin with, making the first third of the book feel very slow before we were suddenly bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information and the action really kicked off. All in all this left the novel feeling somewhat uneven. Also, I was surprised by how similar Tris and Four’s perspectives were. I’m afraid to say there were multiple occasions where I started a new chapter and had to go back five minutes later and check whose head I was supposed to be in. There was virtually nothing to tell them apart. For a writer of Roth’s skill I was hoping for more of a distinction between the two of them.
Now we come to my biggest problem with Allegiant: the big reveal about the evolution of the faction system. This one element in particular was hugely disappointing, so much so that it severely detracted from my enjoyment while reading this book. I found the explanation that we were given – that it was all one big genetic experiment – to be such an unsatisfactory one! It just felt as though it completely erased the complexities of the world and the unique social structure until it was no longer anything special. In short, it was a let-down. If I read one more dystopian novel built upon genetic experimentation I may scream, or cry, or both.
If you asked me to summarise Allegiant in one word I would have to go with ‘underwhelming’. As someone who loved the first book in the trilogy it saddens me to be giving Allegiant only three stars, but unfortunately it just didn’t wow me. I’m glad to have finished the series but I don’t see myself rereading the full series in the near future, maybe just Divergent.