February 17, 2014

A Single Choice Changes Everything

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins | Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 526 pages
Source & Format: Gifted; Hardcover
Series: Divergent #3
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
What if your whole world was a lie?
What is a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Thoughts on Allegiant
Before I started Allegiant, I knew how it was going to end. Yep, that's right. The big, shocking ending was spoiled for me in the comments of a picture of Veronica Roth that was posted on Instagram. FAIL. I mean, I knew that I couldn't really trust the Internet... but still! And on release day, no less.

Anyway, I start with that little tidbit because it's part of the reason I waited so long to finally read this one. It wasn't that I disliked what I'd found out about the ending - I just no longer felt that sense of urgency or anticipation where you just can't wait to pick up a book and find out what happens next. I decided to wait until some time had passed and all kerfluffle finally calmed down. Talk about causing a stir! This book certainly created a ruckus when it was released, and I wanted to be able to read it when everyone's reactions weren't quite so fresh in my mind.

When I felt like I had waited long enough, I decided to re-read Divergent and Insurgent first. I love re-reading, and I find it really helpful and enjoyable to do so when it's a series. Going back to the first two books helped me remember what I liked about these books and characters, and it helped created a little more excitement in me before picking this one up.

I'm not going to spoil the ending, but I do want to say this one thing to everyone that was so frustrated or angry about it: re-reading the first two books knowing how it ended made it SO OBVIOUS to me that this series was always going to go that direction. I started picking up on so many clues that I'd missed the first time around - themes and conversations that repeatedly hinted at what was to come. Roth's decision may have been controversial, but I really don't think it came out of left field. Re-reading showed me that she had been laying the foundation for that moment, that decision, from the very beginning of her story.

So, I say that because it's crucial to how I felt about the ending to this series: I didn't mind it. In fact, I thought it made total sense. I may have been sad or selfishly wanted it to go another way, but I also can't deny that it worked for me. Life doesn't always happen the way you want it to, and I respect Roth for telling the story that she'd always planned (even if it wasn't received well).

All that being said - I found other aspects of Allegiant to be a little disappointing. There is a bit of a disconnect in this one for me overall. Four gets his own POV in the narrative, but it wasn't that distinguishable from Tris's POV. I kept flipping back to the beginning of a chapter because I couldn't tell who was narrating. I enjoyed some of the things I learned about Four in this book, but I wish there had been more of a difference in the way his chapters were written. His voice never seemed like it was truly his own.

I also thought the pacing was off. There is a lot of info dumping in this conclusion, which is a really unfortunate time for a reader to get so much new information. I felt a bit overwhelmed by just how much I was being told, but I think that may have mirrored the characters' feelings (so perhaps it was a bit intentional). Because of that, it took me quite a while to really feel engaged in this story. I know Tris and Four were learning so much about the life and world they'd always known, but it felt like such a shift from the previous books.

I felt disconnected from the story and characters for much of this book, which is why I don't think this ending is entirely satisfying. It's not so much about the "thing" that happened as it is all the other stuff leading up to that moment. I still liked Allegiant at the end of the day, and I'm really so glad that I re-read Divergent and Insurgent first. I think I had a more positive experience with this book because of it. However, I can understand why this book has left some readers wanting. I'll be more cautious in recommending in this series in the future, but I am still glad I spent the time reading it.

So Quotable
"I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me."

8 comments:

  1. My thoughts were pretty similar, the info dumping was definitely unfortunate. I must do a re-read of them all and get a clearer overview of the whole picture. Lovely review Hannah

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  2. It would be interesting to reread the series knowing what happens to see all the clues and hints and such!

    I agree that the POVs weren't different enough to warrant having two POVs (which is how I guessed how it ended).

    I wasn't in love with the ending (not even really in like with the conclusion in general), but it does make sense and I respect that.

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  3. I haven't read this series - dystopians are the ONE genre that I haven't ever been able to get into. I have heard about the ending to this one, and I've heard a lot of people's thoughts on it.

    Sometimes, with books that I'm really stressed about, I actually LIKE knowing what the ending is. When I'm reading, it's so much more about the journey, than the big reveal/surprise. So when I'm all stressed sometimes I can't enjoy the book because I'm all stressed. So knowing a major part of the ending can help me relax and enjoy the rest of the story.

    That said, there are some books that I like not knowing what will happen. For example, Harry Potter. I think that maybe this series is like that. So sorry the ending bit of spoiled for you. But glad you decided to read it anyway, and for the most part liked the book.

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  4. I actually read this book not knowing any spoilers, which was a relief. But it also made that shocking ending even more devastating for me. I wasn't expecting it at all!
    I do think that Roth knew where she wanted the story to end, but to me it wasn't a necessary sort of ending. Yes, there are hints (in hindsight I can admit that), but I don't think that sort of ending was actually needed to prove the points that Roth wanted to make. I just think she really, really wanted it to end that way and so forced her story to make some strange contortions to have it fit.
    I was definitely disappointed with Allegiant, but I am glad you enjoyed it! It does seem to be a very divisive series now that it's complete - and for good reason!

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  5. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who felt that way about Allegiant! While sad about the ending, it seemed fitting. But then, I was not hugely attached to this series as a whole either, so maybe that's why I didn't throw my book across the room haha. My issues were more along the lines of pacing, and definitely the two POV's. I was constantly having to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to remember who was talking!

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  6. We've already discussed how I felt about Allegiant, so you already know. But I love the way that you expressed it in your review! I do kind of wish I'd re-read the first two in preparation for this one, as that might have changed my reading experience overall. But yes, this one just does not have the same allure as its predecessors. It might have to do with the additional POV (which wasn't all that distinct), the new facts (which were way too much for a series ender). While I will always love the first book, I too would be a little hesitant about recommending this one to others just because of this ending.

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  7. I read Divergent forever ago but heard such off-putting things about Insurgent that I held off until I could read the final two books at once. But then Allegiant came out and I heard all the bad things and thought it wasn't worth it. Your review has me thinking I should give it another go though, and possibly attempt a re-read first as well. Great review. :)

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  8. My thoughts are quite similar to yours on this. Part of me did hate the ending, but I do agree that it makes sense. I do think this was the weakest book in the series, but still overall liked it, and can't wait to see the movie!

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