Okay, so I bought Veronica Roth's Allegiant the day it came out waaaaaay back in October, and spent about one week reading it (yes, I take my time). Well, here it is after the Divergent movie release, and I still HATE Allegiant, to the point of rage and fury.
I've wanted to write a post about for a long time. From being beaten over the head with the "Be Brave" message, to the plot holes galore, this book was just plain old awful. I'm going to say this now: there will be spoilers, and I will express my hatred a lot.
#1. THE ENTIRE BOOK WAS TERRIBLE -- NOT JUST THE ENDING
You know what irks me? When the people who liked Allegiant think that the people who hated it only hated it for the ending. THIS IS 100% FALSE IN MOST CASES. I, for one, don't care that Tris died. She won't be missed. I shed no tears. But that's not the point I'm making. I'll save the ending for later.
What I'm saying is that the entire book was just awful. From page 1 to page 526, I was in a constant state of disbelief and anger. I wasn't disappointed -- I WAS ANGRY. There were so many plot holes, you could have played Whack-a-Mole. Every other page had a contrived scene. Here are some examples:
Escaping the fence: only one person chased them, and did absolutely nothing...except....
Killing Tori: completely unnecessary. The only reason she died was so that we would be "shocked" when her we found out her brother was still alive....three pages later.
Nita: purely used to make Tris jealous/distrustful of Four.
Tris's and Four's Arguments: Four blatantly says to Tris that even though she has been right about everything else, she isn't right about David and Nita and Matthew launching an in-the-compound attack. Next chapter, the attack happens, Uriah goes into a coma (and later dies), and Tris says, "I told you so." In reality, Four would NEVER have distrusted her.
Evelyn and Marcus: I wanted to smash my head into a desk when Evelyn -- the most evil woman in the series, suddenly became the good guy in ONE SENTENCE. Then there's Marcus -- who wants all the power and control to himself -- cowers like a dog when Four and Evelyn tell him to give up. Johanna joins in....and....that's that.
|"You've got to be F#^%& kidding me!!!"|
#2. THE PACING WAS HORRIBLE
I had no clue how long after the events of Insurgent it had been. Allegiant starts very vaguely, trying to pretend like we had all read Insurgent the night before. Some people did!....but most of us didn't. I would've preferred some exposition so I could gather my bearings, but there wasn't any set up before all of sudden they're running for the fence and Tori dies and George is really alive and there's a gene-manipulating government a couple miles down the road where Natalie Prior came from and something about a journal and then and then and then....
WHAT IS GOING ON.
Some parts of Allegiant flew by, and others dragged on for dozens of pages. The largest pacing issue I found was near the end, when the final "attack" (pssh, yeah, "attack." So anti-climatic) was going to happen. They specifically said it would be in 48 hours.
A day went by.
And then finally, the attack. Add that up. I got two-and-a-half days when I counted (yes, I went back and counted in the book). Clearly the 48 hours in this book must be completely different than the 48 hours I'm used to, because two-and-a-half days is 60 hours. So David forgot to launch the attack on time. How convenient, because our self-righteous hero squad wasn't ready in 48 hours.
|David Tennant explains the pacing of Allegiant.|
#3. THE TITLE OF THE BOOK
Okay. Titles should be important. Allegiant was not.
Apparently -- and we're only told this in passing -- there is a group banding together for the Evelyn vs. Marcus showdown called the Allegiant. You think, "Woah, an army! Things are about to go down!"
Yeah, they go down. DOWNHILL.
You hear nothing else about the Allegiant except that they're a group preparing for a battle. They aren't important to the story what.so.ever. They do nothing! NOTHING! Oh, yeah, except for that one -- count it: ONE woman who killed Tori for no discernible purpose.
On a serious note, I want to throw out some more appropriate titles:
- Convergent -- things were about to hit the fan. Ideals...armies...good genes vs. bad genes (ugh...) Still, this would've worked.
- Resurgent -- the exposure of the good genes could have led a new era for the experiments, so after a battle (which never happened except for that pathetic excuse in the compound), a new generation could have risen up and worked toward genetic purity.
- Disclosure -- it would have fit nicely with the whole experiment cities theme. You know, an experiment's information gets disclosed to the public. Essentially, that happened.
- Infringement -- Roth could have taken this book a whole different direction and had some sort of conflict with the Fringe colonies. That would have been cool. Instead, we got one chapter of talking about how bad the Fringe is.
|I couldn't find a better picture, so I chose this.|
#4. THE SPLIT P.O.V. OF TRIS AND FOUR
In Divergent and Insurgent, Four is this tough guy that we respect, fear, and admire. In Allegiant, he turns into Tris, and worse.
Four's voice was feminine in this entire book. This guy cried. This guy described Evelyn's face for an entire two paragraphs. It was horrible. You couldn't tell Tris and Four apart AT ALL. I had to keep flipping back and forth to the chapter pages so I knew who I was following! It helped when they were in the same scene, because then you knew you were following the opposite of "xxx says."
Roth needs to learn how to write in a different voice. Take some time and write a few pages, then go and change them up with a different flow, some new diction, and a variety of different action tags. It works wonders. In fact, this was my second-biggest problem with the book. The plot holes/horrible writing were my biggest.
#5. THE ENDING, OBVIOUSLY.
Why do YA trilogies (or series, for that matter) have generally-bad endings? I'm not talking about Tris's death. I don't care that Tris died. She didn't need to die, and her death was completely illogical characterization-wise, but that's not the point I'm trying to make.
We have a string of 1-paragraph to 1-page chapters. It was like seeing snippets and then jumping forward and seeing snippets and jumping forward. This didn't work. Two and a half years flew by in literally five paragraphs.
Here's the thing: I think this ending could have worked. The reason it didn't is because of the rest of the book. The events just should not have added up to this. You could tell that Roth blatantly wanted this to be the ending, but didn't know how to connect the dots. There were so many illogical decisions and contrived issues: popping the truck tires...really? And George and Amir are gay for each other?
I also want to say that I think Peter deserved a noble redemption. Screw Caleb, he had his chance. Peter, on the other hand, should have wanted redemption, not a cop-out. His character was building toward something good, but then he suddenly had a change of heart? No.
Overall, Allegiant was an awful book, and these are my biggest reasons. There are more (like the unnecessary F-bombs. Really?) It was so disconnected to the stories of Divergent and Insurgent that it doesn't even deserve to share the same characters. A poor ending to a relatively decent series.
Have you seen the Divergent movie? I thought it was excellent and I would definitely go again. I will not be seeing Allegiant, however.
What are your thoughts about Allegiant?
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