Review: Allegiant

When Allegiant came out in October, I was already in the middle of the book that I knew would be my last read before NaNoWriMo, and I knew this would mean that Allegiant would become my first read in December, which meant I needed to avoid spoilers! I wouldn’t read any Allegiant reviews, even if they said they were spoiler-free, just because I didn’t want to have too many hints, though I did catch a vibe from Twitter. So while I was technically spoiler-free going into the story, I ended up being  not too surprised by what happened.

*WARNING: If you haven’t read ALLEGIANT, SPOILERS AHEAD!*

allegiantFirst, I’ll explain my feelings on the series as a  whole. I enjoyed Divergent pretty well but I didn’t LOVE it was the same passion many do. I never fell completely in love with either Tris or Tobias/Four, or really any of the other characters for that matter. The character that interested me most was Caleb. And I wanted more background on the world because I find it a little unrealistic, at least without an explanation.

I thought Insurgent was a little bit better than OK, but definitely weaker than its predecessor. For starters, reading it a year after the first book, I could not remember who virtually ANYONE was. The pacing was funny to me. I never understood the motivation for the various wars being fought and why characters were doing what they were doing, and Tris and Four’s relationship issues especially annoyed me. But there were two very bright points in this book for me (at least in terms of how interesting they were): When Tris went to Erudite headquarters (at least I think that’s where she went?) to essentially sacrifice herself, and at the very end when they see the video and hear about the outside world. BOOM! That dropped the bomb had seriously been waiting two freaking books for.

So Allegiant started… a little slow. Not super slow, but the first few chapters felt a little worthless, just some stuff I think Veronica Roth felt she had to get out of the way before she got on with the good stuff. My opinion: I think she could have left most of it out. But then once Tris, Four, and some of the others left the city (with Caleb in tow), then it got good, finally going exactly where I wanted to see the story go even though I didn’t know it until it was happening.

So let me break down a little bit of what I did like…

The history of what happened. All the questions I had in Divergent were finally answered! Genetic engineering experiments?! Oh, I was eating it up! It all clicked for me.

The ending felt fitting. I will elaborate on this more later, but I felt that the ending was actually very appropriate for the series and pretty well done.

Tobias became a much better person and character at the end. Tobias annoyed me for most of Insurgent and Allegiant, so I appreciated how after what happened to Tris, after he accepted Christina’s help, and after he reconciled with his mother, he was changed for the better. And yet things weren’t all happy and with a bow on top at the end either. It was realistic and I appreciated it.

quote-allegiantBut there were things I did not like…

– Tris and company have a lot of facts and lies and emotions to deal with while they’re in the compound outside Chicago, and they’re trying to figure out how to stop the people there from being so obsessive about fixing the “genetically damaged.” But the thing is, they weren’t exactly right in the things they ultimately did. I can’t feel like Tris died for a good cause, really, or at least not a great one. I view her death as a symbol of her sacrificial love for her family, which makes it much easier to accept than doing it to hurt the people who were hurting her. Look, I’m not saying I have a better solution, and I’m sure the point is that some things are gray and even good people with the best intentions don’t always do things the way they ought to, but I’ve seen that played out much better before (see: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season six episode “In The Pale Moonlight”).

– Even though Tris and Tobias had a talk about what it means to respect each other and be honest (and there is a great line where Tris talks about choosing to love Tobias everyday) and they work through their issues better in this book than they did in Insurgent, their relationship still bugged me a lot. Part of it was the arguing and all that, but a lot of it was actually when they were in a good place and they were just too mushy for me. Ick. I like a good swoon, but Tris and Tobias are more vomit-inducing when they’re all lovey-dovey, at least for me personally. I honestly really wanted them to break up. Sorry.

I still couldn’t remember who ANYONE was! OK, it was not half as bad this time, but Shauna shows up in the end of Allegiant and I’m thinking, I remember this name and yet I have no recollection of who you are or why you are in a wheelchair. And a few other people like Cara… I don’t remember her. I even read Asti’s fabulous Recaptains posts to help me out but no such luck with all the characters. Either I have terrible book amnesia or Veronica Roth created too many unmemorable secondary characters.

AND THE BIGGEST PET PEEVE OF ALL…

WHAT THE HAY HAPPENED WITH CALEB?!?!?!

I mentioned earlier that in Divergent, I was interested in Caleb. I was saddened in Insurgent by what he did, but I thought, OK, in the third book we’ll find out why. Before Allegiant was released, I read somewhere that Veronica Roth said Caleb became her favorite secondary character while writing Allegiant. I thought, good, finally, we’re going to figure out what’s going on in Caleb’s head! 

gc-nope

WHAT THEY HAY VERONICA ROTH?!

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO CALEB!

Tris spends 99% of the book not talking to him, then they have a two minute conversation, she dies in his place, and then… Tobias talks to him, right?! Nope. Not for long enough anyway. We never find out why Caleb did what he did. HE HAD TO HAVE REASONS! I cannot believe not a single beta reader or editor was like: “Hey, so… what was Caleb thinking about in Insurgent when he betrayed his sister? I mean, he obviously cares about her… so… what gives?”

SERIOUSLY.

There better be a Caleb novella is all I gotta say.

Rant over. For now.

So I briefly addressed Tris’ death earlier… I had a feeling she or Tobias was going to die based on fan reaction, and I was kind of hoping it was going to be him, but I knew it was more likely to be her, especially once Caleb volunteered to die. So when she did die, it was like, OK, that thing I thought might happen… just happened. And I honestly felt as if a burden had been lifted from the anxiety I had about reading the end of the trilogy. I wasn’t really worried about what else was going to happen afterwards…

But when Tobias stood in front of that mirror, shaved his head, and was ready to take that serum… I think it was the first time I really, honestly cared about him. I thought, nononono he can’t do this! Christina’s intervention and all that was perfect. Hands down, it was the most poignant scene of the trilogy. And it never would have happened if Tris had not died. That scene alone made it worth it for me, and I think what it did for Tobias made it worth it too.

So, needless to say, the ending of the story was bittersweet and not-all-together pretty, but gave the proper closure for the trilogy. Except with Caleb. Grrrrr. It had flaws, but overall I thought it was solid.

4stars2

Content Advisory: Moderate language, sexual content (includes making out and an off-screen sex scene) , and violence. 

What were your thoughts on Allegiant? Did Tris’ death surprise you? Anger you? Feel right to you?

Also see: Review: Divergent and Insurgent

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19 thoughts on “Review: Allegiant

  1. I really didn’t like Allegiant ;/ Most of it was super boring and I had to push myself to finish it, because it was the last book in the trilogy. I’m like you, though – I liked Divergent, but I didn’t LOVE it as other people did. Insurgent was weak for me, but Allegiant was even worse. Nothing made sense to me. Tris and Tobias’s points of view were too similar. And why was Tobias suddenly doubting everything and doing stupid stuff? It was a shame because I REALLY ended up liking him in Insurgent, even though I wasn’t interested in him in Divergent.

    About the ending… it seemed to me like I was one of the few people who didn’t mind it. After three books, it made sense to me that Tris would sacrifice herself like this. It’s either this, or I was just so annoyed by the book that by the end, I couldn’t care less who died or lived… but I hope it was the first.

    • I thought it was interesting, but I can see why someone would find it boring. There is very little action, and not a whole lot happens. I was bored with a lot of Insurgent even though there was probably more action in it. Tris and Tobias’s POVs were really similar, I have to agree there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I agree about Tris and Tobias’s relationship- it was just so… not real to me. I find it hard to explain but they spent all of Insurgent lying to each other and then in Allegiant they either lied to each other again, talked about changing things (but didn’t) or else made out in the most public places. I didn’t find myself rooting for them as a couple.

    If the book had ended any other way, like if Veronica Roth had done something similar to how Suzanne Collins ended the Hunger Games series, like with Tris and Tobias in the future, still haunted by all that they’ve been through but still alive, then I wouldn’t have liked Allegiant as much. I quite liked the ending, and yes, the scene with Tobias and Christina and the memory serum was so sad and really poignant.

    Ha ha, I never really wondered about Caleb’s motivation, I was too busy watching Peter!

  3. I’m a Caleb fan too (not many people are…) and I definitely feel that he was neglected in Allegiant. I wanted more explanation! Divergent was definitely my favourite of the three, but I did like the psychological intensity for Tris’ character in Insurgent, and experienced a pretty steady stream of tears at the end of Allegiant from when Caleb volunteered. And now I think about it Tris/Tobias didn’t always sit right with me…Also congrats on NaNoWriMo – I still haven’t had the time or the guts to attempt it!

      • Yay, Caleb fans unite! Most people hate him…but he’s not all bad! I will try it sometime…it’s my final year of college next year though so the timing wouldn’t be the best! How did you find balancing NaNoWriMo with life stuff?

      • Well, it wasn’t easy, but I’m out of school and working now, so what I did was I would spend most of my hour lunch breaks writing. And then I would have to try to find time at night or on the weekends to do it. There’s no way I could have done it this month, I just have too much going on. I had to make a priority and my husband was understanding of it as well.

  4. I really liked the ending. Tris couldn’t have lived with herself knowing that Caleb didn’t want to die but was only doing it because he felt it was the only way to fix things between them. Tobias.. well I thought he was a bit of a jerk for most of the book. Lying and doing stupid things, then getting all depressed about not being genetically pure/divergent. Tris even said it didn’t matter but no, he decided to be a weiner about it.

    I wasn’t expecting the ending to tell the truth, I read no spoilers going in and when I got to it I just cried. I did end up feeling bad for Tobias because losing someone you love sucks. And then Uriah died and that was his fault. I dunno.. I really like it because I got a lot of the answers I wanted.

    • Oh yeah, I didn’t even think to mention Tobias’s depression about “genetic pureness” being kind of annoying. I mean, I guess I can’t know how that would feel unless I experienced it, but yes, I did kind of want to shake him.

  5. I agree with you about most of this, especially in regards to Tris’s reason for sacrificing herself in the end. I do think it was all very fitting, etc. but I also think that a lot of these people were acting for the wrong reasons and making bad choices overall.

    I wish there had been more growth for Tris and Tobias in this book (and for their relationship, which bugged me a lot). It really annoyed me that Tris was being so pouty and jerky toward Caleb, all the way through everything, until she eventually decides to die in his place. WTF. How about some inner monologue up that point, about Caleb, at least?! And Tobias. Blah, he was being annoying with his choices too. Sigh, I dunno. I do agree that a Caleb novella would be nice!

    I have to say, I pretty much knew Tris was going to die the moment I learned that the book was narrated by both her and Tobias (why else would we need a second narrator?). I really liked that scene with him and Christina in the end, though; you’re right, it would only have happened if Tris had died. Great review, Amy!

    • Well, in the Matched trilogy the author added a new POV to each book, so I didn’t think too much about an added POV for Allegiant until I caught wind about people not liking the ending. You’re not the first person I’ve seen make that deduction, and obviously you were right, but it also obviously still caught many people off guard.

      • Yeah, I’m sure the fanbase reaction had a lot to do with my reasoning there as well. I know I’ve seen this happen with other series, too, where the MC didn’t die. Although of course I can’t think of any examples right now. 😛

  6. I loved the ending as I felt it fitted well with Tris’s personality and looking back now, it always seemed to be heading in that direction. However I thought the world building was over convoluted, it was just so confusing and I still don’t really get it. And yes, I’d love to know why Caleb betrayed Tris, it doesn’t really add up so I’m left with the impression that he is weak and easily influenced but I’d love to know why EXACTLY he did it. LOL that you forgot Cara, she is one of my favourite secondary characters!

    • I was very interested in the world, but yeah, some of it did feel a little convoluted. I liked Cara in Allegiant, but for some reason I couldn’t remember her from before! Oops!

  7. After finishing it, I like it. I think this is a good conclusion to the series. I thought that it was interesting to have the choices for the character be the lesser of two evils and not a clear black and white (great reference in the review to DS9’s best episode BTW). I already knew Tris died going in so that did not help, but I still found myself moved when Tobias finds out. All in all, I like the themes of the series on free-will versus predeterminism. There are also many interesting spiritual themes on human nature and it’s proclivity for evil as well as good.

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