I Pledge Allegiance to Veronica Roth

I, like much of the world, have eagerly been awaiting the release of Allegiant, the conclusion to the Divergent trilogy.

psotersDivergent was a rare YA book because it seemed to be a very carefully thought out world. There was an interesting and somewhat unique premise, Tris was a complex and relatable protagonist and Tobias (Four) was the most engaging love interest I’d seen in a long time. When Insurgent came out I thought it suffered a bit from second book syndrome. The plot was a bit slow and then somewhat muddled/rushed at the end, but there were interesting conspiracies, lots of dramas and I was still rooting for Tris and Tobias. Then came Allegiant.

It’s been almost a week and I’m still sitting here wondering, “what did I just read?”  It was a good book and a very interesting end to the series, but not at all what I expected. So let’s talk characters and choices – I promise I won’t include spoilers.

Characters

rothI was lucky enough to get tickets to see Veronica Roth at the 92nd St Y the day the book dropped. While the room resounded with the echoes of screaming teens, Roth proved insightful and truly endearing. She revealed that the only character who is based on a real-world person is Natalie Prior, aka Tris’ mom, who has some similarities to Roth’s own mother. I think this grounding added depth to Tris’ reading of the journal entries and the complexity of her feelings for her mother as well as Tobias’ feelings for his mother. It definitely made the families seem more real.

Actually, most of the characters received more development in Allegiant. I enjoyed learning more about Zeke and Uriah’s family and their love for one another. The insight into Caleb’s struggles added depth to his character and I felt understanding and sympathy for the “evil” Peter. Yet, I felt disappointed because Tobias did not feel as well developed. His struggles seemed one-dimensional and he kind of became the angsty, temperamental teen that you see in novels like Twilight.

I LOVED Free Four. I loved the first Four novella. I was excited that this story would also be told from his point of view. But I liked him less in this book. I really sympathized with him, especially at the end of this book. But I liked him less.

Choices

defineThe tag line for this book was “One Choice Will Define You.” That’s a lie. I don’t think any one choice defined Tris. She made many difficult and very mature choices that helped define her character. Part of the greatness of this series is that Tris is very complex, she doesn’t fit in one faction box and that’s why you enjoy reading about her.

If we look at who is really being defined by one choice, I think it’s Veronica Roth.  Allegiant could have had a simple, happy ending if you cut out the last two hundred or so pages. But I think Roth made a very brave choice with Tris – I won’t spoil it for you – and I commend her for being so bold with a major series, with her first major series.

By writing such a controversial ending, I think she really made you think about the idea of factions and what the book stands for. Interviewers always ask Roth what faction she would be in, which ones would she put people in, etc. I think it’s interesting that Roth has said she tries not to put ‘real’ people in factions. I think that’s important. We all want to know what faction we would be in, which Harry Potter house we would belong to, but why does that matter? Why do we have to define ourselves with one choice?

Anyway, there’s so much more I could say about this book in terms of the government conspiracies, genetics, etc. Overall, I’d say this might not be the book I hoped for and it’s definitely not the book I expected, but it was an amazing read and I highly recommend the Divergent series. I’d love to read what you think of the rather shocking conclusion…

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