Friday, November 1, 2013

Allegiant review: great controversial ending!

Any book that leaves me still feeling an emotional connection more than a day after I finish reading it is one I have to recommend. If you want to read the spoilers, click here to see the full review on Goodreads.

I admire Veronica Roth for coming up with an unexpected conclusion to her trilogy. There were things I didn't like about the previous books, mostly the illogic of her premise that people of the future could somehow become separated into factions based on their dominant personality. This book has a reasonable, albeit delayed, explanation for that.

Tobias's mother, Evelyn, and her group of the factionless have replaced the former Erudite leader with another dictatorship, causing Tris, Tobias, and a few of their friends to join the Allegiant, those loyal to the faction system and the call to help those outside the fence. Tris and Tobias are chosen to be among those who leave the city to see what's outside, while others, later including Tobias's father, Marcus, continue to resist from inside the city.

What impresses me most about this book is the characterization of both Tris and Tobias, particularly Tobias. She continues to be a complex character, though we never really get an explanation for why she seems exceptional among the Divergent, [who turn out to be people with undamaged genes, and therefore possess a normal mixture of qualities from the factions.  Tobias turns out to be more interesting in this book because we see from his own point of view his flaws and weaknesses. Among the biggest conflicts of the book are those between family members, as Tris struggles to forgive her brother's betrayal and Tobias continues to feel anger toward both his parents. The most poignant scene, I think, is the confrontation between Tobias and Evelyn.

The ending is foreshadowed subtly in certain scenes, such as [spoiler]. For those who manage not to read the spoilers that give away the ending, I think there will be some dissatisfaction, but I do think Ms. Roth made a brillant decision that adds an incredible impact to this conclusion. [Spoiler] How Tobias chooses to handle his feelings, both regarding Evelyn and Tris in the end are handled realistically, using sound ethics. Some minor criticisms: the epilogue seems weak [spoiler] Also, the mention of several very minor characters as being gay seems fairly gratuitous as it has no bearing on the plot and the characters are so marginal.

Overall, I liked this book much better than the previous installments, probably because of the characterization and the depth of the themes. My Goodreads review gives it 4 stars, but truly I'd give it 4.5 out of 5!

2 comments:

  1. SpeculativeFaith.com had an article this week pondering if endings like that alienate readers, since readers are so angry. I don't do dystopian and don't plan to read it, so I'm spoiler-neutral. I tell you what, I don't plan to end my books that way!

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  2. I would have a hard time writing what could be construed as an unhappy ending. I am sure some readers are irate, though I haven't read a lot of the buzz since I don't like spoilers myself. It really was fitting, based on the growth of both Tris and Tobias. One thing I didn't comment on was my appreciation for the conflict Ms. Roth put into their relationship without making a love triangle. Much more realistic-how do you handle it when your beloved lets you down?

    Anyway, thanks for commenting, Kessie!

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