I’m going to say it right up front: the reason I did not like this book had nothing to do with the ending.
Well, almost nothing. The ending was what she was building up to, and since I had a problem with the build-up itself, I sort of do have a problem with the ending by extension, but that’s just semantics. Actually, I was so burned by this series after Insurgent that I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book at all, so when I accidentally spoiled myself over THAT THING before I had even cracked the spine on my brand new copy, it had the opposite effect on me it had on most readers. It actually made me more excited to see how she was going to pull it off. And I was still disappointed. Sigh.
I do have to give Veronica Roth credit. She may have fumbled the execution (a lot, in my opinion), but I do think she had her priorities straight. She was dedicated — perhaps too much so — to seeing out her themes and serving the narrative, as opposed to taking the easy way out in the way she ended her story, which is what her readers wanted her to do. The problem here is that the structure of this third act in the story is just a big old mess, and the way she crafts her words and her sentences and her dialogue, I think, actively worked against the goals she was shooting for.
From here on out, be warned, spoilers ahoy.
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: Tris totally bites it. She croaks. She is annihilated. She goes belly up. She buys the farm. She’s checking out the grass from underneath. She goes the way of the dinosaurs. She’s popped off. She’s permanently out of print. She’s shuffled off the mortal coil.
I was going to wait until I could get Allegiant (2013), the third book in the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth from the library. I’d really gotten into the first book (Divergent), and only kind of liked the second one (Insurgent), so I wasn’t in a huge rush to finish up the series. However, some of my friends started up a new book club, and I wasn’t able to wait.
Allegiant picks up right where Insurgent left off. Unfortunately, Insurgent didn’t exactly enthrall me, so I had trouble recollecting both the plot and most of the secondary characters. Roth apparently doesn’t like to recap, so almost all of the secondary characters remained pretty meaningless to me.
I’m struggling with a review here, partly because I’m exhausted, and partly because I just don’t feel strongly about this one. I was disappointed. I liked the first book, but the second and third just didn’t do it for me. But I also didn’t really dislike it, either, so I just don’t have much to say. As far as young adult, dystopian trilogies go, I’d have to vote for The Hunger Games.
This is the third and final installment of the Divergent trilogy, and since it will be difficult to speak another word, including giving any summary, without tremendous spoilers for the first two in the series, the rest of this review will go behind a cut.
I guess I was aware of the Divergent series, but had somehow always confused it with The Hunger Games. With all the press about the upcoming movie, I thought it was about time I read it to make sure I didn’t receive too many dismissive eye rolls from the teenagers of my acquaintance. I’m quite aware that I’m not the target audience, but honestly, I thought this was pretty great.
It’s that fairly standard dystopian future world, where teenagers must choose their lifelong allegiance to one of five factions when they turn 16. Tris has been raised within the Abnegation faction, whose defining characteristic is selflessness, but she can make her own choice whether to stay with her family, or to choose Candor (honesty), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (peace) or Dauntless (courage). Those unfortunates who are not aligned with a faction or do not make it through an initiation process are known as the Factionless – the lowest caste of people who live on the periphery. On the other hand, a Divergent is a rare individual who does not show a clear alignment to a single faction and can choose their own path, thus being an outlier of society who is treated with suspicion and fear. Tris registers as Divergent, and chooses the Dauntless faction.
The majority of the book is about the new initiates pledging with Dauntless. Tris soon realises that the factions are more politically aligned than idealistic and she is drawn into uncovering a great conspiracy…
I enjoyed this book and hope the remainder of the trilogy lives up to this first novel. I think this should be mandatory reading for every young girl who read that Twilight pabulum in an attempt to repair the notion that a heroine sits around waiting to be chosen by a boy. Maybe a crossover where Tris gets to kick Bella’s ass? I’d read that.
Full disclosure: I don’t know how to talk about this book without potentially ruining important plot points from the first book, so spoiler alert.
Furthermore: I will admit that I have read all of the Twilight books. After the first one, I hated them, but I wanted to know what happened. This experience has tainted how I look at YA series. I fully expect them to go downhill after the first installment, but not as spectacularly terrible as Twilight.
I am surprised that I haven’t heard of these books earlier, but having just finished an accelerated second degree program, I didn’t really have a lot of time for extracurricular reading. Since devouring The Hunger Games in probably 2 days, I was excited when this was recommended by a friend the other night when she described it as, “it’s like Hunger Games, starts a little slow but overall pretty good.” She had me at Hunger Games. Especially at my dismay over wanting to read another 800 page epic undertaking – I’m already behind!
Insurgent is the second novel in the “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth. And I hear that Divergent is soon to be adapted into a film? Well that might be interesting… In my head I sort of pictured the protagonist, Tris, to be just like Taissa Farmiga in “American Horror Story”, which (in my opinion) would be some swell casting. But then, for some reason I totally disregarded the fact that Four is 18 and imagined him as an only slightly-younger, somewhat beefier, Sherlock-y Benedict Cumberbatch. The character’s inevitable relationship made this a tad inappropriate, depending on how you see things (and no, I don’t consider that a spoiler, as you can see their relationship coming from a mile away). That being said, this series is made for young adults, and as such, there is inclined to be some not-strictly-necessary romantic aspect. If you are within that target demographic, however, you would absolutely love this book. If not, you might get a little annoyed at some parts, though all in all it’s still quite an enjoyable read.
Here’s what Insurgent is all about (and if you haven’t read the first novel, Divergent, yet, and don’t want anything to be spoiled for you, I’d suggest turning back now):