Honest and lively YA book reviews
*Major Spoilers Ahead* !!! If you want to be saved, turn back now !!! Go !!! Run!!!
I DID IT!!
Divergent Series: Complete
Do I unlock some kind of achievement for this feat?!
And there were no tears shed. Of frustration, or other wise. Surprisingly.
Who knew a revolution could be so boring?! Or cheesy?! Holy crap. This book wins the award for the most time spent wandering around staring at the walls.
So the story goes that, after learning the true nature of their existence, Tobias and Tris set out on a journey to leave the city in search of answers. There they find yet more betrayal, lies and blood thirst, culminating in a race against time to save their city. So yeah, more of the same really.
I would love to sit down with Veronica Roth and have a bit of a chat and find out how much planning went into this series. I mean, I'm not saying that she did a bad job or that (C'mon - I rated it three stars, so I'm not exactly hating on it) it's just that I feel like Allegiant lost some direction at times. Like, it spent some time stumbling around in the dark, fumbling for the plot line. It had a hard time keeping it's shit together. It almost read like Veronica Roth realised that her faction system made no sense and threw together a semi-plausible explanation in the form of Allegiant. But I'm still not buying it.
So what's the actual deal with the Genetically Pure and Genetically Damaged situation?! People decided to have a bash at genetically engineering themselves and then it went wrong? Is that right?! And then they were blamed for everything to ever go wrong ever in the history of the universe?! Really And they were just okay with that, were they?! If there are so many of them, and we are assured that the majority of the earth is genetically damaged, then why did they allow themselves to be corralled into these goddamn ghettos. Why has nobody stood up and said "Oi! This isn't right guys!" until now?! I fail to believe this would happen. I mean, these people are treated like shit!! And they're just down at The Fringe, hanging out. No.
And then the experiments?! What government would sanction this? These people, wether they are genetically damaged or not, are still people. By keeping them prisoner against their will and their knowledge, watching them and prodding them with sticks we're going back to the days when people were locked up simply for having a mental health disorder. You know? Like back in the days of insane asylums when people were considered less human and therefore not deserving of basic human rights and fair treatment just because they had a health condition like schizophrenia or whatever. It's wrong!! So wrong!! So why is society regressed in this way?! I thought this story was set in the future?! This isn't a futuristic vision.
And then the whole debacle with the serums ..... Well, that was very convenient that there just happened to be a serum for every occasion lying around the compound. I didn't like this aspect of the story. It grated on me. It seemed like an easy copout, a handy plot device. Like: "Uh oh, there's a plot hole approaching! Wait, I know! I'll just plug it up by injecting a serum in there." Oh-kay then .....
The romance ..... Urgh. Cheese overload. It was just crammed to bursting full of saccharine sweet, overwritten, sappy slush. This gets really tiring after a while. Stop staring into each other's eyes!! Holy crap, ENOUGH !!! I think what bugged me the most about Tris and Tobias' relationship is that it was based on nothing:
"It feels like something normal people do - go on dates, talk about small things, laugh. We have had so few of those moments. Most of our time together has been spent running from one threat or another, or running toward one threat or another."
So we could conclude (and I do) that they are clinging to each other, for comfort in a time filled with uncertainty and violence. And they're labelling this tru lurve. I feel that when you love someone and you commit to spending your life together, you need to know every part of them. You need to know how they like their coffee if they're messy, what their plans for their future are. You need to know how much annoying shit you're willing to put up with from them before you decide you're in this together, forever. It's not enough to simply hook up with the hot boy who glares at you from across the room and then declare your undying, never ending love for each other for all eternity. That's way too ins tense and physical attraction alone is not a good foundation to build on. So I'm not buying their love. They're both only teenagers, and they are each other's first crushes, they've been through a traumatic experience together, but how well do they really know each other. C'mon guys - how long would this have truly lasted?!
*THERE'S A MAJOR SPOILER UP AHEAD - YOU'VE HAD FAIR WARNING*
So then we discover that in fact, all this moping about together, breaking up and then falling madly, truly, deeply in love all over again has in fact, been one giant emotional manipulation to urge us to feel something when Tris meets her maker. However ..... I really liked it. I liked the way Ms Roth ended Allegiant. It was perfect. I've had a lot of issues, a lot of questions about this series but the conclusion was very fitting. It was inevitable really. There was nowhere else to take it. And besides, I knew one of them would croak the minute I opened the book and discovered it was narrated by both Tris and Tobias. I enjoyed the depiction of Tobias' grief. I thought it was touching and thoughtful. I liked the description of him rebuilding his life following everything he's lost. It felt genuine and heart felt. It was the first time in the entire series I honestly gave a crap about him. I'm not saying he morphed into this super, in-depth, developed character. Because he didn't. I just liked the fact that the ending wasn't all happy-clappy, dancing off into the sunset with rainbows and shooting stars overhead. I would have been really pissed off if it had been because this is a serious, world-changing war that's being fought. There's no place for sunshine, butterflies and skipping here!! And I felt that Tris wouldn't really have had a place in this future, she was the face of the rebellion and what she wanted more than anything was to avenge the death of her mother which she did by safeguarding the cities future, disregarding her own safety in the process. Her actions showed her bravery, focus and her loyalty to her people, her friends and her family and I thought that was great way to leave the character behind - with all these positive qualities highlighted.
I felt like Tobias' voice was poorly written though. He and Tris did sound waaaay too similar. It took me like four or five chapters to notice what the hell was going on, and that there were two narrators because my brain wasn't working enough to read the names at the beginning of each chapter (yeah, don't give me a hard time. I started reading this after a twelve hour night shift. I run at a slower processing time after that shit.) I was like: "Wait. Why is Tris talking about herself in the third person?!" and then I cottoned on. That's kinda bad ..... Each character should be unique and clearly recognisable. And even at a very basic level, teenaged boys think very differently from teenaged girls so I'm a bit puzzled as to how they have exactly the same thoughts and speech pattern. Sure, they were dealing with different shit but not in a different way. This was super disappointing as Tobias could have been so much better developed and offered a really interesting and different point of view on the whole situation. Instead, he was like Tris' male twin. Crap.
I think that a lot of this book could have been ripped out and shredded. It's so long!! I mean the craft just wasn't that impressive. A skilful writer can maintain the momentum and develop rich, well rounded characters with bite without including a million scenes of admiring house plants, and watching a war-torn city trundling by from the back of a truck. I wanted something snappy and punchy to finish up this mixed-bag of a series. I got my answers to the faction conundrum, though they weren't the answers I was hoping they'd be. I dunno. I rated it three stars because I was on the whole, at least somewhat entertained and I did enjoy the end. It was all just a little off, a little blah. A few steps from being kick-ass. So yeah, disappointing.
Onwards and upwards my friends!!