Back on October 29th, before I'd even read Allegiant, I tweeted about the book, saying, "I haven't even read Allegiant and I'm already sick of hearing that it was a let-down. Maybe people's expectations shouldn't be too high. I know I am going to enjoy Allegiant because Veronica Roth has proven herself. She is a strong character creator and a strong world-builder. As for the spoilers I've heard, I think it was a very gutsy move on Roth's part. I hope I'm brave enough to do that someday and not worry about reader response. A writer has no obligation to the readers to create the stories they want [to hear]. A writer creates his/her own stories. If you want something different out of a book, write your own or write fanfiction." (Words in brackets added for clarity in this post.)
I'm fine with someone not liking a book. There are certainly several I dislike! But do I complain that the author didn't give me what I want? I'm pretty sure I don't. Because it is not the author's responsibility to make every reader happy. As a writer myself, I get what it's like to have a story (multiple ones, in fact) inside your head. You write down what you feel. You rarely think, "I wonder if a reader will like this?" At least not until the revision stages. I mean, I hope readers will like my novels. But I don't ever think I owe them something.
Correction: I owe them a well-written book. I owe them clarity, well-formed characters, and a strong setting. But I do not owe readers the ending they expect, or the preservation of their favorite characters, or everything tied up with a pretty little bow.
Now, with all that said, let my review of Allegiant commence. I will try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. However, if you haven't read Divergent or Insurgent, you may want to skip my review (I don't spoil anything too major from either one, though).
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Summary: What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
The Good: I can't even properly describe my feelings for Allegiant. I'm writing this shortly after I finished the book, so I'm still deeply in its world. Veronica Roth made me smile. She made me angry (at characters, not her). And she made me cry. And I don't cry easily with books. But the words she used for that giant spoiler were brilliant. They were simple but carried so much feeling.
The characters resonate with me. They are so flawed and human yet so admirable. Tris's choices and growth astounded me. I loved seeing inside Tobias's head with his POV. I enjoyed what we got from Caleb, and Christina, and Uriah, and Cara. They're all the same, yet still interesting. I also liked how I couldn't decide the loyalties of some of the new characters. It wasn't a constant back-and-forth, just enough mystery to make me wonder.
I do like how everything was resolved. Sure, it's not that happily ever after that some (naive) readers wished for. Happily ever afters, while nice, are not always reality. There were things for the characters to look forward to in their future, so it's not like it's all desolate. And the zip-lining at the end... I cried a bit during that, too.
The Bad: There are a lot of new characters introduced, and it was a bit hard to keep them all straight. Also, Amar...was he mentioned in a previous book and I'm just completely forgetting him? The way he was introduced made me feel like the reader should be familiar with him. Finally, the cliffhanger at the end of Insurgent was beautiful. I think it had an interesting wrap-up here. I would've liked a few more questions in that area answered, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment too much.
The Ugly: A bit more language than I remember from the past books. Nothing I couldn't handle, though. Romance is at the same level as Divergent and Insurgent, although there is one scene with certain implications but nothing too graphic. Roth doesn't get too descriptive with violence.
The Verdict: Allegiant was amazing. Read it. The end.
Scratch that. Only read Allegiant once you've read Divergent and Insurgent. Otherwise you will be terribly lost.