Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: Allegiant (Divergent #3)

Allegiant by Vernoica Roth

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2013
526 pages, paperback
Source: Purchased through Kmart

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 ones 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.

My Review:
I began reading Allegiant with a real sense of nervous anticipation. Even though I had been a big fan of the first two novels in the series, it had been a good while since I had read them. I didn't have the patience to go back and re-read, so off we went. It didn't take long for me to get drawn back into the world of Tobias and Tris, factions, and terrible choices. I had a hard time keeping track of some of the supporting characters, and this was the only thing that made me wish I had taken the time to re-read the first two books.

I have no urge to ruin the plot by describing it here. Many fans have been waiting on pins and needles to see what happens and they won't be disappointed. There are surprises, twists and turns, and then even more twists and turns. I was dazzled by the author's plotting skill as she laid out a careful web of deceits and half-truths that are sure to keep readers turning the pages, much as I did, looking for the truths that always seemed to lurking just beneath the surface of what our heroes were being told.

This story is told in alternating chapters by both Tris and Tobias. I will admit that I was not a fan of this method. The author did not do a very good job of giving them distinctive voices, often leaving me confused as to who was speaking. I believe this robbed the narrative of some of its energy, leading to a pace that was slow, and an overall tone that was far less suspenseful and dramatic than it should have been.

While I admired the author's plotting skill as she introduced so many new elements, I did end up feeling that some were contrived. She slipped into quite a bit of telling instead of showing, and if I hadn't been so interested in where she was going, I might have ended up feeling frustrated pretty early on. As it was, I was captivated by the story and the society, and intrigued by the many ethical questions offered up in the book. The author has a firm grip on the dystopian world she has created and uses it to widely explore questions of equality and free will.

I was all set to assign a three star rating to Allegiant until I came to the last eighty pages or so. The drama and emotion that was somewhat lacking in the book, came at me full force in an ending that was brave and exciting and totally unexpected. Fans of the series should be well satisfied by this ending. It's not perfect, however it's a very worthy end for a story that has garnered millions of fans and made us all think about the power of love and a single choice.

My Rating:

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