Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)Short Review: I wanted to like it more than I did. But not nearly as bad as many of the reviews.

Allegiant is the highly anticipated third book in dystopian trilogy.  Starting with Insurgent and then Divergent, Allegiant tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Chicago.

Five factions (essentially small tribal groups) formerly to ruled the city.  But after Tris and Four released a video at the end of the last book, everyone realizes there is something outside the border, something that is influencing how the factions work.

Tris and Tobias leave the city as part of a larger group to find out what is outside the city.

Early reviews of Allegiant have not been good.  As I started writing this review on Friday the 25th, just 3 days after it was released there are already 746 reviews on Amazon, 300 of them are 1 star reviews. (Monday morning the 28th, 6 days after released there were 1311 reviews with only 502 of them being 4 or 5 stars.) The fans that have been waiting more than 18 months for this third installment are not happy.

I think some of the criticism is valid.  The beginning was a bit rough.  It took me a good quarter of the book to get into the real groove of the story and be invested in the characters again.

And I have been a bit irritated by the setting in all three books.  The size of the society and the technological sophistication of the society seems to increase and retract frequently.  There are enough people for a full scale rebellion and to keep the trains running and enough power to run generators that will power Hancock’s (and most any other building’s) elevators, and enough techs to keep video feeds throughout the city working, but each factional class only has about 2 dozen teens that are coming of age each year. It does not make sense. And on a clear day you can see O’Hare from the top of the Hancock Building without any problem (which violates a major plot point of the book.)

The bigger problem of the inconvenient sizes of the society is that it undercuts the role of institutions in the book.  Institutions end up always being bad in this series.  But when you have these theoretically small communities, but no real problems with your infrastructure it makes sense why the viewpoint of the book is anti-institutional.  I just want to know who is staffing the top level hospitals and producing the tires for the vehicles (let alone the gas and electricity and the pervasive video systems.)

As much as it is irritating, I can get past that.  But once I am past that, the emotional depth of the book seems weak.  I am not complaining about the ending.  The ending is fine.  The problem is that the book seems to want to manipulate the reader into caring about the poverty and the destruction and the oppression and the abuse.  But the flatness of the main characters makes me think that they are not sure if they want to care about all of those things themselves.

I have really liked some emotionally flat and spare books.  But as much as I loved the first book, and enjoyed the second book.  I thought this third book was just ok.  It was not bad.  It does not deserve many of the complaints, especially since many of them are just because the readers wanted a nice happy ending to a violent and dark dystopian world.  But violent and dark dystopian worlds have a tendency to not produce happy endings.

I want to like this more than I did.  But at the same time it is not nearly as bad as its current reputation.

Allegiant Purchase Links: Hardcover, Kindle Edition, Audiobook


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