Fair warning: this review is going to assume that you have read both the Divergent trilogy and The Hunger Games trilogy. I’m not doing a plot outline, I’m just writing down the thoughts that struck when I set down Allegiant.
The last of a trilogy marketed as “the next Hunger Games”, Allegiant finds protagonists Tris and Tobias/Four going outside the walls of Chicago, the city that has been their entire world up until this point. They leave behind a city in chaos and revolt against a rebellion (and yes, that’s as confusing as it sounds).
In my opinion, this book had many of the same flaws that House of Hades had: the author rushed too much. The story wasn’t developed enough. It felt to me like the first draft of the story I’m plodding my way through right now: needing both cohesion and clarification.
The story itself was good–maybe brilliant, poignant–but the execution was not on par with the ideas of the story.
I liked that it was Tobias who lived instead of Tris. Tris had a complete feeling about her, even before she met Tobias, but Tobias was a broken man hiding behind four fears.
At the end of Allegiant, he had faced every single one of them in a more substantial way than endlessly going over his fear landscape. Fear of heights (which I think might actually have been symbolic of a fear of losing control over his life); claustrophobia (being metaphorically ‘put in a box’, limited by the world’s expectations…Marcus’s son, Dauntless, GD); fear of becoming like Marcus; fear of losing Tris. He had faced them all and come out a whole man–someone who was more than Four, stronger than Tobias.
I liked all these ideas that Roth presented…I didn’t like how I had to keep looking for the names “Tris” or “Tobias” to tell me which POV I was in. Tris is a much more straight-forward character than Tobias–they shouldn’t both speak in the same voice. Honestly, I didn’t think that Tobias’s POV added anything until after Tris died. Yes, it was cool to see Tris from another angle, but at the cost of his mystique. Up until Tris died, Tobias never felt like the kind of character to let us in his head so intimately.
I have always had a problem with Roth’s pacing and credibility….I’m not, and never have been, completely sold on her set up, either with the factions or the whole GP vs GD thing. Or indeed with the solutions used to win the war. A mass memory wipe and Evelyn’s 180? Sorry, no. I’ve reread the end several times and I still don’t see how Tris’s sacrifice saved the world. I see how it saved Caleb in more ways than just his survival, but the world? No; and I couldn’t help thinking that if I was David and that girl was trying to erase my memory, my life and the memories of everyone I knew, I’d have shot her too. I think Roth was going for a neat solution but it just didn’t fit, in my opinion.
In the end, it was a good story but my original thoughts after putting down Divergent still ring true: it’s trying to feel like the Hunger Games. And for me, the Hunger Games did not stay as words on a page. That story has infused itself into my bones, and the end of Mockingjay remains the most beautiful, poignant thing I have ever read.
In the end, happiness is the ultimate rebellion against this cruel, cold world. That Katniss and Peeta could be happy, even when they couldn’t be whole…that will stick with me for far longer than Tris’s sacrifice and Tobias’s grief.