Just over a year ago, I wrote a review of Divergent, the bestselling YA dystopian book by Veronica Roth. I also included my hopes for what the finale in the trilogy would be like. Now that the finale’s out, it’s time to see if the book lived up to my expectations.
Author: Veronica Roth
Age group: young adult
Summary: Normally, I’d give you a summary here, but honestly, the book’s too complicated. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, don’t bother picking up this one until you do.
Spoiler alert! I’m going to give away major details on this book, so stop reading now if you haven’t finished the book yet or are planning on reading it.
Last year, I posted these thoughts about what I hoped would happen in the third book. Although some of my predictions came true, the book didn’t quite meet my expectations.
First, I posted last year that I thought moms might not like their kids reading about all the violence in these books. The violence continues in book three, and it’s not just someone getting hit, it’s people getting killed. And by our heroine, nonetheless. Right toward the end, Tris kills a couple guards. Sure, she’s on her way to do something heroic, something that will probably save hundreds if not thousands of lives. However, I still hate that she had to kill people in order to save lives. The worst part is that Tris doesn’t seem to feel that bad about it. Yes, she feels bad about killing her old friend Will when he was basically under mind control, but she doesn’t feel about bad about killing anyone else. I want a heroine that is smart enough that she can find a way to save lives without having to take others.
The second thing I mentioned was that I hoped Tris learned what it means to be selfless. This part does come through in the end. Tris does learn about self-sacrifice. However, there’s one thing this book is missing that makes it different from other books where the main character is willing to sacrifice himself (or herself). In all those other books (BIG SPOILER ALERT HERE), the main character “resurrects.”
In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan resurrects after his self-sacrifice. In Harry Potter, Harry “resurrects” from the train station scene with Dumbledore in order to face Voldemort again. Even the characters in The Lord of the Rings head to the “Undying Lands” when their time is up.
The reason why I think so many people are disappointed with Veronica Roth is that there’s no resurrection scene in Allegiant. Whether non-Christians like to admit it or not, we all really like our heroes to be like Christ. We want them to be willing to sacrifice themselves, but we all want to have hope in the resurrection. We need to see that the hero’s sacrifice was worth it, and we want the hero to be around to reap the rewards of his (or her) greatest contribution.
Another thing I had mentioned in my previous post was that Tris needed to learn that there was value in all of the factions and that the factions need to work together. This is sort of included in the final book. The factionless take over, but the leader of the factionless turns out to be just as tyrannical as any other government leader. (Side note: This so made me think of Animal Farm. In fact, one of the characters in Allegiant even says at one point that they seem to just keep moving from one bad government to the next. Yep, my thought exactly!)
In the end, my feelings about Allegiant are quite ambivalent. On the one hand, Ms. Roth came up with a fantastically vivid and complex world. I only wish I had such an imagination. Her writing is good, and she really had several good things to say in this series. Toward the end, Tobias comments on what different forms bravery can take, and Tris has a few nice lines about maybe believing in the same God her parents did.
On the other hand, I wanted something more. I wanted more of the characters to have a clearer understanding of what makes a good civilization. I wanted Tris to be smart enough she could “save the world” without having to kill others. And I wanted more hope at the end; this could probably have been accomplished with a resurrection scene.
If you’ve read the series, let me know what you thought of the ending in the comments below.