I don’t often post negative reviews. But this book made me feel so unjustifiably angry that I thought I would. I’m going to conduct this review in two halves – the first half will be spoiler-free, and the second half will contain spoilers, in case you want to know what happens but don’t want to read it (maybe something I should have done, to be honest). So when you come across the words SPOILERS, and you don’t want spoilers…well, don’t read ahead, I guess.
Allegiant annoyed me right from the get-go. Starting right where it left off, I was already confused as to what was happening. This could be my fault for not reading them directly after each other, but still, I didn’t like it.
Lots happens in this book. The plot is so convoluted I was confused half the time, and basically abandons the set-up of the first two books in order to go to a completely new setting/situation. We meet a bunch of characters that all seem the same, and the existing characters fail to develop.
Then there’s the whole Tobias/Tris alternating chapters. Except they’re not alternating, because sometimes Tris has two chapters in a row. Which shouldn’t bother me, except that the “alternating” thing was the only way I determined whose chapter was whose – without the name at the top of each chapter, there is literally no distinguishing between the two voices. Four, instead of the strong character we met in Divergent, becomes this whiny, shallow person who frustrated me no end. (like, Tris, why are you even bothering)
In Allegiant, instead of the faction vs. factionless stuff that was set up, there’s a whole new binary. I won’t get into that, since it’s minor spoilers, but basically it makes no sense whatsoever (I’m sensing a pattern here). There are so many rebellions that I lost track of who was supposed to be good.
Then the ending. Obviously I’m not going to talk about it explicitly in the spoiler-free section, but let me just say that it was possibly one of the worst endings I’ve ever read (and that’s including the 19 Years Later section of Harry Potter). Now, onto the spoiler-y review, so if you still intend to read it, don’t continue!!
REVIEW CONTAINING SPOILERS
You have been warned. This section contains spoilers. Mega spoilers.
Okay, so on the blurb we find out that Tris and Tobias will be venturing beyond the fence. What we find out is that the world that’s been set up in Divergent and Insurgent is an experiment. Let me (try to) explain: eight generations ago, or something like that, the government tried to change people’s genes to get rid of unwanted traits. Except that it screwed up massively, so what’s left are GPs (genetically pure) and GDs (genetically damaged). They chucked all the GDs into experimental “behavioural” areas, waiting until they’d reproduced enough times to become GPs. Which doesn’t make sense at all, because they’d just pass down the damaged genes, but let’s go along with it.
Right, so Divergent and Insurgent have been explained away as an experiment, making everyone in the “experiment” seem juvenile and the whole faction vs. factionless debate meaningless. That’s with some bad science chucked into the mix. “Divergent” isn’t a personality thing, apparently – it’s just having good genes. And also, Tobias isn’t actually Divergent – he’s “genetically damanged,” but has resistance to certain things. It gets worse.
Tobias allies himself with Nita, a new character who’s barely developed beyond “beautiful bad person.” Tris thinks it’s a bad idea – she’s sure Nita’s plotting something, but Tobias is like, “you’re just jealous because she’s pretty!!!” I would have dumped him on the spot, but apparently Tris is more forgiving than me. Turns out that Nita’s a psycho and trying to kill everyone (not really, but that’s a good enough explanation). Uriah (you may or not remember him, I didn’t really) gets crushed by some explosions in Nita’s crazy plan, and is brain-dead soon after. Apparently we’re supposed to care about this, but I didn’t.
It gets a bit cloudy after this, so I’ll skip to the kind-of end. Everyone’s fighting back inside the fence, so the Bureau (this is where Tris and Tobias are) decide to memory-wipe everyone. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: it was GD people who formed the experiment, after the GPs mind-wiped them so they could start again. And Tris’s mother was one of the ones who tried to get Divergents out of the Faction Experiment. Plot twist, except not really because it didn’t make much sense.
Anyway, Tris decides that it’s immoral to memory-wipe people inside the fence, so she and some Genetically Damaged people make a plan to memory-wipe the Bureau (??? Good logic, Tris!). Meanwhile Tobias goes back inside the fence, planning to memory-wipe his parents so that the conflict there will be resolved.
Caleb (who, you might remember, completely betrayed his sister in book 2), accepts the suicide mission to gain access to the memory serum. This is so he can redeem himself and all that, which is an excellent idea. It’s a suicide mission because if you try to get access to the memory serum, you set off a death serum, which will take a while to penetrate but kill you nonetheless. The only trouble is that Tris decides it’s immoral to let him do this out of guilt rather than love, so she tells him (at gunpoint) that she’s going to do it instead.
The death serum doesn’t kill her, because for unexplained reasons Tris is immune to, like, everything. Except when she gets into the control room, this guy is there with a gun. It’s David, who was in love with Tris’s mum, blah blah, he wasn’t very memorable. I feel like it was supposed to be a, “OMG David’s bad!!” moment, but since I hardly knew who it was it didn’t make an impression. Tris manages to mind-wipe the Bureau just as David shoots her. And she dies.
Meanwhile Tobias chooses not to mind-wipe either of his parents. Instead he just says, “Mummy, would you like to be Supreme Ruler of the Universe or have your son back?” And OF COURSE she chooses her beloved son, regardless of years of neglecting him and trying to get into power. Like, it just makes no sense at all. With that conflict wrapped up in a nice, illogical bow, he goes back to the Bureau to find Tris is dead. Boo hoo, I found myself not even caring.
With a bit more emotional stuff and preachiness, the book’s over and I’m wondering where I can ask for my time back. Which sounds really harsh, but if the third book renders the first two useless, there’s something wrong.