Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Trilogy: Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant
Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books
This is a series review (huzzah) meaning that I am able to talk about all three books at once. This also means that if you’re not yet familiar with the series, or if you’re not ready for reading anything about the second and third book, you should skip my commentary on those books in the series. If, and only if, I chose to spoil something I’ll give you a warning beforehand (read: red, lots of red).
Goodreads Synopsis Divergent:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Goodreads Synopsis Insurgent:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
Goodreads Synopsis Allegiant:
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 one 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 to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Yes, I finally decided to start reading the Divergent series. To be honest, it wasn’t because I really wanted to, but more because I was about to write an essay on dystopian novels (and I decided it was a ‘great’ idea to compare the Divergent series to H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine). So now I’ve finally read the entire series, and I must admit that at some points I was pleasantly surprised.
Book 1: Divergent
(I do have to admit that I watched the film before reading the book :O Blasphemy! This is why I will compare the book to the film, which is actually good since it results in a more positive review of Divergent haha)
Alright. Let me start by stating that I felt way more positive about the book than the film. Of course, that’s a great thing! (Since it means that I won’t have any, or few, negative elements to discuss here). Personally, I felt more accepting of Tris in the book than in the film. For some reason, her view, background, and sometimes illogical way of thinking fit how she was described in the book. I also noticed that as a reader I was forced to find out about her world through her, at her pace and with her knowledge in mind. This made me feel more connected to her than while I was watching the film (Probably because film Tris looked considerably older than 16 to me and therefore her behaviour didn’t seem fitting).
The supportive position of the minor characters was for some reason surprising. Minor characters are always there, but I had expected them to just be there. However, everyone had some part to play, and since many had a different background, it was interesting to discover how those people had to learn how to live and behave around each other. It was also interesting to see how people would act when under great pressure (in this case the Dauntless initiation). This resulted in some unexpected scenes.
In general, the entire idea of a society existing out of factions, and how it would function (or not), was very interesting.
I’m not claiming that I found the entire book awesome and mind boggling (because I didn’t), but it wasn’t worse than I expected it to be (then again I didn’t have high expectations to begin with). When not trying to find out why certain things happen, it can be an entertaining read. Honestly, even though I had my share number of “What? Why is this happening?” moments, it was an enjoyable and quick read. For some reason, there was this urge of having to finish this book in order to get to Insurgent, since that is where the interesting things would start to take place.
Three stars for this book ^_^ And yes, maybe I am more forgiving of the flaws of this first book because I read the second and third book almost right after it. But, as I mentioned before, as long as you don’t try to make sense of certain things (because they won’t make sense in this book), the book is quite enjoyable.
Book 2: Insurgent
I was hoping, and quite ready, for some awesome event… However, it didn’t come along. Yes, there was some progress in the story, but for some reason, I wasn’t really into it and all I remember is thinking “Why am I reading this? When is something awesome and significant going to happen?”. It was only near the end that things started to become a little more interesting, and even that wasn’t really that interesting. Yes, near the end some things got quite serious, but in a way, it all seemed to revolve around the relationship between Tris and Four/Tobias.
I’m not going to spoil the ending of this book, but let’s say that there was a certain change of perspective. This might be expected by some people, but I didn’t really see it coming in this way. I must say though that this revelation makes a lot of sense, and makes this series more dystopian than originally thought.
Also, even though some parts were uninspiring, somewhat boring and hard to get through, Insurgent was a quick and easy read. It was mainly because of the ending that I felt like reading Allegiant. Insurgent gets 2.5 stars, but mostly because of the ending.
Book 3: Allegiant
What can I possibly say about Allegiant… uhm… well… uhm… I think it’s safe to state that it was, in fact, a book. It wasn’t a particularly good book, but it had pages and chapters.
Now, how about the content of this not particularly good book. Let’s just say (for the sake of my own sanity) that there was no reason whatsoever to bring half of this book into being. Either do it well, or don’t do it at all, but don’t give me a book containing both because that just makes me frustrated. She could have decided to let this last book also play out in the city, or she could have let her characters go on a great adventure into the wide unknown. Unfortunately, she did neither and both at the same time (hence my frustration). Not only that but in this book all rational thought was simply put aside for sake of… reasons?
It didn’t stop there, noooo (that would be too easy). Instead of staying with the one person point of view, suddenly there was a constant switch between Tris’s and Tobias’s point of view.
Another unwanted addition was a second new plot/happening that was introduced in this book. Instead of there being one conflict within the city, there was suddenly another conflict between twee groups in the ‘outside’ world. It can be safely said that because of this second conflict the entire book/series falls apart. The second conflict creates unnecessary tension between characters, followed by more unnecessary actions taken by some characters (I will not call names, but I guess you’ll know who I mean).
If you thought that this was all you’ll have to think again.
Not only is Roth unable to decide where she wants her focus to be, and does she add unwanted things, she also changes some of her characters completely. There is no trace from the ‘original’ characters of certain people in this book, and for some reason that is all completely fine. Other characters were not changed at all, and this combined with everything I named above resulted in an ending that made me feel like throwing this book into a pit so that I would never have to look at it again. I wish I could say that I felt sad, or at least some emotion other than disinterest, but I didn’t. I couldn’t care any less. The whole event that was meant to be shocking only made the last part of the book more unbearable.
I think that I can sum Allegiant up in just one short sentence: it was a disappointment.
Where I had no high expectations of Divergent, I did find myself having some expectations for Allegiant and these were unceremoniously crushed. One of those expectations was a ‘simple’ and maybe logical ending to the series. However, in Allegiant things got only more complicated for no apparent reason, and in the end, it didn’t bring anything of worth about life outside Chicago.
Do I have anything positive to say? To be honest, I’m not sure. Because of the many negative points in this book, I feel like it completely undid al the good things that happened in here (not that there were a lot of these). If I must say something positive it’s about Johanna Reyes, because she was awesome even though she didn’t play a big role in this book. Other than that, it was mostly just plain disappointing. I give this book 2 stars, and that’s only because I was able to actually finish the book.
Overall opinion (this review, but real short)
Divergent was by far the best book in the series, and it only went downwards from there (Yes, everything went downhill after Divergent. Worldbuilding, character development, writing, style, the ability to keep the reader interested. Everything). Where at first there is some sort of logic in the story, it is all abandoned near the end. Honestly, I think Roth should have either kept the story within city limits, or she should have made this a longer series in order to explore the outside world more. However, by choosing to do neither in Allegiant, it just became a mess.
Personally, I thought the faction system as a result from meddling with genes was an interesting choice for a dystopian series. I started this series in order to compare it to The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, which made it a more interesting read when thinking about evolution and a possible future for mankind. However, in the end, I found the series wanting and I feel like Roth could have done better.
I know that there are people out there who will not agree with me, but I’m going to give this series an overall 2.5 stars.
Have you read this series? What did you think? And most importantly; why do you think it’s worth or not worth reading this series? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below! 😀