What are you reading? Monday, April 20, 2015

Allegiant by Veronica RothAllegiant by Veronica Roth (third and final book in the Divergent series)

If you loved Divergent, think twice before reading Allegiant.  This book was unlike the other books in the series, and left me with more questions than answers.  Also, the dual narrator pattern was confusing and didn’t work.  Tobias and Tris virtually have the same experiences and perspective, and it was difficult to remember who was talking!  I spent a lot of time trying to remind myself whose voice I was reading.  What happened to Four, the Dauntless legend, the one who was sensitive but tough, the one who took charge rather than let other people lead him?

Spoiler Alert:  Backstory revealed

In this book, we learn how the factions came to be, and how/why the people are so different.  Many years ago, in order to cure people of undesirable traits such as cowardice, selfishness, aggression, low intelligence and dishonesty – which were believed to be the cause of all of humanity’s problems. (That sounds a little judgmental doesn’t it?) So, some scientists figured out how to remove the specific genes that caused these traits. The alterations began to take effect after a few generations, and what they discovered was that removing the gene for one trait just enhanced another bad trait, leading to a war between those who had been genetically altered and those who hadn’t. Then the leadership sought to correct that mistake by rounding up scores of genetically damaged people, sticking “corrected” genes in them, and locking them up in a controlled environment (the factions, in one city) to wait for them to reproduce enough times for the bad genes to heal and return to a state of genetic purity (aka divergence).  I’m not sure how you find the gene for personality, but that sounds like a warning against manipulating genes if ever there was one!

The worst part is that the backstory is anticlimactic – it does nothing to move the plot forward, rather it only wraps it up in the tedious Tris/Tobias “univoice.”  Is this Truman Show the purpose and ultimate culmination of the story?  I don’t expect the “happily ever after” for every story, but this book ended poorly.  This book was long and unfulfilling, perhaps the author should have let the story end at Divergent – at least there was a challenging story and hope for the future at the end.  As you might guess, I wasn’t impressed with the final installation of this series.  Read at your own risk…of boredom.

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