Monday, December 16, 2013

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth


What if your whole world was a lie?

What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?

What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.


**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is the third book in the series & it would be hard to discuss this book without referencing events from the first two books. If you haven't yet read Divergent or Insurgent, then you might not want to read further.

As much as I tried to avoid spoilers before starting to read Allegiant, I couldn't help but hear the uproar that hit the internet within 24 hours of the books release (though I did manage to avoid hearing what exactly set everyone off!).  With that in mind, I started reading almost immediately after finishing Insurgent.  I'm not sure if it was due to lowered expectations or the fact that there was finally a resolution, but I'm in what seems to be the minority of readers who was actually satisfied with the conclusion.

Over the past few years, I have read quite a few dystopian series.  Some I have loved & others hated.  This one falls somewhere in between.  I have come to expect a few things out of the final book.  The conflict that has been building will come to a head...which often means war.  War means casualties...which nobody wants or likes, but the best authors will make it somebody that matters because it creates a stronger emotional impact.  Finally, the war will end & a resolution of sorts will be achieved...but rarely does everyone live happily ever after...and I think I would feel somewhat cheated if they did.  This is where the author can't win. The honest reality is that life goes on but is forever altered.  Happiness can come but isn't easily achieved. So, the best we can hope for is hope itself.  

In Allegiant, Veronica Roth finally takes us outside the fence and for the first time, into Tobias's head.  It is finally fully explained who they are & what it means to be divergent.  The information received makes Tris & Tobias question everything they have ever known. What is family?  What does it mean to love?  What is bravery?  What is true sacrifice?  I am not one to highlight books, but the way these questions were answered made me want to. There were several passages that were beautifully written.  I would put some of the quotes in my review, but I believe part of their beauty is discovering them within the story.  

In the end, I didn't love the Divergent trilogy like I have some of the other dystopian series that I have read, but I don't regret reading it & would recommend it.  It was an interesting (if disturbing) concept & some of the situations & issues addressed made me think..and I count that a success!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth


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.


**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is the second book in the series & it would be hard to discuss this book without referencing events from the first book. If you haven't yet read Divergent, then you might not want to read further.

Like Divergent, I listened to the audiobook for Insurgent about a year ago.  When starting the re-read, I found that I remembered very little of the story.  I'm not really sure what that says about the story since I typically remember at least the main plot points of a book I've read.  While reading it, I found that it wasn't as gripping as Divergent.  I kept finding excuses NOT to read...which is not like me.  I wasn't as invested in the characters as I wanted to be.  

Like the first book, we spend our time in this world inside of Tris' head...which is a very unhappy place.  She has lost her family, several friends & most of all, her faith in herself.  In Divergent, we got to see Tris embrace her new Dauntless life.  She became strong & brave.  While this kept her alive through the attack on her city, she has taken it to a point of recklessness in Insurgent.  Because of this, I found her harder to relate to and more difficult to want to spend time with...which resulted in me avoiding reading for days. However, I count it a good thing that I struggle with relating to a character who has lost all hope & reason to live.  

While this sounds like a mediocre review.  I think it might be to Ms. Roth's credit that her words & her world had such an effect on me.  Where I didn't relate to Tris, I was right there with Tobias.  I couldn't abandon matter what bravely stupid thing she did.  Where I would disappear for a day or two, I would always come back.  I needed to know that she was okay.  I couldn't move on.  Even when I did finally finish...I didn't even consider taking a break & reading something on to Allegiant.