Contains Spoilers – Full House Reading Challenge – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Genre: Young adult, dystopia

Narrative Style: First person from two points of view

Rating: 2/5

Published: 2013

Format: paperback

Synopsis: The faction system is broken. Tris is surrounded by violence and nothing seems to be any better than before. Tobias is caught between his warring parents. Perhaps they can find a better life outside of the city? 

Reading challenges: Full House Reading Challenge – Genre: Favourite series. 

First of all, I should point out that I don’t really have a favourite series but this is a series that I needed to finish. I thought the previous books were ok -certainly enough to decide that I needed to know how it ended.

I really wish I hadn’t bothered.

I’ve had some problems with accepting the idea of the factions in the previous books. It just doesn’t hold water for me. Discovering that it was all a giant experiment to try and return the  world to genetic purity didn’t help me suspend my disbelief any. In fact, it made it all seem a bit more false.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that Roth was trying to make a point about the use of genetics as an excuse to treat some people as second class citizens. Definitely a point worth making. However, Roth spoils any political point she may have been trying to make by the way that Tobias and co. win their freedom.

Instead of a realistic battle with the government, Roth settles instead for allowing all the government’s memories to be reset by a serum so they could be given a new history and would no longer be obsessed with genetic purity. This seems to me to be a slightly more grown up version of ‘and then I woke up’. Had she run out of ideas? It certainly seemed a lazy way out of the problems the city was in.

This wasn’t the worse thing though. No, that was the death of Tris who happily sacrifices herself for the rest of the group even though there is no reason for her to. This annoyed me so much, I nearly didn’t finish the book. (Especially the whole scene with her hallucination of her mother which was needlessly sentimental.) Why bring a character so far through a story, make her battle so much, to not have her survive and enjoy the victory?

Finally, the epilogue made everything just too perfect. It was too easy. Real political battles are much more hard won. I admit, I don’t like uncomplicated happy endings and so I was never going to be pleased with this. However, I know I would have been happier if Tris had been in the final picture.

 

Books Read in 2015 – 39. Divergent – Veronica Roth (Contains spoilers)

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia

Narrative Style: first person, chronologicalDivergent_(book)_by_Veronica_Roth_US_Hardcover_2011

Rating: 3/5

Published: 2012

Format: Kindle

Synopsis: In the future, society is divided up into factions based on personality types – abnegation, amity, cantor, dauntless and erudite – and all children must choose their faction when they are 16. While undergoing the tests that will help her decide, Beatrice discovers that she is another type altogether – she is divergent. She is warned to keep this secret at all costs. 

It is almost inevitable that I would compare this to The Hunger Games, having read that series fairly recently. Unfortunately I didn’t find this scenario quite as convincing. Although I understand the point that Roth was trying to make, it just didn’t ring true the way that the world of The Hunger Games did. Also, it meant that some of the characters seemed a little one sided as they were representing an entire personality type. Nevertheless, the story has a lot of tension and so I did want to find out what happened next and I didn’t have any problem reading to the end.

I liked the fact that the setting was recognisably Chicago and the way that this suggested a not too distant future. The landmarks are used well by Roth and are not merely window dressing. I particularly liked the parts where they climb the ferris wheel and when they zip-line off the Hancock Building. Having been to the top of the Hancock Building helped me imagine how terrifying that moment would have been.

As with Katniss, I did find Tris a little annoying. As I have said before, I am sure this is mostly because I am not a teenage girl anymore. At times, she did seem wilfully blind as to what was going on about her but I guess that was supposed to add tension to the story. I wasn’t sure whether Roth meant the reader to be one step ahead of her or not.

I enjoyed all the descriptions of initiation and the problems that Tris and the other initiates faced. Roth offers the reader two forms of authority  – two ways of being Dauntless – as the contrast between Four and Eric is described. Obviously this relates to the transition of teenagers into adults and learning about the correct way to be in charge. At times, this was a little trite but again this may be merely an adult perspective.

The romance between Tris and Four wasn’t too distracting from the action. Four was one of the more interesting characters – he was more ambiguous at first. The only point I found unconvincing was when he was part of the simulation and Tris miraculously brings him out of it due presumably to the intensity of their love. That was a bit nauseating.

Obviously, the book is part of a series and ends in such a way that you are supposed to rush off and buy the next one. I don’t really feel compelled to do that. I will probably read the next one but I am in no rush to do so.