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AllegiantThe faction-based society has completely unraveled. Everything Tris Prior once knew and understood is gone – torn apart by violence, conflict and competing agendas. With the factionless trying to recreate Chicago’s society in their own way, Tris is ready to leave. She wants to travel beyond the city limits to find the truth behind the explosive video that claims the Divergents are needed for a greater purpose. And maybe, she’ll find a quieter, more peaceful life as well. But Tris is about to discover even more secrets and she’ll be forced to make some of the most difficult decisions of her life.

Allegiant picks up almost immediately after Insurgent ends, and rushes towards a dramatic climax. With the same adrenaline-pumping action and startling revelations that made the first two books of the series so addictive, Allegiant finally provides some answers about the mysterious society Tris was born into. Allegiant also expands upon its dystopian environment by giving readers both Tris’ and Tobias’ points of view in alternating chapters. In many ways, Allegiant is the outlier in this trilogy, different is so many ways from its two predecessors. Yet it also felt like an interesting way to end the series – by continuing to pull layers back and reveal more, Roth shows us, once again, that few things are ever as simple as they seem. 

Overall, while I liked the series as a whole and I did enjoy reading this book, I have mixed feelings about Allegiant for two reasons: the dual narrators, and the ending.

One part of me loved finally having Tobias’ point of view in the story. As wonderfully flawed and complex Tris is as a character, her perspective is also fairly limited and narrow. Giving Tobias an equal opportunity to to have his say gave the novel more depth; this way, we readers get more story, and not just one side. It was also interesting to finally see Tris from the outside – how she appears to others, and how her strengths and weaknesses come across to someone who loves her. At the same time, however, I often found the dual narration to be distracting. Though Roth indicates at the start of each chapter who is speaking, I found it difficult to distinguish between Tris and Tobias on occasion. I thought their internal voices were too similar and I would have rather seen more distinction between them, especially when they disagreed.

Besides the dual narrators, the ending stirred up lots of thoughts and opinions. Here’s my obligatory spoiler warning if you haven’t read the book: beware and proceed at your own risk.

The Internet actually spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me, months before I read it. And I couldn’t “un-know” what I already knew, so I anticipated Tris’ decisions and her behavior before it actually happened. Even with that anticipation, though, I still wasn’t expecting both anger and understanding at Roth’s choice to end her book the way she did. Anger, because a part of me does feel as if the ending was a cheap way to close the series, and forestall any calls for more sequels. And it does seem like the easy choice – ending the story this way removes the need for Tris to figure out how to live in a completely new world, a task that’s undoubtedly difficult when you’ve only known one way of life. But another part of me understood Roth’s choice, and even applauded it. Tris’ decision is completely in line with her character. In that moment, it made perfect sense. It was also, certainly, an unpopular choice for an author to make and I respect Roth for choosing to write the story she wanted to write, and not simply giving the readers the overly saccharine “happy ever after.”

(Roth has a great blog post about her authorial choices with the ending and I really think it’s worth reading.)

After Divergent and Insurgent, I do feel that Allegiant is a bit of a mixed bag – some good parts, some not-so-good parts and a conflict-inducing ending. But with this last book, the series as a whole gives readers an incredible heroine. Tris comes so far from those first few chapters and, if nothing else, I love Allegiant for showing us exactly how a character grows and changes in response to a life’s traumatic events. From start to finish, Tris is the best part of this series and it’s definitely worth reading Allegiant just to see the person she becomes.

[Photo Credit: Goodreads]

Book News, Aug. 16th

I’m coming down to the wire, bookworms! Less than two weeks to go before I fly east for awhile. With all the craziness of an international move (seriously - House Hunters International makes it look WAY too easy), I’ve been finding it difficult to unwind and read. But – of course – my “to read” list continues to grow. Alas, the life of a bookworm. With summer also coming to an end soon, what have you been doing to hold on to just a little bit more summer? Let me know in the comments, after you’ve soaked up some Book News:

  • Darn those women and their support of other women! (Sarcasm, obvs!) Kelly Jensen continues to knock it out of the park with her Book Riot posts and one from earlier this week is no exception. In reporting that Twilight author Stephenie Meyer will produce one of Lois Duncan’s novels, Jensen explores the the harsh “feminist” train of thought that discredits Meyer’s influence, solely because of Twilight. Regardless of what you think about that series, it helped open numerous doors for other female-center books and movies. And Meyer is now using her clout to help other female authors, screenwriters and directs get their projects made. Why on earth would a successful woman helping another woman succeed be a bad thing? (Pretend, for a moment, that we don’t live in an obviously patriarchal society.)
  • Dragons lay waste to Westeros! Jon Snow is secretly a Targaryen, despite not looking like one at all! Everyone dies just like in Hamlet! I know no idea if any of these theories are even remotely true, but according to George R.R. Martin, some of his fans have already guessed his long-planned end game for his Song of Ice and Fire series. Even with two books to go, Martin says he’s left “subtle and obscure” clues in his books, and some fans have picked up on them. Though he’s debated changing things up, he’s not going to. Which means, when A Dream of Spring is finally published, there will be at least a few Game of Thrones fans rejoicing over their own cleverness.
  • You get a Harry Potter cover, and you get a Harry Potter cover! Harry Potter covers for everyone! Both the US and the UK publisher of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series have recently released new cover art for all seven books. Though US fans won’t be able to buy copies of the UK covers (unless, of course, you actually go to the UK), Book Riot has compiled many of the different covers, with their varying art styles, in one handy post. I’m personally fond of the most recent covers from Scholastic, and the Swedish cover for The Deathly Hallows is pretty darn cool, too. If only we could say the same thing for Italy’s cover. Eek!
  • I scream, you scream – July was apparently National Ice Cream Month (seriously – how did I not know that?!) and Quirk Books celebrated by conjuring up some tasty ice cream flavors based on books. There’s the Clockwork Orange Creamsicle, if you like a bit of weird with your dessert, War and Peach, a flavor as epic as Tolstoy could ever hope for and Oliver Twist, a flavor that will have you begging for more. Sadly, none of these flavors are real, but if Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert can have ice cream flavors named after them, surely Harry Potter can too. Right?

As always, happy reading.

Word of the Week (170)

DictionaryHistory happens, and Shakespeare reinvents it. Turns out, his Scottish play did involve some truthful pieces of fact. On August 14, 1040, two cousins met each other in battle. Duncan I is killed, and his rival, Macbeth, becomes king. Of course, that version doesn’t evince as much joy as the Bard’s version, complete with witches, scheming and a crazy wife.

Evince (“ih-vins”)

Verb; from Dictionary.com:

1. To show clearly; make evident, prove
2. To reveal the possession of a trait or quality

“My old acquaintance,” Leo said. Although his tone held no rancor, neither did it evince any pleasure. (Mine Till Midnight, Lisa Kleypas)

With its first usage dating back to sometime around 1600, evince comes into English from both French and Latin. The French word évincer translates to “disprove” or “refute” and, in turn, stems from the Latin evincere, which means “conquer” or “elicit by argument.” The modern meaning of “to show clearly” dates back to the late 18th century. While it may not be perfectly clear to see how evince of the 1600′s became the evince of today, the original Latin meaning does refer to proving by argument, which could suggest the path of the word’s history.

Your turn, bookworms – Were you to evince a particular personality trait or characteristic, what one thing would you want to be known for? Obviously we can’t be boiled down to just one characteristic, but what’s the one defining thing about you?

[Photo Credit: Google Images]