Aug 13, 2014

Book 38: Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent Triology)

What can be said about this series.  Lets start with the facts.  It is a young Adult fiction that is recommended to readers who liked Hunger Games or any YA dystopian fiction.  Book one (and I would assume the whole series) has made into the motion picture world as well.

I probably would not have picked this series as something I would want to read, but as I am trying really hard to be more mainstream and read books that others are reading so I can join in on the discussion I decided that I should go ahead and read it.

I promise I will get to my thoughts on Allegiant, but first I feel I need to put out my thoughts on the series first, and some general thoughts on YA dystopian first.

I realize that YA books have a purpose.  They are written for young women to show that they have more power than they think they have.  They are the inner fantasy world and help put into words the crazieness that growing up is.  The transition from being a child to being an adult can be terrifying and having books like these help give voice and build confidence.  I get it, but I am also not 16, in fact I have not been 16 for a few decades, so I do not need this.  This is why I struggle with YA.  I am not trying to say that it is a bad thing for young girls to read, I am not saying that adults who read YA should not.  I am just saying that I find the tropes a bit unrelatable to me.  Now what I do find a bit harmful in YA is the love stories.  This is not restricted to YA, it happens in TV and movies as well.  I have trouble with the heightened expectation of true love at 16.  That the guy you like is your soulmate and that he only needs to know you to get it.  And once he gets it you will be happy for life.  It can be harmful, it is unrealistic and sets up girls for a whole lot of trouble.  I think the love triangle/true love trope in YA is just as dangerous as the super skinny and Photoshopped images are to our young girls self esteem and sets them up for failure.

Oh and then there are the names.  They bug me.  I am a bit of a name geek, and I just think some of them are silly.  In the Divergent series I get what she was going for.  I love the name Beatrice, but I hated the name Tris, just thought it was forced.  Also I didn't mind the nickname Four, but did not think the name Tobias fit the character at all.  Yes the name Tobias fit the Abnegation faction where he came from, but not the character.  Again just my opinion.

So getting to the thoughts on Allegiant itself.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I did not see where she was taking the series and liked that there was this whole other society that was basically playing around with them.  Watching and manipulating.  I wish she has gone further with this and foreshadowed more in the first 2 books.  And did I mention that Veronica kills off the main character?  That was a pleasant surprise.  I am sure to most readers it was shocking and not how they wanted the book to end, Tris and Four should ride off together, but for me it was a relief.  If she did not die and would have liked the book less.

For the series, I think book two could have been eliminated and absorbed into book 1&3, but then it would have broken the YA Trilogy mold and we couldn't have that.  Here comes grumpy old woman rant...
16 year olds do not take down the whole society by themselves.  They are not strong enough, savvy enough and it just does not happen.  Also can we stop with all the touching and kissing.  You are in mortal danger and you are taking down the fricking government and the whole structure of the world as you know it.  When you are done you will have time to make puppy dog eyes and kiss and all of that when you have accomplished your mission.  Or you will be dead and the other has something to pine over and struggle with for life.  To me that is infinitely  more interesting.
OK rant over.  So you can see I come a this type of book with a boat-load of baggage, so I need to rate the book with the screens through which I read it.  It is not a series I am banging the drum for and recommending, but if you are into this sort of story then I will recommend that you work your way through book 2 to get to book 3 which is better and takes the story into an interesting place.