How Your Opinion of A Book Can Change Over Time, Exhibit A: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Posted on 11/02/2015 in Discussion / 8 Comments

Was the end of Allegiant as bad as I originally thought? I’m starting to think no.


Warning: Spoilers.  But if you haven’t read this book/series yet, that’s your own fault! When I first read the final book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, I was fucking mad.   Not only did she do that thing with that character, but the voice of her main characters didn’t feel organic to me.  She made me hate Four.  She made me distrust her and vow never to buy or read one of her books again. Basically, she made me feel things and when I look back now, feeling things isn’t so terrible, is it? Let’s start with the internal characterization of Four.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I disliked him in Allegiant.  I thought he was whiney and feminine (not that there is anything wrong with being feminine, but I had previously found him very masculine and stoic), and he just wasn’t my jam, y’all.

(Although he was hot as hell.)

Shirtless Four Divergent

I’m totally objectifying him right now.

In retrospect, I think Roth softened him for our benefit.  Here we had this tough guy willing to fight battles for their freedom, but hey, the guy had feelings, too.  Roth’s depiction of him showcased his internal battles with himself and his own insecurities.  And boy did he have a lot of them.  Four was more than skin-deep and Allegiant showed us that through his own vulnerabilities. Tris’ suicide equally incited anger in me.  Here is this girl who was so selfless that she helped wage war against Erudite and ultimately sacrificed herself so her shitty brother could live.  (WHAT EVEN IS THAT, ROTH?!  WE DON’T LIKE CALEB!) But in hindsight, I think I get it now.  Tris’ death illustrates that selflessness and bravery are not independent of each other and to truly be selfless, you must also be brave; and to be brave, you must also be selfless.  Abnegation and Dauntless were twin factions wearing different hats.  Truly, Tris’ bravery throughout the series is a completely selfless act.  She didn’t help stage a revolution because she was Dauntless and she could; she did it because she was selfless and unflinching in her desire to see her world a better place. Tris in Divergent  

“You know what mom told me once? She said that everyone has some evil inside them, and the first step to loving anyone is to recognize the same evil in ourselves, so we’re able to forgive them.”

Even Caleb, traitor to Abnegation and his family, had a story to tell: that even the worst of people deserve to be forgiven and loved by their family. Looking back now, I feel like my review and anger over Allegiant was a little unfair.  If I re-read it now, I might find a lot of the same things still irritated me, like Roth’s inability to differentiate narrator point of view.  But I am more forgiving of the story now, because I can see the messages she was trying to send through her words and characters. In short, I forgive you, Allegiant and I’m sorry I thought you sucked so bad. Love, Jenn

Do you have any books you loved or hated and then later on hated or loved after some reflection?

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Jennifer is a bona fide book nerd. She thinks "bookworm" sounds gross and secretly gains pleasure at the pained looks her husband often shoots at her personal library. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.

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8 responses to “How Your Opinion of A Book Can Change Over Time, Exhibit A: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

  1. Distance totally helps sometimes. Depending on when I write my review, my rating can change. I’m not sure if that’s good or not but it IS true! My biggest issue with Allegiant was that Roth never explains HOW Tris survives as long as she does. No one, Divergents included, was supposed to be able to live through it. I just wish that it had been addressed more. I kind of doubt that Tris’s sheer will to live was more than anyone else. That no one else wanted to live as much as Tris. The POV was really bad. Especially in ebook form when you couldn’t easily flip back a few pages to see whose head you were in. 🙂
    Stephanie @ Once Uoon a Chapter’s latest thoughts >> The List by Siobhan Vivian *Stephanie’s Review*

    • Oh god yes, the POV was terrible. I read it on the iPad via Kindle app and it was difficult for me, too. And yes, Tris’ survival was peculiar, but admittedly I was angrier she killed her off LOL. Now I get it.\n\nThere are a lot of books from several years ago I 4- and 5-starred that I definitely wouldn’t now. But I guess that’s normal.

  2. I didn’t like the POV switching off, and I didn’t feel like she did a great job distinguishing between their two voices. Literally there were times I had to page back and check to see who was narrating a given chapter. As for the ending, I literally don’t think I’ll ever stop being pissed about that! I understand that it was fitting for Tris’ character, but that was part of what pissed me off so much. Like, she spent three books making sacrifices for other people, and then died.
    Erin’s latest thoughts >> November Goals

  3. Hmmm. I’m a grudge holder. Once a book has done that kinda thing to me it’s dead to me. DEAD!!!! lol I have one recently by a favorite author and man it made me so mad! Months later it still gets me all ticked off. ::snort:: I have had some where they were just middle of the road reads for me at one time but they ended up being favorite series even with slow starts and I do look at those a little softer but they weren’t ones I truly hated. You’re much nicer than me I think. lol
    anna (herding cats & burning soup)’s latest thoughts >> Quote-tastic/Review– Erm, drawers?!– 4 stars–The Exhibitionist by Tara Sue Me

  4. It’s been a year or more since I read Allegiant, and to be honest, the ending STILL pisses me of to no end. There’s a strong possibility that I may even boycott the final movie because it’s just going to make me angry and throw things and get kicked out of the theater anyway. I agree that distance can certainly affect how you feel about a book though. That’s why, when I write reviews, I wait a day or two after I’ve finished the book so I can chew on it and process before I post.
    Trisha’s latest thoughts >> Review Tour: Of Delicate Pieces by A. Lynden Rolland

  5. Lauren

    I must admit, I didn’t get why people were so upset about this. I hated Tris from the beginning because she is EPICALLY hypocritical, but I don’t always think the main character dying is such a bad thing. War is violent, it hurts everyone and it can often be totally senseless. Why should a KID die during a war? Because civilian casualties are often terribly high in war, especially modern warfare. It costs lives, cutting them off too soon. If you’re trying to show the costs of war, then people need to die. I fully expected that Harry would die fighting Voldemort, sure he’d WIN, but it would cost him his own life. Hunger Games also does a really good job at the realism, even if none of the main three die, they are forever f***ed up by what happened. So it felt entirely natural for a person who is fighting hard for something she believed in to die due to the depth of that belief. And that she believed in it so much to sacrifice herself for that cause. I also thought their relationship was done really well: two kids in their first relationship find that they meet obstacles when forced to choose between what they passionately believe in and their current partner. And as they grew up and were tested as individuals, it changed what they wanted from life and from their relationship and their two emerging senses of self clashed with each other. So anyway, I thought it worked really well. But, I went into the series knowing she was going to die and I actually ended up looking forward to it because I don’t like her. 😀

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