Wednesday, January 22, 2014



WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! If you have not read or finished reading this book, come back when you have finished it. Unless you like spoilers, then be my guest. 

There has been a lot of hullabaloo about how Veronica Roth decided to finish this trilogy, and I have to admit it took some guts. I was shocked, at first, and I thought "No way. There's absolutely no way she has me all rooting for Tris and seeing how badass a character she was only just to kill her. This has to be a joke." No joke. 

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realize how fitting it was. And just how beautiful and poetic Tris' death was. It had to happen. I won't go into detail about all that. I can't spoil everything. But just pay attention or think about how Roth spins it at the end. It would actually be out of character for Tris to survive their final attack. She'd been looking for a way to prove herself and to make an impact in the world since Page 1.  As Tobias says "I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last." 

Throughout this whole trilogy I was skeptical and iffy about Roth. Her writing just feels so stifling at times. Maybe that's not the right word. Perhaps more along the lines of stilted, held back, limited. But now I see the beauty in it. And maybe she was doing that on purpose to make the reader feel just as stilted, limited, and held back as her characters felt in their factions. You can witness her beautiful prose when Tobias and Tris are together. I looked forward to those moments as much as Tris did because, not only is Tobias a sweet hunk of man, that was where the writing flowed and felt comfortable. Now I know it was all done on purpose. At least I would like to think so. Roth managed to use her writing style to evoke emotion which shows true talent and a sharp mind behind the words. At face value, her writing may not stand up to her peers, but she has won me over. Despite her dirty rotten trick at the end. 

Since I'm on the subject of Tris and Tobias, that's actually what I would prefer to focus on for the rest of this review. I actually had no intention of mentioning Tris dying because I hate spoilers, but I felt like I should pay homage to Roth's badass decision that I'm sure was even more devastating to her. As a writer also, I can't imagine killing off the main character in my book. 

Tris and Tobias have a tumultuous relationship. I'd get annoyed with them fighting all the time and Tris always getting mad that Tobias didn't trust or believe her. Then she'd run off and do something stupid so I'd side with Tobias because, girl, ya nearly got everyone killed. I've said it before, though, I love that Roth did not inject a stupid love triangle. I loved that it was Tobias and Tris out to save the world together. 

Allegiant has some beautiful quotes about love and life. I found the simple and realistic view that Tris had was quite powerful. Mind you, I hated Tris in book one. She was immature and seemed to make decisions because it fit the plot. I just didn't understand her. But by the end of the book and the scene where she sacrifices herself for her friends and the future, you see just how much she has grown and changed. I had to sit and stew with this for awhile because when I first closed the book when I was finally done, I wanted to throw the book. 

Enough of that. I said I wouldn't talk about that anymore. Back to the love thing.

One of my favorite quotes is one that I will probably always remember because it is just so perfect. Here this is Tris talking after she and Tobias have made up after yet another fight:

I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that's true of beginnings, but it's not true of this, now.

I fell in love with him. But I don't stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me (372). 

The whole trilogy is about choices. Choices define you. Choices transform you. Choices destroy you. I think Tris' love with Tobias was her saving grace. That she found that love was the choice that defined her, not a faction or anything anybody said she was. 

I'm falling more in love with this trilogy the more I write about it and think about it. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I haven't been able to look it up, but I'm pretty sure my review of Divergent was pretty scathing. The first book in the trilogy was, in my mind, stunted by a leading character who was not reliable and made decisions that just seemed to move the story forward rather than what she would do to fit her. I'll admit, I did not have any desire to finish the series, but I saw a preview for the movie and was surprised how enticing it looked. The movie looked better than I had remembered the book ever being. So I decided to give it another try and read the second book.

Insurgent was a step up. Roth's writing is getting better and better. I really loved the moments between Tris and Tobias. They seemed to be when Roth's writing really sung and flowed smoothly.

This book was entertaining. The storyline is pretty believable. I don't think Jeanine is a really threatening antagonist despite Roth's attempts to paint her as a monster. She's just not seen enough for me to really get a grasp of why she does what she does.

One of the more thrilling scenes that I remember is when one of the characters, under the influence of a simulation serum, jumps to her death off a building. This is a showing point to me and, even though it was an awful scene because of what happened, it showed Tris as a heroine. I was finally able to trust her as the protagonist. Too bad Tobias and others still can't trust her after that.

That being said, the cycle gets tired. Tobias and Tris seem to constantly battle each other. She seems to be constantly trying to prove herself to this guy that supposedly loves her. There are times I just want to smack both of them upside the heads for being so stubborn. I understand stubbornness is a quality that is desired in protagonists these days, especially in YA literature, but so is humility. There needs to be a point when one of them gives in and realizes that they were wrong. I'm still waiting for that moment to come for one of these characters.

So many times in YA literature there is a love triangle. That story gets old. And for some reason it's usually two gorgeous guys with some sort of magical ability who are inexplicably drawn to a very normal, average teenage girl. I have called this the Twilight Syndrome in posts before. If nothing else, the Divergent series steers clear of the Twilight Syndrome. It is a breath of fresh air that the main character only has one love interest. Honestly that's more true to life. I don't know about you, but I've never been in a love triangle. Maybe I just lead a sheltered life.

I highly recommend this series to young adults. However, be warned, it is pretty dark. Characters die off quickly. If that's not your cup of tea and you get attached to side characters quickly, you may want to stay away from this dystopian thriller, but I think you'll be missing out on an entertaining and imaginative read.