BOOK REVIEW: Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA, Dystopian future
Allegiant is the third book in the Divergent trilogy. I have actually read the first two books of the trilogy (Divergent and Insurgent, if you were wondering) and I thought I had posted reviews on them, only to discover upon inspection of my archives that I did not. The silver lining to this cloud is that I’m going to attempt to give you guys a review for a trilogy rather than just the separate books. I’ve never done this before, so bear with me, but I think this a great trilogy to give it a try for.
By now you’ve probably seen the ads for the Divergent movie that is coming out later this month, and you may have realized that it’s based on a book series. If you haven’t read the series yet, I highly recommend that you do so before you go see the movie. Always, always, always, read the book before you watch the movie. Unless you’d prefer to just not know when something in the movie is inevitably screwed up from how it happened in the book. Given the frustration that knowledge brings to bibliophiles everywhere (myself included) it suddenly occurs to me that I might be doing it wrong… whatever. Just read the book.
Anyways. The series begins with Divergent and we are introduced to another dystopian society–similar to other popular books like The Hunger Games, in that a historic war led to a huge change in how society functioned. The resemblance ends there, however, as we are introduced to a society where people are split up into four factions–each with a different function in society. The story specifically focuses on Beatrice Prior, who finds out at her choosing ceremony that she doesn’t fit into any one of the four factions. She is something unusual, different, and widely considered dangerous. She is Divergent. The main focus of Divergent is showing us how she manages to fit herself into the system of factions.
Insurgent continues to follow Beatrice (now going by Tris) as she works within the crumbling society of factions. War is about to break out between the factions, and she will need to fully embrace her Divergence to survive.
Allegiant is the last book in the trilogy. The society of factions has been completely broken up at this point, leaving chaos and turmoil in it’s wake. We begin to discover more about how the society came into existence, and the truth shakes Tris to her core. This book is told from two perspectives–Tris’ as well as her love interest, Tobias.
So there’s my brief overview–I didn’t want to go too in depth, because since it’s a trilogy, too much info about the second and third books, could end up being spoilers for whichever book is preceding.
Overall, I was really impressed with how this trilogy worked altogether. Each book adds a new element to the story, and provides some new enlightenment. It felt very organized and well-planned. With the Hunger Games trilogy, I ended up disappointed with the last book especially because it felt horribly rushed–like the author was just trying to tie up loose ends in a hurry and get on with it. Everything in this series seemed intentional. Well-oiled gears of a machine, providing forward impetus to the conclusion.
I thought the conclusion in Allegiant was stunning, especially for a YA series. Initially, it shocked me, but the more I thought about it, the better I liked it. It was really the only solution that could have brought the series to such a dramatic conclusion. Sure, there are other ways Roth could have ended it, but I think any other way would have made the series a lot weaker. So even though it seriously goes against my penchant for happy endings, I’m afraid I have to admit that I liked the ending.
Thing #2 that makes this series awesome: No love triangles between main characters!
I cannot even tell you how much I hate love triangles. Especially teenage love triangles. Especially in popular fiction like this. Seriously–the love triangle is the most overused drama engine ever. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. There is a romance in this series, but I am SO glad Roth seems to be one of the few YA writers left who realizes that a normal relationship has quite enough opportunity for drama, without adding in another whole person.
If you’re a parent, concerned about the level of romance your teen or preteen will be exposed to in reading this series, there is a fair amount of kissing/relationship tension in the first two books, but it is all pretty YA friendly. In the last book, the romance ramps up a bit and it is eventually implied that they have sex. Again, not really graphic, but the implication is certainly there, and if my kids were preteen or young teenagers wanting to read this, we would be having a discussion about it.
That was definitely the most irritating thing about the series for me, especially as a parent. There is no need to add sex into a YA book. Period. If it’s not “age appropriate” in the movies, why on earth would it be okay to put it in a YA book that any preteen or teenager would want to read? I won’t go into that rant here, but seriously… ugh!
Aside from that, I really enjoyed this series, and recommend you read it. I’m reeeeeeally hoping to make it to see the movie before I have this baby, but who knows if that will happen or not. Life of a parent 🙂
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars