Audiobook Review: Allegiant

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: AllegiantAllegiant by Veronica Roth
Narrator: Aaron Stanford, Emma Galvin
Length: 11 hrs, 55 mins
Series: Divergent #3
Published by Harper Audio on October 22, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
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two-stars

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

My feelings towards Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy are well known by my friends and compatriots. I’ve been pretty vocal about how over-hyped the series is, largely due to the fact that the hype convinced me to cough up the money for a hardcover of the first book and I didn’t like it at all. This does not make Christina happy. I had, actually, no intention of finishing off the series at all, until the reactions of the fandom upon the book’s release. The spoiler that so infuriated the series’ most ardent fans made me curious. Add to this curiosity an unsolicited review copy of the audiobook and clearly the universe meant for me to finish the trilogy. So I did.

And, honestly, much to the surprise of myself and most of the people I know, I actually think Allegiant is, largely, much improved from the other books. Don’t get me wrong; the book still suffers from a lot of intrinsic problems, but a number of the most frustrating elements have been nullified. While this series still isn’t really my thing, I am coming out of the series with much less anger than I felt after the other two, so I’m going to mark that down as a win. Whether you enjoy Allegiant or not will depend on a number of factors, which come down to what attracted you to the book in the first place and whether you care about world building.

In my Insurgent review, I went into some of my issues both with world building and writing. Neither of those things has improved, and, in fact, I do believe both got worse. Of course, the world building has been bad from the start of the first book, so, if you were cool with it then, I don’t see how this book would be any sort of insuperable barrier. Either the illogical nature of the book will enrage you or it won’t. The short version is that genes simply do not work this way. I pretty much laughed through all of it, and I’m sure someone on the internet has written something about why the science is omg faulty, but I have neither the energy or training to do that justice, so I won’t even try.

As far as the writing worsening, I really only have hearsay to go on. From my point of view, the quality was consistent: simple sentences, clumsy wording, and overuse of the dialogue tag “says.” However, based on what I’ve heard from those who read the print, Tris and Four’s narratives read exactly the same. Personally, the narratives were quite disparate for me, since I listened to the audio and there was a narrator for each. Thus, I recommend that, if you want to read this series, it’s much better on audio, which can hide some of the writing issues.

Now, moving into the things that made Allegiant better. For one thing, and this is pretty important, TRIS FINALLY ACTS LIKE SHE’S DIVERGENT. For the first two books, everyone keeps talking about how special Tris is because she’s Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation, but, really, she acts like none of those things. The closest she gets is Dauntless, by the skewed definition of “does stupid, dangerous things for fun” rather than brave. In Allegiant, she displays intelligence, commits a selfless act, and shows bravery. This is the first time that I have seen signs of these things from her. When Four’s whining and moping about the fact that he’s not divergent and thus genetically damaged (seriously, dude, this is bullshit. staaaahp), Tris is totally logical and tells him to chill because he’s the same person he always was. TRIS, YOU ARE SO RIGHT. I cannot believe I just said that.

The way the romance is handled also has improved a lot from Insurgent. In that book, Tris and Four were in a continual cycle of lying to one another, finding out the lie, getting angry and hypocritical, agreeing to be honest with one another, and then lying again. With Allegiant, they actually DO break that cycle. Four lies to “protect” her briefly, but then realizes it’s bullshit and they really do start trusting one another. There’s also a comment, from Tris I think, about how she is curious to know whether they would be such a good couple in the quiet moments. I liked that, because it shows an awareness that, though they’re really into each other now, it might not transition to a real life romance later on. It seems like they were a bit more self-aware in Allegiant and had actually grown up some.

Also, I really respect the way Roth ended things, again disregarding the wtf-ery of the world building. The spoiler View Spoiler » is actually pretty well done. I thought it was pretty powerful and surprisingly emotionally resonant considering that I hated that character all along. There’s a complexity of character acknowledged here at the end that heretofore was not shown, due to the absurdly simplified construct of human nature required by the world Roth established. I particularly enjoyed View Spoiler »

Allegiant didn’t fix the series for me, because I’ll never be able to look past the world building, but I did come out of it with more respect for Roth. She took a big chance with the series’ ending, and, for my part, I think it paid off. I’d like to see more YA authors risking such unpopular decisions, though with the wave of negative feedback Roth got, I’m not sure if that will be happening. I liked Allegiant more than I thought I would, so, if you like the series and like when plot takes the front seat to romance, you’ll probably really enjoy it.

Tl;dr – Book in a GIFfy:

But I'm still kinda glad I finished the series. So yeah.

But I’m still kinda glad I finished the series. So yeah.

15 responses to “Audiobook Review: Allegiant”

  1. I don’t plan to read Allegiant, but I did take a sneek peak of the “CONTROVERSIAL” twist that happened, and I have to applaud her for actually making such a bold move (I AM LOOKING AT YOU BETH REVIS). Not that I promote killing characters off, but more often than not, doing so leaves a more lasting impression. it’s just sad that a lot fo world-building still wasn’t fleshed out, and I heard the book kind of jumped to another issue re: genetics lol. Oh, well 😀 GREAT REVIEW AS ALWAYS!!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Review and Giveaway (PH only): Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnisMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I was spoiled for the twist on the first day, and, after reading it, I’m actually an even bigger fan of the fact that she was so ballsy. She got a lot of flak for it, but I think that’s by far the strongest part of the series.

      I AM STILL MAD AT BETH REVIS ABOUT THAT. I actually do promote killing characters off, or at least not PRETENDING to kill them off. I think it adds authenticity, particularly to dark stories, like dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels.

      Oh my god, the world building. I die laughing. I almost wish I was good enough at science to lay the smackdown on this book. And, yes, genetically, being smart makes you cruel. FACT. That does explain me, I guess. It’s not my fault I’m a bitch; it’s my genetics. #scienced

  2. Angie F. says:

    World building was my biggest issue with the first book, since it made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I did hope that the following books would maybe make more sense, but clearly not. But I am super curious about this ending! I had no intention of reading Insurgent or Allegiant, but I think my curiosity is eventually going to be the best of me.
    Angie F. recently posted…Review: The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1) by J.A. RedmerskiMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      World building, which I’m not even the most particular about, has plagued me through the whole series. That and the writing. It never makes any sense. I think it was just a cool idea so Roth ran with it, even though it doesn’t work, at least for futuristic America. Curiosity killed the reader.

  3. Gillian says:

    I AGREEEEEEEEEEEE. Agree that it’s better, agree that the science and worldbuilding and reasons are stupid, I agree that I like Tris’ a heck of a lot more and her romance with Four, and I appreciate the ending, too.
    Gillian recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving, or the One With the Turkey on Monica’s HeadMy Profile

  4. Nafiza says:

    I’m pretty much of the same opinion as yours though I did not read the second or the third. I also like that Tris’s death is more meaningful than gratuitous. I still won’t read the rest of the series but I enjoyed reading the review!
    Nafiza recently posted…2014 Children’s Literature Graduate Research Conference: An InvitationMy Profile

  5. The closest she gets is Dauntless, by the skewed definition of “does stupid, dangerous things for fun” rather than brave.

    Yes! This was one of my biggest problems with the first book.

    I thought Four was divergent? I swear I remember reading that? Oops!

    The one thing I really want to know is whether the third book tells us who is driving those damn trains!
    Stephanie Parent recently posted…Book Review: Miss World by Randi BlackMy Profile

  6. This review has renewed my interest in finishing the series. After I accidentally read the spoiler when the book first came out (which: RAGEsdlkjfksdfksd, because who doesn’t mark spoilers like that?) I had no interest in finishing it. Not because I was mad or anything, but because I felt like I knew where it was going and the series as a whole was kind of so-so.

    Now though, the improvements you noticed make me want to give it another shot. The big problems I had with Insurgent had a lot to do with the relationship between Tris and Four. I hated their lack of respect and honesty for one another. The fact that the characters are now showing self-awareness kind of excites me, because in action-filled books like these, that’s a rarity.
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  7. Meg says:

    There are so many books I’ve read just to be able to participate in the conversation and reluctant curiosity based on fan reactions (everything Cassandra Clare ever wrote jumps to mind)

    The writing style doesn’t bother me as much (dialogue tags aside.) I can confirm that Tris and Four’s voices are indistinguishable in print. V Roth has said she sees him as more emotional, which is pretty much how I figured out whose chapter it was. Are they whining? Ah, probably Four then. He was the worst with his ‘who am I if not divergent?’ thing. I thought his whole point was that he didn’t want to be defined by societal labels. Divergent is just another label, let it go. Be who you are. Ugh, I’m getting irritated just thinking about it.

    I agree with everything you said about how their relationship has matured and the awareness Tris showed when thinking about it. It was so nice to see YA take a step back and look at a relationship realistically beyond all the initial rush and epicness. Same with your thoughts on the ending.

    Sidebar: So jealous that you’re reading Dangerous Girls. That’s number one on my books to buy ASAP list.
    Meg recently posted…Cuddlebuggery Reading Time: These Broken StarsMy Profile

  8. Lyn Kaye says:

    DAMMIT! I’m going to have to read this stupid book! I was PISSED after reading the second book in the series. I have next to no love for Tris. In fact, I never warmed up to anyone in the series (Four? GAG). But now I am just dying to know what is causing the fanbase to froth.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #67My Profile

  9. Kayla Beck says:

    You are made of so much more meat than me to be able to suffer through this series. I applaud you and thank you so I would not let the curiosity of it all get the better of me and finish it. Not that I really finish series anyways…
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Blog Tour (Guest Post & Giveaway): The Master’s Book by Philip ColemanMy Profile

  10. I’m one of those people who actually wasn’t bothered by the worldbuilding at first. When the story took place solely in Chicago, I was able to mostly ignore the gaping problems with worldbuilding. But when the story’s plot started to take place outside of Chicago in Allegiant, I found I was much less satisfied with Roth’s unsuccessful attempts to construct her world.
    I agree that Tris did seem much more Divergent in this installment, which was nice.
    I liked the first two books. Sure they had tons of inconsistencies, but they were fun. Allegiant was darker and Roth tried to push certain more serious concepts (like the genetic thing) which just were so poorly explained.
    Glad to hear that you were able to find a few redeeming qualities in this book, though, that made the experience of reading the first two more worth it for you, Christina!
    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted…Top Ten 2014 Releases I’m Dying To ReadMy Profile

  11. Nori says:

    So, I agree with you on this!

    I did not go online for a day, and then read this pretty much upon a receiving it, to avoid spoilers.

    I was okay with the blurry world-building. Sometimes I think YA dystopias spend too much time on this. I agree with you on the rather abrupt/not so amazing writing style, but for me, the plot and action were so good, that I was always able to side-step it.

    On the other hand, I kind of hated Insurgent, and if it were up to me, I’d add the last few chapters of that book on to the end of the first book and make the whole thing a two book series…

    But, I didn’t just tolerate or accept the ending to Allegiant. I pretty much loved it. Like you, I thought it actually fit with the divergent main character. It also made me like Tris a little bit more. And frankly, if anything was wrong with the ending, it was that Four was too stupid to realize what would happen. With no spoilers for me at all, I realized what would happen way before any of the characters did. Because I really think it was the right ending for what fit for Tris and her being divergent.

    And like you, I’m now afraid more authors won’t be brave enough to do what they think is right/fitting for their book/trilogy endings because of the negative response to this one. And I keep reading how people didn’t see this coming and how the ending didn’t fit with the story at all, and I just don’t get where that is coming from. People seem to think Roth wrote the ending as a statement, but I honestly don’t believe she did. I think she wrote what she thought was the right ending to her story.
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  12. […] without plagiarizing Christina @ Reader of Fictions who put things about the romance in ALLEGIANT so well in her review so you may as well go and read that (It’s a… uh…very different view of the […]

  13. Jessie says:

    Interesting review. There are a number of things I agree with and other things I don’t disagree with. Roth’s writing is…weak, but I did enjoy the first two books. I thought the world was interesting and Tris was decent – though her mom seemed to be the most interesting and she was killed off after very little page time. Either way, Alliegiant just didn’t make sense to me. There were so many world holes in the first two books that made you think she would close them up in the final book and she didn’t. She tried but did a horrible job and it didn’t make sense. It also seemed lamed to kill Tris because the girl survived all these other completely absurd encounters no one should survive yet she is killed by a bullet. Lame. I also thought it was weak that Roth took away Calbet’s chance for redemption. He finally had a chance not to be total douche and she took it away. This is not to mention the other major issues with the book (such as the numerous serums that made sense).

    Thanks for the interesting review.
    Jessie recently posted…Book Review: Lips Touch Three TimesMy Profile

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