Friday, November 1, 2013
After the first two books, Divergent and Insurgent, author Veronica Roth had released several shorts that retold some of the story — not from the point of view of first-person protagonist 16-year-old Beatrice Prior (a.k.a. Tris) — from the point of view of her mentor and boyfriend Tobias Eaton (a.k.a. Four). The additions were well received, giving readers a deeper insight into someone who becomes a pivotal character. Some even considered it a breakthrough in digital publishing.
Allegiant takes a different tact all together. Unlike the first two books, it steals the trilogy away from Tris and shares the balance of the story with alternating the points of view between her and Four. Many readers weren't ready for such a split despite enjoying the additional stories.
Allegiant opens up into a bigger world beyond the confines of Chicago.
The idea of two perspectives, much like the third installment, primarily hinges on a glimpse of the world outside of the isolated, crumbling and dystopian city of Chicago. In every sense, Allegiant is an opportunity for primary characters to pull back the curtain — figuratively as it relates to how Four thinks and literally as it relates to the outside world.
Like any story, there is considerable risk in pulling back the curtain. The reveal isn't always what you hoped it would be, and this holds especially true for the third book in the trilogy. Rather than becoming expansive, the storytelling is surprisingly contracted in its voice, tone, and subject matter.
It is largely psychological in that it follows Tris as she chooses dauntless over abnegation, where she was born and raised. In the second book, Tris remains at the center of the action but Roth shifts to a bigger sociological story arch, one that challenges their way of life. In the third book, several characters exit the confines of Chicago in search of what lays beyond the wasteland.
In doing so, the storyline doesn't expand as expected but contracts into a morality tale akin to who watches the watchers and whether or not their sense of superiority is justified. At the same time, despite Roth attempting to help Tris continue and complete her transformation, she is stymied by having to share her story with Four.
While he is a beloved character by all counts, he never possessed the same potential for growth. And it is perhaps that more than anything else that makes the alternating points of view a bit more procedural than an effective mechanism to move the story forward, especially because theit voices are not distinct enough.
Veronica Roth reminds everyone she still is an emerging author.
She is not the first writer who was ready to move up from out of the confines of a trilogy or serial. Most of them, however, aren't so anxious that they would attempt a course correction in the final third. In this case, it detracts from the trilogy as a whole. And yet, Allegiant is a necessary evil to finish it.
Allegiant By Veronica Roth Settles To End At 4.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
The book still has its high points, especially as it relates to the dehumanization of people for one excuse or another. Much like it happened inside the city, it is happening outside of the city too. And it is in this setting that several characters people thought they knew have an opportunity to evolve.
Allegiant (Divergent trilogy) by Veronica Roth is available on Amazon. You can also order the series from Barnes & Noble (which includes exclusive content) or download it for iBooks. The audiobook is available on iTunes. Joining narrator Emma Galvin is Aaron Standford, who reads every chapter told from Four's point of view.
The first film adaption of the Divergent trilogy has released a trailer that suggests the film could go either way. Other stories include The Transfer and Free Four. Roth has released other stories from that universe too.