Rummanah Aasi
  I had a very lukewarm reaction to Divergent. For me to enjoy a dystopian novel, I need a book with a strong world-building. I need to be convinced that there is something indeed wrong with the society in order to understand the main character's plights and motivations. The world building, in my opinion, gives the book not only structure but a foundation to a good story. For me the Divergent series has lacked this essential ingredient and it has tried unsuccessfully to incorporate it into the story. What had the potential to be a really good story turned to out to be mediocre at best.

Description: Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Review: Insurgent has a very strong case of middle book syndrome despite a great opening left by the cliffhanger of DivergentRocked by the recent simulation war, the five factions engage in increasingly dangerous power plays to pick up the pieces. Instead of filling in some back stories of the characters and the world as I had hoped, Roth fills her 500 pages book with plot that is filled with lots of twists and turns that is suppose to make your heart pump. Unfortunately the plot doesn't move very much nor very quickly as we try to make some sense of who is really pulling the strings in this faction world. I found a lot of the plot twists to be too predictable and I couldn't keep track of all the characters that are virtually exactly alike come and go in this volume. I still can't muster up any emotions for any of these characters including the central characters and couple, Tris and Tobias.
  The relationship between Tris and Tobias was fun to watch as they began to trust one another and grow as a couple in Divergent. In Insurgent the couple has mutated into a bizarre parent-child relationship where one patronizes the other by giving them rules to follow while the other stamps their feet as a petulant child in resistance. Tris's reckless behavior and cry-wolf type of self sacrifice takes out the importance of her role in whatever she is suppose to do in this 'mysterious' world Roth has created. There is a decent commentary about grief and forgiveness, but that quickly veered into preachy mode and eventually tumbled into whine mode a la "I don't want to do this anymore. Wah!" The only thing that kept me from chucking this book across the room was a slither of hope that explanations will come in the final installment as we learn little clues about the outside, but then again I could have just skipped the entire 450 pages of this book and went straight to the ending in order to save time and avoid my frustration.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: The violence in Insurgent is much stronger and there is a large body count and there are some heavy make-out scenes featuring Tris and Tobias. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.


Description: 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.

Review: I really hoped Allegiant would redeem itself after a flimsy middle book, but alas it continues the downward spiral of Insurgent. Though we do finally get answers to why Tris's world is separated into factions, the reasons behind Roth's post-apocalyptic world is a half baked concept of racism that is based on a highly oversimplified examination of human personality and genes. Instead of spending time to explain what it means to have 'pure' genes versus 'defected' genes, we are once again plunged into a boring and rehash plot of Insurgent where Tris and the gang run from one megalomaniac trying to rule the world to another. The grand revealing of the outside was completely anti-climatic and the fact that the setting was post-apocalyptic Chicago was completely irrelevant.
  Once again we are introduced to a new large cast of transient characters that had virtually no impact on the story besides moving a limping plot along, which is completely unlike the pace of Roth's earlier installments that move almost lightening fast. In fact there were many times I had to put the book down because I got so bored and I gave up hope in trying to come to terms with the huge plot holes and the scientific nonsense.
  Tris becomes a bit more tolerable in this one after she let all her angst out in Insurgent, but her recklessness is what mars her reputation as a strong heroine for me. Must she always be right and the only one undergoing dangerous situations? Tobias, in contrast, is stuck on "woe is me" island and though I understand he has been scarred by his rough life, but can we get past that when the end of the world is here? Tris and Tobias have rocky moments in Allegiant, more of the patronizing type though there are a few sweet moments.
  I know there has been many heated discussions about the ending of Allegiant, but for me I saw it coming a long time ago. It was the neon-flashing-in cap letters obvious especially with a lot of the red herrings featured both in Divergent and Insurgent. I can see what type of book that Allegiant was suppose to be-one full of emotion and intensity, but regrettably it completely missed the mark. If this series was not popular with the teens that I work with, I would have definitely taken a pass on this series, but I wanted to make sure that that I knew about the series in order to help them with reader advisory questions.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong violence, an ambiguous scene of sensuality, and some language. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like these book try: Candor by Pam Bachorz, Maze Runner series by James Dashner
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I'm so sad about this series Rummanah. I read the first book and really enjoyed it, and was waiting to read Insurgent until Allegiant came out, and then of course I made someone tell me how Allegiant ended and I won't be finishing the series. It's interesting that you saw it coming, I definitely wouldn't have guessed it in book one, but maybe if I'd read book two it would have been more apparent. I just can't deal with what happens, I need those beautiful happy endings when I read!!! I can't help it. Sorry these were both disappointments for you, I'm definitely curious to see what she writes next though!


  2. I don't know how this ends. I have so far avoided the spoilers. I loved Divergent,but I so agree with your review of Insurgent. It was a flimsy middle book and I hated Tris and Four. I need to know how it ends so I am going to slog through the final book.


  3. Candace Says:

    I haven't read Allegiant and want to go in with no idea so I didn't read your review of it. The 2 stars is disappointing, but since you didn't care for the other two it's not such a surprise I suppose. I really liked Divergent and Insurgent, but I really need to brush up on them. I know that sometimes it's all about mood for me. And things that might not be perfect just don't impact my enjoyability. I guess we'll see how I feel about Allegiant. Still sad you didn't love them, but impressed you stuck with the series!


  4. Goodness, like you, I found Tris absolutely intolerable in Insurgent. I just can't stand characters like her, and the fact that the book is esentially plotless didn't help matters at all. I decided not to waste my time with Allegiant, and after reading your review, I'm glad to have the confirmation that I was right.


  5. I liked these books more than you but thought Insurgent and especially Allegiant were flawed. I loved the ending of Allegiant, although like you, I wasn't super shocked. Still, the ending made up for the rest of it. I'll have my review up on Tuesday.


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