This is a difficult book to review. There's quality in here, but its swirled around with a whole mess of not so much. From this series' inception, credibility and realism were never its strong points. [b:Insurgent
Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
15524542] made an attempt to deepen the scientific background of the setting and failed miserably, and this I imagine must be the reason for Allegiant being utterly balls to the wall. This plot is completely bananas.Genetic damage! Serums! Memory resets! Purity war! dramatic flourish Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Sweetheart, I can see his shoes. The premise of Allegiant is incredibly flimsy, partially because it's an entirely separate conflict from the first two books in the series. [b:Divergent
Divergent (Divergent, #1)
13155899] and Insurgent concerned themselves with the politics and skirmishes within the walls of an isolated futuristic Chicago, where everyone is indoctrinated into a faction system that tells them they have only one dominant personality trait that should direct the rest of their lives. In Allegiant, we find out that that this city is not the last stand of mankind, but a tiny fishbowl in a toxic ocean. Tris and her friends get drawn into the conflict of this larger world, and find they have to fix its problems as well as save their city. It's a lot, and it doesn't all come together. To be honest, I kind of lost the thread for a while, which is why I'm not being super detailed about what went down. Because frankly, I'm not entirely sure.It would have helped if I didn't feel like snorting in derision everytime someone said “genetically damaged” or “genetically pure.” I recognize that there's a propagandist element to this, but anyone with a basic understanding of genetics can tell you that there is no such thing as a genetically pure person, and if you're genetically damaged that implies your DNA is mutating and coming apart and you're looking forward to a horrible death. Veronica, I hate doing research too, but you're getting paid for this, sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet. And these serums. I was ok with the simulation serums - hallucinogenics are not new things, and so technology that caused people to have specific hallucinations does not seem that far-fetched - but this memory serum shit that they're just going to throw in the air and then give everyone new identities? Do you know how much manpower that would take to rehabilitate an entire population after wiping everyone of their memories? And that's only assuming it will successfully rid everyone of their desire to revolt and kill each other (because that worked so well in Dollhouse). And now a bunch of kids who have barely handled this stuff in their lives, have only a vague conception of the technology and how it works, are going to do it to a compound full of government officials? sputters incoherentlyI am on Tris' team typically through and through, and it was incredibly refreshing to get back into her head. But when she started talking about stripping the Bureau of their memories so that they would not do the same to the people of Chicago, I was kind of like wuzzuh? Tris is, at best, a functionally moral person, meaning she only whips out the “right and wrong” card when it best suits her and her own. I'm cool with this, but that kind of implies that she would be somewhat alright with Chicago getting reset if it meant that everyone in the city didn't kill eachother? Everyone she cares about is either dead or out of the city, after all. But instead, she decides that its wrong to take away people's identities, so to stop it she's going to...take away people's identities. Is this really happening?And I kind of feel like this is something that could have been talked out. After all, Tobias managed to talk his mother down. If perhaps, he had gone to the Bureau's authorities and said, “Hey, I think we can fix this, just get me in the city,” couldn't have all these shenanigans have been avoided? But then of course, they wouldn't have gotten the chance to rid people of their programming that there are genetically damaged and genetically pure people. Best thing to do with shitty plot points - act like they were never there.All that aside, and that is a lot, what made the original story interesting to me is still there. Tris is still there, even though clearly she takes a strange turn. Her relationship with Tobias expands and actually felt credible and loving to me. Tobias I never found that interesting, but the chapters from his perspective were surprisingly illuminating. He's a very different person from Tris, and very different from how most people think of him. He's far more insecure and emotionally unstable, and his need for validation feeds one of the complications of the plot. Interestingly, this book isn't about them being together - it's about how they support each other so that they both can go on their separate journeys. Tobias has to reconcile his feelings with his parents, and Tris with her brother Caleb. Both have compelling dynamics with their families, but for me the resolution of Tobias and Evelyn's relationship is what really got to me. “Let them have the city and everything in it,” is quite possibly one of the most beautiful lines I've read all year.And then there's the big thing, the thing that everyone is flipping out over and the reason why I decided to read this book now rather than later (I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and avoid getting spoiled, but I got spoiled anyway). Tris dies. Considering that her character becomes so solidified by this book, her death works. Unlike Tobias who is still struggling with who is, Tris is a fortress. Narratively speaking, her character did not have much further to go. That said, there was potential that I was still curious about. I wanted to know why she was abnormally immune to the serums, and I wanted to see how her natural magnetism progress into a leadership role. I also don't like when a female character's narrative gets superceded by her male counterpart's. Also, the death scene was cheesy as hell, I don't blame Roth for wanting to incorporate a spiritual element, but really?This book is not two stars because it's mediocre overall, it's got really good and really bad squished together in a really confusing way, though probably more bad than good. Being that the best elements of this story were characters and definitely not world building, I wonder if Roth's strengths lie outside of science fiction and fantasy. I'll be interested to see what she does next, and considering the massive success of this series, she can probably do whatever the hell she wants.