Friday, March 21, 2014

Teen/YA Review: Insurgent and Allegiant

Over the past two months, I listened to both Insurgent (book 2) and Allegiant (book 3), the sequels to Veronica Roth’s hot post-apocalyptic/dystopian trilogy that began with Divergent.  If you have somehow missed this popular trilogy (been living in a cave maybe?), then you should go back and read the review of Divergent (no spoilers there or in this review) and start there.

As Insurgent opens, Tris and her friends are still reeling from the violence and loss that ended book one.  The city of Chicago erupted into chaos as conflict arose between the five different factions. Now it seems that war is the only possible outcome. Tris and each of her friends must decide where their loyalty stands and which ideology and leader they each agree with.

This follow-up novel is all about conflicts and choices. Many secrets emerge that were not obvious in the seemingly peaceful world at the beginning of Divergent. As more and more secrets are revealed, Tris must make more choices – about who to believe, who to follow, and what is right. Making matters worse, she is haunted by both grief and guilt throughout this second novel, from events that occurred in book one. Through it all, with Tobias by her side, she must also consider what it means to be divergent.

In the final book of the trilogy, Allegiant, the action moves beyond the city’s boundaries, as Tris and her companions venture outside the fence to learn more about their society.  In this book, the chapters alternate between Tris and Tobias, so for the first time, we get a glimpse into Tobias’ perspective. Conflict continues in Chicago between those who believe in the faction-approach they know and those who believe in a factionless society, as an all-out war seems inevitable. Outside of the fence, Tris and the others learn a lot of surprising truths about their own family histories, the rest of the world, and how the faction-divided society began. The question is, what is its future?

Although I enjoyed Divergent and Insurgent, Allegiant was by far my favorite book of the series. The first two books were a bit too violent for my taste, without any real explanation of how this unusual society came to be. That explanation is finally revealed in book three, which made it far more interesting for me. My favorite aspect of dystopian novels is seeing how the author takes elements of our own society and shows how those were taken to an extreme to end up with the dystopian society. I like the thoughtfulness and thought-provoking nature of that kind of story, which I finally got in Allegiant. For me, that brought the series up closer to the level of The Hunger Games trilogy or the Unwind series.

All in all, I am glad I stuck with it and read/listened to the entire trilogy. The audio books were all very well done, with talented voice actors (including two different narrators for Tris and Tobias in the final book). I tried listening to Insurgent on audio with my family last summer, but my son and husband both lost interest because it had been too long since we’d all read Divergent. And that’s an important point with this series: because of the number of characters and the complicated plot, it is best to read each book immediately after the previous one. It’s far more enjoyable that way, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time going back and asking, “Wait a minute, who was that?” I am glad I finally had a chance to listen to the entire series…and now my husband has been inspired to go back and listen to it all, too. The movie adaptation of Divergent opens today – I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for linking up with the #smallvictoriessunday linky. I need to read the Divergent series. It reminds me of Hunger Games ( I did read). I need to read it before I see the movie (one of my personal rules). Books are always better.