Allegiant is the 3rd (and final) book in a young adult dystopian series now making it's way into the cinema. I started reading the first book (Divergant) because I was able to pick it up at a publishers warehouse for $8. It took me a while to get into because the gaps in the world building and the stiltedness of the writing made it hard for me to lose myself, but by the end I was intrigued with where the story was going and the themes that were being raised, enough for me to buy the second book and put up with the haphazard writing style. It was just like reading a little online fan fic or something. I have since given both books away and was not willing to purchase the 3rd (I love library ebooks).
I won't sport with your time by giving you a plot summary - just read the back of the book. What I will do is give you my opinions. I will start with the negative..
What I have a big problem with is writing that enflames the passions of teenagers who already have enough pressure on their hormones. It's irresponsible role modeling that is unkind and unhelpful to kids and young adults who are trying to stay in control of a body that most of the time feels like it's working against them. It encourages stepping over that line, letting your hormones take over past the point of control where anything can happen. Even if a person spouted the idea that teenaged sex is okay when exercised responsibly - this book doesn't talk to kids from an ethical or logical viewpoint. It engages their hormones. I think it is realistic to expect that some of the scenes of this book could be in young girls minds as they meet up with their boyfriends and search for dark secluded corners. It could lead to big regrets. But this has nothing to do with the writing itself...
If possible, it's even worse than before. There is a quality to the writing that is both mundane and overly perfect. I know it seems like a contradiction but this is what I mean: the plot and interactions aren't written in an interesting style (I would say stilted and bland are two good descriptive words), instead the style is specific to moving the points of the plot along. Things are said like, "I can explain the rest of the details later." It's not a real thing people say, it's just too much to write down in any other way. The characters say the 'perfect' thing, which many writers do but they hide it in such a way as the reader isn't aware of it. It smacks of amaturism to me, rather than a published book.
I also feel like logical reactions in the characters are replaced and sculpted to the plot which leaves you wondering... why don't they care more? Where's the inner turmoil? The shock defiance? They watch people being killed because they believe in something that's not real and yet aren't demanding for freedom and truth. They do feel these things, but not all the time. Only when it's convenient to the plot. There are so many gaping plot holes. Every single character has twisted motives.
At the end of the day, it was the promise of a big reveal that made everything makes sense that kept me reading up to the third book. And it was a massive let down. While genetic purity vs genetic damage is an interesting idea it was executed so poorly that it makes me wish I had all those hours of my life back. I wish I hadn't bothered.
What I do like are some of the underlying themes in the relationships. There are some possitive messages in there that aren't often attacked by modern authors such as love being a choice. I like the way Roth doesn't feel the need to pull out the angst between her hero and heroine but allows them to heal their relationship in a more normal time space than other books would for tension purposes.
And, for the most part the plot has pretty good pace. I can feel myself being pulled along, chapter by chapter. But there were stagnent portions where nothing really happened... didn't make sense to me. Why would you sit around and do nothing while your friends and family are engaging in civil war?
It's also good being split in narrators between Tobias and Tris. It adds a little variety to the end of the series, though as the book goes on it gets harder to tell the two characters apart.
I would NOT recommend this book to anyone. I would particularly warn parents from letting teenagers read this. While not all the content is "smut" it's just not worth sifting through anyway. There are much better books for young adults out there. (Maria V Snyder's Inside Out and Outside In, for example).
I say good on Veronica Roth for turning out 3 books, but I am dubious about what it says about us as a reading society that they can be loved to such fanfare. We are not as discerning readers as we once were.