Monday, December 9, 2013


Edition: eBook
Author: Veronica Roth
Goodreads: Allegiant
Release Date: October 22, 2013

Well, here we are back to blogging after a whirlwind month of National Novel Writing Month. Managing a novel and a huge region as an ML doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging, which is a shame. The best writers are great readers!

Which brings me the book of the day. I jumped on the waiting list for this as soon as it was in my library's ebook catalog and I made it to the head of the line right after the bell rung on my 50 000 words. I'm glad it did, because reading this book (and reading some really interesting writing tips on Tumblr) gave me some insight into why I dislike a lot of my writing style.

Here's Goodread's summary, which is infinitely more informative than Amazon's:

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.
Now, Liz over at Assorted Leafs caught something right off the bat - this is a dual narrative book, where previously the narrative has been Tris-focused. Having two narratives can work really well, when the characters have strong, separate personalities. Tris and Tobias, unfortunately, are two characters whose names start and end with the same letter, and whose personalities are also very similar. I agree with Liz's assertion that, unless you keep track at the beginning of the chapter, you sometimes lose who's narrating when. 

This book, like the last two, has some great ideas that get lost in a lot of infodump and awkward narrative. A lot, and I mean a lot, of conversations between Tris/Tobias and other characters involve a variation on, "You didn't hear? (insert detailed text about plot points here)".  The flow of the book is also very clunky, which, thanks to Tumblr, I know is partly because Roth likes to split her tenses. I actually learned about splitting tenses when I was struggling through the middle of the book and it was a "The More You Know!" moment for me. It made me realize that I also split my tenses when I'm writing, which goes a long way to explaining why I generally dislike and refuse to edit my things. I still do it all the time and don't realize it, so don't lampoon me if I chopped a few tenses in this blog post. 

Not that I was always shaking my fist at the book - Roth has built some great characters who are logical, methodical, and dealing with some crazy, crazy stuff. When you first learn the truth of the world they grew up in, you're exposed to some shady science. It was so bad, and portrayed so much like fact, that I almost gave up right then. The book recovers, though, and it goes on to present some big ideas about propaganda, control of information as a source of power, AND generalizations in science presented as "facts" that create and shape government. She also addresses one of the worst tropes in YA romance, based on Tris' actions in Insurgent. I liked the big picture all of these ideas presented but it still felt like I was slogging through everything else.

I recommend this to anyone who read and at least mildly enjoyed the last two.

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