In my review posts, ‘Divergent‘ and ‘Insurgent‘, my reader comments were focused on the flatland first person POV Ms. Roth chose to use in her novels, and what I believe is/was, the evolutionary metamorphosis of her protagonist Beatrice Prior (Tris). I also devoted time pontificating on the unique experience I believe we, the reader, were given; to witness something which seldom, if ever, occurs in the world of Traditional Publishing – the development of an author.
Now something that not all readers might know (but certainly recognize instinctively), is that in order for a story to compel the reader to turn the next page, the characters not only have to be engaging, and the plotline interesting, but there has to be a reward at the end (for the reader, and hopefully, for the protagonist, as well) – be it good, bad or ugly. In other words, there has to be an upward evolution, an arch, something that lifts the hero up and catapults them forward so that in the end, they or someone, is a better person for all that has taken place.
If it’s a stand alone, this arch has ‘X’ amount of pages to accomplish this evolution in. But if it’s a series, such as ‘Divergent’, or ‘Catching Fire’, the author has three (or more) books to do it in. What I found so very unique about Roth, was the way she created two arch’s; one that lifted our heroine, Tris, upward, and another, that took our hero, ‘Four’ downward. And the way she did it was to utilize the upward trajectory of the one, to emphasis the downward trajectory of the other.
What do I mean by upword and downward trajectories? As Tris begins to let go of more and more of the ideals of those around her, including her boyfriend Four, she is then free to develop her own values – embracing more and more of who she is, and who she is becoming. The opposite is true for Four – who comes out of his own evolutionary chrysalis dragging as many dead cats behind him as he had going in. In other words, unless he finds a way to break free of the nightmares from his past (family, friends, society) he will never have the power, or confidence, to embrace the man he is destined to be.
My only criticism of Roth’s ‘Allegiant’ is, unlike the first two novels, Roth decides to add the voice of Tobias, or ‘Four, to that of Beatrice, ‘Tris’, giving us, the reader, now two dimensions instead of the one-dimensional- flatland-POV. I wish she would have done this from the beginning, as it adds a layer of depth to her story which, now that we’re in book 3, I realize I found lacking in the first (that might explain why I always felt like I was reading/watching the movie – Flatlanders.).
On my reader’s scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving ‘Allegiant’ 3.99999 for story well done and Roth 4.599999 for making me a fan of first POV flatlanders.