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The Big Problem With “Divergent” Is “Allegiant”

The third book in Veronica Roth’s trilogy — yeesh. WARNING: Spoilers ahead. [Updated with the unwelcome news that Allegiant will now be two movies.]

Update on April 11: Summit Entertainment will divide Allegiant in two movies, following in the franchise footsteps of Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. Allegiant: Part 1 will be released on March 18, 2016; Part 2 will come out on March 24, 2017. The rest of this post will demonstrate why that is less than welcome news to those who have read the concluding book in the Divergent trilogy.

2. Did you see Divergent and like it?

Summit Entertainment

3. Maybe you’re excited for more movies.

Summit Entertainment

4. I liked Veronica Roth’s young adult book series too. And then I read the third book, Allegiant, which came out in the fall. WARNING: Stop reading now if you’re spoiler averse.

Katherine Tegen Books

5. The whole book is a quagmire of faux-science nonsense about genetics. It’s listless, anti-climactic, and you really get the sense that Roth didn’t know where she was going with the story. Also, Tris dies — in a deeply unsatisfying, unnecessary way.

6. She sacrifices herself for her brother in a suicide mission that is a key component to their final fight — but honestly, I can’t even explain what she did or why. Also, I both hope and don’t hope that people do this.

*screams in theater* TRIS DIES

— sarah (@tobiaseatoncake)

7. In an interview with BuzzFeed, the movie’s co-star Theo James (Four) said he likes that Tris dies.

Lionsgate

“I thought it was a natural — I thought it totally made sense. Her whole philosophy in life is selflessness and giving. She’s almost like a semi-Christ figure in that way. She’s endlessly selfless, and it seem like an obvious, natural course for her to give her life for the sake of others,” he explained. (For more on James, click here.)

8. Shailene Woodley (Tris) also liked Allegiant’s ending.

Summit Entertainment

She told Entertainment Weekly: “I was stoked. I thought that it was such a badass decision of Veronica Roth, and so incredibly powerful. I love that she didn’t sort of buy into the breakdown of what most young adult books, like, the outline of what’s happened in previous young adult books. Men die all the time in films – heroes do. But a lot of sweet heroines don’t. And so I thought it was a very powerful, profound decision on her part. And I really love that she had the courage and the bravery to do that.”

9. A lot of fans, though, don’t agree with James and Woodley. Here are the three reviews voted “most helpful” that appear on the Allegiant Amazon page.

Read the whole review, and the comments, here.

Read the whole review, and the comments, here.

12. But Tris’ death, in and of itself, isn’t the problem (though it may be for a movie franchise). In Allegiant, the meaning of the story disappears. What was the trilogy about? It’s just a poorly rendered letdown. Roth certainly was aware of fans’ wailing.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Here she is at the recent premiere of Divergent in Los Angeles.

13. She wrote a long post on her blog addressing readers’ concerns (only about Tris’ death, though, not about any larger critique). Here’s her conclusion:

14. She also gave an interview to MTV News in which she talked about Tris’ death, Tris and Four possibly having sex in Allegiant (it’s hazy in the book, and SHE STILL WON’T SAY), and other matters.

MTV News

Here’s the video. It’s a good interview.

15. Sigh. Can any of these YA franchises end well? Mockingjay doesn’t; Breaking Dawn didn’t. Maybe we should just watch The Fault in Our Stars trailer again.

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