My Thoughts on the End of “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth

So, I tried to title this so that no one would accidentally click this but just in case…

warningWARNING. SPOILERS WILL HAPPEN.

Now that that is out of the way…

A while ago, I read Allegiant by Veronica Roth and added it to my long list of reviews to write. As I thought about it, I realized that my entire review was being warped by my response to the huge backlash that followed the edge of the series. I know I’m late to the party, but I still want to talk about this because I’ve been using Allegiant as an example of something in a lot of conversations lately.

I am the first one to tell you that I like happy endings. Sad books make me … sad, of Allegiantcourse, and really unhappy. When I get invested in characters, I want those characters to make it. I want those characters to survive. I want their endings to be tied up in the end with a bow and–if I’m lucky–a wedding and seven kids. So of course that’s what I wanted to for Tris and Four.

However, here’s the thing about that ending: it’s what I expected.

What struck me–after I was done sobbing over the end–was exactly that fact. If Tris hadn’t made the choice she did, THAT was what would have thrown me and made me upset.

Authors have the unenviable task of appeasing their readers and staying true to their characters. Sometimes, those wishes coincide and everyone leaves happily. Sometimes, this is not the case and the choice the author makes will have the biggest impact of the entire book/series/what-have-you. For me, it is more of a betrayal to have the characters betray themselves then “betray” the ending the readers would want.

Tris wouldn’t have been Tris if she had let Caleb sacrifice himself. Veronica Roth–thank God–understood that. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it was to write that scene, when I’m sure she too just wanted Tris and Four to run off into the sunset. If this had not been the ending, I think my overall impression of the series would have been “good.” But because Roth stood by her characters like this, I think I’ll have to give it a “great” recommendation simply based on how much I respect this decision.

Okay, disclaimer time. Much of the motivation to write this post comes from my desire to talk to someone about this ending. So, seriously, comment and tell me what you think!

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10 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the End of “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth

  1. I completely agree. I said the same thing when I wrote my series review. This was the perfect end for the characters even if it is what a lot of the readers wanted. Most of my complaints with the last book in the series was the sudden shift to duel perspectives. I had nothing to say plot wise. The ending was perfect. Well … I also wanted our douche-bag character to redeem himself fully. Which he did not, and that made me sad.

  2. I completely and totally agree. I think Roth stayed true to the characters and herself. I was sad, of course, but I thought it was the ending the book needed. I think by Roth taking that chance she was as brave as Tris was for sacrificing herself. Much of the series involved Tris being a bit selfish, but I think this book showed how unselfish she really had become. I know there are people who will never read Roth again. WHAT? that’s just ridiculous. I have read lots of books where the ending did not turn out how I wanted it (Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series, Lauren Oliver’s Requiem series, and I can go on and on). But I will still read those authors. I love their writing and their talent. The ending to Allegiant was EXACTLY what it needed to be. As the previous responder wrote, I did have issues with the POV since they were sometimes hard to tell apart, but I still loved the book and thought the series overall was great. I’m interested to see what they do with the final movie, of course. I know of a few people who boycotted the first movie because of the ending of this book, as well.

    • I agree. Roth built so much of the ending into the rest of the books. That’s called character development, haha. I agree, you can’t judge an author by what they do with one series, but Roth’s courageous move makes me MORE excited to see what she’ll come up with next. At least I know she’ll stay true to her characters. I can’t believe people boycotted the movie because of this book, but you’re right – it will be interesting to see how they make Allegiant.

  3. Jo says:

    I agree as well, no matter how upset and disgruntled I was at the time. I actually read through half of the Four chapter at the end, not believing that Tris had actually died – that she was just hurt really bad and was recovering. It was an even larger shock then to realize that she was dead.

    Then I wanted to hug Four…

  4. OKAY THANK YOU, I have been dying to talk to someone about this ending and for some reason I haven’t been able to find someone who has read it and also wants to talk about it. I completely agree that having Tris let Caleb sacrifice himself would have been out of character and betrayed the character, HOWEVER, I’m disappointed because I feel like she could have stayed in character and still lived, and I wanted a happy ending so badly. But I’m also so impressed at the reality of it all. I mean, she could have lived but she couldn’t have done so realistically, and so a part of me is really glad that Veronica Roth didn’t betray realism just to create a happy ending. The rest of me (okay, most of me) just really wanted the happy ending.

    • I think Roth’s commitment to realism speaks to the theme of the books as a series. I think one thing she did really well was always, always tell a realistic story–recognizing that a story like this one couldn’t be realistic if it wasn’t sad. There was a war going on, for goodness sake. Sometimes I read books with huge battles and somehow everyone important comes out unscathed and it’s like … really? I think Roth showed her hand for happy endings in the first book, when Tris’s parents died. She was setting us up for this then.

      • Melanie says:

        Exactly! My biggest complaint in so many books, especially YA books, is when there is all this chaos and fighting and destruction, and yet somehow the important characters don’t get hurt or live through wounds that would have killed everyone else. This is one of the very very few series (actually the only one I can think of at all, right now) that didn’t fall prey to that, and even though I was devastated by the ending I’m so impressed at Roth for writing a fictional story that didn’t pander to the ending the genre said it should have. (Also, yeah, I should probably have seen bad things coming when Tris’s parents died, but parents die in novels all the time and I can still barely, if ever, think of times when main characters die, so my brain never went there.)

  5. I completely agree with you!!! It took me a lot of time (and tears) to come to this decision, but I understand it. There just wasn’t another way for it to end without showing true character development. It was the right choice, no matter how much I didn’t want it to be. Thanks for talking about this, Gretchen! I loved it!

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