Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss: Allegiant Chapters 3 and 4

Fun Fact! My girlfriend was under the impression that the last book was the third book in the Divergent trilogy, and was super upset that there was more. [Ariel says: I feel like all you do these days is hurt Christina.] You know what my least favorite part about all this is? Allegiant isn’t even a real word. I look forward to the next couple months of spelling this word, seeing a red squiggly underline, and instinctively and unavoidably wondering if I spelled it wrong.

~hello, darkness, my old friend~
~hello, darkness, my old friend~

[Ariel says: What’s been annoying me most is that I keep typing it like Divergent and Insurgent. You know, writing “Allegient” because THEY ALL NEED TO END WITH ENT DAMN IT.]

Chapter 3: Tris

My first chapter starts out agreeably enough.

“I think you’re all idiots.”

kermit good point

My body is heavy with truth serum. “You should be thanking me, not questioning me.” […] For just a moment, [Tobias’s] eyes touch mine, and I know it’s time to start lying.
It’s easier not that I know I can do it. As easy as pushing the weight of the truth serum aside in my mind.

That’s great, except… this is what Tris believes is the truth anyway. So what exactly is she lying about? Ugh. Eleven pages in this book and there’s already a logical fallacy supporting the whole story. So just like the first Divergent book. Never change, Divergent.

apparently I have an episodic memory of Lizzie McGuire still
Apparently I have an episodic memory of Lizzie McGuire still

The actual lie part of Tris’s story (which fine, I guess) is that she thought Marcus wasn’t working independently, but under Dauntless-factionless orders, so she’s not a traitor. Just an idiot. [Ariel says: To be fair, this is actually a brilliant move. It doesn’t work if you’re, like, the government (even though governments are known to use this tactic to varying degrees of success. “OMG But the CIA said they weren’t torturing anybody…”) but in Tris’ situation this is a good move. It’s how I often get out of doing housework. “You mean this is a vacuum???”]

“So Marcus told you he was working under my orders,” she says, “and even knowing what you do about his rather tense relationship with both the Dauntless and the factionless, you believed him?”
“Yes.”
“I can see why you didn’t choose Erudite.” She laughs.

Oh, good. I was wondering how Divergent would continue after killing off Jeanine. Turns out it was by not even writing a new character. Good thing the writing is as stupid as usual.

She knows that whoever holds the guns holds the power.

Who doesn’t know that?

From one tyrant to another. That is the world we know, now.

Casual reminder that Divergent is totally different from The Hunger Games. For instance, The Hunger Games ended when the character leading a coup against a totalitarian government was determined to be as bad as the leader she was replacing, where Divergent just keeps going.

To be fair, there are some moments in this scene I genuinely do like. As usual, it’s Tris’s PTSD.

katniss ptsd
Which brings us to our second casual reminder that Divergent is totally different from The Hunger Games.

“Since I couldn’t join the fight as a soldier, I was happy to help with something else.”
“Why couldn’t you be a soldier?” […]
“Because I couldn’t hold a gun, okay? Not after shooting . . . him. My friend Will. I couldn’t hold a gun without panicking.”
Evelyn’s eyes pinch tighter. I suspect that even in the softest parts of her, there is no sympathy for me.

Tris even has a properly bamf moment where she lays out exactly why Evelyn is wrong!

“I brought you the truth about our city and the reason we are in it. If you aren’t thanking me for it, you should at least do something about it instead of sitting here on this mess you made, pretending it’s a throne!”

Evelyn raises a pretty ok counterpoint.

“I have known the truth far longer than you have, Beatrice Prior.”

Evelyn then suddenly goes weirdly Psycho on us, because there isn’t a faction in this book that has an affinity for quitting while you’re ahead.

I don’t know how you’re getting away with this, but I promise you, you will not have a place in my new world, especially not with my son.”

psycho boy's best friend is his mother

Evelyn finds Tris not guilty of being a traitor (albeit a fool), and the trial ends. Uriah (who for some reason is not a prisoner, and is allowed to walk his old friend public enemy number one around on his own) escorts Tris back to her cell, where they discuss their plan to find a way out of the city (SEE?).

But first, delightfully clunky symbolism.

Former faction members are required to […] mix, no more than four members of a particular faction in each dwelling. We have to mix our clothing, too. I was given a yellow Amity shirt and black Candor pants earlier as a result of that particular edict.

And thus Divergent‘s faction system narrative ends where we always knew it would: as an episode of What Not To Wear.

what not to wear camo

Tris also touches on how Caleb, her brother who turned her over to Jeanine, is also on trial.

Caleb is still there, because he was a well-known lackey of Jeanine Matthews, and the factionless will never exonerate him.

Because this teenager is somehow the most strategically valuable evil mastermind in the world. Still. [Ariel says: Why do all of these adults who are apparently so clued in on everything that’s going on relying so heavily on the Prior children? Are there really no better options?]

Chapter 4: Tobias

In today’s chapter from Tobias’s perspective, his mom is totally, like, making him think about his future and stuff.

“I think we have to talk about your loyalty,” she says, but she doesn’t sound like she’s accusing me of something, she just sounds tired.

Ugh, mommmm

Evelyn tells Tobias that maybe no one else does, but she knows he released the video containing the truth to everyone, to which he claims he didn’t know what was in the file, he just trusted Tris. I dunno, dude, “my girlfriend that you hate made me do it” doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that would get you off the hook.

Of course, this is the Divergent series, so we’re not even close to the bottom of the rabbit hole of stupidity.

“I’ve been receiving disturbing reports of a rebel organization among us. […] The kind that wants to leave the city,” she says. “They released some kind of manifesto this morning. They call themselves the Allegiant.” When she sees my confused look, she adds, “Because they’re allied with the original purpose of our city, see?”

I like how even the book knows how stupid this made-up word is. It makes so little sense that it immediately has to explain what it means. [Ariel says: If you have to provide this level of explanation about the name of your organization, it’s probably not the right choice.] 

“The original purpose— you mean, what was in the Edith Prior video? That we should send people outside when the city has a large Divergent population?”
“That, yes. But also living in factions.”

OF COURSE. THE PEOPLE LOVE THEM SOME FACTIONS. WHY THE FUCK NOT.

She said to the faction system, serums, and simulations.
She said to the faction system, serums, and simulations.

[Ariel says: I am firmly in the camp of WE NEED EVEN MORE FACTIONS!! Why stop at Abnegation/Dauntless/Erudite/Amity/Candor when you can also have factions like Snarky/Tardy/Horny/Applesause-y(THEY LOVE APPLESAUSE, SEE)/Batshit Cray/Humblebraggers/Lactose Intolerant. Think of the amazing Buzzfeed quizzes we could have.] 

Tobias and I continue to agree on one thing: the faction system is stupid.

With the factions dismantled, part of me has felt like a man released from a long imprisonment. I don’t have to evaluate whether every thought I have or choice I make fits into a narrow ideology.

Tobias asks Evelyn how she plans to “get them under control”.

“With simulations?” I say slowly.
She scowls. “Of course not! I am not Jeanine Matthews!”

Tina Fey dancing
YAY NO SIMULATIONS

She winces […] “I will never resort to simulations to get my way. Death would be better.”

STILL WAY BETTER THAN READING MORE SIMULATIONS
STILL WAY BETTER THAN READING MORE SIMULATIONS

[Ariel says: Aw, man, if we’re not gonna get a simulation, I sure hope we’ll get a serum instead!]

There’s an oddly poignant moment where Tobias reflects on how his relationship with his mother has changed over time, from when they lived with the abusive Marcus, to now:

We were united in fear then, and now that she isn’t afraid anymore, part of me wants to see what it would be like to unite with her in strength.
I feel an ache, like I betrayed her, the woman who used to be my only ally

Question of the Day! We’ve gone from Divergent to Insurgent to Allegiant. We’ve already hit the “not even real words” threshold. What’s the best “-ent” word you can make up for a hypothetical fourth book?

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19 comments

  1. Dejah Reply

    Hmm. How about Innuent they leave the city and encounter a ‘lost faction’ that speak in nothing but innuendos, only Tris with her over explanation skills can save them.

    Yeah, I got nothing. I tried serum, but Serent sounds like something yelled by a landlord (hey, se rent is due!) And simulation made Simulent which sounds like a laxative. I’m just not on the same creative levels as Ms. Roth is capable of. Creatent? Explurgent? Absorbent? Er, that’s a real one, oops. How about Kungfugent!

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  2. Bellomy Reply

    The problem with the whole “President Coin is as bad as Snow” thing was that Katniss acted like Coin was horrible the entire time she knew her despite the fact that she had consistently been nothing but incredibly helpful the whole time. So Katniss looked like a paranoid idiot until Coin kills lots of her own people for a stupid reason, which apparently validates Katniss’s suspicion.

    Of course, the only problem is that there was no reason for her to have any suspicion in the first place.

    That whole twist might have been made even more powerful if Katniss trusted and liked Coin before her betrayal. But the way Collins handled the whole thing was terrible.

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    • Dana Reply

      That’s so true. I honestly did not find Coin to be that antagonistic. She would be doing or saying totally reasonable things and Katniss (and therefore the reader, since something tells me Collins wasn’t trying to do a whole “unreliable narrator” in regards to Coin) would immediately interpret it as harsh and controlling.

      This makes me wonder what they’re going to do in the final movie, since Coin (IMO, at least) wasn’t really painted in a negative light at all in Part 1, as a result of not being confined to Katniss’s POV.

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      • Bellomy Reply

        Yes. I was reading “Mockingjay” and thinking “Why does Katniss hate Coin so much?” She opens her doors to district 12 practically unconditionally, treats Katniss’s family very well, and gives in to basically all of Katniss’s demands.

        If Katniss didn’t keep reminding us that she was really evil the whole time then the whole “I killed all of my own people because why not” would have had ZERO textual support. Coin’s actions were logical and helpful throughout. It’s a problem when your only way of adding foreshadowing is having your character repeatedly tell the reader something to make sure they get it.

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  3. jmfausti Reply

    This is the end of the series. You may think there was nowhere to go before, but there is really nowhere to go after this book. Roth took some of the “big scenes” in the first two books and wrote them out from Tobias’ perspective. I’ve read a few and they are jumpy and incoherent. I wasn’t impressed at all.

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  4. Sarah Reply

    The entire fanbase thought the third book would be called “Convergent.” I feel like V.R. just chose “Allegiant” to be unpredictable, i guess, but Convergent would have been so much better. You started with rhyming titles, continue with rhyming titles!

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  5. Dana Reply

    Is it just me, or does anyone else have a lot of trouble imagining any of the settings in this series? I admit I haven’t read the books in their entirety, but I swear Roth’s writing is just so dry and clinical that all I usually imagine is characters standing in an empty gray room, having a boring conversation. It doesn’t matter if they’re supposed to be outside or inside, it doesn’t matter if it’s daytime or nighttime, it doesn’t matter if it’s two people or a hundred people to a scene. I simply cannot imagine any further details about this world, even with a film—a fucking VISUAL adaptation—based off of it.

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    • matthewjulius Reply

      That’s an interesting thought! I’ll have to think about this as I keep reading. Especially now that we’re leaving the city soon and things should definitely start standing out…

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      • 22aer22 Reply

        YES DANA YES!!!! No matter what faction compound they are visiting, I have struggled so hard to imagine any differentiation between locations. Well, I do imagine Dauntless living in a cave like in the Host…but that’s about the biggest difference I can muster up in my mind.

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        • matthewjulius Reply

          Yeah, but once we went to candor and Erudite they’re both, like, purposefully nondescript hallways. Why. We spent like 70% of the last book in those places.

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          • matthewjulius Reply

            Yeah, but once we went to candor and Erudite they’re both, like, purposefully nondescript hallways. Why. We spent like 70% of the last book in those places.

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  6. Cassowary Reply

    The last book should have been called Poorly Realized Comm-ent (on Humanity).

    Also, still trying to figure out the ending of Insurgent. Let’s see if I have this correct: Humans realized that humanity sucked because of their personalities, so they made Chicago into an experimental town where people are separated into factions based on personality. But their ultimate goal was to create Divergent people, who do not fall into any one faction. So basically they were trying to create people with varying personalities, just like the humans they thought were so messed up in the first place. I’m so confused.

    Well, I guess the Divergent people are resistant to simulations and serums, but those two things weren’t the downfall of humanity either…eh, I give up.

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  7. Lolcats Reply

    Cassowary, we all want to hate on the book, but the logic (such as it is) was made very clear in-story. The advent of widespread genetic modification led to an explosion of people modified for supposedly desirable traits: truthfulness, kindness, intelligence, bravery, and sacrifice. However, due to an incomplete understanding of the influence of these genes on phenotype, these modifications caused issues in other areas. For example, the Erudite became arrogant, and Amity (presumably) became passive. The segregation came first, for the protection of the normal humans; the faction system was created to prevent the unstable modified humans from tearing themselves apart! The people who did this did NOT have the same goals as the people who did the modification. So this perhaps resolves some of the confusion. Now, to resolve the final bit of confusion: divergent people are genetically similar to normal, unmodified humans! You got that part exactly right. The susceptibility of the Chicago population to serums and simulations was partly a function of their rigidity of mind. The purpose of putting them in a population together was that eventually “genetic healing” would occur, leading to a large number of normal people, while still isolating them from the hapless population. The term is vague, but there are ways that could happen: for example, interbreeding between people with distinct and very deleterious disadvantages will tend, after sufficiently long periods, to stabilize the genome at something more advantageous (normal human). The time scale is off, to be sure, though. If the modifications are recessive, though, and different people have different disadvantages, this could happen pretty quickly. In any case, it is clear from the book that there was not nearly enough time for the entire population to turn Divergent. So just to reiterate, normal humans (for whatever value of normal exists in this universe, anyway) have that same resistance to serums and simulations. Finally, though, Tris has a very unusual degree of resistance. It is made clear that she is able to survive a death serum that would likely have killed an ordinary human. So this ties everything up with a neat little bow (more or less).

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    • Bellomy Reply

      There are still gaping problems here. The “divergent” ones and the non-divergent ones don’t really seem to act significantly different. The reasons for Tris’s ability to resist serums don’t make sense. The faction thing still does not make sense, for the simple reason that the people are acting like people, not factions. Whether you “choose” the factions or not is contradictory; you can choose them, but you’re also genetically selected for them. Which is, if not nonsensical, at least dumb.

      It’s not a smart concept, as much as it tries to be.

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