YA BOOK CLUB: ALLEGIANT

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YA Book Club is a product of Tracey Neithercott’s brain. This usually results in a lot of fun times and general shenanigans. For full details and instructions click the link.

The book of the month is…

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

I will not even try to do a post without spoilers. At this point I can’t imagine what purpose that would serve any of us. Though, I will say, THIS POST CONTAINS MANY SPOILERS AND DRAMATIC EXCLAMATIONS. 

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SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!

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I have a lot of good things to say about the Divergent trilogy as a whole. I think the creation of Four (because when you can be called Four why would you ever go by anything else?) and his existence in our imaginary world is one blessing that cannot be taken from us. The story is absorbing. The world is compelling and largely believable as a functioning future version of our own world. The swoon and the feels present in all three books never disappointed me.

I am impressed by Veronica Roth’s storytelling ability. Her prose is clean, bold, sometimes stark, but always engaging. She created characters that were flawed, strong, weak, broken, beautiful, and deeply real.

I have a lot of good things to say about Allegiant individually.

For me, Tris was never my favorite narrator. I had a hard time connecting with her from the beginning of the series. It’s hard to explain. I loved Four, though, and while I don’t think the dual POV in Allegiant was distinct enough for me, I still very much enjoyed having his POV because it helped me see Tris in a new and kinder way. I found myself more attached to her and more aware of her beauty and goodness than when I was confined to her head.

I think this was genius on Veronica Roth’s part because…when Tris dies, it resonated with me for days. Tris became a woman capable of true sacrifice over the course of this series. She became solid but vulnerable in Allegiant, and losing her was truly devastating. However true to the character and the story as it may be, watching Tris die still didn’t sit well with me and it has taken me a a few weeks of intermittent mulling to discern why.

My reasons are three-fold:

1. I can see a way out. I can see how Tris could sacrifice herself for Caleb (which, yep, she had to do) and still survive. As writers we give ourselves outs in our prose, sometimes they are small and wobbly because you don’t ever intend to use them but feel safer with them there. Sometimes they are foreshadowy and red-inked because you need to know they won’t go away. It was written, in multiple places, that Tris could withstand serums. I believe she could have survived had David not shot her. I also think there was a way to redeem Caleb’s character and save Tris from David’s bullet. I think Caleb could have done something. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m reaching. Maybe she could have reached a little too. For us and for Four.

2. Four didn’t get to say goodbye. The death will never feel satisfying to me, and it will never feel worthwhile for this reason. It will always be a little incomplete and unfinished. I needed more than I was given. I can even understand the argument that the way in which she died — and all the unsaid and unfinished — was appropriate for this series and world. I am not sure I care though. As a reader, I felt a little let down. It hurt.

3. Taking those other thoughts into consideration, this next one is completely and utterly personal. I am writing a series (hopefully someone else will agree and want to publish it), in first person POV, so I know what it feels like to share headspace with a character. As attached as I am to my protagonist, and as much as she is a part of me, I try to believe that if I HAD to kill her to tell her story honestly then I would. I respect Veronica Roth for her willingness to do this with Tris, because I am sure it was very painful. Having said that and understanding why she felt this was the right ending, it bothered me that she (Veronica Roth) didn’t fight harder for Tris. This is not an attack on her writing ability, nor is it an attack on her person. I just feel this way, and it won’t go away.

Beyond my problems with the books (overall and Allegiant specifically) I still think the Divergent trilogy is a well-written, engaging and accessible series. Veronica Roth is a talented writer, and someone I expect, and hope, to be writing for years to come. I think the ending overshadowed some of the other big, fascinating aspects of the book. The world outside the fence is a broken but interesting place. The relationships feel real and vulnerable, which make the characters feel more human.

For Veronica Roth’s first series, at such a young age, Divergent is a powerful example of her talent. I am able to get past my own muddled feelings to still recommend this series to everyone and anyone, and that speaks volumes to its value.

What’s Up Wednesday

WUWRocketWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime’s blog.

What I’m Reading

My Maggie Stiefvater induced book hangover lasted longer than I would have liked. To be honest, thoughts about The Dream Thieves still distract me from my normal routine. However, if anything could tempt me to move on from my revelry, it would be the hotly anticipated and massively popular (for good reason) Allegiant.

Reading Allegiant
Reading Allegiant

I don’t think I have to tell you guys who wrote it, or what I’m most looking forward to about reading it (Four/Tobias POV chapters), or why I am nervous about accidental spoiler reveals and not wanting it to be ruined for myself. I am not too far into the text, but it is already oddly bittersweet to know this book ends a trilogy that, in some very specific ways, was what made me certain I should be writing YA. I am nervous. Someone hold me.

What I’m Writing

When I finally reclaimed my week from Ravens, I was able to write, and I actually wrote quite steadily and with urgency, racking up a little over 3105 words. I am now anbit antsy to get to the coming scenes, which I have been looking forward to writing since I started. The tricky thing is deciding how exactly to layer the scenes in order to get the best possible result from what I have planned. As my CPs know, I enjoy inflicting pain, bewilderment, and swoons on my reader; the best scenes include all three.

(Insert Maniacal Laugh)

I have also been thinking about the sequel to my novel (hopefully someone else will see it’s a novel and be willing to rep it) Redhunt. That has brought up some emotional conflicts within myself that I am mulling. I have to take it slowly. I have to stop arguing with my MC, which goes something like this:

Me: You’re being withholding.

Her: You would be too.

Me: Not to my own brain.

Her: Agree to disagree.

Me: Don’t be cheeky, it’s not a good color on you.

Her: It’s better than the other option, which involves a screwdriver to your eye.

Me: That’s it, you are no longer allowed to speak. I’ll do the talking for you.

(I start typing. She fidgets, gets a snack, and begins chewing loudly in my ear.)

Me: This is hopeless.

Her: Finally, you see things my way. Lets burn the mother down.

(I begin to wonder if that thought came from me or her.)

What Inspires Me

Mumford & Sons created the soundtrack to Redhunt, they just aren’t aware. As I mull things and bicker with my MC, this song plays over and over in my head.

Take from that what you will.

Pics from my brother’s wedding because they remind me of Hawaii, and thanks to Hawaii I was inspired to write a new story. And finding this picture of me and my husband dancing was a happy surprise. Sometimes, when reading and writing other peoples love stories you can forget that you are telling a pretty fabulous one with your own life.

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Talking to friends on Twitter. Jaime, host of this blog hop, and I had a particularly awesome chat about The Dream Thieves which confirmed our utter genius (or Maggie Stiefvater’s), and it helped me cope with my own lingering fears and concerns about that series. My CPs, who are all brilliant and funny, make me a better writer, and chatting with them gives me a happy Monday night. That God for Twitter, guys.

What Else I’m Up To

This weekend I had the immense honor and pleasure of being a bridesmaid in my author and close friend, Lindsay Cummings wedding. She is a joy. The wedding location was a rustic fairytale, nestled in the woods close to the barn where she boards her horse.

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Here’s to another fabulous, busy, busy bee of a week!