2013: The Year of Dystopian Disappointment?

Warning: Major spoilers for the Delirium, Divergent, and Legend trilogies.

This year, three major series in the world of YA dystopia came to an end: Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Legend by Marie Lu. All three of these series had big fan followings – Divergent the most, I daresay – and the final books (Requiem, Allegiant, and Champion respectively) were highly anticipated. And I’m talking jumping-squealing-fangirling excitement, because that’s what I did. All three of the endings had a certain amount of shock value to them, but as far as I’ve seen, Requiem and Allegiant somehow fell flat. How did Champion succeed where the other two didn’t?

ImageRequiem: This novel was split between main character Lena Haloway and her best friend Hana Tate. Lena’s on the run now in the Wilds with both Julian and Alex, which doesn’t exactly help her figure out her warring emotions. Hana’s still in Portland, preparing to marry the mayor’s son. Both girls learn more about the dangers of their society, and about love – is it really a disease?

I’ve said it a million times: Lauren Oliver’s concept was wonderful. Her whole idea of amor deliria nervosa was really, really innovative. Rather than some plague like most dystopian novels, she did something truly unique. I had a problem with her writing throughout the series, though, and the ending of Requiem was the final straw. In it, we learn nothing about Lena’s mother, nothing about the how their final protests affected the rest of the country, and even the Alex-Lena-Julian love triangle remains mostly unresolved. The story itself doesn’t seem to find a resolution, and even the characters somehow lost the depth they had. Also – did you really have to kill off Raven? Really? I am saddened. Even though that’s not the point.

ImageAllegiant: oh god don’t get me started on this trainwreck. Tris and co. are caught between the rivalries in Chicago, where people who still believe in the factions are rising against Evelyn’s rule. So Tris and co. escape the city and go into the outside world, where nothing’s as they expected. It turns out that the walled cities were experiments, because of damaged genes – the government tried to eradicate dishonesty, selfishness, cowardice, ignorance, and aggression, but that just made everything worse. Tris and co. then meet up with the scientists responsible at the Bureau, and what follows is… a trainwreck.

Just thinking about Allegiant makes me so upset. Not only was it riddled with plot holes (like Swiss cheese!), filled with illogical ideas, and poorly written, the voices of Tris and Four slowly start to merge together after a certain point until you can’t even tell them apart. As if that wasn’t bad enough? In the end, Tris replaces Caleb on a suicide mission through death serum because her chances of survival are higher than his. By sheer force of will, Tris makes it through the death serum – but at the end of the tunnel, just when she’s about to save the day, the director of the Bureau shows up and shoots her. Of course, she does manage to save the day, but she still dies. Not only were tons of fans disappointed in the death of the main character, but I feel like what Veronica Roth was going for – which is repeating the theme of sacrifice – somehow didn’t work out. Tris does not choose her sacrifice; she conquers the obstacles she chose, but is defeated by another hurdle. That doesn’t seem like sacrifice to me. Here‘s an article that hits the nail on the head. And then we have to suffer through Tobias’s mourning – did I mention he underwent a complete loss of personality in this book? – and the final scattering of Tris’s ashes in an epilogue. The nicest thing about the ending was that scattering, where Tobias takes the zipline despite his fear of heights, and scatters Tris’s ashes as he falls.

ImageChampion: After the awful revelation at the end of Prodigy that Day’s dying, Champion picks up eight months later. Day and June have gone their separate ways, but June is asked to call day back to Denver, where Colonies forces are threatening to attack. A new strain of plague virus has found its way into the Colonies, and unless the Republic finds a cure, they’ll find themselves under attack. The Republic thinks that Day’s brother Eden could carry the cure, but Day’s reluctant to give his brother back to the labs that cost Eden his sight.

The end of Champion was no less surprising than the other two endings I discussed. In the final action scene, Day’s running to save Eden when Commander Jameson shoots him from a rooftop. June sees the Commander and fights her off, and the Commander is ultimately killed. Day’s bullet wounds, however, mean he has to undergo his brain surgery far too early. He falls into a coma for several months. And then, one day, when June visits him at the hospital, the doctor tells her he’s awake and seems healthy. There’s a catch, of course. He’s got his long-term memories, but the last two years are a haze – including June. Devastated, June decides it’s time she cut herself out of Day’s life completely, because she has some stupid idea that she’s horrible for him. She talks to him, but pretends she’s just an official.

Luckily, that’s not all. The epilogue takes us ten years into the future, to June’s twenty-seventh birthday. She’s had little contact with Day over the years – in fact, she hangs out with Pascao and Tess more. But on that day, she hears that Day and Eden are going to be in town. She rushes out, and then we have a moment where they look into each other’s eyes, etc. etc. Then, of course, June walks away quickly. Day follows, and asks if he knows her – he thinks he’s looking for something he lost, and he felt like he found something when he saw her.

Can I get an awwww?

The book ends with June and Day shaking hands and introducing themselves to each other.

Champion was, by far, my favourite out of the three. Neither Requiem nor Allegiant lived up to the promises of their prequels, and while Champion was far from perfect, I definitely liked it best. Which was your favourite ending?

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2 thoughts on “2013: The Year of Dystopian Disappointment?

    • suzelovesbooks says:

      Yeah, it really sucked. The ending of the series is the most heartbreaking as well as the most exciting, and there’s nothing worse than feeling unsatisfied after it. If the Mara Dyer series ends badly, I will be shattered. Buttttt Michelle Hodkin promised that she postponed the release date so she could get the book absolutely right, and that the final draft is the best thing she’s ever written. I’d certainly rather wait than be disappointed! šŸ™‚

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