The more popular a book series becomes, it seems, the more the expectations of the fans rise. Remember the lines and lines of fans waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Before half of us had thought about getting the book, the other half had read it and dissected it.
And oh, how unhappy some were.
It seems their dissatisfaction is nothing compared to what some fans of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series experienced. According to news reports the reaction to Allegiant is “an online fandom horror story.”
Apparently there was a less-reported reaction (in comparison to Harry Potter and even to Twilight) to the release of the book, with thousands of fans waiting in long lines until midnight when the book became available in bookstores.
But soon after, the angry reviews began pouring in. Here’s an example from Amazon, quoted in a Flavorwire article:
I think Veronica Roth either didn’t like being a popular author or was trying to shock the heck out of readers so her version of a dystopian future would be remembered. Unfortunately, if the latter is the case, I think she just ended her YA writing career–and a movie franchise with it. How did her editor and publisher allow this?
But it gets worse. Apparently some fans threatened violence:
According to the website BiblioFiend, as referenced in Roth’s tweet, some angry fans have threatening the author with violence. (” ‘Allegiant’ ending inspires some angry fan reaction,” Christian Science Monitor).
In an article that may have been influenced by all this negative reaction, Eric Christensen explores the subject of fans waiting for a next book in a popular series (“Is Waiting The Hardest Part or The Most Harmful?” Fantasy Faction). Chill, he concludes, and spend the waiting time reading something else.
Good advice. But the love of the storyworld and of the characters is like a first crush. It doesn’t really matter what else you do or where you go, on your mind is that one special someone. Will he be there too? Will he text or leave a comment on Facebook? What does he think of your new hair cut? Will he like your new top or shoes? And most importantly, when will you see him again?
So series fans wait. They want to “see” their character friends again and to re-enter the world the author has created for them to imagine.
But like crushes, reality sets in and what had once appeared as perfect suddenly becomes the end that was different from what the fans imagined or hoped for. And that’s disappointing.
From one Goodreads review:
I may never be happy ever again.
The fun and laughter is over. I have finally read Allegiant, and I feel empty inside. Empty but accepting, and understanding.
This book makes Mockingjay feel like Dr Seuss.
Then there’s this from a one star review:
I feel disappointed. And betrayed.
Mockingjay. The Death Cure. Requiem. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. But I was really hoping Roth would prove me wrong. I was really hoping…
I had my hopes set so high, and it just…I just feel really crushed right now. This makes me question ever reading another dystopian trilogy.
Most of the series I’ve read, I’ve come to when all the books were available. But there was one . . . and I have to say, anticipating the next book was half the fun. When one trilogy turned into a second, I was so happy. But the quality lagged. And the end was, yes, a disappointment.
So is it inevitable? If we love a series, will we always be let down because of our expectations? Or is it possible to hope and wait and wonder and anticipate and find the story ending is completely satisfying?
What series have you waited for with growing anticipation? How did you react to the end?
Have you read Allegiant? What was your reaction to the end?