For a while, I thought I wasn’t going to finish The Fates Divide. I was wading through pages and pages of exposition so every chapter was a struggle to finish. But, suddenly, in the middle of the novel, a secret was revealed.
From there onwards, The Fates Divide sped forward at a breakneck pace, at least until what was supposed to be the climax. But, instead of an epic battle or moving sacrifice, the climax dull and too-easily resolved, mostly because the stakes didn’t feel high. Coming off the heels of Allegiant, I was expecting an enormous plot twist, a tragic choice, or at least a character death. Instead, everyone happily survived. I turned the last page wondering, is this it?
I am not a fan of sci-fi, but I still loved Carve the Mark, the first in Roth’s duology. Before that, I loved Divergent, liked Insurgent, could barely finish Allegiant. To me, the pattern seems clear. What start off as and ambitious, creative series eventually fizzles into lifeless stories in the second or third novel.
“Suffer the fate, for all else is delusion.”
The most irksome part of The Fates Divide is the emphasis on fate. I mean, the word is in the title. At first, the idea of knowing your destiny was interesting and set up tension throughout the novel. But then, besides a character in the very first chapter, nobody in the book actually suffered their fate, thanks to plot-convenient loopholes. It felt ridiculous that for a novel that placed so much value on fate, fate was easily avoided.
This is not to say The Fates Divide is all bad. The novel adds two new perspectives: Cisi, Akos’ older sister, and Eijeh, his older brother. I enjoyed Cisi’s perspective as an advisor to Thuvhe’s ruler more than any other perspective because the stakes seemed the highest and the challenges, while perhaps not the biggest, were the most interesting.
I also enjoyed Roth’s world-building. While her characters fell flat, her worlds brimmed with imaginative descriptions. Each of the nine planets mentioned in the series felt alive and fleshed-out, like somewhere humanity might inhabit in 5000 years.
I would suggest reading The Fates Divide if you are curious to know what happens after the events in Carve the Mark. If you’re not, don’t bother. And if you are, make sure to check the book out of your library so you can save the $19.99 for a less disappointing novel in the same vein, such as Lady Midnight or Scythe.