The Cardinal Sin No Writer Should Ever Commit

This post, by Jody Hedlund, originally appeared on her blog on 11/26/13.

This post contains SPOILERS for the newly released book Allegiant by Veronica Roth. So if you’re planning to read the book and don’t want to know what happens, then click off this post and come back after you’ve finished the book!

I already made the mistake on Twitter of blabbering about Allegiant with no thought to the those who might not want to know what happens. I won’t make the same mistake here! So again, please don’t read further if you want to avoid a MAJOR spoiler.

I read the first two books in the popular dystopian Divergent series this past year. But they didn’t wow me, especially the second book, Insurgent, which I thought was rather slow and confusing at times.

But my daughter LOVED both. So she kept me well informed when the countdown began for the third book’s release. When the big day came, she asked me to buy it for the Kindle since the wait for it at the library was like a million years long.

I clicked over to Amazon to check on price for the Kindle and the audio versions. And to my utter bafflement, the book had less than three stars as the overall rating. Of course, I was even more astonished to see that the one star reviews completely outnumbered the five.

As I started browsing to see why the book had garnered so many one stars, I read things like:

Possibly the Worst Trilogy Ending I’ve Ever Read” and “Horrible Just Horrible!!” and “Outraged

After seeing those headings, I had to read the reviews. I couldn’t help it. I wanted to know why readers hated this book!


The number ONE reason why readers hated the book was because in the end, Roth KILLS OFF her main character. Yes, the heroine DIES.

Over and over in the reviews readers say they felt betrayed by Roth, that now they wish they hadn’t read any of the books in the series, that they won’t read them again or go see the movies.

The bottom line is that readers are crushed. They invested time and money into the books. More importantly they invested emotional energy into falling in love with the heroine. And after waiting with such expectancy for the series to come to a satisfying conclusion, they are instead left feeling empty and hopeless.

After reading the reviews, I now have absolutely NO desire to read the last book. In fact, I now felt like I wasted my time reading the first two. So even though I haven’t read Allegiant, I can completely relate with what readers are saying about it.

As I analyzed the overall reader reaction (along with my personal response), I quickly realized that Roth committed a Cardinal Sin that no writer should ever commit. And that’s this: Don’t kill your main character.


Click here to read the rest of the post on Jody Hedlund’s blog.