Book Three in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series begins with Tris in jail for defying the authorities by releasing the video that explained what the whole, crazy, faction system was all about. She seems to spend the rest of Allegiant in one form of incarceration or the other, but I will be very careful to avoid big spoilers for those who haven’t read the book.
Once the original founder’s video is released, the faction system collapsed and Evelyn, Four’s mother, stepped in to enforce a totalitarian regime that enforced equality. Our heroes had traded one form of tyranny for another, and this does not sit well with the old guard. A group called the Allegiant break Tris out of jail and decide to head beyond the borders to see what is really happening out there.
In the real world we learn that Tris’ entire life was part of a grand genetic experiment to return mankind to their original genetic code. This is a big spoiler, but it explains the reason why the story in Allegiant shifts from Tris’ world of factions to another one. I won’t give you all the details. Needless to say, there is no Utopia beyond the borders of Tris’ city. There is only more violence and chaos.
For some people, they like their modified genetic code. They resent the experiment. For others, the experiment is a failure and needs to be reset—wiping the memories of the entire population. Tris and her friends drop in on this powerderkeg like a pack of lit matches, but in this fire they are forged as heroes and make choices for good and bad that affect the lives of those around them.
Allegiant was a good end to the series, but it wasn’t as good as the other books. The story became too big, and the characters were suddenly lost in the maelstrom of politics and intrigue. I feel too much was saved for the ending. The entire concept of the genetically pure (GP) vs. the genetically damaged (GD) was almost too much to squeeze into a series ending. I found myself disconnected from the events and uninterested in the new political struggles of the GD. There were too many new characters crowded onto the stage that I suddenly had to care about, while characters that I did care about were reduced to support cast in a story that was sweeping them all along to the ending like flotsam.
I was most disappointed that Four’s character became virtually useless except to give Tris something to cuddle and snog. He was so cool in the beginning of the series. Here was a character that suffered for having his mystery and intrigue removed. Yet, it was still an interesting book to read. This is because Roth created a very compelling character in Tris. Fierce yet vulnerable, she made me care about the events of the story even when I didn’t want to.
In the end, I felt that the people who died needed to die. Many fans will not agree with me, but Allegiant is Roth’s story to tell, and I felt that her ending worked. I would love to explain why, but then I’d be giving away too much. The story’s denouement, followed by chapter after chapter of aftermath, was a fitting way to close out the story. The final book in the Divergent series was a good read; it just wasn’t a great read.
Release Date: October 22, 2013 (USA)
ISBNs: 006202406X (9780062024060)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 3 (the use of medicinal serums was key to the plot)
Language: 2 (D-words, S-words in their variety)
Sexuality: 2 (implied sex)
Violence: 3 (terrorism, explosions, violence, death, gunplay, murder, but not excessively described)