From Katherine Tegen Books:
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
SPOILER ALERT! I’m normally against spoilers, but I feel that in order to talk about Allegiant properly, spoilers are necessary. You have been warned.
Allegiant, the third and final installment in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, picks up almost immediately where Insurgent left off. Tris Prior is in custody for breaking into the Erudite lab and showing everyone a video that says the city was an experiment meant to produce a Divergent population that will rescue the rest of the country from genetic damage. The citizens, both the remaining faction members and the factionless, break into two sides: those who want factions and those who don’t. And so begins the end.
I’m going to do this review a bit in reverse, and talk about the end first because, let’s face it, the end is the big issue on everyone’s lips. Also, for me, the book really boils down to the ending anyway.
In the week after Allegiant‘s release, there was a flurry of outrageously harsh comments against Roth and her choices for Allegiant. I admire Roth’s ability to handle said comments with unapologetic aplomb and for refusing to defend her choices. Very classy. Regardless of what choices were made, there is really no excuse for diatribes to be directed at the author. In terms of story, the author really doesn’t owe the reader anything—she owes the characters. And I believe Roth succeeded on that account. Whatever else I feel about the book, I feel she stayed true to the characters. Anything less would have felt false.
When the decision was made that someone needed to brave the death serum to enter the Weapon’s Lab, I knew it would be Tris who ultimately did it, despite the job going to Caleb. She had already shown great resistance to the serums in the past and wasn’t one to shy away from putting her life on the line—especially when it comes to her family and friends. She comes from Abnegation, after all. With this in mind, doesn’t it then stand to reason that Tris’ ultimate act would be one of self-sacrifice? That her particular brand of divergence would be more than just a case of pure genes, but something that made her special, made her able to save those she loved? Tris risking the death serum and surviving wasn’t a surprise for me. But her death was.
And that’s what made the ending great.
I found I wasn’t surprised by much while reading Allegiant. It didn’t have the same amount of pulse-pounding, jaw-dropping moments that the other books had throughout. But her death was that unexpected “wow” I needed. I had half expected either Four or Tris to be a victim of the memory serum (my money was on it being Four). Of course the romantic in me weeps for the fact that Four and Tris’s love is cut short, that they won’t get to experience a life of love free from danger. But I also know that Tris put her life on the line too many times and she wasn’t always going to be the lucky one. So I’m at peace with the ending—they can’t always be “and they lived happily ever after,” as much as we may want it. I found it satisfyingly disappointing (if that makes sense).
No, what angered me about Allegiant was not Tris’ death, but the mindset of the world outside Chicago. If I buy into the idea that the experiments were a way to develop a population of “pure” genes—and I’m still not sure I do buy into that explanation for the experiments (I think it kind of falls apart if you look at it too closely)—the beliefs of the people, that “pure” and “damaged” need to be divided, makes me mad. Their rationale was so frustrating. But good frustrating.
When all is said and done, I thought Allegiant was good…not great. I liked that some characters were redeemed, while others sunk lower; I liked that we got to see things from Four’s perspective (even though I sometimes had trouble switching between his voice and Tris’); and of course I loved Roth’s writing style—it’s so perceptive and sharp. On the other hand, there was just too much focus on serums and I wanted a few more surprises. In terms of the trilogy, Allegiant provides a solid conclusion. Questions were answered, characters evolved, and there is hope for the future. I’m OK with that.
It’s been a wild ride from Divergent to Allegiant—and I didn’t even need to hop on a high-speed train to enjoy the journey.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)