Last night I finished reading Allegiant and I promptly could not fall asleep, probably from the adrenaline rush that the book, and the series gave me. The is seriously action packed from page one. I do think that by the end the series was a little too action-saturated, and there could have been a few more slow paced scenes scattered throughout the series. I don’t think that would have slowed down the plot too much, but I did like the story that Roth was telling.
There is no way to review this book without giving away spoilers so if you are someone who is interested in reading the series and haven’t yet, or if you haven’t finished this book yet – be warned. You can find my reviews for Divergent and Insurgent here and here.
So Allegiant. The book starts off right where the second one ended, and Tris finds that her solid community of factions no longer exists. It has been destroyed through the factionless take over, and although the factionless people rally for peace and for freedom, there is still very little of either within the city of Chicago. Tris soon finds herself traveling with Tobias and a few others outside Chicago to a bigger world that she didn’t know existed – one that is just as broken as the world she escaped from.
In many dystopian novels the history of the community or the reasons for an overbearing rule, are addressed in the first book of the trilogy. With this series however, Veronica Roth waits until the final installment to show what is really going on. I was concerned, going into the third book, that the reasons behind all the madness wouldn’t be addressed fully, and while I do think there could have been more shown in the first book without giving the whole story away, I was generally happy with the way it was addressed here.
Essentially, the city of Chicago was turned into a social experiment where the faction system is used to “cure” people of their broken genetic code. This “broken” code is ultimately what causes violence in the world, researchers have decided. There are those who are “broken” and those who are not (otherwise known as Divergent). The government is ultimately attempting to “fix” those who are “broken” and as one can imagine, things don’t quite go according to plan.
Veronica Roth did an excellent job really showing and discussing human nature in this book. So much of history’s conflicts arose from the idea that group A was in some way better and more whole than group B was, and that is essentially what is being addressed here in Tris’s society. At the same time, however, the symbolism of human nature and the deeper meaning behind the story is not overstated, and does not get in the way of the action, the characters, or the plot as a whole. Instead it is really what ends up driving the story forward. In an interview with MTV news, when asked about what Divergence really is, Roth says,
The point of [Tris’s] Divergence is that it’s this complex thing inside of her, and there are all these things that she can be, these possibilities. But as I wrote the series, I realized that all the characters had become complex that way, and that none of them really fit into those categories [of their factions]. …I think Divergence doesn’t mean anything…I think it’s a more powerful thing for everyone to be this complicated, rich, good, bad mixture of things. But to have people believe that there are these divisions that exist.
While I do think that some of the lesser characters could have been more distinctive and unique in terms of their voices, attitudes, and humor, these ideas were portrayed consistently throughout the book, and this quote sums up human nature pretty well if you ask me.
While the first two books of the Divergent series were told only from Tris’s point of view, this third one is split between Tris’s narration and Tobias’s. This was another aspect of the story that I was a little weary about, as I am not such a fan of the split narration method. But I have been known to get over it before, and I found that Roth really uses the dual narration to get inside Tobias’s head so the reader can see a new side of him that would have been harder to show otherwise.
In the previous book, Tobias has been seen as Tris’s handsome, brave boyfriend with a troubled past. Readers certainly grew to love him but I always thought he was a little one sided in the books alone (I know there are also short stories that Roth published earlier this year focusing on Tobias and his past). But in Allegiant, Tobias really struggles through a lot of issues, much in the same way that Tris did in Insurgent. It would have been good to see Tobias as more of a three-dimensional character earlier in the series, but I did enjoy his chapters, and the things that he struggles with throughout the book. He is faced with obstacles that force him to reevaluate much of his life, and that really dig into his character as a whole. I really enjoyed seeing this new side of Tobias, and in some ways this book is more about him than it is about Tris.
I didn’t read any spoilers before starting Allegiant, but I had some suspicions about what would happen at the end of the book based on what I’d seen so far from people’s spoiler free comments and from the story itelf. And I have to say, in some ways my suspicions were correct, and in other ways they were very wrong. All in all, the action and suspense kept me reading through to the end, and although there is a dramatic ending to the series (how can there not be with all the action) I can appreciate the ending when looking I look at the stories and characters as a whole.