This is the final instalment of the Divergent trilogy (there is another book, Four, but I believe this is a spin off not part of the main story). The first novel Divergent introduced us to Tris and her strange home city that divides everyone in regimented factions, in Insurgent this society began to crumble, Allegiant takes the characters out of the city into the wider world for the first time. Out there they discover some dramatic truths about their society, why it is closed off from the rest of the world, how the system of factions came to be and what it really means to be divergent.
I was disappointed with this book, not because it was totally terrible but it just didn’t live up to its predecessors. It begins right after the end of the action in Insurgent, which got me off to a bad start… I left about a year between reading the two books and couldn’t remember what was going on! The book isn’t generous with the reader in this respect, there is no handy reminder with the characters conveniently reflecting on everything that has just happened within the first few pages! (So if you do want to read this I recommend you read it not too long after Insurgent.) It is good that it gets straight into the action though, this is the book’s main strength, it is fast paced throughout. I can’t tell you too much about what the action entails as it is full of major reveals and I don’t want to spoil it for you.
As to the books weaknesses – a main one was the way Roth switches the narration between Tris and Tobias. I don’t remember her doing this in the first two. It seems totally pointless as the two characters experience almost all the same things and their inner voices seem totally interchangeable. This often confused me, I would pick up the book half way through a chapter and after reading for a bit come across something like ‘I pull Tris to me and kiss her hard’ and I’m thinking hang on I thought this was Tris, has she just kissed herself? This happened frequently.
I also found aspects of the plot irritating and a bit lazy. The aspect I am referring to is the ‘serums’ that the whole plot suddenly seems to depend on. We already came into contact with the fear and truth serum; now there are memory, death and peace serums too. It seems that most problems could be solved with an application of the correct serum and also perils caused to characters by being exposed to the wrong serum at the wrong time which could then only be overcome by developing an antidote to the said serum. The science of the development of all these serums and antidotes was as vague as expected. It felt that rather that deal with how the characters were behaving and looking for ways the plot could cleverly effect their actions you just squirt someone with a serum and get the result you need. A bit disappointing.
There were some good moments though, a few surprising elements and scenes with real heart (just not enough!)