The faction-based society has completely unraveled. Everything Tris Prior once knew and understood is gone – torn apart by violence, conflict and competing agendas. With the factionless trying to recreate Chicago’s society in their own way, Tris is ready to leave. She wants to travel beyond the city limits to find the truth behind the explosive video that claims the Divergents are needed for a greater purpose. And maybe, she’ll find a quieter, more peaceful life as well. But Tris is about to discover even more secrets and she’ll be forced to make some of the most difficult decisions of her life.
Allegiant picks up almost immediately after Insurgent ends, and rushes towards a dramatic climax. With the same adrenaline-pumping action and startling revelations that made the first two books of the series so addictive, Allegiant finally provides some answers about the mysterious society Tris was born into. Allegiant also expands upon its dystopian environment by giving readers both Tris’ and Tobias’ points of view in alternating chapters. In many ways, Allegiant is the outlier in this trilogy, different is so many ways from its two predecessors. Yet it also felt like an interesting way to end the series – by continuing to pull layers back and reveal more, Roth shows us, once again, that few things are ever as simple as they seem.
Overall, while I liked the series as a whole and I did enjoy reading this book, I have mixed feelings about Allegiant for two reasons: the dual narrators, and the ending.
One part of me loved finally having Tobias’ point of view in the story. As wonderfully flawed and complex Tris is as a character, her perspective is also fairly limited and narrow. Giving Tobias an equal opportunity to to have his say gave the novel more depth; this way, we readers get more story, and not just one side. It was also interesting to finally see Tris from the outside – how she appears to others, and how her strengths and weaknesses come across to someone who loves her. At the same time, however, I often found the dual narration to be distracting. Though Roth indicates at the start of each chapter who is speaking, I found it difficult to distinguish between Tris and Tobias on occasion. I thought their internal voices were too similar and I would have rather seen more distinction between them, especially when they disagreed.
Besides the dual narrators, the ending stirred up lots of thoughts and opinions. Here’s my obligatory spoiler warning if you haven’t read the book: beware and proceed at your own risk.
The Internet actually spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me, months before I read it. And I couldn’t “un-know” what I already knew, so I anticipated Tris’ decisions and her behavior before it actually happened. Even with that anticipation, though, I still wasn’t expecting both anger and understanding at Roth’s choice to end her book the way she did. Anger, because a part of me does feel as if the ending was a cheap way to close the series, and forestall any calls for more sequels. And it does seem like the easy choice – ending the story this way removes the need for Tris to figure out how to live in a completely new world, a task that’s undoubtedly difficult when you’ve only known one way of life. But another part of me understood Roth’s choice, and even applauded it. Tris’ decision is completely in line with her character. In that moment, it made perfect sense. It was also, certainly, an unpopular choice for an author to make and I respect Roth for choosing to write the story she wanted to write, and not simply giving the readers the overly saccharine “happy ever after.”
(Roth has a great blog post about her authorial choices with the ending and I really think it’s worth reading.)
After Divergent and Insurgent, I do feel that Allegiant is a bit of a mixed bag – some good parts, some not-so-good parts and a conflict-inducing ending. But with this last book, the series as a whole gives readers an incredible heroine. Tris comes so far from those first few chapters and, if nothing else, I love Allegiant for showing us exactly how a character grows and changes in response to a life’s traumatic events. From start to finish, Tris is the best part of this series and it’s definitely worth reading Allegiant just to see the person she becomes.
[Photo Credit: Goodreads]