The final book in Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy is “Allegiant”. Obviously this review will contain spoilers for “Divergent” and “Insurgent” so if you haven’t read them I wouldn’t recommend reading any further.
Tris and the others are still reeling from the revelations in Amanda Ritter’s video that was played at the end of “Insurgent”. Tobias’ Mother, Evelyn, has put herself in charge, disbanded the factions and is forcing everyone to live factionless.
Tris and the others have been placed under arrest for their actions in trying to release the video. Tobias manages to get to see her, telling Evelyn he wants to go and break up with her, he tells Tris she needs to lie under the influence of the truth serum and come up with a lie that will clear Christina and Cara as well as they will not be able to lie if they are questioned under truth serum. Tris manages to come up with a plausible enough lie and they are all released without charge.
Tensions between the factionless and former faction members are rising, culminating in a violent struggle over the bowls that used to be used in the Choosing Ceremony. When it becomes clear that Tris isn’t on board with Evelyn’s plans she is kidnapped by a rebel group known as the Allegiant, who invite her to a meeting the following night.
On her way to the meeting Tobias informs Tris that her brother, Caleb, has been sentenced to death for his part in Jeanine Matthews’ plans. When she gets to the meeting she learns that the Allegiant, led by Cara and Johanna, are planning to send a group outside the city limits, as per Amanda Ritter’s plan, to try and get assistance in reinstating their old way of life. Tris agrees to go, on one condition, Caleb goes with her. Tobias and Zeke help break Caleb out of prison and a small group comprising, Tris, Tobias, Tori, Christina, Cara, Uriah, Peter and Caleb, set off to see what lies beyond the fence. Unfortunately, they are attacked on the way out and Tori is killed.
When they get beyond the fence they are met by a woman named Zoe and a man called Amar, who was Tobias’ initiation instructor and was presumed to have been killed for being Divergent. Zoe and Amar take the group to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, in what used to be O’Hare airport, where they discover Tori’s brother, George, who was also presumed to have been murdered for being Divergent, is also alive.
Tris and the others learn the truth about their city, that it was an experiment set up after the Government made a disastrous attempt to correct people’s genes. The hope was that given time enough genetically pure, also known as GPs, individuals would be bred, which would then fix the genetic damage left following the Purity War. These genetically pure individuals are the Divergent.
Tris learns that her Mother wasn’t actually born within the experiment but was put in by the people at the Bureau to find out who was killing the Divergent.
After submitting to some tests it is discovered that Tris is indeed genetically pure but Tobias is actually still genetically damaged. His resistance to simulations is a fluke rather than a true sign of genetic purity. Tobias takes the news badly and aligns himself with a woman named Nita, who works at the Bureau but has secretly been working against them to end discrimination against the genetically damaged. A disastrous attempt at a rebellion goes badly wrong and leaves Uriah in a coma and Nita badly injured and arrested.
Tris is offered a position on the Bureau’s council and learns that the Bureau are planning to wipe the memories of everyone back in the experiment as the tensions between Evelyn and the Allegiant threaten to erupt into violence and threaten the future of the experiment. Tris can’t believe they could be so callous as to wipe out the memories and personalities of everyone she knows just to save the future of the experiment. She decides the only way to stop it is to use the memory serum to wipe the memories of all the people in the Bureau and give them new memories to end the bias against the genetically damaged.
The only problem is the memory serum is in a lab that is guarded by the death serum. Anyone who enters will be infected with death serum and die shortly after. In essence it is a suicide mission and Tris is somewhat conflicted when Caleb volunteers for the mission. At the same time as they are going to wipe the memories of everyone in the Bureau a small group needs to go back in to the experiment and inoculate certain people against the memory serum in case the mission at the Bureau is unsuccessful. Tobias leads the group, intending at the same time to wipe the memory of either his Mother or his Father in order to end the war between Evelyn and the Factionless and Marcus and the Allegiant before anyone else dies.
Will the missions be successful? Will Tris really allow her brother to sacrifice himself in order to make up for the wrongs of his past?
Wow. What an ending. You certainly couldn’t accuse Roth of ending the Trilogy with a fizzle. There is a lot going on in this final instalment and to properly convey everything that needs to be covered Roth has switched from the single first person narrative from Tris’ point of view that she has used in the first two books to a split narrative between Tris and Tobias. This could be a little confusing at times, especially as I read all 3 books one after the other so had been used to reading it as Tris’ viewpoint. The chapters were labelled at the beginning so you knew who’s point of view we were supposed to be reading from but this was still quite confusing at times or maybe it was just me.
The writing was slick and fast paced, the same as the first two books, but the ending was a bit of a shock to me. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone so I don’t want to say too much but it certainly wasn’t the ending I was expecting.
The parts involving the Bureau were very interesting and also quite realistic. You could draw comparisons between their attitudes and Nazi Germany. Nita informs Tobias, and in turn us, that if you are recorded as genetically damaged there are only so many jobs you are allowed to do and if there is ever any trouble the genetically damaged are the first people to be blamed. They are seen as expendable. We also learn from Amar and George that the Bureau is Homophobic. Amar tells Tris that as he and George are genetically pure they are supposed to find genetically pure women and procreate to extend the line of genetic purity, a homosexual relationship is discouraged as it cannot help with procreation. I felt the issue was handled quite sensitively and not played for sensationalism.
I liked the conflict between Caleb and Tris, with her struggling to forgive him for his actions under Jeanine Matthews’ rule. He betrayed his own sister and obviously that isn’t something that you would just forgive purely because he’s your brother so I felt that it was realistic that she would struggle with that. That said, I also felt that Tris’ struggle with whether to let Caleb sacrifice himself was also realistic and very well written. He is still her brother and just because she can’t forgive him for what he’s done in the past doesn’t mean she would happily see him die, especially given he is her last surviving family member.
All in all I really enjoyed the whole trilogy and am looking forward to seeing the film of “Divergent”, which is due out in a few weeks.