London, HarperCollins, 2013, 526p
It has taken me a little longer to read this final book in the Divergent series than the previous two. When I started it, I jumped right in, eager to find out what happens to Tris and Tobias, but I found this book slower paced and less gripping than Divergent and Insurgent.
It's hard to write about this novel without giving anything away. Let's just say this: Tris, Tobias and their friends learn that the world they have known is not what it seems. As the city divides - people choosing whether to defend the system of factions or battle for factionless society, it becomes clear that the city is only a small part of a greater plan, and the young characters begin to see themselves as tiny elements of a much greater world.
Here, everything becomes a little science fiction, which is where I lost my connection with the series. Where I had previously loved the dystopian action - pages filled with fights and Tris' inner turmoil - the final book in this series felt like it got too big for itself. It felt a little like the Resident Evil books, where each new story reveals a darker and larger conspiracy. Veronica Roth clearly had a big plan for her series, but this novel did not seem to fulfil her ambitions.
Allegiant is written from the points of view of both Tobias and Tris, switching between the two narrators chapter by chapter and revealing Tobias' inner most thoughts and fears, particularly as their romance developed. Unfortunately, although Veronica Roth has created a clear and complex character in Tobias, I did not find his narrative all that distinct from Tris' and sometimes had to flick back to the start of a chapter to work out who was talking. Apparently, Roth has written some mini-chapters from Tobias' viewpoint previously, and I would be interested to read these and see if they are any better.
When I spoke to the students at school about this book, those who hadn't read it were excited by the final novel in their nre favourite series, and those who had read it convinced me it got better at the end. Admittedly, as the revelations unfolded and the action built up, I rediscovered my love and respect for Tris and her companions (increasingly, the other female characters became intriguing, particularly Christina). But I cannot ignore my disappointment at the turn this series took towards science fiction and that it just felt a little too much like dragging myself through tar.