★★★★☆ four out of five stars
Tris is Divergent: she doesn’t fit into just one of the four main personality types that dictate to which faction one belongs in the city of her birth. She’s come a long way, leaving Abnegation to join the Dauntless faction only to discover a conspiracy leading to a civil war. In Allegiant, Tris and her friends leave the city to explore the outside world, believing those outside need their help.
Tobias still bears the psychic scars of his father’s violence and his mother’s abandonment. While working through these issues he joins Tris in venturing outside.
Tris, Tobias and their friends have issues to work through between themselves – like Tris killing Christine’s brother and Tris’s brother betraying her – while they’re learning about the outside world. Like any teenagers, they’re exploring their new world to determine their life paths from here.
They learn of a plan that will destroy their city. Then they learn of another plan to wipe everyone’s memories to reset them to the past, imprisoning their friends and families for generations longer. They want to fight for their people but how can they win freedom for all?
They discover their city is Chicago, one of many cities surviving in a post-apocalyptic world were genetic damage is blamed for violence as part of a historical rewrite. Genetic ‘purity’ and ‘inferiority’ alongside the inevitable discrimination arising from such ideology is a strong theme in Allegiant, not unlike the previous theme of discrimination not born of race but of creed and personality type.
Other themes explored are sex, drug use, responsibility, grief, friendships and family; all without lecturing.
In places the plot becomes too convoluted, breaking the suspension of disbelief. For example, instead of allowing Tris’s parents to rest in peace, Tris discovers her mother was a plant from outside the city. Because in a closed society like the city, no-one will notice a new student appearing suddenly within a faction compound and at school. /faceroll.
Elements of plot resolution were overly easy however Veronica Roth performs a GRRM (George R R Martin) to excellent effect, both at the event and the following ripples. This emotionally powerful plot twist provides gravitas for the conclusion with greater realism and grit than expected.
Allegiant is a very good conclusion to an excellent story although the overly complicated plot has holes, detracting from the narrative. Themes explored within this Young Adult trilogy are excellent fodder for discussion groups and English Literature classes. Highly recommended.