Allegiant is the final book of the Divergent series. The factionless have taken over the city with Evelyn as the new leader. But not everyone likes the idea of living without factions, and a new group called the Allegiant has formed to attempt to overthrow Evelyn’s rule. The group also wants to send some people outside of the city to explore, and Tris and Four are among the group selected. Out there, they discover the truth behind the city, and it destroys everything they once thought to be true.
Well, now that I’ve seen the explanation given behind their world, I maintain that it makes no sense. Basically, some scientists decided tried to create genetically superior humans, but every test subject ended up being flawed. Someone would be incredibly intelligent or super brave, but lacking in compassion. Peaceful, but lacking in motivation. Selfless, but with no sense of self-preservation. This resulted in the Purity War, where the “genetically damaged” fought against the “genetically pure” and more than half of the US population was lost. No clue where the rest of the world was during this. If it was mentioned, it was a very quick one that I can’t recall. Anyways, after the war, people wanted the “genetically damaged” people problem to be fixed. A new government agency called the Bureau of Genetic Welfare was created. They got the “genetically damaged” individuals to come and be put in controlled cities where they would then live and procreate so that each generation would be more and more healed genetically until they went back to the way they were before. Divergent people are simply “genetically pure” people. It basically means you’re normal. (Which is basically what I said Divergent meant when I read book 1.) I’m just going to go with a simple, “Genetics don’t work that way” and move on from that.
This book switches between Tris and Four for POVs. I honestly had a hard time telling the two of them apart. There were multiple times where I would forget whose chapter I was reading because it really could have been either one. I’d have to flip back to check, and there were a few times where I was wrong about whose chapter I thought it was. It wasn’t every chapter that this happened, but it was quite a few.
Most of the other characters felt pushed to the background. There was one point where Four thinks that he completely forgot that Peter was present, and all I could think was that that was how I felt for most of the characters—Christina, Caleb, Peter, Uriah, Cara, etc. The characters who got the most focus besides Tris and Four were new characters. The old characters just felt really flat here and when some of them died, I had a hard time feeling anything.
This book just felt like it belonged to a completely different series. Pretty much everything from the first two books got tossed aside and rendered pointless. Most of the book takes place outside of the city, and, despite random updates of the city, the plot didn’t feel connected to the city for the most part. Technically it was, but it didn’t feel like it.
There is trouble in the relationship between Tris and Four, which is pretty much represented by the “genetically damaged” Juanita or Nita. Four finds out that he is “genetically damaged” and is shaken up by the revelation. Nita comforts him and wants him to join her and others in trying to put a dent in the power of the “genetically pure” who oppress them and look down on them. Tris’ immediate reaction to Nita is jealousy over a “pretty girl who talks to my boyfriend when I’m not there,” but later instinctively knows that she can’t be trusted. And even though she admits to herself that she’s not sure if that instinct comes from her jealousy or not, Tris gets mad when Four calls her jealous. Tris pretty much expects Four to do whatever she wants and gets mad if he doesn’t, which he calls her on. She gets mad at that accusation too, but it’s pretty much true.
I did finally realize why I don’t like the two of them together. The whole initial set-up of the two characters ruined it for me. I found myself continually having to remind myself that he’s not in his late 20s which is how I read him. He started off as her training instruction for what was basically the city’s equivalent of the military, making him her drill sergeant in my eyes. In addition to having this position of power over all initiates into Dauntless, Four was also offered the chance to be one of the leaders of the whole faction. The book wants me to believe he achieved all this in less than two years, as well as the faction going through massive changes within that time span as well. All of that happening is something I’d expect in a time span of a decade or so, which is why I kept reading him as closer to 28 rather than the stated 18. But even without that, I saw Four as her drill sergeant during Divergent, and a drill sergeant making advances on someone they're training creeps me out. Even if the concept is closer to teacher/student, that too creeps me out. Any way I look at it, Four was in a position where he had control over her fate and could have severely sabotaged her in a way that could have resulted in her death or permanent homelessness if she displeased him by something like turning down his advances. I’m not saying Four is the kind of character to do that, but the potential for that to happen is there. Of course, we find out that Four’s instructor apparently attempted to start the same relationship with him when Four was an initiate. Luckily for Four, his instructor didn’t screw him over for not entering into a relationship with him, but once again, that potential is there, and it creeps me out. That being said, I’m clearly in the minority with the whole Tris/Four relationship, which I accept.
There was a lack of questioning Bureau things until proof was offered up by one of the new characters of wrongdoing that bugged me. Neither Tris nor Four thought to ask why the Bureau did nothing to prevent the Abnegation genocide despite interfering for lesser matters. It’s only when they’re shown proof that the Bureau helped cause the genocide that they actually think about it. That was a pretty big thing for both of them, but they never thought to question it.
We learn that the Bureau employs memory serum regularly to wipe the memories of anyone causing problems so that they can be reset to save lives. Tris goes on and on about how horrible the use of the memory serum against unknowing victims is. Right up until her plan to stop the Bureau from wiping the memories of everyone in the city to stop a war involves using the memory serum on everyone in the Bureau. When Four and the others point out that that’s using the same horrible method that she was against, Tris says that it’s to stop a war, so it must be done. You know, just like how the Bureau was doing it to stop a war. I’m not saying that I disagree with the use of the memory serum against the Bureau. I just didn’t like the hypocrisy and how easily it was brushed aside.
The end to the war brewing in the city was basically brought about by Four asking his mother, Evelyn, to choose him over the cause she dedicated her entire life to, which she then did. It just had me going, “Really?” While I don’t mind conflicts ultimately being resolved by people talking things out, this seemed to happen far too easily.
I didn't mind Tris sacrificing herself in the end to save everyone, although I did wish that it happened in a slightly different way. Having her survive the death serum that protected the memory serum, but ultimately die by being shot by the leader of the Bureau just annoyed me a bit. It made the death go away from Tris sacrificing herself heroically and more toward Tris getting murdered while doing something heroic. The first would have been her choice. The second was an unexpected obstacle appearing at the last minute to kill her.
Overall, the Divergent series was one with ideas I found interesting, but an execution that I just didn't like.