I was 66 on the wait list at my local library for Veronica Roth’s third and final book in her Divergent series—Allegiant. But it was definitely worth the wait. Third books in trilogies make me nervous. They’re supposed to be the climax of the series, be bigger than the previous two books, and wrap up the story to give the reader closure and a sense of fulfillment. That’s a tall order, and often books fall short of pulling this off. I don’t think many people were pleased with the third Hunger Games book. The third Twilight book was the worst in the series, in my opinion. I approached Allegiant with trepidation. Veronica Roth had set herself up for an epic conclusion, but that also gave her high standards to achieve. Would she do it? Would Allegiant be all I hoped it would be? The quick answer is yes.
To be perfectly honest, though I liked and enjoyed Divergent, a lot of the book annoyed me. It frustrated me that characters clung to their factions’ singular characteristics, like Dauntless was so into being fearless that they were not compassionate. I realize that this is one of the points Veronica Roth was trying to make—that to be too brave or too smart or too honest at the expense of kindness and compassion is a bad thing, and we should strive, as Tobias of the upcoming Divergent movie puts it, “I want to be brave, and I want to be selfless, intelligent, and honest, and kind.” But I found it difficult to read about characters who turned their backs on other people and left them for dead or to be cast out with the factionless. But I still found many good things in Divergent, so I read the second book, Insurgent. Insurgent, in my opinion, was better than Divergent. The characters started to realize that they shouldn’t sacrifice their compassion in order to succeed in their faction. Roth was also starting to really broaden the story, delving into questions about human nature, human relationships, government, morality, and all that good stuff. And then at the end of Insurgent, Roth laid the foundation for an epic third book.
Allegiant did not disappoint. Allegiant expanded on the themes Roth introduced earlier in the series, asking deep questions about human nature. She examines both the good and the evil found in each person, and is both optimistic and realistic about what she finds. Roth also develops her characters, making them grow as individuals and together in their relationships. Roth expands the scope of her book beyond the characters and beyond the city of Divergent. She looks at human nature itself and the world at large, successfully making Allegiant bigger than its two predecessors.
There is enough action in Allegiant to make it a climatic end to Roth’s Divergent series. She also expands the story and the themes to be bigger than her first two books, making Allegiant epic and climatic. Readers get closure with a powerful and moving ending that is very well written. And most importantly, after so much conflict and hardship and struggle for her characters, Roth offers redemption in. After everything characters have been through, especially in dystopian stories, the author must offer something to give the characters and readers hope—to know that this was not all for nothing, that they will go on, that at the end of the story there is hope. Veronica Roth does that extraordinarily well.
Now that Divergent is behind her, it will be very interesting to see what Veronica Roth writes next. Though, for those of us unable to let go and move on from the Divergent trilogy, the movie Divergent is coming soon.