Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Book Review)

Allegiant by Veronica Roth is the third installation in the best selling series, Divergent. This science fiction trilogy, which is Roth’s debut series, takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago, a world where the whole population is sorted into factions. These factions are determined by individual personality traits such as honesty, courage, intellect, tranquility, and selflessness. These factions control the lives of their members and determine their careers, their priorities, and even their futures. Even though the idea of being defined by a single trait may seem odd, it is surprisingly natural to the characters within this society - that is, all except for Tris Prior.  Beatrice Prior comes from the selfless sector of the city, which is called Abnegation. The Abnegation, because of their selfless nature, are given the role of political leaders. While the faction system has worked for generations, there is conflict bubbling to the surface, and this conflict is the focus of this third part of the trilogy.

In the first two books of the series the stage is set and the revolution begun. What could have sparked this revolution against Abnegation?  Could it have been a single incident or has it been brewing for ages? Just when the Abnegation are about to reveal something that has been kept hidden for generations, they are attacked. There is something that is important enough to risk hundreds of lives, something that the Erudite would go to great lengths to bury. There are many riots and revolts which make Tris risk her life over and over again. Their society moves from one tyrant to the next, and the bloodshed is enough to make Tris question whether things will ever get better and if there is a world beyond the fence. 

What this series does a great job of speaking to is the slow unveiling of the politics and struggle for power between the factions.  Sometimes it is a challenge for Tris and her cohorts to piece together the real state of affairs. There are some who seem content with the status quo and others who are decidedly not. There are some who directly rebel against the faction system and some who are overwhelmed with its absence. What Allegiant continues to build on is the idea of what measures a functioning society will go to in order to avoid tyranny. It shows how precarious such a system of government is, because one revolt can change every aspect of their society and send them spiraling into chaos. Of utmost importance is the question how involved should government be in the lives of its citizens. This series takes that question to the extreme. The government monitors citizens’ thoughts and brainwashes the society as a whole so that in times of war and violence they cannot think for themselves. Even if this was meant to benefit the society, this would be a travesty of justice because it is still manipulation. Which leaves Tris to conclude that the current government is based on flawed morality.

Allegiant raises questions that force Tris to discover her role in society. These questions, likewise, make the reader consider how they would respond to a similar situation.  Veronica Roth wrote the first of these books during her senior year of college at Northwestern University, which explains her attachment to the city of Chicago. The writing is engaging and transports the reader into the society she has created. If you were to be defined by a single characteristic, what would it be? The questions and complications that Tris faces in each book build new levels of complexity. You can see how she and all of the secondary characters slowly evolve over time. It makes the reader think about the world through a different lens and analyze their own being in a way that they didn’t before.  The writing style is simple and not overly descriptive or complex. Instead it is more focused on the plot that is fast-paced and packed with action. All three books of the series are written in the first person, but, unlike the first two, Allegiant alternates between the two main narrators. The plot is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. This makes the book an overall easy read.  It also makes the reader connect with the characters and feel motivated to continue to the next book.

I would recommend Allegiant and the Divergent trilogy as a whole to anyone who is willing to embrace becoming part of this chaotic world and follow the daring protagonist in her efforts to correct the injustices in her society and the outside world. These books will not suit everyone, however, because of some particularly tragic plot twists, but if you can stomach them, the experience will be highly rewarding. This series is the epitome of a dystopian novel. If you have read post-apocalyptic novels and enjoyed them, this series will reward you with hours of excitement.

Title: Allegiant

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Date of Publication: 2013

Number of Pages: 526

Genre: Science Fiction


Comments (1)