Wow! This was a very powerful, emotional ending to a kick-butt series. After being somewhat disappointed in book two, book three made a strong comeback. I regret having to read them each a year apart. I forgot a lot in between. Someday, I’ll go back and read them all again the same week.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series (probably not many left after the movie—which I thought was excellent), book one, Divergent (my review), sets up a futuristic world where factions are set in place to maintain order after a devastating war several generations back. We meet Tris and Four, our heroes. It is the story of Tris’s very difficult decision to leave her family and enter the faction of her choice, only to find she is Divergent—her genes are different than the norm—and the Divergent are being hunted. Then one faction rises above the others, initiating a war. In book two, Insurgent (my review), the factionless—destitute, bottom-of-society folks—rise, plunging the city into a new revolution. But new secrets are revealed, hinting that there is far more to their history, and far more to the world beyond the city. Book three takes Tris and Four beyond the city and uncovers the mystery of how the factions began—genetic manipulation. And reveals the horrible plans the government has for the city they grew up in. Plans that throw our heroes into action for a third time.
I know that was not very detailed, but I don’t want to give anything away—rather tricky when talking about a third book. Suffice to say that this series is extremely engaging, with a bit of romance and non-stop action. It’s one of those books that ignites the writer within me to try for such tension, such emotion, in my readers. I highly recommend it.
Some further thoughts. This series is violent. There is a lot of power-grabbing and insurrection going on. There are also some moments of intense kissing. And it hits on some tough subjects. I put an easy 14+ age limit on it in our house. But Tris and Four are both honorable, and Ms. Roth, while she doesn’t write a squeaky clean book, does exhibit a great deal of restraint in the areas of sex and language. And—I love this—she makes the relationship between Tris and Four very real. They are both seriously imperfect, and their interaction reflects that. Unlike most teen romances, Ms. Roth doesn’t create unrealistic expectations for girls looking for Mr. Right. They won’t live happily ever after just because they get married. This is one of my favorite quotes:
“I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.” That’s not fairy tale. That’s real.
In conclusion, if you haven’t read this series yet, it’s intense. Easily one of the best YA series I’ve read. If you like dystopian, make this one your next library choice.