Overall, I enjoyed the final novel in this trilogy, but it took me time to really commit. I was slow to fall in love with it. The story went places I didn’t expect to go and sometimes didn’t want to go, but it also made me do a lot of thinking. I loved that we got to see the black side of the world, the white side, and all the gray areas in between. The way it explored the concepts of nature vs. nurture captivated the teacher in me.
The biggest adjustment for me was the alternating POV, and the funny thing is that I shrugged people off when they complained to me about it. I love alternating POV, and I love Four. Who doesn’t? I figured it would awesome.
What surprised me once I started reading was how
similar the two voices were. Sometimes I got confused about whose brain I inhabited at the moment, and it was always a jarring realization. In other alternating POV novels, like Under The Never Sky, I’ve skipped reading the name at the start of each chapter, because I could always tell who I was following. However, in fairness, Tobias and Tris are much more similar than Perry and Aria.
I easily resolved my confusion by pausing at the start of each chapter to let the POV character sink into my brain for several second before reading on, even though that went against my impatient nature. It wasn’t a major crisis by any means, and as a writer, I understand why she chose it for the last book.
Since I waited a couple of months to read the novel, I heard a lot of complaints from students and teachers about the ending of the story, even though I refused to listen to specifics.
SPOILER ALERT: I’ll try to be vague, but people can usually read between the lines…
For me personally, the ending was almost perfect. There were a few events leading up to it that seemed a bit too easily handled (Marcus), a few things that concerned me or felt overlooked (decide for yourselves), but overall, I loved the way every decision and action had a significant meaning attached to it.
The big epic event that has everyone so worked up was painful, gut-wrenching, and misery inducing, which in my mind equals well-written. With all the foreshadowing for the past two books, I expected something similar to happen, and it allowed for a lot to be said about humanity. Grief is hard to live through and hard to write, but Roth definitely captures it in way that makes me ache.
Overall, my favorite characters were true to themselves, and they made choices that I felt were right for them, which made me proud.