by Roth, Veronica

The conclusion to the trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world and the consequences of a fateful decision.

If Divergent (2011) boasted a stark clarity and Insurgent (2012) bordered on the incomprehensible, this trilogy finale falls squarely in the middle: though plenty of fat goes uncut, the plot is both followable and logical. While Roth's strength has never been characterization (side characters continue to be more or less interchangeable), she does, by the brave ending, elicit a long-in-coming and, frankly, well-earned emotional response. Power couple Tris and Tobias, on trial as traitors, manage to escape their dystopic Chicago only to land in the hands of the Bureau, a government agency that is watching the "experiment" of the Factions unfold. This pulling-back-of-the-curtain and the accompanying "fight against genetic damage" may be the single most fascinating idea of the entire series, though there isn't much lingering upon it before, once more, Tris and Tobias must judge a new cast of characters as friend or foe between episodes of bickering and kissing. While the prose feels hasty and repetitive, it does turn pages, which is the meter by which the gargantuan fan base will judge it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This heir to The Hunger Games is arguably the highest-demand book of the year. Expect total saturation leading up the 2014 movie. Resistance is futile. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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