There's just not much more that I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. I loved the first two and had very high hopes for #3, the finale of the story. Due to the overwhelming negative response to the book, I waited. I didn't want to be caught up in the whirlwind and I wanted to separate myself from all that was being said before jumping in. I wish I could say the wait helped, but it didn't.
Spoilers below - DON'T READ ON if you haven't read the book or don't want to have major plot points spoiled!
I went in expecting a major death. I assumed Tris, but knew it could alternately be Four or maybe both, so I wasn't angry or surprised when Tris was killed while trying to save the world (for lack of a better phrase). I mean really, it fits her - that's just the kind of stuff Tris does. I'm actually happy that Roth went with her true self in the book and didn't save Tris just to make readers happy. Let's be honest - she knew she'd take crap for this one.
Save that one thing, the rest of the book was disappointing. The writing felt off - it never felt like Roth for some reason. It was all very amateurish and stilted. I spent much of the novel trying to read who's POV I was in because Tris and Four sounded EXACTLY alike. Several times entire chapters would confuse me simply because I thought I was reading in Tris's POV only to remember towards the end (usually because I flipped back to the first page of the chapter to see who was narrating) that no, I'd been in a chapter from Four's POV. Very frustrating to say the least.
I also felt like much of book 3's information probably could/should have been woven throughout the other two so that we weren't in such a informational/learning heavy read for the entirety of the close out. It felt as if all the back-story, all the info was shoved into book 3 so there was no room for the action or climax. Both were very secondary in this novel which made all the revelations and the few instances of action feel rushed, lacking, and superficial.
Then there's the gov't conspiracy that we learn is the "outside the fence" secret. Such a build up that led to such a anti-climatic discovery. And nothing really taking place with Evelyn and Marcus - they are HUGE antagonists in this series and one just kinda goes away while the other makes a 360 and becomes the parent they were supposed to be for Four. That felt weird - if you're willing to kill off Tris to be authentic to the story why did Marcus and Evelyn get such an easy out? I can see Evelyn's transformation coming on so easily - she's obviously worn down and beaten by the time Four finds her, but Marcus never evolves, never changes, and then just disappears into an oblivion with no conflict or resolution or anything. I don't know - hard to explain, but it just felt so off and again, anti-climatic compared to all of the extreme drama, action, and turmoil we were introduced to in the first two novels.
Lastly, I wasn't a fan of how significantly Tris and Four changed in this book - all the sudden lovey dovey and having lover's quarrels and getting jealous of other suitors. It just didn't fit. It didn't fit either of their personalities or the story.
So that's it...probably the hardest review I'll write all year because I hated writing it (almost didn't), but I felt like maybe getting it out there would help me "move on"...LOL. I will say this:
I still LOVE Roth and I won't hesitate to read any forthcoming work she puts out. And I'll probably read the first two books several more times in my lifespan because I loved them - the stories she gave us and the writing Roth used to get them to us. (hide spoiler)]