Allegiant and picks up where the second book, Insurgent, ended. The narrative focuses around a seemingly self-contained population group living in what used to be Chicago, at least what is left of this once great city after some great tragedy overcame the original citizens at some point in the distant past. The people who live here now have divided themselves into one of five recognized factions, Amity (fellowship), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (wisdom), Candor (honesty), and Abnegation (selflessness). At the end of Insurgent the city had fallen into chaos and lawlessness, as a full-fledged war had erupted between the factions as small conflicts gave way to bold grasps for power. Our protagonists, Tris and Tobias, who have given everything they had to restore some sort of peace, have ultimately been forced to flee the city, to scale the fence and journey into the complete unknown. The citizens of this Chicago have been taught since birth that gruesome death awaits anyone who goes beyond the fences. Yet they ultimately choose to face this unknown rather than remain to be hunted down and killed in their hometown.
Ultimately, we learn that a full-fledged civil war had devastated the population of the United States many generations ago. The war was fought between people known as GP's and those known as GD's. The GD's referred to those who had undergone a form of DNA modification to rid themselves of some less desirable traits and the GPs refer to those who did not. Ultimately the GP's contained the GD's into communities, like the Chicago experiment, to try to control them, quarantine them, corral them, and ultimately to breed them to a point when they might be reintegrated into society. Just beyond the Chicago fence, the GP's maintain a huge complex that monitors all of the experimental communities. It is this world that Tris and Tobias enter into. There they try to dispel the misinformation, bias, and ignorance of the GP program directors while saving their own people. Ultimately we see that everyone, GP's and GD's alike, are not so different. Each person an example of sinful and flawed humanity.
This series was recommended to me by my pastor's wife Monica. I very much enjoyed reading this series and related to the characters as they developed and grew through this story. While this series falls into the YA or "young adult" category, it contained enough complexities and moral quandries that kept me reading and thinking and, ultimately, to keep turning the pages to find out how it would end.