I definitely preferred this follow up than the second book! What a dramatic closing! I've expressed I no longer like many of the characters, especially the men, but the drama had me turning pages. I finished this book in the same day because of the anticipation in me left by the second book.
Maxon, America, and Aspen have a refreshing change in scenery when they venture outside the palace. Celeste completely redeems herself and made me fall in love with her only to break my heart at the end </3 America also begins to care about changing her public image, but does so in a way that is so America, which was ironically unexpected and interesting to me. Kota got the reality check he needed.
However I did feel like the author overly exhausted using rebel attacks as plot devices to resolve a fights between Maxon and America. The last rebel attack also seemed to have solved more problems for the story than the rebels might have intended because in one flash, the king was out of the picture, Maxon forgives America, the northeners unite with the monarch, and Aspen lets go of America. All solved by one instance.
Cass also leaves the overall issue with the rebels and castes open ended. Of course I wanted all the problems to be solved because so many narrative resources were invested in the character's future plans for diplomacy. But the those macro issues that, in reality, would take decades to resolve, were too big of issues to be solved during the duration of the selection. So I don't blame Cass for choosing to leave it open ended.
Overall this was much improvement from the filler book that came before it. I was as entertained by this book as I was with the first book. I'll be reading the next book soon!