Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent, #0.1-0.4
Published: 2014, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
I'm not sure bravery is something you acquire more of with age, like wisdom --but maybe here, in Dauntless, bravery is the highest form of wisdom, the acknowledgement that life can and should be lived without fear.
I’m a bit torn on what to think of this. On the one hand, it’s hard not to view this as a money grab, as a way for Roth’s series to continue to stay relevant. On the other hand, I’ll admit it was kind of interesting to delve a bit into the history of Abnegation-born Tobias Eaton, and the chain of events that led him to become Four, a Dauntless instructor.
Four: A Divergent Collection tells the backstory of Four in four (of course) short stories. “The Transfer” focuses on the days leading up - and following - Four’s choosing ceremony. “The Initiate” focuses on the beginnings of Four’s Dauntless training, and the cultivation of his new persona as “Four,” the initiate with only four fears. “The Son” gives a bit more backstory as to why Four chose to transfer factions, and focuses on his familial relationships in particular. “The Traitor” actually is synchronous with the events of Divergent, as Four begins to question his faction and fall for new initiate Tris (not necessarily in that order).
The first three stories are definitely the strongest. For them Roth has created new content: new characters, new conflicts, new motivations. And, on top of that, she’s also added answers to some niggling questions I had while reading the series, such as why there aren’t many older Dauntless members, or the devolution of the Dauntless faction and how people like Eric could be given such power.
Much of Four’s stories focus on questions of his identity and drive to find meaning, so there’s not much that I can say. If you enjoyed reading about Tris’ conflicts to acclimate to Dauntless and explore the greater meanings of her society, then you’ll enjoy reading about the similar experiences that Four has a few years earlier.
Did I really need to get Four’s backstory or perspective? Certainly not. Though I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the experience of slipping back into this world. This is very clearly a companion novel to the larger series and should only be read in that context. It’s for the fans who want more of Four, and of this dystopian world. And in that regard, I suppose it succeeds.
Rating: 2.5 stars