on July 8, 2014
** ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS **
For those of us, and there are many, that were disappointed with Allegiant (Divergent Series), Veronica Roth's collection of novellas in Four: A Divergent Collection (Divergent Series) is a kind reminder that the Divergent series was really a good trilogy if only more depth and distinction was delivered from Tobias' perspective.
Each novella is very short, with the entire book totaling about 300 pages. It was a breeze to read through in two sittings.
The set of novellas document events that take place both before and during the first Divergent novel and helped me fill in the many gaps left in the story of Tobias' life. Starting two years before Tris transfers to Dauntless, we are given a new, albeit still limited, perspective of the characters in the original Divergent novel.
The first three novellas, The Transfer, The Initiate, and The Son have the most depth and kept me really interested. It gave me a great new vantage point similar to re-reading Divergent through the eyes of a new narrator. In the Transfer, we are immediately entangled in the Dauntless world reminiscent of Tris' initiation. The books focus on Tobias' life, his choice to flee, and the emotions that haunted him in doing so. The Traitor brings together the time when Tris' arrives in Dauntless. This gives the reader, in my opinion, a different understanding and appreciation of Four's character as told in Divergent.
Four: A Divergent Collection is nicely written and uniquely put together as short novellas. However, I am not sure it makes up for the disappointment with how Allegiant ended. And given the interviews from Veronica Roth's book tour, it looks like the final nail is in the coffin of a series that never adequately concluded.
on July 11, 2014
NOTE: The Kindle version does NOT have Free Four or the "three exclusive scenes" that are apparently included in the print version. Because of this, just buy the books separately. There's no reason to spend MORE for the collection.
I was really looking forward to reading from Four's POV, because even though Tris may have had a better story, I found Four to be a more compelling character. These novellas were just OK. Not as bad as Allegiant, but not nearly as captivating as Divergent - which I loved. There were some inconsistencies with the main trilogy which was disappointing to see. (Where are the editors?!) The last novella (Traitor) seemed rushed to me. Lots of dialogue, but not nearly as much of Four's inner monologue as we saw from Tris in Divergent. i would have rather had fewer, well-fleshed out scenes than a bunch of short-takes with little development.
After the disaster that was Allegiant and the ham-handed way these novella's are written, I think I am done with Roth. She can't seem to write well with a deadline. There is some excellent fanfic out there that is worth your time though. Do a search for "Determinant: One choice changes everything". That book is a replacement for Allegiant and the author is also doing some stories from Four's POV which are also very well done.
Divergent 5 stars
Insurgent 4 stars
Allegiant 1 star
Four 3 stars
on August 13, 2014
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
The Transfer is centered around Four at the time of his Choosing Ceremony, and is therefore the tale of his life at Abnegation. Four was such a different person two years ago. He was scared and wasn't able to stand up for himself. The only thing I could think of while reading was how bad I felt for Four. There was barely anything new to the story, because this part of his life was already told in Divergent. So although we knew why Four made the choice to transfer, this novella offers the opportunity to understand his actions towards Marcus, and that is what made it good. Four stars for The Transfer.
Out of all the four novellas, I think I like The Initiate the best. This one contains a lot of character development for Four and adds more background to his character, but also to other minor characters we got to see in the trilogy, including Dauntless borns such as Shauna, Zeke, Marlene, Uriah, Amar and Max. There were scenes when Tobias's initiation resembled a bit too much to Tris's, but they were eventually easy overlooked because I really enjoyed reading the story and Four's adventures before he met her. Four stars for The Initiate.
While the other novellas are fairly good, The Son reminded me way too much of Allegiant for my liking. The reason why might astonish you even more, because this one is also filled with plot holes and unexplained situations. It brought up questions I never received an answer for and left me confused. By that point I didn't know what to expect of the last novella anymore because this one was just meh. Two stars for The Son.
The Traitor takes place during the events of Divergent and is basically contains our favourite scenes - minus the ferris wheel scene, I still wonder why that one wasn't included - and a few of Four's internal monologues. This one didn't feel like an actual novella anymore, because everything is just told from a different point of view and added almost nothing to the trilogy. It was still nice to read it, but at times this novella felt more like a collection of snippets instead of a real story. Three stars for The Traitor.
After the terrible work of art which is called Allegiant, I never thought to read something from Veronica Roth again. The highly anticipated last book in the once-fantastic Divergent trilogy ruined it in more aspects than I imagined. I didn't enjoy the film as much as I wanted to, I completely lost connection with the trilogy, etc. It's probably the number one reason why I didn't want to pick up this collecion of four novellas set before and during the events of Divergent. It all seemed a bridge too far and an obvious money maker. Despite all that, I did enjoy these short stories and would rather consider them as a satisfying 'conclusion' to this trilogy.
on July 10, 2014
It has been two years since Divergent’s release, when teens everywhere fell in love with not only Tris as the heroine but Tobias Eaton, a.k.a. Four, the surly and secretive Dauntless instructor. As Tris slowly fell in love with Four, so did readers, and they loyally followed the couple through Insurgent and Allegiant. On July 8, Roth released the companion novel told from Four’s point of view where he takes the reader through his decision to leave Abnegation and join Dauntless, through his initiation and offer as leader, through the realization that his mother is still alive, and finally through the first steps of falling in love with Tris.
“The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” and “the Son”
In these first three sections, we see Tobias’s home life with his father, Marcus. From Divergent, we knew that Tobias was abused, and now we get to see first-hand what it was like. Marcus is relentless, often isolating Four to his room. When Marcus finds Four’s box of keepsakes initiated by his mother, Marcus calls him self-indulgent and breaks everything inside. When Four allows his blood to drop on the coals, we cheer for his bravery and Marcus’s disappointment.
In the same way that Tris left Abnegation for Dauntless, Tobias must take the train jump, the ledge/net jump, and enter the fear landscape, where he earns his nickname Four. Unlike Tris, Four is the last jumper, and this is not what readers would expect from him. He seems more afraid than the brave persona he wears in the Divergent series.
We watch as he meets Eric and begins to learn his way around the Dauntless compound. Four learns what it means to be divergent, to be aware of one’s surroundings. After finishing initiation in the number one spot, he is offered a leadership position, but he politely refuses and instead takes an instructor position as well as working in the control room.
He also hears from his mother (whom he thought was dead) that the factionless are aware of impending downfall of all five factions, which begins his obsession with watching Dauntless leader Max’s secretive encounters with Jeanine Matthews. The perks of working in the control room!
I’m glad that Roth took the opportunity to share Four’s abusive life with his father because it sheds a lot of light on why he is so guarded around Tris. Roth fast-forwards through Four’s initiation, which is clever, considering we’ve already seen the process once. These three sections work together as a prequel of sorts, providing necessary information to Four’s background. As a companion piece, each of these three sections could be read in tandem with Divergent. ---full review on reviewscomingatya.blogspot.com
on September 16, 2014
This book is not worth buying! Warning: This is the most negative review I have ever written. I was incredibly disappointed with the way that this book was compiled and how poorly it was edited. It is a series of vignettes from the prospective of Tobias and then, at the end, they throw in a final vignette that should have been put somewhere in the middle. After a great start, with Divergent, each subsequent book by Veronica Roth has become increasingly disappointing. I love the concept and have read each of the previous books in the series to get a little bit more of the story. With Allegiant and Insurgent, at least the reader gets new plot information. With this book, there is nothing new. Honestly, I am surprised that this book was even published. So many teen fiction authors seem to think that they have to go back and rehash previous works from another character's perspective. This book simply feels like author notes to Divergent. I am kicking myself for actually buying it. If you feel that you must read it to confirm how bad it is, then get it from the library.
on February 6, 2015
FOUR by Veronica Roth gets “FOUR” stars. It is about the events leading up to what happens in Divergent, from FOUR’s perspective. It was really cool to see things from Fours perspective, we do not really get to see much of his point of view in Divergent. it also gives a lot of insight into why he acts the way he does. It is also really sad to see why he is the way he is (Marcus). I would recommend this book to anyone who has read any of the Divergent series, it can be read at any point in the series, just not before the first book. But I would not recommend reading it if you have not read Divergent.
on July 10, 2014
First and foremost, very well written and gives Four a voice to be proud of. While I am very glad I got more insight on Four and Divergent in general, if this collection did anything, it made me even more certain that this series doesn't feel over and makes me even more angry about Allegiant. Read at your own risk.
on October 16, 2014
Where to start? Okay, if you know of my obsession with the Divergent Trilogy, then you know that I couldn’t resist this book. I remember reading Divergent when it first released years ago while I was on a road trip to Texas and Arkansas. I could not put the book down to save my life, not even to take over driving for my husband. I love Four and Tris as a couple and as individuals. We all got to know Tris while reading the other books, and a little bit of Four’s voice in Allegiant. It was so nice getting back into his head again and learning more of his character. It was worth the wait, and so much better than Free Four.
From his initiation into Dauntless, to his view on Tris, I couldn’t get enough of him. He is a strong and admirable character, and you can’t help but love him. My heart broke for him on certain memories, which we already kind of knew from his fear landscape in Divergent. I hate Marcus with a passion. No parent should ever have their child fear them, let alone a father with a son. Sons are supposed to idolize their fathers, Marcus made his son fear him. God, that really tore at my heart strings.
I kind of respect his mother a little now since I’ve read The Son. Just a little, because I still think that a mother’s love for her child will make her go ape sh** on anyone who tried to harm them. Now I get why she entered the picture in Insurgent, and I can be a little nice about the whole situation. This part of the book was probably my favorite, along with The Traitor. To read more of Four’s POV from Divergent was so worth it. I think this is the part that die hard fans will like the most. He has some nice thoughts about Tris and when you read the scenes that were from Tris’s POV in Divergent, it’s like a new story. Seriously!!
If you are a fan of the Trilogy, then this is a great addition to add to your shelf. I quite enjoyed getting back inside Four’s head, and while some parts are what we already knew, there are equal parts that are new. So grab the book if you haven’t already. A great read!!
on August 9, 2014
Review originally published on the What Elizabeth is Reading website.
This book is a collection of the four short stories told in Four’s point of view: The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor. I was really looking forward to reading this book because I connected a lot better with Four in Divergent than I did with Tris.
The first story, The Transfer, I felt was the best. The Transfer tells the story of Four when he was still known as Tobias Eaton and was part of the Abnegation faction. It follows the line of his choosing ceremony at 16. It has a lot of emotional appeal to it and you really get to hear Four’s voice in it.
The second story, The Initiate, was my second favorite, telling the story of when Four was an initiate in Dauntless. I love how we got to see more of how Four grew into himself as a person instead of what his father wanted him to be. I also liked the way we got to see more of Eric, Zeke, and Shauna.
The third story, The Son, is when Four finds out his mother Evelyn, is still alive. This story was just okay to me. I really didn’t like Evelyn at all and by the end, I still didn’t like her. The writing was still awesome in the story and so was Four’s voice.
The fourth story, The Traitor, was probably my least favorite. It followed the line of Four discovering that there was going to be an attack on Abnegation and he struggled with remaining true to Dauntless or protecting the innocent of Abnegation. Again, it had nothing to do with the writing or the voice, I just thought it wasn’t as interesting as the first three.
Overall, it’s a great addition to the bookshelf. I think those who love Divergent will love this opportunity to learn more about Four and the choices he made.
on January 26, 2016
This honestly felt a little disingenuous. By the end of the series of short stories, my reaction was a disappointed, "Oh. That's it?" Don't get me wrong, it was very interesting seeing some of the scenes played over from Four's perspective, but there was soooo much room for MORE about Four and his life, in my opinion. I don't understand why Veronica Roth didn't do more with this, and I was left feeling like this was all more of an afterthought, as opposed to the author actually wanting to give Four a stronger voice.