Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Short Stories
Source: E-book version purchased from Kobo Books
From the cover:
Readers first encountered Tobias as “Four” in Divergent. His voice is an integral part of Allegiant. Readers will find more of this charismatic character’s backstory told from his own perspective in Four: A Divergent Collection. When read together, these long narrative pieces illuminate the defining moments in Tobias’s life. The first three pieces in this volume — “The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” and “The Son” — follow Tobias’s transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless, his Dauntless initiation, and the first clues that a foul plan is brewing in the leadership of two factions. The fourth story, “The Traitor,” runs parallel with the events of Divergent, giving readers a glimpse into the decisions of loyalty — and love — that Tobias makes in the weeks after he meets Tris Prior.
(This is a collection of short stories that tie into the Divergent series.)
At the point in Allegiant where Tris dies, I was upset. I think this was probably the first book I’d ever read where the main character dies and the story isn’t over yet. I know a lot of people were really upset by this – and so was I – but, on further reflection, I actually kind of liked it. It was more realistic than the alternatives, and more fitting with Tris’ character. I was still really pissed that she didn’t make it, and wished that she would have … but I understood why Roth had done it. The rest of the book was written from Four’s point of view, and I found that I rather enjoyed it.
So when I heard that Roth would be releasing a collection of stories written from Tobias/Four’s point of view, I really wanted to read them. I saw the book in an airport over the summer when I was travelling, but then forgot about it until earlier this month. I then snatched it up pretty much immediately.
My favourite parts of Four were the first three stories, the ones that covered Tobias’ life before Tris showed up. I really enjoyed reading about his life before leaving Abnegation, and about how he tried to fit into Dauntless, about how he became an instructor in time to meet Tris. It was a nice experience to get inside his head, to understand him a bit better. It made certain aspects of his relationship with Tris make much more sense.
I also, honestly, found it interesting to see some of the other characters and later events through his eyes. For one, I felt like seeing the incident of the eye-stabbing from a new perspective led to me really understanding how everything worked out afterwards. I didn’t really understand why things had gone that way just from seeing Tris’ point of view, but after seeing the incident from the side of the leaders of Dauntless – especially including Tobias’ knowledge of and interactions with Eric – it was a lot more clear.
If you enjoyed Divergent, even if you didn’t go on to read the rest of the series, definitely pick up Four. Roth does a great job of portraying one of the most important characters in the series in his own light, giving depth to what we already know through Tris. It’s not as heart-stopping a story as the namesake of the series, but still a good read.