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