HarperCollins – Published July 8th 2014.
Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.
Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.
Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.
I was torn between reviewing this now, or after I have reviewed the Divergent trilogy. However, I have just finished reading this today so I’m going to review while it is still fresh in my mind.
The ‘Four’ collection is actually made up of four stories – The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son and The Traitor. At the beginning, we learn that Roth had originally started writing the Divergent series from Four’s perspective, then scrapped that idea. I’m glad she did. IMHO it wouldn’t have worked.
In this collection, we get an insight into how the experiences with his father, Marcus Eaton, and the apparent death of his mother, Evelyn, shaped Tobias. How they made him into the kind, selfless, intelligent, honest and brave individual we know as Four. We learn all about him before he met Tris and see him going through his own initiation. We got a glimpse inside Four’s mind in Allegiant, but I found it hard to follow. These stories focus just on Four.
I enjoyed Four’s perspective on events I already knew about from Divergent, and we get the back stories filled in from some of these things. Events such as his feud with Eric, his reluctance to become a Dauntless leader, or, as he thought it, Jeanine Matthews’ pawn, learning his mother is alive and his becoming an instructor, all the while trying to fight against Eric and Max’s changes.
What is most touching however, is the insight on his thoughts and feelings towards Tris. Four is, in the main trilogy, a man of few words – at least at first. Roth allows us, in ‘The Traitor’, to see how he thinks of Tris simply as ‘her’, as though she is the only one who matters. We see how he steals glances at her, how much letting her into his fear landscape signified to him and how he cannot seem to resist touching her every time the moment allows it. I was especially touched by how certain Four was that Tris was the one he could trust. He knew automatically that she was the one who could help him.
I am giving this collection 4 stars. It would have been 5 stars if Roth had included more new content. New conversations between Four and Tris that we didn’t see in Divergent, events that were not mentioned before. As it is, I found this a compelling read and a credible addition to the Divergent series.