Review: Four by Veronica Roth

four -veronica rothTwo 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.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling DIVERGENT series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—THE TRANSFER, THE INITIATE, THE SON, and THE TRAITOR—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the DIVERGENT trilogy.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

I’ve been waiting a long time to read Four’s POV. Yet, I could’ve never imagined that I enjoyed the first 3 novellas more than the The Traitor, which occurs after Four met Tris.

The Transfer, The Initiate, and The Son flowed really nicely from one to the other as we follow Four’s journey in redefining who he was, away from his father’s abuse and rules. I really enjoyed learning where he came from. In some ways, it was more enjoyable than Tris’ efforts at becoming herself, away from the teachings of Abnegation or Dauntless or whatever faction would have her conform to. I think it was because they were novellas and were so much more straightforward with the point. Tobias had a lot of baggage to get rid of, with 1 parent gone, presumed dead, and 1 who caused his worst nightmares. In finding the courage to be someone beyond who anyone would define him as, who any faction would limit him to, he found a way to express even the tiniest bit of the Divergence in him.

How? Through his tattoo. I’ve always admired it, but hearing the whole contextual reasoning for it made me realize just how brave, and possibly reckless, of a move that was. It made me like the guy more.

And that says a lot. I haven’t read the Divergent series in a long time. I remember the major scenes, but most definitely not the intricate details or underlying chemistry he had with Tris. For that reason, I felt this story made Four likeable, whether or not someone had read Divergent and just really liked him ’cause he was Tris’ boyfriend. At the end of the day, who doesn’t have fears to conquer and demons to relinquish? He did it all, in the best way he could by shedding his old self and becoming anew.

Speaking of which, I think that’s why The Traitor didn’t sit as well with me. I mean, it was nice to kind of remember these scenes from Tris’ POV and now see it from Four’s, but I sure didn’t remember their chemistry enough to really love the extra perspective. It was kind of just repeating the same scene again, in my opinion. If I had time to have re-read Divergent, it probably would have been a better experience. I definitely recommend doing that if you were excited for these scenes between the two of them.

Anyway, I know novellas are getting ridiculous with popular YA series these days, but I really liked this one just because it wasn’t necessarily re-telling the same story from someone else, and instead showcased how far Tobias pushed himself in order to become the guy he was when Tris met him, as Four.

P.S. but did anyone else think the scene on the Ferris Wheel would be in this story? Come on, the cover is so pretty – and misleading.

Overall Recommendation:
First note, probably should re-read Divergent at least in order to get the best experience out of Four, unless your memory is spot-on of the chemistry between Tris and Four. It would’ve been what I would redo. But, even without that, Four proved to be a really nice read, diving into the mind of a guy I had admired in the series, but now am seriously respecting and even loving him. It takes a lot of perseverance and determination for an Abnegation, a “Stiff”, to redefine himself so well with barely anyone else’s help. All in all, this story doesn’t just complement the series, but it went a long way in baring Tobias’ character to the world. That’s what makes it good, and not because fans just love him for his part in the bigger series.

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