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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth [Review]

Written by: Veronica Roth.
Published by: HarperCollins.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 8th July 2014.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Complete your Divergent library with FourFans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by Four: A Divergent Collection, a companion volume that includes four pre-Divergent stories plus three additional scenes from Divergent, all told from Tobias's point of view. 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."

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This year has been a very exciting year for fans of Veronica Roth and her epic trilogy. Not only did we get to finally see the world of Divergent come to life in March/April (dependant on where you live in the world, seeing as the movie industry seem to love delaying films here in the UK...) with the release of the first movie in what is promising to be a visually beautiful and epic series of films but we also get to go deeper into the mind of one of the best characters in the series. Four!

When Veronica first announced that she was writing four short stories about, well... FOUR, I was so pumped! I loved the trilogy so so much that it didn't matter what it was Veronica was writing about, so long as it went back into that world be it before Four meets Tris or after or whatever it was, I didn't care, I would be happy. I just wanted more, more, more. I genuinely cannot get enough of the world that Veronica created. And as well as that I always liked Four, in fact I downright loved him, especially the more we got see of him, so to get inside his head, even more than we did in the chapters he narrated in Allegiant was an exciting prospect and I couldn't want to get started.

Fast forward to July and thanks to Barnes and Nobles in America I now have a signed Veronica Roth book... Yes! SIGNED! I squealed with excitement and danced like a nutjob but I loved it and I love my copy! I wanted to go and meet her when she came over here last November to promote Allegiant but I couldn't make it thanks to work, and then when I went to the Divergent premiere earlier this year I just couldn't get close enough which was a shame, so I finally got a signed copy which makes me happy!

We start things off with last years The Transfer, which was initially published just before the final instalment in the trilogy. It follows Four when he was still Tobias, living in Abnegation with his horrid father, Marcus. He's scared and alone and knows he must get away. When I got my copy, I was in two minds as to whether I should re-read it or not, seeing as I had read it when it was released on its own and I decided against it so I could get on with the other three new stories.

The Initiate was the first new look into Tobias' head as goes through Dauntless initiation. Parts of it felt a bit like a sense of deja vu, as some sections are pretty similar to the initiation process Tris went through in Divergent. However, with Four's voice, this little niggle soon disappeared and I found myself really being sucked in to Tobias' head. I also really like that with this novella we get to see his initial reactions to his fear landscape and the moment he earns the name he had when we first met him. Something I also loved was seeing Eric as the underdog. Throughout Divergent it seems like Eric has some kind of power complex and is wary of Four and here we see why, because Four was so much better than him in initiation.

Now, The Son really trounced all my expectations. I had thought it would revolve around Marcus. Didn't we all? But no, it's different and I really liked that it gives us a real insight into what is to come in the main trilogy as Four learns that his mother isn't actually dead and that she is already trying to recruit him into her Factionless folds. 

And finally The Traitor brings us up to speed, overlapping with key scenes from the first book of the trilogy. It was great getting Four's initial thoughts about Tris, what he thought she was like, how much he liked her. It was just fun to see and it also answers an age old question that I know has plagued me for so long.... How did some of the Abnegation know the Dauntless were going to attack them one day? The answer lies within The Traitor.

Before the book is over however, there are three fan favourite scenes from the first book written from Four's point of view and I loved that little insight too. Things like that are just so fun to read, aren't they?!?!

Overall, Four is a great addition. Casual readers might not be that fussed about it, and I've seen a lot of reviews where people have said that they feel these short stories add nothing to the story, that they are pointless and just an excuse for HarperCollins and Veronica to make more money. But I couldn't disagree more. For big fans of the series, like myself, this little collection gives an insight into one of our favourite characters. It shows him grow from a scared boy, terrified of his father and of the violence he has faced, into a strong, confident, dark and brooding young man that sweeps Tris Prior off her feet and helps save the city. It is a definite read for the people who are obsessed with everything Divergent

As ever, Roth's writing is fantastic. Engrossing and to the point, you're driven forward through page after page just wanting to see what Four will say or think next.

I for one loved this collection and quite honestly would read ANYTHING written in this world. I have fallen in love with the world of Divergent and I cannot believe this is the last time we get to venture into it. There is so much potential out there for the world. So many ways that Roth can explore it. Some would say it would be ridiculous, a blatant cash machine... But look at the likes of Cassandra Clare who pretty much only writes within the world of the Shadowhunters... It's worked for her and continues to do so. Imagine a collection of short stories about different divergents over the years? Or something to do with Edith Prior? There is so much more that could be done and I for would would love to get just another glimpse of what lies within the fence.

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