Four: A Divergent Collection

Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Four: A Divergent Collection Book Poster Image
Short stories about Four are fun if a bit underwhelming.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Divergent fans will learn more about Four/Tobias and what he thinks during a few key scenes in the first book but also in the two years before Tris entered his life.

Positive Messages

As in Divergent, Four deals with issues of identity, self-discovery, and acceptance. He struggle with what it really means to be selfless, brave, smart, and kind -- but also what it means to be "divergent" in a society that values conformity.

Violence

Four bloodies an opponent during initiation sparring in one story, witnesses the "suicide" of a mentor and later a student, and in another beats up a character who was hurting Tris. He has to learn to fight and discusses the freedom in becoming someone who can defend himself. Before joining Dauntless, he's abused by his father.

Sex

Four is completely inexperienced when he becomes Dauntless and is surprised by how tolerant of premarital sex, dating, and flirtatious behavior the Faction is, including his friend Zeke who makes out with a girl while on a double date with Four. For the first time, Four notices girls but isn't really interested in anyone until he meets Tris. The last short story includes his first kiss with Tris (from his point of view) and several references to his first feelings of desire for and "wanting" her and not just any girl.

Language

Insults such as "coward," "loudmouth," "stupid," "stiff" (the slur for the Abnegation), and "idiot."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Dauntless (as young as initiates, who are 16) drink unspecified alcohol, and in a couple of scenes Four drinks specifically to escape his feelings.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Four: A Divergent Collection is five short stories written from the perspective of Four, a lead character in the Divergent trilogy. Since the first two books in the Divergent series are written from the character Tris' perspective, these stories are bonus material for fans of Veronica Roth's best-selling dystopian books. There's less violence in these than in the original books, but Dauntless fights are still described, and a couple of beatings are particularly bloody. Because most of the short stories take place before Four and Tris are together, there's not much romance, although the one story that does overlap with Divergent includes several references to his feelings of desire and their first kiss.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byrebma97 July 25, 2015

Really good stories

I know I'm not the only one who wanted to read Divergent from Four's POV and learn more about his past, which is why this book collection is so good.... Continue reading
Adult Written bytaylahlc February 19, 2015

I'm so glad Veronica made this book

Upon doing my stationery shopping for university I found this book sitting among the other books in the divergent series in kmart. I can't even explain how... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDauntless December 4, 2014

AMAZING!!!

This book was so great. If you haven't read the other Divergent books, this will contain spoilers about Four's mom (Evelyn) and other things. Nothing... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybookworm2248 August 27, 2014

Not this book in particular

This book in the Divergent series has no explicit elements. Previous Divergent books have mentioned sex and characters having sex. In order to read this one you... Continue reading

What's the story?

Divergent fans unhappy with the end of the trilogy and hoping for more of Four don't have to wait for hunky Theo James to appear in Insurgent next year. FOUR: A DIVERGENT COLLECTION compiles previously released ebooks and three new ones that Veronica Roth wrote specifically from the perspective of her beloved male lead. The Transfer details how and why introverted 16-year-old Four (then called by his birth name) selected Dauntless as his Faction on Choosing Day; The Initiate explores Four's time as a transfer initiate dealing with letting go of his Abnegation ways and ruthless Erudite transfer and rival Eric. The Son follows Four's early time as an initiate instructor and control room technician who believes there's something foul afoot between Erudite and Dauntless leadership, and The Traitor chronicles key moments from Divergent told from Four's point of view.

Is it any good?

Four fans will be thrilled to read more (and overlapping!) stories from a favorite character's perspective. Especially since, even in the stories before he meets Tris, readers learn more about his background, his early Dauntless friends, and his state of mind in the two critical years before Tris joins him in the Faction and changes his life. Not much of the plot details or characterizations will be revelations to Divergent readers, but Four's voice is actually sharper here than in Allegiant, where it was sometimes easy to confuse with Tris' POV.

Ultimately, these stories are like the special features on a DVD: fun to experience but slightly unnecessary to the overall appreciation of the work (in this case, the Divergent trilogy). Four's appeal is partially due to his quiet strength, his mysterious background, and his ability to show his vulnerable side to Tris. Roth added his point of view in Allegiant, so there's nothing particularly novel about his voice in these stories. Still, it's fun to revisit secondary characters (Uriah's older brother Zeke, Shauna, and Tori are especially well represented), even if you know what will happen to them. And, of course, it's especially lovely to see some moments from Divergent retold from Four's point of view, because it shows how Tris didn't always know what he was thinking or feeling about her.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the increasing popularity of companion novellas and short stories in young adult series. Do you think these are fun to read or unnecessary if you've read the original books?

  • Do you need to read Divergent to understand what's going on in these stories? If you haven't read Divergent, do these short stories make you interested in the trilogy?

  • Is violence in books different from that in other media, such as movies or television shows? How did the violence in the short stories compare with the violence in the other books?

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