Knives, blood, Four being an asshole. That’s what we get in this chapter.
This chapter starts in the morning, but luckily we don’t get to see Tris waking up. Maybe we are past this phase. No fighting this day, but target practice instead. With knives! And Eric is there, even more evil than always. Do all these characters need to be so uni-dimensional?
“Tomorrow will be the last day of stage one,” Eric says. “You will resume fighting then. […]”
Huh? Does the physical training last only for one week? Let me reiterate through the training program:
- Day 1 – Gun and combat “training”
- Day 2 – Fighting day (Al-Will, Christina – Molly)
- Day 3 – Fighting day (Tris – Peter, Christina – Will, Al – Drew)
- Day 4 – Fence field trip
- Day 5 – (skipped)
- Day 6 – Fighting day (Tris – Myra) & Capture the Flag
- Day 7 – Knives training
- Day 8 – Last day – some fighting
One day and a half is not enough time to get into shape, not to mention learn combat, gun firing and knife throwing. Why don’t the factionless kill them all? Set some traps so the Dauntless believe they are doing something brave and then kill the rest of the factions. Except for Amity ‘cuz they grow food.
Winning capture the flag is a matter of pride, and pride is important to the Dauntless. More important than reason or sense.
I think everything is more important to the Dauntless than reason or sense.
Four demonstrates throwing a knife and I just love how nobody explain anything. Just like with the guns. He doesn’t miss the target, so I guess he practices knife throwing daily. It takes years to master knife throwing.
I have to think of this as a mental exercise, not a physical exercise. So I spend the first few minutes practicing without a knife, finding the right stance, learning the right arm motion.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen. The only way to learn throwing knives is to throw them. With each failed throw, the brain adjusts a bit and the next throw is better. Also, the important thing to learn is when to release the knife, not the arm motion. Most beginners release the knife too late, so they have to keep throwing and throwing until they get it right. Peter mocks her for practicing without a knife and finally Tris picks up a knife and releases it. The knife slams into the target and she’s the first person to do that. WTF? It’s not so hard slamming a knife into a large target. The hard part is making it stick.
Tris is smug and antagonizes Peter. Probably she wants another beating or something. Christina is the next one to hit the target (hit or slam? I guess slamming). Apparently the only one who can’t hit the target is Al. You know, the guy who can knock out people with his fist? This books suggests now that he doesn’t have enough arm power to throw a knife into a target. Are you kidding me? Also, this books sucks at descriptions. I’m confused about the target. Is it like one continuous target for everyone or are there individual targets for each one of them?
But this is another moment for Eric to prove he’s evil. As punishment for not hitting the target yet, he orders Al to go get his knives while everybody else is throwing. Because that’s what trainers do in this world, embarrass their trainees and putting their lives at risk, instead of teaching them proper techniques. How come the Dauntless still exists? With this behavior, you would expect they all killed each other until now.
Al refuses to do that, and admits he’s afraid of being stabbed. I hear you, Al! Eric decides it’s time for another lesson, so he clears the ring and makes Al stand in front of the target while Four throws knives at him until he doesn’t flinch? Or until he’s dead because knife throwing isn’t that accurate. You have a big fucking red circle which is considered bulls eye, not a tiny red dot.
Tris points out to Eric that he’s actually bullying them and that’s a sign of cowardice. Wow, it’s like the first time she’s selfless in the book, which apparently annoys Four. Eric makes her take Al place, and of course, she can’t back down now.
“There goes your pretty face,” hisses Peter. “Oh, wait. You don’t have one.”
I’m beyond bored with all the “Peter is a horrible, evil person” pointers. I need something new about Peter or nothing at all. Anyway, Four tells her that if she flinches, Al takes her place. Uhm, it’s hard not to flinch because it’s a reflex, not something rational. And you need to do various drills until you retrained this reflex. I’m actually inclined to believe at this point that this book was written with zero research.
Four throws the first knife and it sticks half a foot from her cheek. The second knife lands above her head and Four goads her. And the third knife gets into her eye. Neah, I’m joking. But he nicks her ear. On purpose.
“I should keep my eye on you,” he [Eric] adds.
Fear prickles inside me, in my chest and in my head and in my hands. I feel like the word “DIVERGENT” is branded on my forehead, and if he looks at me long enough, he’ll be able to read it.
I don’t get why she’s suddenly afraid. Yes, what she did was selfless, but it was also brave according to the Dauntless standards. So, it’s not like she exposed herself or anything. But this book needed to remind us about Divergence.
After everyone leaves, Tris talks to Four, accusing him he nicked her on purposes. He agrees, and says she should thank him for helping her.
I grit my teeth. “Thank you? You almost stabbed my ear, and you spent the entire time taunting me. Why should I thank you?”
“You know, I’m getting a little tired for waiting you to catch on!”
What? This isn’t an explanation at all. Four, you should fucking explain how are you helping her, especially if she doesn’t understand. She accuses him of being sadistic just like Eric.
“I am not sadistic.” He doesn’t yell. I wish he would yell. It would scare me less. He leans his face close to mine, which reminds me of lying inches away from the attack dog’s fangs in the aptitude test, and says, “If I wanted to hurt you, don’t you I would have already?”
I wish authors would stop making their heroines scared of their love interests. It’s not healthy, and there are other types of relationships to explore, not just “scared girl – manipulative guy”. Yes, not telling someone the reason for hurting them, but claiming it was for their own good is manipulative and puts Four in the asshole category. Let’s see the stuff Four did for Tris: not training her enough, resulting in her getting unconscious and beaten up; almost killing her by starting that rusted Ferris wheel; throwing knives at her and nicking her ear (and almost killing her again because that knife could have easily got into her head instead). So, he hurt her directly and indirectly. Fuck you, Four. And then, of course, he storms out of the room after sticking a knife in a table, which is again emotional manipulation.
“I -” I start to shout, but he’s already gone. I scream, frustrated, and wipe some of the blood from my ear.
Tris, you should find another guy to like. But that ain’t gonna happen probably.