In which we get some sort of ending…
This is it, guys! The day I finish the first book of Divergent. And from the length of it, I can safely assume it won’t be the ending I want. I think my last recaps were sort of mellow, probably because I was in holiday bliss, but now I’m back home and pissed that my vacation ended. Also, I was writing from an iPad which is manageable, but pretty much sucks. The WordPress app for iPad is so buggy, I lost half a post. In normal circumstance, such a happening would incite the mother of all furies, but I was so tired, the only things I did were to sigh, take a nap and then rewrite. Let’s get to business.
Last chapter ended with a cliffhanger, Tobias holding a loaded gun to Tris’s forehead. The shot doesn’t come as much I would love that, but I’m aware there are two more books in the series.
He is Divergent. He can fight this simulation. Any simulation.
At this point, we can safely assume that being human helps one fight any simulations. Because Divergent means to think more about stuff. You know that there are some guys who are developing a device, called Aurora by iWinks, that helps people to lucid dream? You get that device, your instant-Divergent probably. Anyway, we’re close to the book’s end and we still have no idea what Divergent? It’s not cool, book. It’s annoying and I get the feeling that nobody knows what Divergent means, not even the author. It’s more like a soft magic system (see Sanderson’s laws of magic) where magic isn’t really explained, but we know it exists to mess stuff up (like in Lord of the Rings, or A Song of Fire and Ice), and it’s not something the heroes can use to help solve their goals. Except that in this book, it’s used for solving stuff. You’re gonna argue with me: “But Divergence is not magic!” Well, it’s not fucking science either.
His heart starts beating faster, he drops the gun and grabs Tris’s by the shoulders. Her wound shoulder still doesn’t bleed. But Tobias is awake now and they make out. Then they cry a little. Tris asks the Tobias how did he snap out of it, and he says he just heard her voice. The power of love, guys, almost as potent as the Divergent magic.
Then Tris remembers why she’s there. Remember, to stop the evil computer? I’m actually in awe she remembered about that. I half-expected for them to make out more and then take a nap. Tris returns to the monitors and sees the one overlooking the fountain where Tobias dragged her from in a previous chapter nobody cares about.
Tobias and I stand there for a while, and I think I know what he’s thinking because I’m thinking it too: How can something so small control so many people?
No, that’s the wrong question to ask. The better one is “how can something so stupid control so many people”. You have nanobot technology or so it is suggested in your society, Tris, so you shouldn’t be surprise about small things that do stuff. She wasn’t surprised about the transmitters in the serum.
“Was I running the simulation?” he says.
“I don’t know if you were running it so much as monitoring it,” I say. “It’s already complete. I have no idea how, but Jeanine made it so it could work on its own.”
He shakes his head. “It’s…incredible. Terrible, evil…but incredible.”
I have news for you, people. Big, big news. Are you ready for it? Are you sure? Here it is: software runs on its own! There is no monkey guy furiously typing lines of code whenever you click a button in a app, follow a link, listen to music, get push in notifications, flip through channels, and so on. A software can have a series of established interactions with the user and have pre-programmed responses to each one of them, or it can be completely autonomous and run in the background. I will explain more about this in a few special feature posts about computers, software and internet. I don’t know why, but the last line reminded me of Harry Potter, when Ollivander tells Harry that Voldemort did incredible, but terrible things. Weird.
I see movement on one of the screens and see my brother, Marcus, and Peter standing on the first floor of the building. Surrounding them are Dauntless soldiers, all in black, all carrying weapons.
“Tobias,” I say tersely. “Now.”
Why did Marcus and Caleb come again? Just to stand there as idiots? There was no point in them coming to the compound as Marcus didn’t even get to the control room. They didn’t even shoot anyone. Also, I find it hilarious how good with computers means magically know how to interfere with any software. Tobias starts tapping the screen and typing some stuff. One of the soldiers shoot at Caleb, Marcus and Peter, but they manage to dodge the bullet. Finally, Tobias stops the software and the mind-controlled Dauntless are awake shouting, shoving each other or just rocking back and forth.
Tobias crouches next to the computer and gets the casing off, so he could get the data. Because the Erudite are stupid and didn’t think to make a copy of the software. Or better yet, keep the software at their headquarters and let the Dauntless operate remotely. Yes, you can do that. All of us are using software that runs on remote computers (servers is the better term). Want to know what software is that? Website applications, guys, which we access and interact with through website links. Anyway, Tobias gets the computer’s hard drive out, and it’s as big as his palm. It is actually bigger than the hard drives we currently have. In 2010, Sandisk released an iSSD that is small as a postage and lighter than a paper clip. How do you think we came to have super thin ultra-light notebooks?
Tobias hands the hard drive to Tris and then they leave. Tris sees her father, screams and throws up. Yay, a reaction from Tris. But she only allows herself five seconds of weakness. They finally get out of the building and Caleb comes running to them. He asks about their father, Tris shakes her head and Caleb says their father would have wanted it that way. Tobias stops in his tracks when he sees Marcus. His father goes to him and hugs him.
Tobias stays frozen, his arms at his sides and his face blank. I watch his Adam’s apple bob up and down and his eyes lift to the ceiling.
Well, Marcus’s was one of Tobias’s fears, so his reaction is understandable. But what I don’t get is at what ceiling is he staring? They are outside! Maybe he’s staring at a roof or something.
Tris comes in Tobias’s defense and pushes Marcus away. Because the guy is evil or something.
Marcus gives me a scandalized look that seems false to me — his eyes are too wide and his mouth is too open. If I could find a way to smack that look off his face, I would.
Violence, Tris, is the solution to everything. I like how she can just read emotions on someone’s face and easily decide if they are genuine or not. I can’t do that and I watched almost all seasons of “Lie to Me” and read some of Paul Ekman’s books. But I’m no Tris clearly. She says to Caleb that not all of the Erudite articles were full of lies. Marcus starts to disagree with her, but she threatens to kill him if he doesn’t stay away from Tobias. It’s kind of nice that she stands up for Tobias, but why isn’t she letting him face his fears? Tobias holds her arms and squeeze, probably appreciating her gesture, and he says they have to go because the train will be there soon. The fucking train no one thought to stop. This train irks me a lot.
We walk over unyielding ground toward the train tracks. Tobias’s jaw is clenched and he stares straight ahead. I feel a twinge of regret. Maybe I should have let him deal with his father on his own.
You think, Tris? She says she’s sorry, but Tobias tells her she doesn’t have anything to be sorry about and takes her hand. Tris says if they take the train outside the city, they can get to the Amity headquarters where the others are. Caleb asks about Candor, but apparently Candor won’t side with anyone.
They wait next to the tracks, and Tobias picks Tris in his arms because she is too tired to stand.
The truth is, I will not feel safe as long as Peter and Marcus are with us. I try not to look at them, but I feel their presence like I would feel a blanket over my face. The cruelty of fate is that I must travel with the people I hate when the people I love are dead behind me.
It’s not the cruelty of fate, it’s the stupidity of your own actions, Tris. You didn’t care enough about your family to leave the Dauntless compound and warn them. You killed Will instead of killing Peter. You took your father upstairs to the level where the control room was instead of Marcus. Cruelty of fate is when someone you love dies in a stupid accident and there is nothing you could have done to stop that.
Dead, or waking as murderers. Where are Christina and Tori now? Wandering the streets, plagued with guilt for what they’ve done? Or turning guns on the people who forced them to do it? Or are they already dead too? I wish I knew.
People usually feel guilt for actions they are conscious about. If you don’t have memories of something you’ve done, you can’t be guilty about it. You can be very pissed off that someone forced you to do things without you even being aware of those things. Man, for someone who is very good at reading face, Tris surely doesn’t understand how emotions work. So, the Erudite will get it. How come they never thought about that? Did Jeanine believe that the Dauntless will be mind-controlled until they die or something?
At the same time, I hope I never find out. If she is still alive, Christina will find Will’s body. And if she sees me again, her Candor-trained eyes will see that I am the one who killed him, I know it.
Yea, because the Candor are trained to spot killers with a glance or something. Since they are little. Tris feels guilty for killing Will, but she says she must forget it. Well, what about asking for forgiveness from Christina? Or is admitting your mistakes a sign of weakness?
They jump on the train; Tobias sits between Tris and Peter&Marcus, shielding her from them. If she didn’t kill them until now, I’ll doubt she’ll do it now, Tobias. He pulls her against him. She says her parents died today for her, but it doesn’t feel real. It’s understandable for her to feel numb right now because she’s been through a lot, but I do sure hope it’s going to feel real at some point and the next book will deal with grief. Am I hoping too much? We’ll see. Tobias answers that they loved her and there was no better way to show her. Well, Tris could have shown them how much she loved them warning them before the shit hit the fan. I’m not letting this go because there’s no reason for her not doing that.
Tobias asks her why didn’t she shoot him and she’s all like “it would have been like shooting myself”, then he has something to tell her. He loves her and he kiss her. That scene is actually pretty sweet.
I reach into my pocket and take out the hard drive that contains the simulation data. I turn it in my hands, letting it catch the fading light and reflect it. Marcus’s eyes cling greedily to the movement. Not safe, I think. Not quite.
Great way to ruin a scene by following with this paragraph, book. We get it. Marcus is evil, even though he probably doesn’t know what’s that think in Tris’s hands. She clutches the drive to her chest and goes to sleep.
Abnegation and Dauntless are both broken, their members scattered. We are like the factionless now. I do not know what life will be like, separated from a faction–it feels disengaged, like a leaf divided from the tree that gives it sustenance. We are creatures of loss; we have left everything behind. I have no home, no path, and no certainty. I am no longer Tris, the selfless, or Tris, the brave.
I suppose that now, I must become more than either.
The end paragraphs. Honestly, I would have preferred an epilogue, set a few weeks after they escaped the Dauntless compound. This is meant to be philosophical, but that’s not really something Tris usually does. Anyway, I think all the factions should be broken because a faction attacking another is a breach of trust and a violation of the social contract in that society. So, there should be a war right now between all of them. Tris and the others are factionless now, not just like them. And Tris really didn’t have a path before all of this happened. She’s a character without a purpose.
You know what’s the saddest thing about this book? The writing is polished, modern and there are just a few mistakes. If you would pair this plot with an actual plot, consistent world-building, believable characters and some research, you would have a very good novel. Instead, this feels half-assed and sometimes immature. We’ll see how the next volume is.