Tris’s mom showed up to save Tris after previously being in a grand total of like seventeen pages of the entire book and was immediately killed off, which would be sort of like if they killed off John C. Reilly’s comic relief minor character in Guardians of the Galaxy and playing it like the big sad moment.
Okay, I fully admit I’m being too critical. It was a sad moment, despite certain narrative shortcomings. So here’s Tris being a legitimate badass motherfucker:
The bullet hits the brick wall to my right, and pieces of brick spray everywhere. I throw myself around the corner and click a bullet into the chamber of my gun.
They killed my mother.
And that’s it for Tris’s moment of badass revenge, because that’s when things immediately get even more depressing.
The man running toward me is not a man, he is a boy. A shaggy-haired boy with a crease between his eyebrows.
Will. Dull-eyed and mindless, but still Will. He stops running and mirrors me, his feet planted and his gun up.
In an instant, I see his finger poised over the trigger and hear the bullet slide into the chamber, and I fire. My eyes squeezed shut. Can’t breathe.
The bullet hit him in the head. I know because that’s where I aimed it. […]
I press my forehead to the wall and scream. After a few seconds I clamp m hand over my mouth to muffle the sound and scream again
Divergent just killed off Tris’s mom and forced Tris to kill a brainwashed Will within four pages. Divergent don’t fuck around. You know, unless there are simulated metaphors to waffle around with. [Ariel says: This makes me so fucking angry. Tris can’t kill Eric who is about to kill Four without a second thought, and he isn’t mind controlled. Yet, Will, her friend, who is not in control of his actions, she kills because she just reacts so quickly to the situation? This is so fucking stupid, I can’t handle it. Not stupid that she reacted in a kill-or-be-killed shitty situation, I just think the Eric situation was also this dire, and I’m still pissed she didn’t kill him. Fuck your storytelling right now, Veronica Roth. Fuck it hard and fuck it fast.]
The book skips ahead to Tris finding the Abnegation hiding place without any trouble, lest it kill off any more characters in the next four pages. There, Tris finds her brother, her father, and Marcus. And some other potential bullet fodder, probably. [Ariel says: It’s a good time to point out they’re all wearing red shirts.] Tris represses her emotions at the sight of Marcus, now knowing the truth about what he did to Four. Caleb gives an arbitrary explanation for why the MacGuffin is the MacGuffin.
“I researched the simulation serum and found out that Jeanine was working to develop long-range transmitters for the serum so its signal could stretch further, which led me to information about Erudite and Dauntless”
Caleb reveals that once he learned the truth about
the dangers of intellectualism the Erudite, he dropped out of their initiation and joined the Glenn Beck camp Abnegation survivors. Somehow. It’s not particularly clear, but there’s an opportunity for character development here, so details like “how is this guy even here right now” aren’t important.
“I’m factionless now.”
“No, you aren’t,” my father says sternly. “You’re with us.”
Suddenly everyone remembers, hey, Tris got shot not that long ago, and her father grabs the first aid kit and removes the bullet. Tris asks how he even knows how to take out a bullet, because not only does Divergent get surprisingly badass during the climax, apparently it’s going to criticize itself for me too. You win this round, book.
Eventually someone asks why Tris’s mom isn’t there, because for some reason this wasn’t everyone’s first question.
I don’t want to deliver this news. I don’t want to have this news to begin with.
“She’s gone,” I say. “She saved me.”
Caleb closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.
My father looks momentarily stricken and then recovers himself, averting his glistening eyes and nodding.
“That is good,” he says, sounding strained. “A good death.” […] [Ariel says: We were there, it really wasn’t.]
Eric called Al’s suicide brave, and he was wrong. My mother’s death was brave.
Having mourned Tris’s mom like she lived, with as small a word count as possible, they’re now free to move on to the problem of how everyone is currently being murdered. Tris explains about the mind control drugs, and that it just happens to not work on her.
“Mind control? So they don’t know that they’re killing everyone right now?” my father asks me, his eyes wide.
Fleshing out characters stops in three… two…
“That’s… awful.” Marcus shakes his head. His sympathetic tone sounds manufactured to me. “Waking up and realizing what you’ve done…”
Why is everybody in this book either a beautiful ray of sunshine or a terrible monster? I would still believe that Marcus isn’t a great person if he were allowed to be genuinely horrified at this genuinely horrifying thing. [Ariel says: It seems like he’s about to follow this up with, “Waking up and realizing what you’ve done…I on the other hand am completely in control of my evil actions, so I wouldn’t know anything about that.”]
Tris suddenly figures out that the whole thing is being orchestrated from Dauntless headquarters by piecing together hints from things Janine said, rather than from, I don’t know, how that’s kind of where the entire plan has been carried out so far. Tris comes up with a plan to stop the attack while others plan to go ahead to Amity. [Ariel says: I can’t imagine there’s any sort of pain that some Amity banjo-styling couldn’t cure. I bet Tris’ dad gets there, and he starts asking if anyone wants to jam. Such a dad move.]
I guess I am what I’ve always been. Not Dauntless, not Abnegation, not factionless. Divergent.
REALLY? I HAD NO IDEA UNTIL NOW, 85% OF THE WAY INTO A BOOK WHERE YOU HAVE AND RESOLVE AN IDENTITY CRISIS AS A WAY TO TRANSITION BETWEEN SCENES. [Ariel says: She just had this same revelation last chapter! We fucking get it!!]
This week’s very Divergent-themed question: What’s your favorite kind of cake?