Tris’s plan to actively work against her friends’ plan to overthrow Erudite begins in earnest, as Tris and the others reach the city and hear gunfire. To be fair, Tris’s PTSD continues to be one of the few things in this book that is interesting to read:
For a moment I am disoriented, and all I can see are the leaders of Abnegation on their knees on the pavement and the slack-faced Dauntless with guns in hand; all I can see is my mother turning to embrace the bullets, and Will dropping to the ground. […] My mother told me to be brave. But if she had known that her death would make me so afraid, would she have sacrificed herself so willingly?
Except we’re still hanging out with Tris’s new gang of Erudite defectors, so guess which member of The Breakfast Club we’re spending the next couple chapters with?
“Insurgent,” [Fernando] says. “Noun. A person who acts in opposition to the established authority, who is not necessarily regarded as a belligerent.”
But really, though, Divergent is basically Breakfast Club fanfiction, except if it were dystopian, and only a few people got to be a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.
“Did she just call you ‘Stiff’?” Fernando says.
“Yeah,” I say. “I transferred into Dauntless from Abnegation.”
“Huh.” He frowns. “That’s quite a shift. That kind of leap in personality between generations is almost genetically impossible these days.”
“Sometimes personality has nothing to do with a person’s choice of faction,”
I don’t even know what question this book is trying to answer anymore.
As they get closer to the action, Tris struggles to figure out how to arm herself, given her ongoing gun phobia, which is a major theme in this book. But not in the upcoming movie adaptation, apparently.
Christina tries to talk Tris into taking a gun by – basically – telling her that Will would tell her to quit being a fucking baby over it. Cara the Amity says that the stunner is just as good. Tris goes with Cara’s logic on this one somehow.
As they approach the Erudite headquarters (somehow completely avoiding the Dauntless+Factionless assault, so, uhh…), they run into a group of armed Candor, obviously under a simulation. Tris tests out whether they can get past them by walking in front of them.
I step toward the Candor. Maybe they aren’t programmed to shoot. […] I take another step.
Bang. By instinct I drop to the ground, covering my head with my arms, and scramble backward, toward Fernando’s shoes.
He helps me to my feet. “How about let’s not do that?” he says.
Tris decides that the only other way into the building now is to go from the windows of the adjacent building into the the windows of Erudite headquarters. This is really what’s happening.
Also, the the brain is still here.
“Oh! Sorry, Nando.” [Christina said.]
“Nando?” I say to him. “I thought the Erudite didn’t like nicknames?”
“When a pretty girl calls you by a nickname,” he says, “it is only logical to respond to it.”
Ugh, I can’t wait for Fernando to be the next completely disposable minor character to get killed off in Divergent‘s never-ending quest to be intense.
They find a ladder to scale between the two buildings (which is somehow completely not noticed by the firefight that’s supposedly surrounding them) and prop it up between the ledges of the two buildings.
“Time to break the glass,” I say.
Fernando takes the glass-breaking device from his pocket and offers it to me. “You probably have the best aim.”
Wait, you mean the device that was explicitly introduced as a way to break all the windows in an area as a distraction? Why would they use it-
It bounces onto the windowsill and rolls into the glass. An orange light flashes, and all at once the window— and the windows above, below, and next to it— shatters into hundreds of tiny pebbles that shower over the Candor below.
What was the point of that? There’s no one to distract now. Why throw this device at the wrong strategic moment, risking missing, before even climbing across the street to the window? What’s stopping them from climbing over and breaking the glass themselves? And I really can’t get over this – isn’t this supposed to be a distraction? Like, as a way to draw attention to something? Like where you’re going to be climbing?
At the same time , the Candor twist and fire up into the sky.
I hate all these fucking people.
Due to total bullshit, the Candor stop shooting after the one round. Sure, the book will tell you it’s because “they only sense movement”, but we totally know it’s because it was just convenient to not have their strategic fuck up not actually be a total fuck up.
As you can imagine, the last chapter ended with a contrived reason to include another mindless stunt in this book, so this chapter is a bland and trite action sequence. Seriously, if an action sequence is a painting, the action sequences in the Divergent series are paint-by-number.
The ladder feels about as solid and stable as an aluminum can. It creaks and sags beneath my weight.
The danger gets worse!
The ladder shifts, moving closer to the edge of the window frame on the other side. […] I miss the edge of the rung.
The danger gets AS SUPER CLOSE TO BEING AS BAD AS IT COULD POSSIBLY BE!
The ladder jerks to the left [and] It is now supported by just a millimeter of concrete.
Tris makes it to the other side and gets discovered by an Erudite woman, but – as Tris and the others are disguised as Erudite! – tricks her into thinking she’s an Erudite by acting like an asshole, because none of the five factions in this book are an affinity for subtlety.
Interestingly (mostly because I’ve been ragging on the Faction system a ton in this chapter), Tris actually has her first “fuck the faction system” moment:
“It’s just . . .” [Christina] pauses. “ You had aptitude for Erudite, didn’t you?”
“Does it matter?” I say too sharply. “The factions are destroyed, and it was all stupid to begin with.”
Christina, Marcus, and Cara all climb across the ladder. Fernando has some heavy-handed symbolism.
Halfway across the alley, I see something slip out of his pocket. It is his spectacles. [They] fall, hit the edge of the ladder, and topple to the pavement.
the Candor below twist and fire upward. Fernando yells, and collapses against the ladder. One bullet hit his leg. I didn’t see where the others went, but I know when I see blood drip between the rungs of the ladder that it was not a good place. […]
“Don’t be an idiot!” he says, his voice weak. “Leave me.”
It is the last thing he says.
As we lose another minor character, let us remember Fernando, and that time he tried to hit on Christina and also did the title drop.
Question of the day! So… who’s seeing Fifty Shades this weekend?