So did everyone already read Gray? Is everyone terrified for us to start reading it next week?
Chapter 43: Tris
Tris kicks off the chapter off honestly, at least.
The emergency council meeting is more of the same
I wonder what that would be like.
After the council meeting reconfirming that the plan is still on to drop the memory viruses over the city tonight (so… why did this meeting have to…), Tobias and Tris meet up and make out for a while. Lest we forget this is YA.
He closes his eyes. “I can’t wait until tomorrow, when I’m back and you’ve done what you set out to do and we can decide what comes next.”
“I can tell you it will involve a lot of this,” I say, and I press my lips to his.
Also, this is a Tobias/Tris scene, so…
“I don’t like that I can’t be with you tonight,” he says. “It doesn’t feel right to leave you alone with something this huge.”
“What, you don’t think I can handle it?” I say, a little defensive.
You all assume this is a misunderstand because these two characters aren’t great at communicating with each other and gets resolved without consequence aside from repeated occurrences of similar arguments, right? Yeah? Ok, cool.
The entire chapter is them making out.
Chapter 44: Tobias
Tobias checks the surveillance screens one more time before departing on his mission to Chicago, taking note of Evelyn and Marcus’s locations and hoping they won’t move much by the time he gets to the city. Tobias meets up with Amar, his friend who they’ve asked to help on their mission to rid the world of genetically damaged/pure propaganda who believes in said propaganda, and they meet up with George, their security guard confidant they’ve enlisted in their mission to rid the world of genetically damaged/pure propaganda who believes in said- wait, fucking really? Whose plan is this?
I grab George and hold him back. He gives me a strange look.
“Don’t ask me any questions about this, because I won’t answer them,” I say. “But inoculate yourself against the memory serum, okay? As soon as possible.”
Whose plan is this? How did this not raise every red flag?
I see Peter’s eyes on us as I get in the passenger’s seat. I’m still not sure why he was so eager to come with us, but I know I need to be wary of him.
WHOSE PLAN IS- I fucking give up. I’m calling it right now – this plan enlisting the help of someone who does not believe in the ideals of the mission, which relies on the assistance of someone else who does not believe in the ideals of the mission but was given a super obvious warning that something strange is up with it, that the guy who explicitly said he does not think he owes you any allegiance wanted to accompany you on anyway? This is not a plan that makes sense.
Tobias, Christina, Amar (for some reason), and Peter (for some reason) drive to the city. And, like 65% of this book, it devolves into the narrator just thinking about the greater meanings of the goings on around him and their implications in society as a whole. Incidentally, I recently started reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, her 1994 book about the writing process. It contained this part, which immediately made me think of Divergent. See if you can guess why.
Good dialogue is such a pleasure to come across while reading, a complete change of pace from description and exposition and all that writing. Suddenly people are talking, and we find ourselves clipping along. And we have all the pleasures of voyeurism because the characters don’t know we are listening. We get to feel privy to their inner workings without having to spend too much time listening to them think. I don’t want them to think all the time on paper.
And with that in mind, let’s consider…
The distance the Bureau has kept from the rest of the world is an evil separate from the war they intend to wage against our memories— more subtle, but, in its way, just as sinister. They had the capacity to help us, languishing in our factions, but instead they let us fall apart. Let us die. Let us kill one another.
Which would be mostly fine – obviously the entire tale can’t be told in dialogue – if the whole book weren’t like this.
I still don’t know whose memory I’m going to take: Marcus’s, or Evelyn’s?
Usually I would try to decide what the most selfless choice would be, but in this case either choice feels selfish. Resetting Marcus would mean erasing the man I hate and fear from the world. It would mean my freedom from his influence.
Resetting Evelyn would mean making her into a new mother— one who wouldn’t abandon me, or make decisions out of a desire for revenge, or control everyone in an effort not to have to trust them.
Either way, with either parent gone, I am better off. But what would help the city most?
I no longer know.
Yes, I am just copy/pasting entire paragraphs uncut from this book because this is fucking grueling, you guys. Think how much more interesting – nay, actually interesting – this dilemma could have been if we saw Tobias struggling to explain it to someone else. Like Tris, the character he supposedly loves and values so much. Or even Amar, his former mentor he felt compelled to bring on this mission despite their ideological differences that as of yet make no fucking sense because of said ideological differences. Shit, we could have gotten two birds with one stone if all of that thinking were instead a tense, guarded conversation between Tobias and Amar.
We reach the place where the outside world ends and the experiment begins, as abrupt a shift as if someone had drawn a line in the ground.
Amar drives over that line like it isn’t there. For him, I suppose, it has faded with time
Ok. You get that this is mad boring. Which you already knew, but I felt like it was important to remind you of what a slog this is. Because we still have 90 pages left.
They get further into the city (which apparently no longer has factionless guards patrolling all the cars in the road anymore) and Christina enacts her valiant “pretend to pee so I can slash the tires so Tobias can get away to wipe Marcus or Evelyn’s memory” plan. Which, of course, Tobias waxes poetic about.
Sometimes, all it takes to save people from a terrible fate is one person willing to do something about it. Even if that “something” is a fake bathroom break.
Good thing Tobias explained how Christina pretending to go to the bathroom actually played a role in events of much greater magnitude. I might never have otherwise understood how Christina pretending to go to the bathroom actually played a role in events of much greater magnitude if Tobias didn’t explain how Christina pretending to go to the bathroom actually played a role in events of much greater magnitude.
Amar goes through the five stages of grief in two lines of dialogue:
“Shit!” Amar smacks the steering wheel. “We don’t have time for this. We have to make sure Zeke and his mother and Christina’s family are all inoculated before the memory serum is released, or they’ll be useless.”
“Calm down,” I say. “I know where we can find another vehicle. Why don’t you guys keep going on foot and I’ll go find something to drive?”
Amar’s expression brightens. “Good idea.”
Amar tells them that they have hour until the scheduled reset of the city. Tobias begins to leave to pretend to find a truck, when Peter reminds us he’s in this book too.
“I’m coming with you,” he says.
“What? Why?” I glare at him.
“You might need help finding a truck,” he says. “It’s a big city.”
I look at Amar, who shrugs. “Man’s got a point.”
It’s almost as if bringing someone who was not sympathetic to your cause was a bad idea. It’s also almost as if it doesn’t even make sense why Peter would do this, since his motivations are so insanely ill-defined that not one of his actions in this book have made sense so it’s impossible to know where he’s going with this, aside from that it will inevitably turn into some kind of unforeseen betrayal, but we’re in too deep to worry about things like “why are characters in this book doing the things they’re doing” by now.
Tobias tells Peter that he’s not really looking for a truck, and will shoot him if he doesn’t help. Now, sure, it makes sense that Tobias won’t tell Peter everything (arguably it makes a lot of sense not to tell Peter things), but just in case the point didn’t stick, here’s this scene without The Thinking:
“I’m not going to look for a truck,” I say. “You might as well know that now. Are you going to help me with what I’m doing, or do I have to shoot you?”
“Depends what you’re doing.” […]
“I’m going to stop a revolution,” I say.
And here it is with The Thinking.
I stand facing the Hancock building. To my right are the factionless, Evelyn, and her collection of death serum. To my left are the Allegiant, Marcus, and the insurrection plan.
Where do I have the greatest influence? Where can I make the biggest difference? Those are the questions I should be asking myself. Instead I am asking myself whose destruction I am more desperate for. […]
I turn right, and Peter follows me.
Tobias’s epiphany comes completely from nowhere. So is Peter even needed in this scene?
Come back to our comedy reading of Allegiant next week, where I ask funny questions like, “Why are any of us here?” and “Why?”