Last time, gay people! There was only one and now she’s a corpse, but hey, still better representation that usual.
Tris deals with this by shutting down further, but notes that hey, there’s a good chance she’ll be executed and never have to actually think about how many people are dead. Then Jeanine’s corpse is thrown into the room.
I have trouble connecting this body with the woman I knew, the woman without a conscience.
And even she was more complicated than I thought, keeping a secret that she thought was too terrible to reveal, out of a heinously twisted protective instinct.
I’d like to remind everyone that Tris can’t have an actual opinion about if this is a good idea or not, because she still does not know what the damn secret is. She also doesn’t know if Abnegation was really planning on telling anyone or if Marcus just said they were, as for all we know, the rest of Abnegation thought Jeanine stole it to reveal it and were dying to try to get it back to stop that.
Also, she can’t not have a conscience and be doing everything because she thinks it’s right. Words mean things, Tris.
Johanna shows up.
“Yeah, I saw you and your little band of peacekeepers, getting in everyone’s way,” says Tori.
“Yes, that was intentional,” Johanna replies. “Since getting in the way meant standing between guns and innocents, and saved a great number of lives.”
It’s really unclear what role Amity could play given it was zombies vs Dauntless. If they were meat shields for the Dauntless, Tori wouldn’t be annoyed, but if they tried being meat shields for the zombies, they’d be shot to death. But fine, they did something that got in everyone’s way but somehow reduced deaths, and Tori is mad despite most of the deaths in this case being zombies who Dauntless didn’t want to hurt. Meanwhile, Tris informs us that Johanna is beautiful in part because of her scar.
“Since you are still so very generous,” says Tori, “I wonder if you might carry a message back to the Amity.”
“I don’t feel comfortable leaving you and your army to dole out justice as you see fit,” says Johanna, “but I will certainly send someone else to Amity with a message.”
“Fine,” says Tori. “Tell them that a new political system will soon be formed that will exclude them from representation. This, we believe, is their just punishment for failing to choose a side in this conflict. They will, of course, be obligated to continue to produce and deliver food to the city, but they will be under supervision by one of the leading factions.”
Book, book, book. The previous setup was everyone was excluded from representation and Abnegation ordered them around. Transitioning to a republic that only excludes some people is a step up. Also, Amity clearly showed they are useless fuckers who can’t be trusted in a time of crisis. You can’t have people who are willing to do anything, including letting people die, to reduce overall conflict.
Also, you lazy fucks don’t bother harvesting crops and maybe being under another group with actual work ethics will help with that.
“Fine,” she says. “I’m going to go do something useful. I don’t suppose you would allow some of us to come in here and tend to these wounded?”
Tori gives her a look.
“I didn’t think so,” says Johanna. “Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”
This is an odd statement for people whose previous system involved disenfrancising people way worse. But Tris has decided that brains are okay in moderation and makes that connection! Then she realizes only the factionless have guns.
Time for Evil Mom the Evil Rebel against the just and good abusive faction reign.
“The faction system that has long supported itself on the backs of discarded human beings will be disbanded at once,” says Evelyn. “We know this transition will be difficult for you, but—”
“We?” Tori breaks in, looking scandalized. “What are you talking about, disbanded?”
“What I am talking about,” says Evelyn, looking at Tori for the first time, “is that your faction, which up until a few weeks ago was clamoring along with the Erudite for the restriction of food and goods to the factionless, a clamor that resulted in the destruction of the Abnegation, will no longer exist.”
Evelyn continues to evilly explain that she gets that they’ve been taught faction is all, but they’ll get over it.
She pushes herself to her feet and limps toward Evelyn, who calmly takes her gun in hand and points it at Tori.
“I have not been starving for more than a decade just to give in to a Dauntless woman with a leg injury,” Evelyn says. “So unless you want me to shoot you, take a seat with your fellow ex-faction members.”
Luckily Tobias shows up before Evelyn can do anything especially evil, like suggest democracy. Her crazed rant got through to him! And now we finally learn what the secret was.
We pull apart and turn toward the wall, where a woman with short brown hair is projected. She sits at a metal desk with her hands folded, in a location I don’t recognize. The background is too dim.
“Hello,” she says. “My name is Amanda Ritter. In this file I will tell you only what you need to know. I am the leader of an organization fighting for justice and peace. This fight has become increasingly more important—and consequently, nearly impossible—in the past few decades. That is because of this.”
Images flash across the wall, almost too fast for me to see. A man on his knees with a gun pressed to his forehead. The woman pointing it at him, her face emotionless.
From a distance, a small person hanging by the neck from a telephone pole.
A hole in the ground the size of a house, full of bodies.
And there are other images too, but they move faster, so I get only impressions of blood and bone and death and cruelty, empty faces, soulless eyes, terrified eyes.
Just when I have had enough, when I feel like I am going to scream if I see any more, the woman reappears on the screen, behind her desk.
“You do not remember any of that,” she says. “But if you are thinking these are the actions of a terrorist group or a tyrannical government regime, you are only partially correct. Half of the people in those pictures, committing those terrible acts, were your neighbors. Your relatives. Your coworkers. The battle we are fighting is not against a particular group. It is against human nature itself—or at least what it has become.”
“That is why you are so important,” Amanda says. “Our struggle against violence and cruelty is only treating the symptoms of a disease, not curing it. You are the cure.
“In order to keep you safe, we devised a way for you to be separated from us. From our water supply. From our technology. From our societal structure. We have formed your society in a particular way in the hope that you will rediscover the moral sense most of us have lost.
So much for that! I sure hope you guys had a backup plan.
Over time, we hope that you will begin to change as most of us cannot.
“The reason I am leaving this footage for you is so that you will know when it’s time to help us. You will know that it is time when there are many among you whose minds appear to be more flexible than the others. The name you should give those people is Divergent. Once they become abundant among you, your leaders should give the command for Amity to unlock the gate forever, so that you may emerge from your isolation.”
“The information in this video is to be restricted to those in government only,” Amanda says. “You are to be a clean slate. But do not forget us.”
“I am about to join your number,” she says. “Like the rest of you, I will voluntarily forget my name, my family, and my home. I will take on a new identity, with false memories and a false history. But so that you know the information I have provided you with is accurate, I will tell you the name I am about to take as my own.”
“My name will be Edith Prior,” she says. “And there is much I am happy to forget.”
So…that was that. A secret that absolutely could’ve just been explained. It’s funny, I liked the last book overall and just felt the final section to be shoddy, while here the book’s been pretty awful this whole time but that was a pretty okay bang to go out on. The social experiment aspect was obvious, but the exact reason wasn’t, and it does a good job of upping the stakes because apparently things are even worse out there (although it’s unclear if that was greatest hits of human atrocities or what you’d see walking down the average street. Might be interesting to have one of these things where it’s the people inside the fence that have been turned into monsters.)
The fact the factionless system is obviously bad could have been designed to make people try to improve things. The fact divergence has anything to do with it, though, is dumb. You can explain the faction arrangement as similar to my previous theory it was a reaction from the war, people are searching for a new morality. But they shouldn’t know what the outcome is beforehand, and the mess of different things we’re told about divergence don’t add up well – the aptitude for multiple virtues fits, but the simulation superpowers continue to have nothing to do with that. And maybe Tris’ brain structure is actually what they were trying to get? Because the most likely reason for divergents is they’re just people who diverge from the norm, which would mean they do it in different ways. (I’m also unclear on how factions like Amity are supposed to do any good up against people who apparently have been turning into a society of psychopaths.)
There’s also a lot of random detail in there that makes little sense – why do they need separate water? If they’re literally worried that crazymaking violence is in the water because who knows maybe, then they obviously have no idea what’s going on, which doesn’t fit with how they seemed to have such an exact idea how this would work out.
And having the woman in the video be her ancestor is stupid and adds nothing.
Still, while obviously whatever comes next will be nonsensical and probably bear only passing resemblance to the current story, at least it does sound exciting.
I’m not sure what possible plot fixes there are. Everything pales before the fact there was no coherent plot as we shot between universes constantly. I’m also pretty sure the main solution is that Divergent should’ve been the only book. But the social experiment thing sort of has legs. They’re isolated and unused to dealing with anything new, kept far behind technologically – meeting the outside would is obviously going to be a disaster, but if it’s a situation bad enough that this disaster seemed their best option, it’s certainly going to be an interesting disaster. You could also have them here because of some alarmist crazies and have them find themselves in a world where they’re the scary violent people who commit atrocities. It’s not even much of a stretch, since even before the stress of the in-fighting, it seemed plausible the first thing they’d do upon finding out there were no factions is start conquering and forcing people into factions.
But mostly, the fix for this book is that it should not be. Divergent could’ve had a proper ending and have that been it.
Even if there’s anything to the social experiment, it should’ve happened at the start while society is still shocked by Erudite’s attack on Abnegation. All the drama between factions would’ve worked fine with them debating what to do in response, and it’d have just worked better by having it make sense they’d be debating what to do rather than being all “I’m sure Hitler will stop invading any day now!” If we need continued Erudite aggression, they could try to take over the other factions to keep them from leaving.
So. Apparently for some reason the top poll choice is to continue this to the end, followed distantly by Animorphs. But I’m really busy right now, so I’m going to post a bunch of stuff I have already done first.