Roth E-Publishes ‘Divergent’ Short Story: ‘The Transfer’

If you cannot wait for Allegiant to come out next month, Veronica Roth has published a new Divergent short story, the first in a series of four, available on Amazon Kindle for $1.99. At 30 pages in length, it’s not a per page bargain but for the Divergent-o-phile, it’s certainly worth the price of a decent comic book (okay, half that price).

My first three thoughts on reading it are after the jump. You don’t want to go there, of course, if you don’t want to know what The Transfer is about before reading it yourself.

(1) Can you say Midnight Sun? Stephenie Meyer, taking another leaf from Orson Scott Card’s playbook, started a version of Twilight as told by Edward. She gave up on the project, tentatively titled Midnight Sun, because a bootleg copy made its way to the Internet in what the author experienced as something like a betrayal. Ms Roth went that route in her previous Kindle-ized short story, Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Knife Throwing Scene. In her brief introduction to that piece, she shared her surprise and delight about how easy it was to write from Tobias’ [erspective and how much she learned about how he thinks through the exercise of writing this scene. Ms Roth wasn’t kidding; she’s moved on from re-telling a scene from Divergent from this character’s perspective to giving us a fresh account of his origin in Abnegation and abusive father. The Transfer of the title is Tobias Eaton and the story is of his choosing Dauntless and his first encounters with Eric, both of which are referenced in Free Four.

(2) Having read Louise Freeman’s discussions of the psychological categories that are the templates of the Factions, this story is a lot more enjoyable and challenging than my first run through Divergent‘s chapters about Tris’ choice and first days of training. The Transfer is rushed writing, alas, the equivalent of several chapters of Divergent collapsed into  far fewer pages, something like an exercise for Ms Roth I suspect, but even so, we can see in Tobias’ thinking on the Choosing Ceremony day that he has qualities of all the Factions — and will never be at home in any one. He only chooses Dauntless, I think we’re meant to take away, because of his desire to cause the most injury to his father, the sadist and Faction big shot.

(3) This is the first of four ‘Four’ stories and I welcome the ‘extra’ wood this throws on the fire of Divergent discussion here as we wait for Allegiant. There isn’t much time left before the finale so I’m guessing this series of shorts — especially this origin tale — is meant to force our thinking back to the beginning from which the finish usually takes its cues (finis ab origine pendet, right?). I look forward to reading Louise’s and Christine’s predictions based on their structural exegeses of the first two books and to reading yours as well.

Open forum — What did you learn about Four from The Transfer that you didn’t know already? Is this sort of chapter-by-chapter sale rewarding to you as reader or an exploitation device, a marketing tool to make the run-up pay? Comments and corrections, please!


  1. Louise Freeman says

    I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it… better than Free Four, since I liked the “prequel” aspect of it… seeing into a time period we had not directly visited before.

    A marketing tool to be sure, but for 99 cents I don’t mind getting a little extra superfan insight.

    What I thought was most interesting was the added insight we could have gotten but didn’t… insight into what makes Marcus tick. He’s still a pretty one-dimensional egotistical abuser, with no particular motivation for continuing to batter Tobias, who certainly seems capable of hitting back by this age. Perhaps that is all he can be, as long as we see him through Tobias’s (and by extension, Tris’s) eyes. But, is he just pure evil? Does the refrain of “This is for your own good.” mean something more than simple sadism. Does he know something about the Outsidethefence World’s plans for the Divergent children, that made him desperate to conceal his son’s Divergent, even if it meant exterting absolute control over his actions (with the belt as a substitute simulation serum) imprisoning him in the claustrophobic closet of Abnegation forever?

    Remember that Tris betrayed her lover to support Marcus’s goal over Tobias’s. And Tris has been acknowledged by everyone, including Tobias, as the one who is the best judge of character (except perhaps for her misplaced trust in her brother.) My guess is that Marcus is headed for some sort of redemption.

  2. can anyone tell me where to read it online free?

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