Timelining!

Late as usual. This time my excuse is…

Anyway, today we’ll be looking at timelines, what some ‘sensible’ people might have done before they started writing a word; and done for the length of the book, not just for backstory. Well, ‘sensible, schmensible’, that’s what I say! Not that that’s not what you should do when you’re being sensible, just that I’m not sensible. Ever.

(Seriously; did you see what my plan is for NaNoWriMo? I’m practically insane!)

As always for Troped! planning posts, here’s the page from the notebook o’ notes. Please note that the ‘Arbitrary Birthdays’ are done the British Way, i.e. day/month, i.e. the Proper Way. 😉

Troped 8

There’s a bit of obscuration in the Arbitrary Birthdays section, a while ago I had decided that Amy had skipped a grade because she was so intelligent, but I then realised that threw all the other ages out of whack, so I’ve discarded that plot point and decided she had skipped a grade due to her intelligence, but then had to repeat a year because of the murder of her parents.

In case it’s too scribbly–Amy and Hannah are sixteen, Jericho is seventeen but in the same year as them, just a few months older, and Tess is seventeen but in the year above. Harbinger’s age I took a while to decide on, it depended somewhat on how old he was when he volunteered as an Altercon, and thus when exactly the Altercon experiments began. Nic(k) was born in 2141–and I’ll tell you what my train of thought was on that one so you can understand the ‘I FORGOT HOW TIME WORKS!’ note and know just how stupid I am.

‘Duuuuuuh… Luce is the oldest, and he’s thirty-three, but he’ll be thirty-four later on in the year, so 73 minus 34 is 39, so he was born in 2139. Niccolo is two years younger, so he was born in 2137.

Wait! That’s not how time works!’

And it was actually a fair few minutes before that clicked with me.

The small Altercon timeline project is pretty straightforward in and of itself; it’s not set in stone and is only there to give me a rough length of time in my head, so that if I have to talk about past events, I’ll know where they are in relation to each other. The points of interest, in this case, are the paragraph at the top of the page where I lay out the idea that randomly occurred to me while I was writing Chapter 2, about Zhirenkov being replaced by a robot duplicate by his wife after Nick killed him, and that in the course of writing the timeline I randomly decided why exactly Zhirenkov had killed Regatta (Winnie’s ‘sister’).

Also I drew a compass for no reason.

That’s it for today folks! NaNoWriMo approaches fast and soon you’ll be hearing far less from me because of it, so I’ll leave you with the first remark my mother made when I let her look at the notebook I’m using to plan out ‘The Points’, this year’s NaNo project …

Mum: *frowns* …You’re writing a book called ‘The Pants’?

Miscellaneous Mutterings of Madness

So, about this time last year I started writing a post simply because I hadn’t written anything in a few days, and ended up writing myself into doing NaNo for the first time. Friends, that time has come again, only this time the post won’t end the same way, because I’ve already committed myself to NaNo 2014.

… A general update then.

I’d like to have another Troped! planning page analysis up this weekend and then finish Chapter Two by the end of the month–for obvious reasons nothing will be done in November, and you probably won’t hear much from me in general. I do have a special surprise for Halloween night, of course…

I’m also hoping to finish Chapter 26 of DUELS and at least start Chapter 27. The next Book Commentary to go up will be Starcrossed, that’ll probably be one of the tiding-over posts in November (though given the quality of Starcrossed it might just end up one of the ‘why do I follow this whacko again?’ posts) … What else? Let’s see…

#Gamergate is officially over–unless some part of you happens to still be attached to reality, where it’s going as strong as ever… ‘Gotham’ continues to be awesome… my local sweetshop has started stocking Snapple…

Nope. Nothing’s coming to mind.

Maybe I should just get back to plotting out ‘The Points’?

The problem with that is that it requires a lot of thinking–12 main characters in 12 universes are all very well and good while they’re still following separate storylines; when those lines converge and you realise that four versions of another character have been travelling to universes where they themselves are dead in order to kill people who may or may not be from that universe and the main character starts crossing over into other universes while other versions of him are travelling to his.

Still with me? Because the whole thing is beginning to look like a tea towel my dad once had explaining the rules of cricket.

And I loved that tea towel, which means ‘The Points’ is destined to be a huge success!

(But unfortunately none of those Points were that of this post, which remains pointless. Ah, well. You can’t win ’em all)

Anywho, give me a shout if you can find me on the NaNo forums–my name is the same as it is here, and this is the photo I use:

Mr. Toad

Pretty sexy, huh? Yep, that’s me–I’ll let you wonder for yourself whether I mean the small, dark amphibian, likely a juvenile of the common toad variety, or the hand it’s crawling on. This picture was taken in the graveyard of a medieval church in Norfolk, where all the cool kids hang out. If you didn’t know that, then you’re not cool.

Until next time, wherein it is my deepest desire that something actually relevant will be discussed.

Chapter Two: Mysterious Stranger (II)

Two days later than I’d said it would be, once because of crappy internet, once because Miss Marple was on. (Both times because I hadn’t actually finished this section of the chapter–but we had a NaNo prep meet today and I took the opportunity)

No further introduction this time–when we last left our heroes they were shooting the breeze in the mall-type-place when they noticed the mysterious ‘Harbinger’–who had run into several of their number in chapter one, literally, giving our heroine Amy a small wound that had since healed up suspiciously fast–watching them from the next floor up…

 

*~*~*

Jericho recognised his all-black ensemble, his hair and the shape of his frame from seeing him knock Luke over that one time.

He was standing next to a short black girl with pigtails and glasses; a girl who was kind of hard to miss in her long sparkly rainbow-coloured coat. Jericho had seen her around school too, but didn’t know her by name. She looked like she was talking to him happily, but he just kept looking at them, and if Jericho wasn’t mistaken, at Amy in particular.

Warning bells were beginning to go off in Jericho’s head.

“Oh my god, that is him, isn’t it?” said Hannah. “Is he looking at us?”

Amy waved at him. Jericho felt like he should tell her not to, but he couldn’t think of a good reason to stop her from simply waving. He didn’t believe Harbinger was really cursed, after all.

“You sure you want to attract his attention like that?” asked Jocelyn.

Harbinger tilted his head for a second, then waved back. The response was slow enough to make him seem even creepier.

But the girl next to him saw him wave, and after a brief exchange of words she’d taken him by the arm and begun leading him towards the escalator to their floor.

“Crap, are they coming down here?” Luke muttered.

“Who’s the girl with him?”

Amy’s question elicited shrugs from everyone in the group. And you’d have thought someone in their group would know who such a stand-out figure was. Maybe she…

No. No, he seriously couldn’t think of a reason he hadn’t heard talk about her. Probably that meant he had, and he just hadn’t been listening.

“She’s pretty short,” Jocelyn observed. “Maybe she’s a Freshman?”

Jericho shrugged. Strange as it was that anyone at all willingly hung around a guy nicknamed ‘Harbinger’, let alone a short, quirky Freshman, he wasn’t all that interested. He was even about to change the subject while they waited for the two of them to appear, but then, without warning, Mercedes Talbot swooped in behind Harbinger from the other direction and began following him and the girl down the stairs.

“Oh, no,” Jericho groaned.

“Is that… ?”

“The love of Jerry’s life!” laughed Shane.

Jericho hit him. A little.

“Come on, be nice,” said Hannah.

Before their eyes Mercedes caught up to Harbinger and snaked her arm around his, not physically pushing the girl out of the way but casting her aside with a look somehow. She said something to him, her lips almost touching his ear, and then grinned and laughed. Harbinger’s expression didn’t change any more than it ever had, as far as Jericho had seen it.

He did see the short girl roll her eyes in annoyance. She must have at least been familiar enough with the school to know about Mercedes and her wiles.

A few seconds later the three of them were within speaking distance. Mercedes gave Jericho a flirty wink, but he just nodded, not missing how her eyes began to sneer as soon as they travelled in the direction of the girls. Amy looked like she could barely contain her anger.

“Hi, Jerry!” said Mercedes, resting her head against Harbinger’s. “Fancy meeting you here.”

“Hey,” Jericho muttered. He’d usually tell anyone who said it not to call him Jerry, but in Mercedes’ case he preferred she knew as little about him as possible.

Hannah stepped forward, always eager to harmonise a negative atmosphere, and spoke cheerfully to the three newcomers.

“Hi, Mercedes.” Then, to the other girl, “I don’t think we’ve met—I’m Hannah; this is Amy, Audrey, Jocelyn, Luke, Jericho and Shane.”

“Tessa,” said the girl, extending her hand to shake with Hannah. “Tessa Lovelace. Everyone calls me Tess.”

“You a Freshman?” asked Luke.

Tess laughed, “Uh, Senior, actually.”

The group stared.

“Yeah, I get that a lot. Anyway, I was just saying to this guy he should come over and say sorry; he told me about running you guys down earlier, and I figured he was probably too embarrassed to do it on his own.”

Harbinger didn’t look embarrassed. He didn’t look anything at all. He said “Sorry,” while looking off to the side.

“That’s okay,” said Amy. “Look, the scrape healed right up. Can’t even tell I had it, mostly.”

Now that, that made Harbinger’s eyes widen. It was just a touch, but it was enough to let Jericho know the guy wasn’t one of those androids the conspiracy nuts were always whispering about.

“Does look like you missed a spot shaving your legs, though,” said Mercedes. “You should look in to that.”

Jericho was sure that if they’d been in a cartoon, Amy’s eyes would have literally gone red. He himself was only not offended on her behalf because he was so surprised that Mercedes had said what she’d said so brazenly. Seriously, who said things like that just out of the blue!?

Amy didn’t take it lying down though.

“Well, I generally don’t show them off enough for people to notice, Mercedes,” she said, with icy, false niceness. “But I’d be glad to have you over sometime so you can check for me, and I can help you with your English class like Cheviot wanted, so you don’t fail it again.”

“Amy…” said Hannah.

“Oh, Nick and I’ll work something out,” said Mercedes, still smiling but not as much as before. “And while it’s always nice to have offers, I’m afraid I don’t swing that way. You’ll have to ask Tessa here.”

She snapped her fingers then reached out and gave Tess a pat on the head—and from the look on Tess’ face the insinuation must have been on the money. It made Jericho grit his teeth—Luke wasn’t exactly interested in the ladies himself, and they did say the C through F class stations in the United Colonies of New Cascadia lagged a century or so behind in social issues. In his experience, Rhea was no exception.

“Maybe I will,” said Amy, also through gritted teeth.

“Mrrraow!” said Shane.

Jericho hit him. Harder than before.

“Ow!”

“Anyway,” said Amy, heaving her bag over her shoulder, “I’m going to be late for curfew. You want me to let the Doc know she’ll be grounding you tonight, Jericho?”

Jericho rubbed the back of his head. “I guess I can be at least that considerate,” he said.

“Great,” Amy told him. “I’ll see you all later.”

“Ames,” said Jocelyn.

No dice. Amy walked away without another word, towards the elevators. Jericho sighed heavily, and was about to turn away and try to figure out how to get rid of Mercedes without getting too confrontational, when suddenly Shane pointed out something that for once wasn’t entirely pointless.

“Hey, what’s with that guy?”

He was looking the other way from where Amy was going, and Jericho followed that line of sight, though he would have seen what was going on eventually anyway.

A man, black, in an old-fashioned black suit and sunglasses, a hi-tech looking silver device moulded noticeably onto his ear ran along the top of the railing around their floor itself—seemingly heedless of the massive drop below, perfectly balanced. People were stopping to stare as soon as he passed them, and he passed them faster running on the railing than Jericho thought most people could run on flat ground.

For a few seconds their group stared without saying anything. Strange as this sight was, there was certainly nothing to suggest it was anything to do with them. Then, just as he reached the same place Amy was walking in front of, he jumped off the railing.

“Amy!” Jericho shouted across the court, as loud as he could.

Amy turned just in time for the stranger to grab her around the shoulders.

Missing The Points

Ironically, ‘The Points’ will not be missed. In fact, throughout the month of November, they will have more than fifty thousand words–providing I win, and my target for this year is actually 80k–pulling them into existence. It’s ‘Rooks’ who will, in fact, be missed, and the title of this post was just the latest on a long list of bad puns I’ve used for titling blog posts.

Allow me to explain.

For some months, perhaps as far back as February when the first volume of ‘Rooks’ was published, I’d had this nebulous sort of idea in my head that I’d be doing the bulk of the continuation of ‘Rooks’ for NaNo 2014. I could admit to myself that I wasn’t exactly hyped for this. Part of the reason I’d set this aside for NaNo was that I hadn’t been feeling very much in to writing it, and to put it bluntly I still wasn’t. Once I’d finished the first volume I was too happy to know that I’d finally finished something to accept that I’d have to get started on the second volume ASAP. But it was always there on the schedule; ‘I’ll get back to ‘Rooks 2′ in proper when NaNo comes around and be motivated to write it in order to win the challenge’.

Only it’s now prep month, and I’ve still not been feeling it. I’ve frankly been much more interested in finishing up last year’s NaNo, and in the Troped! saga-project-thing. ‘Once I finish up this last round of chapters’ I told myself. ‘Then I’ll get back to Rooks for sure’.

And then something happened. I got a new idea.

Not even for a novel, but, thanks to #Gamergate and the story surrounding it, for a ‘game’.

Yes; I heard about You-Know-Who’s game, watched Sargon of Akkad’s Let’s Play, heard it discussed all over the place for more than a month now, and I thought: ‘I could do that. Except, I could make it interesting.’

At first it was an idle flight of fancy, as these things always are. But now it’s remained in the back of my mind for weeks, going ‘write me… write me…’ and at first I tried to ignore it, then I told myself I’d set aside some time for a serious argument with myself as to whether I’d do this for NaNo or do ‘Rooks’, and then I realised that since this was what I wanted to do right now… this was what I was going to do.

Don’t get me wrong. Rooks is on hiatus, but not permanently. I’ll probably finish that before I finish this project, because what I have in mind is going to be massive, likely taking years to complete. But for NaNoWriMo 2014, my project is going to be an onscreen choose your own adventure story, and it’s going to be called ‘The Points’

Enjoy this crappy cover I photoshopped up in about an hour.

The Points copy

The idea behind ‘The Points’ is that it involves alternate dimensions and alternate versions of the same character, and depending on which choices you make, you’ll turn out to be a different character, but you’ll probably also meet up with versions of the character that you could have turned out to be if you’d taken a different path–which means writing the same scene from two or even three different points of view. There’s also action, murder, kidnappings, cults, mystery and intrigue. Presumably.

Like I said, this is going to be massive; as much as writing one novel for each of the proposed POV characters, and I was thinking of having at least twelve. Millions of words. More meticulous planning than I’ve ever had to deal with. First time writing in 2nd Person. Probably some Dubious Artwork too. No guarantee it will go anywhere past NaNo.

But I’m officially going ahead with it.

Wish me luck.

(Part two of Mysterious Stranger up hopefully on Friday. See you all then. Also, ‘Gotham‘ is still awesome).

Halo: The Suburban Angel Apocalypse (Part II)

PART TWO

Chapter Sixteen

Gabriel decides to invite Xavier over for dinner so he can re-enact that famous scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Well, I hope that’s why he’s inviting him anyway. Xavier’s response to being invited to dinner with the Archangel Gabriel is pretty much ‘Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh… okay.’

Unfortunately dinner is mostly just really boring, and Gabriel seems to have as low an opinion of Beth as I do, as he pretty much says that Xavier is going to be her babysitter. After some dumb conversations, Xavier leaves, having apparently impressed the angels with his extreme generic-ness.

Then there’s a filler scene where the angels go flying.

Chapter Seventeen

The half-way mark! My amusement with this one is beginning to fade—I hope something really stupid happens soon!

But so far it’s just some really boring conversations and Beth mentioning that Molly is becoming jealous of the time she spends with Xavier. Come on, Beth—chicks before dicks!

Then some guy I don’t think we’ve heard of before tries to ask Ivy out…

Why?

And Xavier starts becoming friends for all the angels, helping them with modern technology that for some reason they didn’t already know about (how were they getting by before him?) and making sure Beth only hangs out with people he approves of. What a catch!

So more stuff happens, there’s a clichéd attempted sexual assault, blah blah blah…

And then a ‘bump’ from England with the stupid name of ‘Jake Thorn’ is introduced. (surprise pregnancy?)

Could this be… a Generic Love Triangle?

Chapter Eighteen

The English teacher tells Beth that she’ll need to work on creating a love poem with a partner in preparation for their work on the Romantics, in order to let that class know she doesn’t understand the term ‘Romantic’ when used in that context.

Jake Thorn, PI, (not really, but he sounds like it) steps up to read his poem first. Since he’s apparently a fan of The Following, he chooses some Poe to read out. Oww! Just bumped my head on the pop culture reference limit bar!

The women in the room all go gaga over him, and surprise, surprise, he ends up with Beth as his partner, where they discuss mindless nothing, but this is one of those five-minute classes so they part ways soon enough.

Xavier and Beth drive home and although some brave soul on a motorbike tries to put an end to their sappiness, they survive the journey and proceed to do some boring homework.

Chapter Nineteen

Things are getting really exciting now, as Beth is invited to meet Xavier’s family! What if his sisters think her clothes are unfashionable!? (this is actually a concern she has). Oh the suspense!

Beth is also worried that they’ll compare her to dead!girlfriend, but Xavier says dead!girlfriend couldn’t really have been his One True Love because her parents were divorced, or something.

Fortunately Xavier’s family are reassuringly boring, religious, and the kind of people who ‘pile your plate high with baked potatoes’. That says it all about them really.

Chapter Twenty

Beth goes to English class to find Jake trying to seduce their teacher. The teacher points out that it would be illegal, but Jake’s been to the Wise Woman and has picked up a Cunning Plan so no one else will ever know. The dumb teacher therefore is completely fine with their relationship, and the pop culture references in this review are now over 9000.

Beth disapproves, because the English teacher ‘deserves more respect’, even though she’s a complete tool. But Jake just twirls his moustache a bit and the lesson continues. Meanwhile Gabriel and Ivy are actually trying to achieve their mission, and have succeeded in getting more students involved in extra-curricular activities, which will apparently somehow save the world.

Anyway, who cares about that?—the PROM is approaching! Shopping montage! But, oh no! They don’t find a dress that suits Beth!

Then Ivy says she has nothing better to do than to make Beth a dress, problem solved. Yay.

Later, Beth runs into Jake Thorn, PI, and has a conversation with him where he reveals he’s hardcore, because he lives above a tattoo parlour. Also he practically spells out that he’s a demon/fallen angel/evil guy/villain/thingamy-bob. Will Beth get it?

Chapter Twenty-One

No.

She does flip out about him implying he knows she’s an angel, but only because she thinks he might have figured it out even though he’s a human, which he obviously isn’t. He feigns ignorance, because apparently he has more than two brain cells to rub together.

Bethany doesn’t, because even though Jake’s touch burns her skin she brushes it off as nothing.

Then she and Xavier have a discussion about nothing, she and Molly talk about Xavier’s penis, and Jake uses his powers to burn a woman’s legs.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Molly comes over to Beth’s house to admire a painting Beth thinks is too deep for poor dumb Molly to understand—or any human for that matter, but she explains it anyway, and it’s about as hard to understand as the plot of Hush, Hush.

In other news, Molly wants to become a good citizen now, as maybe then Gabriel would be interested in her; because what’s the point in doing good if you’re not rewarded for it!?

Beth tries to warn her away from him, but Molly doesn’t listen, and Gabriel drives her home because there’s no more dangerous a place than the suburban near-paradise they live in.

The next day, Jake has written some poetry which basically amounts to ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, I am a demon, and I will kill you.’ Then he name-drops Wuthering Heights, because that’s what you do when you’re a ‘Badboy’ Love Interest in YA paranormal romance.

He proceeds to be even creepier, and Beth tells him to get da fuk out, so he backs off. Then she goes to talk to Xavier about… *giggle*… you know, things Tee hee hee!

Sex, basically. Their conversation is boring, but later on Ivy tells Beth that if a human and an angel have sex, the angel will fall and the human will be permanently damaged.

Too good for ’em, I say!

Chapter Twenty-Three

Shit, this is going to be longer than I’d hoped. Oh well, never mind.

Ah, let’s see… bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, the group goes to visit old people and one of them dies of oldness. I’m sure this chapter really needed to be here…

Chapter Twenty-Four

Beth tries to do some worldbuilding, but Xavier tells her to stop because this is paranormal romance, not dystopia, so worldbuilding isn’t allowed—even in infodumps.

Then Xavier injures himself playing rugby. Oh noes! Beth flips out, they go to the hospital, a man in a fedora drops by in the villains-from-Verity manner, and the home team wins the game, yay!

But the worst part is that now Xavier will MISS THE PROM!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

He reads the Bible instead… and to be fair, that’s what I’d rather do. Beth goes to English class to do some more bad poetry with Jake, and surprise, surprise, he asks her to the Prom.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Ah, three quarters done. At this point the book forgets about angels entirely to write down every clichéd prepping-for-prom scene from every teen movie that was ever made, complete with girl-walking-downstairs but sadly not including the prom night slasher-killer.

Xavier and Jake take some time out to measure their penises, then PROM ensues.

Chapter Twenty-Six

By this point I think Jake could be wearing nothing but a balloon tied to his dangly bits that said ‘I AM THE VILLAIN’ in huge red letters and Bethany wouldn’t notice.

Oh yeah, and PROOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Beth and Jake get crowned king and queen of Prom. All shall bow before them! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Then Jake does some non-consensual kissing, Beth tells him to get da fuk out, and Jake finally reveals that he is, indeed, the villain.

What a twist.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Beth tells Gabriel and Ivy that Jake is the villain and they’re like ‘yeah, we thought he might be’, but apparently they didn’t tell Beth because it wasn’t dramatically convenient at the time. Guys, you’re losing to Aunt Sophie from The Wicked Woods; I mean, her outing Fallon as a vampire was anti-climactic as hell, but at least it made sense. Maybe they prefer the Nina from XVI approach?

Anyway, Xavier sees a picture of the kissing and flips out, accusing Beth of cheating on him because… he’s a moron. So much for their loving lovers’ love, I guess!

Beth pulls a Bella-in-New-Moon wangst, so Gabriel goes over to explain things to Xavier, and Xavier believes him instead of Beth because… well, I guess he has more respect for him.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Xavier tries to convince the angels that Jake being the villain is a big deal, but the angels have read YA paranormal romance before, so they know the villains are invariably ineffectual and don’t really care. In fact they’re probably hoping this will take Bethany’s stupidity off their hands.

Jake begins a TERRIFYING campaign of… minor vandalism! And possibly food poisoning?

Then one of Beth’s dumb friends kills herself so she doesn’t have to be in the story any—I mean because of Jake’s evil mind control powers. Xavier thinks he can defeat Jake because he’s ‘just a boy’ and the apathetic angels have to point out that he has evil mind control powers and then reveal that Jake… is a DEMON!

Dun dun dun!

I’m serious—they say it like it’s supposed to be a surprise at this point.

Jake sends a death threat to Xavier but Gabriel still won’t do anything about it, probably hoping that Xavier’s stupidity will be taken off his hands too.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Jake asks Molly out on a date, and though Beth tries to warn her that he’s ‘bad news’, Molly doesn’t listen because she’s a Best Friend character and is therefore not allowed to have a brain.

Team Angel use the logic of people wearing black always hanging out in cemeteries to realise that the Final Battle will take place in the cemetery.

Chapter Thirty

Beth and Xavier tell Gabriel they’re going to the grocery store, but really they’re going to the cemetery to face off against Jake. Gabriel believes them because either he’s an idiot or he just hates them as much as I do.

Jake is trying to fit as many clichés as he possibly can in by standing in front of an angel, wearing a pentacle (to symbolise the five wounds of Christ, like all Satanists would want!), and a fedora hat and trench coat like a mafia goon.

He monologues to his Deth Dealers, and some students are brought before him so he can use a grimoire to raise the dead and speak terrible Latin. I pretty much failed Latin, and I know it’s terrible, but it does get his followers possessed by evil spirits.

Beth and Xavier let all this happen until he brings Molly forward to be possessed, and then they have to do something, because unlike the others, she’s their friend!

Jake is as unimpressed with them as I am and says that Beth must take Molly’s place, and also that he killed Xavier’s not!true love… years before they even met? Why?! Well, no great loss—I mean, her parents were divorced and everything.

And then Beth blacks out.

Chapter Thirty-One

Jake takes Beth to his evil villain lair of clichéd-ness, and psychically gives her some bad memories which almost kill her… somehow, but then Gabriel, Ivy and Xavier pop up to save the day.

Gabriel attacks Jake but only way to defeat someone with that many clichés on their side is with the even bigger cliché of the power of love. Yes, even the fedora and trench coat can’t stand up to that—I almost died laughing just reading about it, and would have if that meteor hadn’t got me earlier.

Chapter Thirty-Two

Well, that was an anti-climax.

The angels mind-rape everyone so they forget about Jake’s existence and they all live happily ever after. Or in Beth’s case, whining-ly ever after.

Epilogue

After a boring conversation, Jake leaves behind another death threat—or hell-threat, rather. Aww. What a guy.

Final Thoughts

Well, it’s the end of the world as we know it and as you see I died halfway through this review so I guess I’d better go over my options—heaven, hell, annoying-dead-sister-ghost, the possibilities go on.

Dawn: But you can’t die! What about Prom!?

I’m English, Dawn. We don’t have Prom, and neither do you or the rest of the people stuck in the village of Ireland.

Anyway, I’m off to the cemetery to hang out with all the other people who wear black so we can raise evil spirits, as you do.

Aphrodite: Ooh, can I come?! Provided you don’t bring any of those pentacles, I mean—I don’t hold with that shitty Christian superstition!

Only if you don’t mind a Green Knight cutting your head off, Aphrodite.

Halo: The Suburban Angel Apocalypse (Part I)

The Rachelloon Book Commentaries are now all collected together so you can waste hours on end reading the entire anthology, just by clicking on ‘The Rachelloon Review Show’ to your left. In celebration… Halo. No, really–this one is one of my favourites XD

Condensed review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/589117477

Ah, today we return to our roots. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…

Angels.

I have heard some glorious outpourings of hate towards this book, and after much deliberation… how could I resist?

(Shit, at this rate I’m going to end up reading ‘Save the Pearls’, and I may be evil, but even I’d feel embarrassed about that one!)

Chapter One

For our preface, we have two quotes—one from Shakespeare, and one from that other genius of words, Beyoncé.

A boy sees three figures, including out narrator, get zapped to earth. Our narrator wonders what about them startles him so much—their absurdly pale skin, their dumb clothes, their dumb expressions… oh, I don’t know, narrator. Maybe it’s the fact that you were BEAMED DOWN IN A FLASH OF LIGHT!

This is going to be a good one!

Our three heroes, Gabriel, Ivy and Bethany, (once again these angels randomly have the concept of gender) wander around the romantic poet-theme named streets to their new home. Bethany admires the modernisation, even though she shouldn’t know what the hell ‘modern’ architecture is, as she doesn’t understand toothpaste.

They’re here to re-connect people to their spiritual side. Wow, what an exciting mission. One day while out wandering aimlessly, the angels see an even stranger supernatural creature than they are… the Generic Love Interest, and Bethany is immediately ensnared.

Chapter Two

Bethany wakes to some pages of description and waffling about the meaning of the word ‘love’. For dessert she gives us some exposition about how she’s only seventeen years old. The other angels tell her to watch out, yo, and not become attached to being human. /angel cliché.

A second round of description—this time of character design ensues. Ah, character description. Sadly there are no ripped black corsets mentioned so I don’t have much to say about it.

Then they have to remind each other what their mission is and why they’re there. Oh noes! Amnesia strikes again! But the mission will be difficult because they have trouble blending in with their ghostly pale skin, their not-leaving-of-footprints, and, most damningly, their not-wearing-of-tank tops. (!)

Said mission is to save a ‘world on the brink of destruction’—by being nice and doing good deeds. Huh. *looks out window* You know, I’m not sure it’s really all that bad out there—

*Meteorite strikes house, kills mediocre reviewer*

Oh, fuck.

Well, at least it’s not as bad as what Bethany has to go through.

… High School.

Chapter Three

Bethany is posing as an Ordinary High School Student tm., while Gabe poses as a teacher. Fortunately for Bethany, she seems to have all the same fears an Ordinary High School Student has on their first day in a new school, rather than worrying about her whole mission from God thing, so I’m sure no one will notice her lack of tank top.

(Then again they’ve taken the last name ‘Church’, so how much they’re trying to blend in can be debated).

Stereotypical cliques are described, the angels comment on the fashions the young people of today are wearing as if they’d actually care, and Gabe uses his angelic powers to affect the weather patterns so the Big Game doesn’t get rained off that evening. Priorities!

Bethany meets a girl called Molly who takes her to chemistry class (I hope it’s not being taught by the basketball coach!) and reveals she doesn’t know what the word ‘spare’ means.

Molly tells Bethany that strange things have been happening, which Bethany should have already known since it’s the whole reason she’s there. But then, she can barely remember the cover story the angels have for their background, so what can you do?

Generic Love Interest, Xavier, pops by to remind everyone that he’s the love interest and get some overdone—uh, I mean, much needed extra description. After some dumb conversation, Molly tells Bethany that Xavier’s former One Twu Wuv died in a fire and he’ll never love again… (for about two chapters, I’m betting).

Chapter Four

Beth teases Gabe about his being immediately harassed by groups of girls because of his good looks, and then they discuss why it’s a bad idea to make friends. Beth proceeds to act more like an extremely sheltered teenage girl than an angel, which I have a feeling will be par for the course for the rest of the book.

I already wish the book was about Gabriel instead. Oh well…

So the angels have a boring dinner, with some boring conversations, and refuse to tell Beth what ‘MILF’ means because she’s too young and delicate to hear such terrible language, and so Beth can show us that she’s absurdly and excruciatingly naive.

Chapter Five

Well, Beth is as bored as the reader now, and mentions that time doesn’t exist in heaven, which is why it’s stupid that she’s supposed to be seventeen years old. So the angels go for a walk on the beach, where they see Molly—who Gabe and Ivy disapprove of because we all know from watching Troll 2 how terrible friends are!

Then a random fight breaks out and Gabriel breaks it up by being a bit awesome, and they all go home so Bethany can dream of Xavier, her one true love who she’s exchanged about five words with.

Chapter Six

The next day Beth wakes up to find Gabe just coming back from a run, and thinks of him in terms I’m not entirely sure are appropriate to be thinking about your brother in. Then a nosy neighbour pops by and says that everyone’s very neighbourly around here, to which Ivy replies:

“That’s good to hear.”

This makes Beth marvel at Ivy’s conversational skills. Really.

This two-minute conversation causes the trio to be half an hour late for school, where Molly informs Beth that the PROM is coming up. That’s right, the prom—enjoy it while you can, kids, ’cause it’s all downhill from there.

Then Xavier pops up and dazzles her. Really.

They go to French class, where Bethany has BROUGHT THE WRONG BOOK! THE HORROR! But Xavier steps in to save the day, nobly sacrificing his own book for her benefit. *sob, sob*. It’s just so beautiful!

Oh, and Molly is in love with Gabriel now.

Chapter Seven

This chapter’s called ‘partay’.

*Siiiiiiiiiigh.*

Well, Molly tells Beth not to get involved with Xavier, because she asked him out once and he politely turned her down, and it was the WORST THING EVAH!

Anyway, Beth goes over to Molly’s house to find she’s throwing a party, yay! I mean—oh noes, underage drinking! And Bethany was never told about alcohol because she and the other angels are morons.

Xavier comes to the rescue and takes her home so Gabriel can act suspiciously and Beth can mention that they can’t go to doctors because they have anomalous physiology, because apparently the angels can’t make convincing human-suits.

Oh, those wacky angels!

Chapter Eight

Beth wakes up to an angelic hangover—some healer Ivy turned out to be—and wangsts about her TERRIBLE ORDEAL and what a loser she is.

But the other angels forgive her and instead discuss a bombing in the Middle East, which has made front page news along with a particularly emotionally manipulative photograph, and how it has nothing to do with the plot.

Then Beth pops out to the shops and instead of buying food, adopts a dog called Phantom, and the angels are all okay with suddenly having a dog, because making friends with humans is bad but keeping pets is fine.

Chapter Nine

Xavier comes around to see how his Love Interest is doing, Gabe asks how long they’ve known each other—a dumb question since he was with Beth when they met, and Beth replies that such knowledge would constitute a breach of privacy, as if we needed any more evidence that dumbness runs in the ‘family’.

A boring conversation ensues, followed by some boring giving of numbers, which Gabriel objects to because dating is a HUMAN thing. Beth is too much like a HUMAN. It’s almost like making her an angel at all was completely pointless!

Beth wangsts about her insta-love and has a bad dream of falling to earth, though I wouldn’t worry about that, all you’d need to do would be to find a Nephilim vassal, wait for him to have a female descendant, then fall in love with her so she’ll sacrifice herself for you!

The phone number is torn to pieces and thrown off Beth’s balcony. Sad times.

What? I have Native American blood, I’m allowed to feel sad when I see littering!

Chapter Ten

Quarter-way mark, it’s almost going too quickly, *sigh*.

Xavier goes away to rowing camp for no reason. Yay. Also the word ‘limpid’ is actually used to describe his eyes. Beth therefore spends her time talking to Molly and her friends, who tell her that the library is for losers and the Middle East is in Africa.

So, it’s not just Beth that’s brainless, huh? I guess the friends had to be pretty dumb to make her look good.

We also learn that Ivy actually had a purpose as well—starting a church group to help poor people. I’m sure that will figure into the plot, when it decides to start. (Not).

Anyway, it appears the reason Xavier went to rowing camp was so he could come back a few pages later and ask Beth to the movies. After hiding this fact from her fellow angels (which doesn’t seem very angelic) she sneaks out and wanders around aimlessly until she finds him, whereupon he gives her his wonderful backstory.

Also he says he was interested in design, (design of what he doesn’t mention) but that doesn’t lead to a career (except where it does) so his parents disapprove.

Then they go to a closed fair where Ava from Evermore is waiting to read their fortunes. Well, it could be worse—it could be that woman from The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies! She tells us what Xavier’s personality is so the book doesn’t have to, and freaks out at Bethany.

Xavier takes her home in his pet car, where Beth asks about his dead girlfriend and Xavier reveals he’s a creationist. *Sigh*. Blasphemy Against the Holy Periodic Table, Xavier!

Chapter Eleven

Beth is told off by the other angels. Oh noes. Then after some meandering she goes back to school to talk to her dumb friends. Apparently lots of boys have asked Beth to the prom.

Why?

Xavier pops by to ‘rescue’ her from the conversation—and sure, it was boring, but that was as much Beth’s fault as anyone else’s. Seeing as the conversation they proceed to have is just as boring and pointless, I’m not sure why he bothered.

Beth whines about wanting to be human for a while, times passes, her association with Xavier makes her popular—Ever would disapprove! Then she goes to English class where they study that wonderful cautionary tale, Romeo and Juliet, and everyone is told they have to write their own love poem that will be read out to the entire class. Uh-oh spaghettios! THE CLASS PANICS!

And then proceeds to have the dumbest conversation yet, full of ridiculous stereotypes and stupidity.

Chapter Twelve

For no reason, Beth thinks about God for a bit.

Well, that was pointless. Xavier talks to her about nothing for a while.

Then the story takes a bold turn when something ACTUALLY HAPPENS. Off-page, sure, but it’s something. There’s a car crash and a girl almost dies, but Beth saves her life—ha ha, wait, no, she waits with her until Gabriel comes to save her, Beth just faints like a dumbass.

Gabriel tells Beth that actually she did save car-crash girl, that he only healed her physical wounds while Beth… gave her her life force?

Yay?

Chapter Thirteen

The angels talk with their priest friend about how many idiots they’ve managed to convert to… uh… church. There doesn’t really seem to be any mention of denomination from that quarter.

Beth and Xavier have YA paranormal romance conversation #103, ‘I can’t be with you because of a secret I can’t tell you—I don’t care about secrets and stuff’ conversation. This results in kissing, no surprise, and Bethany says she’ll tell Xavier her secret at a beach bonfire.

Huzzah.

Chapter Fourteen

The angels believe in limbo so I guess they must be Catholic. Oh, and limbo sucks, just so’s you know.

Gabriel has stopped dressing the way his employers expect him to because…

And they have to let him get away with it because otherwise he’d resign, and the students would go into uproar due to his popularity, which is because of…

Beth asks him if she can go to the prom, an event she’s spent far more time thinking about than her actual mission thing, which apparently only Gabriel actually cares about; you can tell because of his long emo looks of sadness out into the distance.

Then we learn that dogs only respond to men. Because they’re MEN!

And now it’s time for Beth to reveal her secret to Xavier. She shows him how she doesn’t leave footprints in the sand, he responds with ‘Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.’ She shows him how a cut on her foot had healed in about five seconds—he responds with ‘Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.’ She shows him how she hasn’t got a belly-button, he responds with ‘Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh’.

I think you might need to break out the hand puppets, Beth.

But no, she jumps off a cliff instead. Practising for Hush, Hush? You be the judge!

Chapter Fifteen

Xavier responds well to the revelation of Beth’s angelic nature, until he learns that one day she’s going to have to go back to the big prom night in the sky, but then they just don’t think about it for a while and it’s okay.

However, since Gabriel and Ivy have at least half a brain cell between them, they figure out what happened. Uh oh spaghettios!

Gabriel goes to tell his fellow archangels about this development, and they hold off pursuing the Winchester brothers to talk to him /obligatory Supernatural reference—special outdated version ’cause I stopped watching it! Meanwhile Beth and Ivy talk about love and how human Beth is.

Thanks to a literal Deus ex Machina, Beth is allowed to continue to see Xavier, which pisses Gabriel off because it means he’s still stuck in ‘Halo’.

CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Chapter Two: Mysterious Stranger (I)

Hello, ladies, gentlemen and shitlords of all ages, today I wanted to make the very important announcement that the TV show ‘Gotham’ is awesome, and if you haven’t watched it yet, you must do so now, or I won’t be your best friend!

Also we’re starting chapter two of Troped!. Mysterious Stranger. It’s a trope that pretty much speaks for itself–the stranger normally turning out to be either an exposition dump/mentor figure of some kind, sent to ensure the hero receives ‘The Call’ and usually doomed to die not long after, or an eventual love interest whose job is to see exposition is not dumped too soon so later reveals aren’t spoiled, even when it would make far more sense to explain everything right away. I’m looking at you, Teardrop.

Obviously this one isn’t the latter, as that job falls to Harbinger. As for the former, you might think these characters are normally reserved for fantasy novels, but I think they have their fair share in sci-fi too–how many times have we seen a ‘I knew your father before our dystopian government killed him and now you must take his role in the resistance!’ asshole show up? The variation being the wanker who instead of exposition just forks over a Mcguffin and hopes the rest will sort itself out.

Of course, this Stranger isn’t one of those types either. What type of stranger are they really? You will find out… in a week or so, because unfortunately he doesn’t show up in the first 1200 words that I’m about to post. Next post on this blog will be my commentary on ‘Halo‘ (the Adornetto novel, not the game. Sorry. I’m so sorry) and after that we’ll see how it goes…

*~*~*

II

Mysterious Stranger

 

“So Mercedes Queen-of-the-ladies is sexting you after school now? The plot thickens.”

Shane nodded like an idiot after coming to that conclusion and let a strawberry lace hang out of his mouth. Jericho jerked his Minipad away from the idiot and practically slapped the image off the screen.

“Deleted,” he announced. “And don’t worry, this plot is about as thick as a blade of grass.”

“Yeah, but grass has, like, cells and stuff, right?” said Shane. “With… vacuoles… and stuff?”

“Oh, like the one between your ears?” asked Luke, tapping Shane on the head. “Come on, everyone knows Mercedes Talbot casts her hooks out to every large body to see what will bite. At this point it’s not even worth talking about.”

“Unless our man Jerry feels like biting, huh?”

Jericho glared at him.

“Uh, sorry—Jericho feels like biting.”

“That wasn’t the only problem I had with what you said. I’m not taking any of Mercedes’ bait, and I’m frankly offended that you think I would; she’s obviously insane and she’d probably cut you as soon as kiss you.”

He punished Shane for his stupid comment further by reaching into his pic-n-mix bag and stealing a gummy worm.

“Hey…” said Shane weakly.

“Oh look, it’s your sister,” said Luke suddenly.

Eden, was the first name that came to Jericho’s mind, even after four years of her not being the only one and the fact that Eden randomly appearing at the Recpod at this time of night was patently ridiculous. It was Amy of course, his foster sister, her and her friends walking out of the cinema and talking loudly. His eyes flickered up to the display board to work out what they’d just seen.

‘Immortal Blood: Heart of Desire’. He cringed. Surely not?

“Shit, man; it’s almost ten,” said Shane. “Don’t you two have a curfew?”

Jericho shrugged. “I’m breaking it,” he said. “Don’t see why she shouldn’t too. Though I guess she could make it if she hurries. It’s not like my mom will really flip out or anything.”

“Hey, Hannah Wright is with them!” said Luke. “Think Shane should try his luck—”

“Dude, shut up!” said Shane hastily. “Don’t say stuff like that where she could hear it; she’ll totally shoot me down!”

Privately Jericho knew Shane was right about that one, but it wasn’t his place to dash his friend’s dreams of skipping through a meadow hand in hand with fairy-princess Hannah, or whatever his dreams concerning her were. He caught Amy’s gaze as she passed into the food court and waved. She smiled and waved back, and when her friends saw her do so they followed suit.

Then Amy suddenly stopped, still looking at him but not really at him (if that made any sense) and narrowed her eyes; considering something. After a moment she tapped Hannah on her shoulder, said something, then started walking towards him. This was a surprise for Jericho, who might have liked Amy to be the sort of girl who came up and talked to him when they saw each other in public—they had lived together for almost four years now—but he wouldn’t have expected her to.

She’d never really tried to get that close to him, despite their being so close in age. Not that he could blame her, considering how much it had to have hurt for her to have lost her real brother.

As she came closer he noticed a patch on her leg that he soon realised was a band-aid. He was curious, but not worried. It wasn’t a big band-aid.

“Hey Amy,” he greeted her once she was close enough to hear without yelling. “Everyone.”

The girls responded with a few ‘hi’s.

“What happened to your leg?” asked Shane.

Amy grimaced and then twisted her grimace into a smile. “Oh, we had a run-in with a celebrity,” she said.

“Cool,” said Shane. “Did you get their autograph?”

Jericho slapped the back of his head.

“I think for Harbinger that counts as an autograph,” said Audrey Huntingdon.

Harbinger? The guy who’d tried to kill a bunch of people by driving a Transpod into a building? The guy who, the way Jericho had heard it, was petitioning to have the ‘H’ in ‘GBH’ legally defined by his own name? The curse of Rhea High?

“No way, the Harbinger?” asked Shane. “Don’t you know him, Luke?”

“Know him?” Luke laughed bitterly. “I swear he broke my arm last summer. Medics said it was just a bruise but I don’t know. I’m sure I heard a crack.”

“What, on purpose?” Hannah asked him.

It hadn’t been; at least not the way Jericho had seen it, and he had been on the football pitch at the time, but he wasn’t surprised to hear Luke answer in the affirmative. He took everything personally.

Shane sometimes did as well, glaring like an idiot as he was as soon as Hannah Wright talked to another boy. Moron.

“So what’s his real name anyway?” asked Amy. “He can’t really be called ‘Harbinger’.”

Luke shrugged. “Something St. Kilda,” he told them, “or at least that’s what Coach calls him. Your leg okay?”

Putting her bag on the nearest plastic table in the food court, Amy rested her foot on the seat of an accompanying chair. Jericho saw Shane tilt his head a bit as if to get a better look at her upper legs and promptly backhanded him across the chest with a glare. Amy peeled the band-aid from her knee without comment.

“Whoah,” said Jocelyn, peering closer.

To say Jericho could see why Jocelyn had made that explanation wouldn’t have been entirely accurate. He couldn’t see anything; not on Amy’s leg anyway—and neither, apparently, could Amy, who did a pronounced double-take on seeing the unblemished skin. Maybe it was a little yellow, like there’d been a bruise that had faded to almost nothing, but that was… well, almost nothing.

“No way,” said Audrey.

“What?” he asked them.

Hannah leaned forward and put a hand gently on Amy’s knee. “That is so weird,” she said. “A few hours ago it was all torn up.”

“Well it wasn’t that bad,” said Jocelyn. “You had the band-aids, Hannah—were they like, active-healing brand? Frontier X make, or something?”

“I don’t think so,” said Hannah. “I didn’t have the box with me, but I don’t think my mom would buy stuff like that, they’re supposed to be super-expensive.”

“Huh, maybe it just healed up on its own,” said Luke.

Amy frowned. “Yeah, maybe.” She put her leg down. “Anyway, that’s the story of our fateful meeting with Harbinger St. Kilda. He skated right into me, fell over, stared at us for a while and then skated off.”

The words she said were dismissive, but the way she said them made Jericho feel like something about the encounter had really bothered her. Maybe when she said Harbinger had ‘stared’ at her. Maybe he’d done it in a really creepy way or something?

“A-ha, speak of the devil and he appears,” said Shane, pointing up at the next floor where, behind the railing on the other side of the court and looking down at them, was Harbinger.