Teardrop: The Magdalenian Conspiracy (Part II)

In the last post ( https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/teardrop-the-magdalenian-conspiracy-part-i/ ) I missed the perfect opportunity to make a reference to that periodic table-blaspheming YA dystopian novel, ‘Delirium‘–what with the heroine of that book’s name being ‘Magdalena’.

And now, the thrilling conclusion…

Chapter Sixteen

Our hero goes on a school trip to the local Science Museum with her friend Luke. Who’s Luke, you might ask? I have no idea. I’m almost certain he’s never been mentioned before, and I’m pretty sure he’s not at all important.

They’re looking at a bunch of crap that’s been dug up from a shipwreck that’s four thousand years old. The crap, I mean—presumably not the ship. Some guy heckles the tour guide as if he’s making some deep political statement by interrupting a lecture, and oh. What a surprise, it’s Ander. He’s such a rebel; he makes my heart throb. For realz.

No, wait—I’m just having another heart attack. Damn you, Disney Princess-mandated medical experiments!

Chapter Seventeen

Ander’s explanation of what the fuck is going on is delayed by pages of description of their surroundings, of course. Then:

“She did this.”

“Who?”

“No one.”

Great conversation! They meander off into the wilderness so Ander can, eventually, tell her that she’s in danger from Brooks. Because the wave that mildly injured him in Chapter 10 was magical and has turned him into… uh…

Anyway it’s the halfway mark. Yay!

Chapter Eighteen

Well, that explained everything, thanks Ander!

Somehow though, Eureka is less than impressed with the ‘explanation’ and reports Ander being a stalker to the police. No, wait—Cat has to practically force her to do it; not because she’s afraid for her, of course, but because she’s crushing on a guy who works at the station.

And he says Ander sounds like a swell guy and he hopes they don’t catch him. So they’re all idiots.

On Eureka’s way home she gets attacked by glowy-eyed people and saved by Ander. They shout cryptic bullshit at each other, and then we transition without warning into the next section of Madame Fraud’s translation.

In this section, Princess Author was almost forced to marry Prince Jock but randomly fell in love with Prince Mysterious for no reason. That’s about it.

Chapter Nineteen

The next day at school Eureka seems to not care at all about the attack of the glowy-eyed people and instead has a long boring conversation with Brooks in which he is creepy.

Chapter Twenty

It’s High School Party Time! Yay! Bring out the drugs!

Or in this case bring out the pointless padding, I guess—same thing really.

Also, Brooks is creepy again.

Chapter Twenty-One

Eureka has a dream flashing back to the accident in which Ander saved her, but is woken up by Madame Fraud’s stupid bird. Apparently, he’s a magic bird that leads her to a secret meeting with Her Kookiness, so she can say that she’s made a world-changing discovery in the book and it’s too dangerous to send translations via e-mail anymore.

It seems Generic Princess and Prince Dumbass had an obstacle to their twu wuv besides Prince Jock—Delphine, a character cursed with being much more interesting than anyone else in the book by way of her magic powers. She’s obsessed with the Prince although he’s in love with the Princess thanks to having seen her one time when he and Delphine were making out.

Delphine puts a curse on them that will destroy the world if Princess Author ever cries. As you do.

Or it will destroy Atlantis at least, because that’s where this book is from, and Madame Fraud says she’s too scared of what will happen to keep up her dumb translation—probably because she’s run out of shit to make up.

But Eureka says she wants more bullshit, so Madame Fraud tells her to go boating with Brooks next week—because that will turn out so well, I’m sure.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Ander shows up to be mysterious while Eureka’s on a run. He tells her to try getting the thunderstone wet, which kind of sounds like a euphemism to me…

Chapter Twenty-Three

Evil Stepmother is pointlessly petty and ridiculous at dinner that night, and Eureka hears ‘Hold on‘ in ‘the code of the rain‘.

Whatever that means.

After endless padding, she decides to test the ‘thunderstone can’t get wet’ hypothesis and finds that, not only can it not get wet, it also gives its holder magic water repelling powers.

Yay?

Chapter Twenty-Four

Madame Fraud’s bird shows up again.

“What’s that, birdie? Madame Fraud’s stuck down a well?!”

No, she’s not stuck down a well, but her lair has been ransacked and she’s MIA—likely arrested by the police after years of swindling unsuspecting YA heroines.

Well, she was MIA until Eureka found her bloodied corpse in the next room, at least. There was so much padding I suppose I just assumed she must have searched the whole house in that time. Eureka fails to call the police, of course, because…

Because she has too much internal monologue-ing to do!

Chapter Twenty-Five

For some reason Eureka is determined not to get involved with the police, so when they somehow fail to investigate a crime they know nothing about, Eureka fills in an anonymous report; and is then shocked when the police connect her to Madame Fraud.

Still, the police apparently decide investigating a murder isn’t that important, so Eureka doesn’t talk to them just yet. Instead she follows Madame Fraud’s advice to spend the day sailing with Brooks, and seeing as anyone with half a brain would realise that he’s become dangerous, she brings her younger half-siblings with her.

What a great sister!

Brooks has cleverly decided to name his boat ‘Ariel’ after that of the poet Shelley, seeing as he’d had such a great time on it, (in 1822 it sank in a storm and he drowned). Sure enough, there’s a storm and the twins are swept overboard, so Brooks and Eureka dive in to save them.

With the Power of the Thunderstone, Eureka finds the brats, but Brooks disappears, leaving only the words ‘BROOKS WAS HERE’ carved onto the Ariel.

No, not really, that was just a Shawshank joke I’d been waiting all book to make. Anyway, the survivors manage to swim to an island, and I think we can pretty much declare Madame Fraud a fraud. The clue was in the name.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Dad comes to pick up the kids and drive them back home, where Evil Stepmother is surprisingly not evil and Eureka wangsts until she decides to talk to Ander.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Fortunately Ander has decided to come to her—by sneaking in through the window without warning like a rapist. He also has the Macguffin Book, which I guess puts him at the top of the list of suspects for Madame Fraud’s murder—oh wait, Eureka doesn’t even consider it.

Anywho, the book speaks of a bullshit ‘chosen one’ prophecy that—wait for it, wait for it—happens to describe Eureka exactly. What a twist!

Also if she cries she’ll open up a fissure in reality or something. Who knew?

So this causes her and Ander to have twu wuv’s first kiss, which in turn causes Eureka to remember that he was the one who saved her from the opening-kill prologue. He also says more cryptic bullshit about Brooks that’s immediately forgotten as soon as he says he can open Plot Device #3, the necklace.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

As if we were reading the novelisation of ‘Young Frankenstein’, thunder claps in the distance as soon as Ander makes his announcement. Pathetic Fallacy FTW!

So there’s a bit of paper in the locket that says ‘Marais’, and Ander doesn’t know shit about it. He does confirm that the guys who attacked them a few chapters ago were the ones to do away with Madame Fraud; and that explanation is good enough for Eureka, so they go back to wuvvy duvvy-ness. Aww.

Unfortunately the wuvvy duvvy-ness is interrupted when Eureka feels the gills along Ander’s neck. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Eureka isn’t alarmed by this until he tells her that Brooks now has gills too—because that’s just weird. Ander explains how he’s descended from Atlanteans, and was raised by his aunts and uncles, one of the latter of whom supposedly murdered Madame Fraud. They descend from the Prince in the book, and Eureka’s descended from the Princess; who apparently got shipwrecked and never stopped looking for each other—although evidently they did stop to pork some other people during the search.

I’m now convinced Ander is the murderer, because we all know Madame Fraud made that shit up. He must have tortured it out of her before he struck the final blow!

Oh, and Brooks has been possessed by an Atlantean. Not a ‘Seedbearer’ like Ander; one who was still living in Atlantis when it sunk. Or something. The only way to save Eureka is to go to Turkey to meet the guy who was proto-Ander the last time this book happened and proto-Eureka (Dead-Mum’s great-aunt Byblis) was killed by plot-device.

Possibly after starting World War II. Somehow.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

After affirming their wuv the next morning, Ander and Eureka discuss Brooks again. Ander says ‘fuck him’, basically, (in the ‘then let him die!’ sense. Not the… other sense), since he’s been possessed by the King of Atlantis, but Eureka wants to save her bff. The argument lasts all of one page, before Ander convinces her to leave him to his horrible fate by saying—

‘Scary stuff is totes happening and I have no time to explain it!’

Even though he had all night to explain it. What a wanker.

They go downstairs to see Eureka’s dad, who at first is going to call the police on Ander, then immediately accepts him for no reason. Then Cat drops by to say her family is evacuating because of the massive storm that’s conveniently arrived.

While our heroes drink coffee, Dad takes Eureka into another room to say that Dead Mum used to spout crazy gibberish about seeing ‘the boy who would break Eureka’s heart’ hanging around. I guess that means Dead Mum knew Ander was stalking her daughter all her life… somehow. Is he supposed to be ageless? Or did his family just reject child labour laws?.

Anyway, one time Dead Mum drew a picture of the stalker and it looked like Ander (Dad knows because he… kept the picture in his closet for all these years. Uh………..) . It’s a good thing Mum never told Eureka jack shit about any of this, or this book wouldn’t have had a lick of suspense!

Oh wait, it was so predictable it already didn’t.

Also, Seedbearers kidnap the twins. Oh noes!

Chapter Thirty

Well, the bad guys apparently had the twins in their grasp for so long that they were able to chain them up in a complicated trap outside, and their Parents of the Year didn’t notice.

Ander tells Eureka that it’s way more important that she survives than anyone else because… uh, she’s the main character, and therefore she should let the twins and anyone else die to save her own life.

What a guy!

He then reveals that the Seedbearers actually have names, and supposedly characters to go along with them—since the author forgot to give them any development until now, I guess.

They exchange clichéd dialogue at each other until their leader, Albion, decides to engage in some child abuse in case we forgot he was the villain, and punches the twins. Evil Stepmother runs to save them and is immediately blown up and killed. Aww, she was my favourite character!

Ander then pulls out a  deus ex machina gun with magic Seedbearer-killing bullets that will kill all the Seedbearers if even one of them dies.

Where the fuck did that come from!?

Chapter Thirty-One

Eureka manages to get hold of the gun, but the Seedbearers are confident she won’t kill them because of her love for Ander, which is really powerful for… some reason. Seriously their love has no development. At all. They’re just in love ’cause destiny or something.

Instead Eureka uses her Princess Peach crying powers to flood the world, or possibly just her back yard. All the good guys take refuge in her stone-powered anti-water bubble, the entire bayou is practically underwater, and pointless conversation ensues, rounded off with Ander telling Eureka she must face Brooks in a Final Battle.

So… how many people did Eureka just sentence to a watery grave? I’ve got to admit, I can kind of see where the Seedbearers were coming from with the ‘kill Eureka’ plan…

Epilogue

Brooks falls about the place wangsting over being possessed and over how much he loves Eureka and she’s just the most special thing to ever exist in the whole world ever.

Bleugh.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Well, since the Seedbearers failed to save the world by killing Eureka, I guess I’d better do it myself.

Dawn: No need, freak! As you already guessed while reading the book, Eu-freak-a is in fact Princess Peach; a heretic and traitor to the Disney Princess holocaust! Me and Elsa are going to take care of her later this afternoon.

Hmm, many a true word spoken in jest. Wait a minute, Princess Peach isn’t a Disney princess; she belongs to Nintendo or something, doesn’t she?

Dawn: Oh, we liberated all the major princess-supported franchises during our coup d’état. Which reminds me—you’re going back to the lab for another session with Mad-Scientist Princess Barbie!

NOOOOOO! Why do you do this to me, Dawn!? Haven’t I suffered enough for giving ‘Angelfall‘ two stars!? Must I be tormented forever more!?

Dawn: Not my call, freak—these are the orders of Princess Isabella.

Isabella? Who’s Princess Isabella?

Dawn: From your stupid book about elves and monsters, that’s who. Blame yourself for creating her to be such a bitch!

… I suppose I did bring that one on myself. Until next time, dear readers!

Dawn: Whatever. I’m off to meet with Madame Blavatsky—she’s got this great opportunity for funding the Disney Princess holocaust with the help of a Nigerian prince…

 

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Angelfall: You Know Nothing, Snow White (Part II)

CONTINUED FROM PART ONE: https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/angelfall-you-know-nothing-snow-white-part-i/

*~*~*

Chapter Twenty-Four

The next day the morning sun caresses Snow’s strands of mahogany and honey. Yay for purple prose!

After a few pages of describing the supply situation, Pen and Snow wander off and find some dead children hanging from trees, accompanied by a crying couple, the male half of whom she instantly knows was a loser in high school. Because he looks like one!

The couple argues about their son, who they’ve apparently been feeding children too, and Pen and Snow wander off again. I’m sure this will have a point later on, but right now I’m drumming my fingers against my desk.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Pen asks Snow if the couple were feeding the ‘low demons’—when they’d said outright it was their son. Maybe he’s a low demon? Snow, of course, knows nothing.

Then Pen asks him if he’s married. Seriously.

He isn’t, due to his Night’s Watch vows, and the fact that the love between humans and angels create monstrosities; like Hush, Hush, and A Beautiful Dark.

Anyway, after hiding from Obi-Wan and some angels, neither of whom notice them or each other, Pen and Snow resume their travels.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Our heroes make it to San Francisco thanks to a conveniently abandoned car (how long has this apocalypse been going on again?) and are close to Angel HQ (the ‘aerie’). Pen is upset by the destruction of the city, asking Snow ‘how could you do this’?

Does she really expect an answer at this point?

Anyway, they stop so Pen can change into a skimpy dress and Pen mentions that the apocalypse has now been going on for a couple of months.

A couple of months!?

‘Luckily, every girl knows how to change in public’.

Uh, we do, do we?

Anyway, Snow glues his wings back on (not really, but it makes as much sense) as a Cunning Disguise and they continue into the aerie.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Pen and Snow arrive at ‘the checkpoint’ to get into the city. Who’s running this checkpoint? Angel pimps. Well, I suppose there have been worse administrations in California.

The pimps have also hired Crazy Mum, not as a prostitute, but as a guard, who cattle-prods people through the fence along the checkpoint. I guess their diversity policy had a clause concerning the mentally ill.

So they reach the gate where the angels are deciding who’s fly enough to enter the city (lol—fly, geddit?) and when Pen asks why so many people have gathered around this spot Snow tells her it’s because people always gather places. In other words, he doesn’t know.

Well, these angels were obviously inspired by ‘The Wicked Woods’ (now there’s something I never thought I’d say) because they all wear old-timey clothes and stand around doing jack shit. Thus, Snow leads Pen into the aerie…

Chapter Twenty-Eight

At the aerie there are female angels, because it always makes sense that female angels exist.

Also there are angels with swords, and to avoid attracting their attention, Snow gives Pen twu wuv’s first kiss. Hooray. Pen spends the rest of the chapter obsessing over it.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

After much faffing about, Snow tells Pen to get the attention of the whitest angel ever and make him follow her to the men’s room. Pen is shocked, and I wonder why Snow didn’t try to plan anything out with her before now. Just thought they’d show up and the rest would sort itself out, I guess.

Chapter Thirty

On her way to Whitey, Pen sees a guy she describes as a ‘politician’ because he makes nice with everyone, but he and the women attending him are clearly dead on the inside. The Big Bad? I suppose we’ll wait and see.

Then one of the twins shows up and offers her a drink. I guess they were less useless than I thought, if they too were able to infiltrate the angel’s clubhouse. Wonder how skimpy the dresses they had to wear were?

Chapter Thirty-One

On getting closer to Whitey, Pen tells us that unlike all the other male models that comprise the angels in the room, this new character is Not Hot. Why? Because he has red eyes, a far more off-putting affliction than all the disabilities suffered by the kids Paige used to hang out with and organise parties for—wait, wasn’t she seven years old?

Pen knows instinctively that Whitey needs the magic of friendship to bring him out of his shell. She tries the oops-I-spilled-my-drink-on-you-totes-an-accident ploy, and it’s Super-Effective. She leads him into the men’s room to talk to Snow, whereupon it is revealed his name is Josiah, and Snow rescued him from being a slave.

Wait, angels have angel-slaves? What?

Anyway, Snow really is Raphael, big surprise (though Pen’s proverbial penny has yet to drop on that matter); and the pimp-parties have been organised by Uriel as bribes for electing him to Gabriel’s former position. None of the angels know what’s happening, Uriel might be in league with hell, the only person who can arrange for Snow’s wings to be sewn back on is someone called ‘Laylah’ and Josiah knows nothing about all the kidnappings, because no one knows anything in this book.

Chapter Thirty-Two

Snow and Pen take the elevator up to a room where the curtains have been left open by maids, which totes must be a political statement and not because they were lazy.

Pen showers, they argue, she eats, she ogles Snow… ah, Josiah comes back with… a Nazi woman? And Pen feels embarrassed that she’s eating and stuff? Well, she’s Laylah, and she’s here to talk about whether or not she should sew Snow’s wings back on until Twin1 brings them room service.

Then Pen and Laylah bitch at each other and Snow agrees to an unknown favour to get re-winged.

Chapter Thirty-Three

Welcome to the three-quarter mark, boys and girls!

Today we find out that Snow doesn’t believe in God, which makes perfect sense because—oh wait, no it doesn’t. Sorry, author, but just as Meyer could only take so many liberties with vampires, there are only so many liberties to be taken with angels too.

Chapter Thirty-Four

Pen torments a woman who’s come to bring more room service, and orders yet more until Twin1 shows up again. He decides to take her to where there might be some children, but has to be quick because La Resistance is about to assault the Death Star. Pen takes [steals] Snow’s magic sword along, which comes in handy when they’re randomly attacked by some guys…

Chapter Thirty-Five

… but then Crazy Mum shows up!

The random guys don’t want to get on Crazy’s bad side, so they get da fuk out and Crazy Mum joins their party. Twin1 leads them to where there might be some kids and then he gets da fuk out too, but after a few pages wandering around all they find are some deformed freaks of nature in giant tubes.

I was wondering when something like that would show up…

Chapter Thirty-Six

These freaks have dragonfly wings, which we all know from Inescapable means they’re fallen angels who want to steal souls. Or not. For some reason they also have scorpion tails.

Inside one of the tubes, one of the freaks is draining a woman of all her precious bodily fluids, because I guess vampire angels had to show up sometime. Soon Pen sees more of the same in other tubes.

Pen suddenly Takes a Level in Heroism and decides she can’t leave these people to their fate, then climbs a ladder to try to get to the top of the tank. What she finds instead is…

Chapter Thirty-Seven

… a wall of dead children!

And it’s not even Christmas.

Then Paige comes crawling out of the dead bodies looking all Frankenstein-ish.

Yay?

Chapter Thirty-Eight

The sisters are immediately found by a Mad Scientist angel. Mortal Combat ensues!

Unfortunately, Mad Scientist angel is not as easily defeated as our buddy Boden, and strangles our Penny.

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Pen is saved by Paige, who has apparently been turned into a super-strong flesh-eating demon by Mad Science experiments. She takes a few chunks out of the angel, and—

Shit.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT!

Mad-science by supernatural beings turning humans into cannibal-demons is what happens in one of MY novels!

NOW EVERYONE IS GOING TO THINK I WAS COPYING ANGELFALL!

AAAAARRRRRRRRGH!

Oh well, never mind.

Pen freaks out wondering whether or not she’ll still be able to feed Paige non-human meat. Don’t worry, Pen—I hear there’s a doctor in Baltimore who specialises in these kinds of cases. I doubt the apocalypse has finished him off. /Red Dragon.

Anyway, she finishes off the angel only for two more, including Laylah, to run in, but before that can have an effect on the plot, La Resistance begins their attack.

Hang on a minute, what happened to Crazy Mum?!

Chapter Forty

Well, some bombs are going off overhead, but Pen can’t leave without smashing up the tanks to try and free the tank-monsters’ lunches. Mum pops back up again and give’s Paige a big hug.

Aww.

Chapter Forty-One

The trio make their escape, but then Snow White comes hurtling down the hallway, thrown by an angel whose had Snow’s wings sewn onto his back, so I guess we know how well the surgery turned out.

Thanks, Laylah!

Shit, now I’ll have to call this angel Snow instead, and that means I might actually have to start referring to our Snow by his actual name!

Nah, screw that.

On Snow they’ve sewn a pair of bat wings, making him Batman, and the new Fake!Snow is the same guy who cut his wings off at the start. Snow asks Fake!Snow (called Belial, thus ‘Belle’ henceforth, for the Disney theme) why he didn’t just kill him. Belle’s answer?

Politics.

He doesn’t know shit either, does he?

Pen gives Snow back his sword, but it doesn’t work for him anymore and Belle (who is apparently from Hell? What?) attacks him. But Pen comes to the rescue, now possessed with magic sword powers, Mortal Combat ensues, something grabs Pen’s ankle—

Chapter Forty-Two

It was………………………………………………………………. A SCORPION FREAK!

It stings her in the neck, and Scorpion poison is Super Effective against YA dystopia heroines, but not against the Love Interests, so Snow picks it up and throws it away.

Sadly, Pen is now Dying in His Arms Tonight—it must have been something he said, and Snow is sad, because… they were in love or something. Hey, they knew each other almost a week! It counts!

Chapter Forty-Three

Belle was apparently Not Dead Yet, and rises again to kill Snow White, but is stopped when the Politician-type angel randomly appears to tell him not to, because it would turn him into a martyr for all his men.

His name? Ariel.

Well, okay, it’s Uriel—but they’re one letter’s difference and I have a theme going here!

Belle points out that Snow’s men don’t really care all that much about him anymore, but Ariel says they have to wait until everyone knows he’s Batman, or else. Pen becomes completely paralysed, Snow thinks she’s dead and does a Darth Vader ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’. Belle does some epic taunting and then he and Ariel leave… kind of awkwardly.

Snow beats up their surroundings in grief, and then carries Pen off.

Chapter Forty-Four

Outside the fighting is underway, La Resistance versus the angels who aren’t anything like angels. Snow White is able to make people Run Away with his Batman wings though, getting them as far as Obi-Wan’s people, who he leaves Pen with before flying away, never to be seen again. (for another chapter)

Chapter Forty-Five

Obi-Wan wants to leave without Pen’s body, but Paige has super-strength now, so she lifts it into the truck herself, and they ride away just before the aerie explodes.

Somehow.

Yay?

Chapter Forty-Six

As they’re on their way Pen is happy to see Snow White, flying around again. The soldiers shoot at him… and miss.

What a pointless chapter.

Chapter Forty-Seven

Pen’s paralysis wears off. What another pointless chapter.

Oh, also it’s The End.

*~*~*

FINAL THOUGHTS

Dawn: No, freak! Don’t do it! You’ll never recover your reputation!

Uh, it’s just a rating system on a website, Dawn.

Anyway, Angelfall. It was… not bad.

Hmm. Now my world view has been thrown completely out of balance. It’s almost like an apocalypse.

*Explosions occur outside mediocre reviewer’s window*

Huh, what do you know. Looks like angels are coming to destroy the world, Dawn—who’d a thunk it?

Dawn: Oh, those aren’t angels, freak.

They aren’t?

Dawn: Nope, this is the Disney Princess apocalypse. Abandon all hope, losers!

OH SHIT! EVERYBODY PANIC!

Okay, wait, it might be all right if I can just stay in my room and they won’t find me…

*Knocks occur on reviewer’s door*

Cinderella: Open up! This is the Disney Princess Gestapo, here to sell you into medical experiments!

NOOOOOOOOOO! How did they find us!?

Dawn: Simple. I sold you out, freak.

Bzuh?

Dawn: You didn’t really think there’d be no consequences for giving a YA paranormal romance book more than one star, did you?

But… but we’ve been through so much together! I THOUGHT WE HAD SOMETHING SPECIAL!

Dawn: Yeah, but didn’t you notice something strange? My name being Dawn and all. You know, ‘dawn’? Also known as ‘aurora’? As in PRINCESS AURORA!

What!?

Dawn: Dun, dun, dun, motherfuckers!

*Reviewer is dragged off screaming, never to be seen again—readers cheer loudly*

Angelfall: You Know Nothing, Snow White (Part I)

Finally it has happened. The two things I love most in the world, YA Paranormal Romance and YA Dystopia, have been merged together in a book I am reviewing. Oh, frabjuous day!

And yes, it’s angels again. Evil angels who cause the apocalypse, because that’s never been done—Cough!Evangelion!Cough!Dominion!Cough!—before.

But I’m sure this will be a masterpiece to rival even the likes of Eva. Then again, I don’t like Eva that much anyway, so I suppose it wouldn’t be too hard.

(The Condensed Goodreads review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1054600302 )

*~*~*

Chapter One

We begin with the knowledge that the angel apocalypse has made the sunsets prettier because… irony?

Well, if aesthetics for aesthetics sake isn’t a good indicator of how this book will turn out, we meet our tough heroine Katniss, the only person who can protect her little sister Prim in a dangerous world, since her father isn’t around and her mother is crazy.

Yeah, I used that joke again. In actuality we meet our tough heroine Penryn (?!?), the only person who can protect her little sister Paige in a dangerous world, since her father isn’t around and her mother is crazy. And for added bonus, Paige is in a wheelchair. This chapter involves them getting ready to leave the house… and that’s it.

Chapter Two

This terrific trio step out into post-apocalyptic wherever they are, and let us know that when people aren’t running from evil angels in this world, they’re spraying graffiti evil angels on the sides of walls and forming gangs who nail fake angel feathers to doors.

Also, the apocalypse has caused the people of Silicon Valley (I guess that’s where they are) to throw their smartphones into the streets, because they were infected with the SYMBOLISM! virus. After some wandering around, Prim—uh, Paige, finds a feather that apparently comes from a real angel this time.

And a real angel swoops down to give Penryn an opportunity to explain how angels have been killing everyone for… some reason.

Chapter Three

More angels follow, and fortunately for our heroes, they seem to be more interested in killing each other than in Penryn. These angels all have different-coloured wings, designed to give me Inescapable flashbacks, no doubt. Also they look like ‘the type to be heavily scarred’, but aren’t, whatever that means.

A fight ensues between five crazy-winged angels and one with normal white wings, described in such terms that I’m guessing he’s the paranormal love interest. Yay. Then they cut his wings off. Take that, Patch!

At this point Pen refers to two of the other angels as ‘bullies’, despite having no idea what’s going on.

One of them expresses his regret that he has to cut ‘Snowy-Wings’ snowy wings off, making me suspect his story would be far more interesting than the one I’m reading, and Paige falls for the old, making-a-noise-that-gives-away-your-location-when-trying-to-hide cliché.

Chapter Four

Pen tries to distract the angels so her family can get away, instead of just… trying to get away while they were already distracted by carving up some wings, but mommy dearest runs off without Paige, leaving her wide open for a kidnapping plot. Meanwhile Pen, an untrained teenage girl, manages to get a sword from the ground and throw it to Snow White before the fearsome angels can do shit.

With Snow White armed, the others RUN AWAY. Unfortunately, one of the other angels decides that spiting Pen is more important than running away, and abducts Paige on his way out, laughing maniacally. Well, not really, but he may as well have been.

Chapter Five

Man, these are some short chapters. Anyway, Penny then looks for mommy, although their relationship is ‘complicated’, and her ‘rosy love’ for her mother is ‘slashed with black’ and ‘spattered with grey’, and inked ravens of despair claw holes in the arse of the world’s mind.

No one will get that reference.

But poor old mum is nowhere to be found, hopefully she will avoid the supermarkets which we are told the gangs have turned into ‘torture stations’. As you would. (given the many stations I’ve been to, I think perhaps the ‘torture’ part is redundant).

So, Pen decides to grab herself a slice of Snow White, as angel wings go for big bucks on the black market. And also to see if he knows where the other angels took Paige. She applies first aid and tosses him into Paige’s wheelchair, making sure to act as though it’s really difficult for her to lift him as that will mean anyone watching will think she’s strong.

Wait, what?

Chapter Six

Pen holes up in an office with a corpse outside to ward people off. Luckily there’s still running water and intermittent electricity (why did everyone throw away their smartphones again?) so the apocalypse isn’t that bad.

Two days later Snow White wakes up to inform Pen that her sister is totes ded. Pen doesn’t believe him, because she’s read the blurb for this book. So she shows him his severed wings to prove… that she has his wings? She claims doctors could sew them back on, but I wouldn’t think Snow was stupid enough to—oh wait, he is.

Chapter Seven

Apparently Buffalo Bill’s come by to put make-up on the corpse outside the office; no, wait, it was Crazy Old Mum, who now vandalises corpses because… she’s crazy, and that’s what crazy people do. Also they have radar powers because how else could she have found Pen?

Well, according to her a ‘demon’ told her. Sounds legit. Meanwhile we get some backstory which tells us no one knows how Paige got ‘crippled’, she was in the house with Crazy Mum and there was an ‘accident’ that was apparently never investigated, so Mum made Pen get a bazillion different types of self-defence lessons even though they had no money to pay for them. Also she kept a scrapbook of stories about mothers who killed their children.

I have so many questions I can’t even list them all.

Chapter Eight

Pen duct-tapes up Snow White for safe-keeping, they exchange ‘witty banter’ then fight. Then more banter, then more bondage. And we get this line:

“When I was little, I always thought I’d be Cinderella, but I guess this makes me the wicked witch.”

You thought you’d be Cinderella, huh?

And wait—there was no wicked witch in Cinderella!

Chapter Nine

Crazy Mum leaves the lights on, attracting one of those evil gangs. A fairly written action scene ensues, although Snow White does leap to her defence for no reason. Guess he has Schlockholm Syndrome. Mummy knifes up some guy while Snow White takes on the rest of them.

Then Pen decides to lend him a hand, seeing as he’s her only link to poor Paige, and they fight and they fight and they fight and they fight… and they win. Deciding to leave, Snow White realises that Pen has his super-special-awesome sword, and Pen doesn’t give it back to him, because I guess she’s not an idiot.

Chapter Ten

I’m beginning to fear this book might be worth more than one star. I hate books like that!

Anyway, Snow White is in bad shape after some walking, leading me to wonder how exactly angels work in this world, because they seem to be slightly stronger humans with wings. This one’s name is ‘Raffe’. Short for Raphael? Who knows, I’m still going to call him Snow White.

Pen lets us know that Snow is totes gorgeous, claims she isn’t afraid of him, or god, then moves onto another subject. Why have angels decided to destroy humanity?

Well, I could make several jokes about why humanity deserves to be destroyed, but Snow’s answer is, word for word:

“Beats me.”

That sounds legit to Pen, and they have lunch. And they talk and they talk and they talk and they talk… we find out the angels have been collecting children, but Snow doesn’t know why because it appears Snow knows fuck all, really. When Pen asks him why the others were attacking him, he tells her not to be a victim-blamer, and nothing of interest happens.

Then there’s a dream sequence that lets you know Pen watched Titanic one too many times before the apocalypse and when she wakes up Snow agrees to take her to… somewhere. Her sister might be there, I guess.

Chapter Eleven

Now we learn that angels take longer to heal from wounds inflicted by angel swords, and Snow’s sword had to give Pen permission to use it because I guess it works by Excalibur rules.

Snow and Pen eat some cat food and set off on their journey.

Oh, and we’re at the quarter-way mark. Exciting.

Chapter Twelve.

Our heroes begin by finding some dead bodies, dead bodies that were apparently gnawed on by zombies, or possibly just crazy people. Or a pack of feral children. Or Mummy.

Who cares, next chapter!

Chapter Thirteen

In the woods, Paige’s wheelchair gets stuck in the mud and Snow White banters at Pen for a bit. Then they go to a place called Skyline, where the local people don’t like outsiders and set the hounds on them.

Chapter Fourteen

Snow White stuffs Pen in a tree and leads the doggies away just before a group of organised guys appear and find him. Pen is aggrieved that they are taking her captive captive, and goes after them.

Chapter Fifteen

It’s much easier to summarise chapters when stuff happens, rather than mindless bullshit. That’s another mark against you, Angelfall—I’m starting to get annoyed with your lack of badness!

The random guys take Snow White back to their base, and Pen follows along, waiting ’til night to perform a daring rescue… that gets her immediately captured. Yay.

Chapter Sixteen

So the thing about this book, I think, is that it has no… je ne sais quoi. I know that sounds super-vague, and I’m sorry, but I’m just… underwhelmed. Ever since chapter nine there’s been nothing wrong with the story and at the same time there’s been nothing compelling about it either.

Like now, when the random guys shoot the shit with Pen and Snow as they’re tied to chairs. There’s not even anything to say about it, it’s just talking. Then their leader comes in and feeds them. His name is Obadiah, and he excels in Boring Conversations.

Once both sides have reassured each other that they’re not living off Soylent Green, Obi confides in them his plan to find the crazy cannibals and train them to fight angels. There, that’s the kind of awesomely stupid idea I read books for! For once, I’m happy our heroes have found La Resistance!

Chapter Seventeen

Obi-Wan lets them know that he’s not deluded enough to think the local cannibals will be able to defeat the evil angels, (I don’t know—if they’re the Inbreds from the Wrong Turn franchise I think they could pull it off), but he does hope that it will at least inspire the people—and I for one find it very inspiring.

He leaves them to their escape attempt, and Snow breaks his bonds, because angel-powers. Pen mentions how the angels might have started killing humans because Gabriel got shot and killed, so apparently angels are weak against bullets?

Anyway, they’re immediately re-captured.

Chapter Eighteen

La Resistance tells our heroes they have to stay until the camp moves, because otherwise they might give away their location. If this was good old Ember, she would have been whining indignantly about it. Pen is actually reasonable.

I’m Very Disappointed, Angelfall!

Obi-Wan wants to recruit them though, and his guard Boden calls them ‘dildos’. Time will tell if he becomes my favourite character or not…

Anyway, they stay in the camp, where the men build walls out of computers instead of any of the hundreds of things that would make better walls than computers because SYMBOLISM! Pen goes to talk to Obi-Wan to see if he’ll let them go since they’ve been there a whole day, but runs into Boden who tells her to get back in the kitchen before he orally sodomises her.

Perhaps not my favourite character then.

Pen punches him in the face, he punches her back, she breaks his finger, he punches her in the boob, the onlookers take bets.

Yes, really.

Chapter Nineteen

About this time Pen decides to ‘get serious’ about this fight and turns the tables, right before Obi-Wan shows up to break it up, and Pen feels bad that Snow White didn’t bet on her winning. Because his opinion of her is so important to her now, apparently.

Obi-Wan tells her that brawling and gambling are cornerstones of their resistance movement, which is why no one tried to stop the fight. Great policy! Somehow, Pen doesn’t decide to join La Resistance after this, though she is tempted. She has to find Prim, after all. Uh, Paige.

But she wants to live in a world where her biggest worries are the PROOOOM, and pretending she does will obviously make it so!

(Hey, maybe Angelfall takes place in the same universe as Halo? Guess Bethany’s mission backfired big-time, maybe she should have actually paid attention to it rather than mooning over Xavier all the time)

Then Fred and George Weasley show up (called Tweedledum and Tweedledee in this book, though the character models match), seemingly to become Pen’s annoying cheerleading-squad. They gush over how awesome she is for a bit and try to recruit her into more fighting, saying if she throws a fight for them, they’ll help her escape.

She accepts, but not before interrogating them as to what Snow bet in regards to her fight.

Chapter Twenty

After a day of hard work Pen worries because Snow will be expected to take his shirt off, revealing the bandages with bloodstains in the shape of wing joints; and there’s just no possible explanation for those, except wings. Derp.

Luckily the woman the Hitachi twins (Hitachi doesn’t get a red line? Are Microsoft Ouran fans? Well, Ouran got one, so probably not) wanted Pen to fight; Anita (I’m saying nothing), sidles up to flirt with Snow and Pen pretends to be a jealous bitch to distract everyone.

Anita, it seems, is a Dawn character—yay! I hadn’t dared hope!

They mud-wrestle, but are interrupted by men with gnus.

(If you’re in my NaNo group, ‘gnus’ is a joke. If not, sucks to be you!)

Chapter Twenty-One

Panic ensues, people RUN AWAY, and Snow and Pen take the opportunity to escape. They come across some of the soldiers fighting… something, they don’t see what it was, but it was scary and some of the soldiers have been disarmed. In the sense that I’m putting my Horatio Cane sunglasses on.

Anyway, the soldiers leave, and our heroes go back to where Pen stashed Snow’s wings. They collect them, and Snow leads Pen back to camp Fight Club before telling her her sister’s in San Francisco. Then he gives some incredibly vague lines about how the whole massacre thing happened because of him, Pen is safer on her own, and then he buggers off.

Pen, of course, still has that Millstone to rescue, so instead of going back to Fight Club, she wanders off into the forest.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Pen wanders around in the woods and is attacked by things.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Snow shows up to save her. The two of them fight the… things (I don’t know, they’re little shadow demons or something) until they leave. Snow apparently doesn’t know what they are, and doesn’t recognise the term ‘Bizzaro-ville’ either, despite having no problems speaking colloquial English up ’til now.

Wait a minute, I just realised. I’ve been calling him ‘Snow’ all this time… and he knows nothing…

Aha. Ahahaha. AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, I crack myself up.

Moving on, we’re halfway through the book, let’s celebrate with another dream sequence!

*~*~*

CONTINUED TOMORROW IN PART TWO

Article 5: Are You Going To Scarborough Fair? (Part II)

PART TWO of my Article 5 Commentary. Part One is here: https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/article-5-are-you-going-to-scarborough-fair-part-i/

Chapter Nine

Half way through!

Chase believes the ratter-outer to be a guy called Tucker Morris, one of the arrester-Embers from Chapter One who she scratched in the face. He explains their history together, how they met in basic training and Tucker was rebellious and a troublemaker; which makes Ember immediately think that she may have had the wrong opinion of him, and start to form a more favourable one of him than she has of Chase!

That’s gratitude for you!

Anyway, Tucker gradually got crazier and crazier, taking his sexual frustrations of not being allowed to see his girlfriend out on everyone else in fighting matches (well, that’s what I inferred anyway) and Scarborough Fair’s administration thought this made him a BRILLIANT prospect for leadership.

No, really.

And so they started torturing him in the hopes that this would help his leadership skills. GREAT PLAN GUYS!

Ember immediately comes to the conclusion that Tucker and Chase were jealous of each other (?!?), weirdness ensues, Chase gets da fuk out, and Ember has another flashback to them talking about how his family got killed in a car accident. She mills about wondering if he’s been faithful to her while being a soldier, and then he returns with some baddies in hot pursuit, of him and their contact!

The contact gets killed while Chase and Ember hide in the closet (symbolism? Chase does get weird when talking about Tucker…) until the baddies leave and Ember blames herself for… existing. What an egomaniac! Chase tells her they may need to consider the reality of the situation, causing Ember to flip out, which apparently makes it the best time for Chase to whine about his problems. Ember is filled with shame—she hadn’t considered that Chase might have problems!

… except for all the times she did…

Then Ember finally remembers Rebecca and Sean, and Chase tells her that Sean’s probably screwed. Maybe Ember forgot about Rebecca after all, because she doesn’t bother asking about her.

Then there’s a huddling together for warmth scene, yay.

Chapter Ten

Chase has a nightmare, which makes Ember feel so sorry for him that she immediately forgives and trusts him completely. What. An. Idiot.

Especially since a second later she wakes him and he tries to strangle her. Like I want to.

Tender moments ensue, and Chase and Ember meander about for a few more days then come across a farmer facing off with some thieves. Ember continues her streak of stupid by getting herself and Chase involved and almost getting a bunch of people shot. She tries to get Chase to stop beating up the thief, until the thief hurts his arm, and then decides to root for Chase instead.

What. An. Idiot.

Anyway, the thieves RUN AWAY, and the farmer invites them inside and Ember complains about the fake name Chase gives because apparently only redheads can be called Elizabeth. I don’t know…

Ember then assumes the family are super-rich because they have a generator. Generators must be the sports cars of Article 5-Land, even though loads of people have them these days and Scarborough Fair is supposedly only like ten years away. Anyway, the farmers say they’ll drive them to where they’re going in the morning, and Ember decides to celebrate her newfound trust in Chase by rifling through his things.

She finds he’s got a ton of cash and a copy of ‘Frankenstein’, which was her favourite novel or something, prompting a flashback to Chase saying ‘Frankenstein’ isn’t girly enough for girls to be reading it. I’d point out that Frankenstein was written by a girl… but I have to agree with Chase’s skepticism in regards to Ember having read it. Or being able to read.

However, instead of the pages of Frankenstein, the book is filled with the deed to Chase’s house and a bunch of love letters from Ember. Wangsting ensues.

Chapter Eleven

Ember gets the feeling that the farmers aren’t as nice as they seem, and we all know how great her intuition is, so she steals some food from them. On the radio they hear about La Resistance, and Ember thinks about how EVIL the government is and how they’d be better off without curfews, and statutes, and no-go zones, and reform schools.

Uh, maybe not without those things entirely, Ember. Just not the ones you have now.

Chase angsts over how if Ember hadn’t gotten them involved he could have just let the farmer’s child get killed, and tells Ember he’s afraid that she’s the only thing keeping him human.

She responds to his soulful confession by saying she’s ‘sorry she’s ruining his fun’.

Ember… just never speak again, okay?

But never mind that, the farmers are turning them into to da fuzz because they heard a random story on the radio that could have been about anyone. Chase tells Ember to go on ahead, giving her the kiss of twu wuv, and Ember decides to turn the generator off to cause a distraction, and they steal the farmer’s bike and escape.

Yay.

Chapter Twelve

The escape doesn’t last long though, because da fuzz is on their tail (or at least I assume they are, because the last time this happened… well, nothing actually happened).

And sure enough… nothing happens.

Anyway, Chase tells Ember he hit a soldier on his way out, and Ember is worried that this might get them in trouble!

WHY NO BRAIN, EMBER?

That’s it. I’m coming up with a new shelf for you—we’ve had personality free protagonists in spades, but you are a brain free protagonist. New shelf; make it so!

Anyway, Ember then slaps Chase for no reason, leading to a discussion of their wuv. Chase had been under the impression that Ember had a thing for Sean the soldier, and Ember refuses to tell him otherwise. Chase then thanks her for saving his life by causing that distraction at the farm. What a doormat.

They then come across a pair who Ember knows with her stunning intuition are twins, and the girl twin is ‘at least six months pregnant’ because Ember is apparently also a long-range midwife. Ember immediately dislikes her for looking at Chase, but they kindly point them in the direction of Knoxville; so there’s more of Ember’s intuition at work.

Apparently La Resistance is hanging out in Knoxville, where we learn that Scarborough Fair also hates poor people, because even though he feeds them he makes volunteers distribute the food so he and his boyz don’t have to get too close.

Then there’s a riot and Ember is separated from Chase, and gets picked up by a soldier who knows her name!

(My moneys on the soldier secretly being with La Resistance).

Chapter Thirteen

… and the soldier is Sean!

Huh, didn’t think we’d see him again. Also he’s part of La Resistance now, so I won that bet. He’s in town because it’s where they hold prisoners like Rebecca before trial… right in the middle of the rebels’ stronghold? Wow, they’re dumb.

Sean takes them to a secret hideout, run by a guy called Wallace, so Ember can feel ‘violated’ when she’s patted down for weapons. Wallace has a ‘head shaped like a can’, apparently, so how he hasn’t been caught by now with such distinguishing features I have no idea.

Wallace doesn’t trust them, which bothers Ember, because how dare someone not trust her! She snipes for a few pages and eventually Wallace agrees to send them on to South Carolina, probably just glad to be rid of them. Sean asks after Rebecca and Ember proclaims her a friend, which is rich coming from her, but Sean doesn’t blame Ember for what happened because I guess he’s an idiot too.

Ember feels it’s about time she has a stupid freakout so she and Chase can have a wuvvy duvvy moment, and then she can tell him to piss off as soon as done protecting her. What a bitch!

And somehow this leads to twu wuv again! WTF!?

Then Sean and Wallace reveal that anyone who violates Article 5 is executed, which doesn’t surprise me, but for some reason does surprise Ember, even though she should be used to Scarborough Fair’s crazy ideas.

Chapter Fourteen

Ember throws a hissy fit, and yet it’s only after that that Chase reveals poor old mum has been Dead All Along. What a twist.

It turns out the Scarborough Fair troops graduated from the School of Dumb, and train their men by making them murder their former friends. They wanted to break Chase by bringing him along to the arrest (break him from what I don’t know) and then they ordered him to kill mummy because they didn’t like how he reacted, and said they’d kill Ember if he didn’t.

And even then it was his CO who killed mum, not Chase. Sad tiems.

As you might have guessed, Ember beats Chase up for this, but then realises it’s just what her mother’s abusive boyfriend would have done and stops. Wow—that’s actually a fair comparison in a way. But she still blames him for her mother’s death, what a surprise.

Then Ember leaves the safety of the compound and gets immediately picked up by da real fuzz, who take her off to prison.

What. An. Idiot. I mean, I know she’s in breakdown mode and all, but still, what an idiot.

Tucker randomly shows up to say he’s going to make her clean some floors before they execute her, (the bastard!), and Ember proclaims him ‘even worse than Chase’. Seriously, Ember, after everything Chase has done… you know what, fuck it, this’ll just be a straight recap until the end of the chapter.

Ember and a woman called Delilah clean stuff, until Ember realises part of the prison has adopted the Delirium-Land method of security by way of not having any security, and she may as well leave and give Wallace some info about the prison.

But she’ll need to come up with a cunning plan…

Chapter Fifteen

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Ember and Cunning in the same sentence!

Okay, Tucker has been tortured into insanity and he belongs to the crack troops of Scarborough Fair, so perhaps they’re evenly matched. She asks Tucker if Rebecca’s been executed yet, and he says that under Article 7 of the badly written villains code, that information can only be given if accompanied by sexual assault, and Ember decides she doesn’t care about Rebecca that much.

Then when he locks her in her cell for the night, she realises for no apparent reason that Chase actually isn’t responsible for all the evil in the world, and that she does care about Rebecca that much after all, so Tucker gets a kiss and tells her that Rebecca’s in Chicago, while Ember accuses him of having a thing for Chase, so maybe my earlier remarks were more accurate than I’d intended.

Also, since Tucker’s a moron, he doesn’t notice Ember steal a handgun. But sadly, Ember’s master plan is thwarted by the fact that Chase has now been captured too. Oh noes!

Chapter Sixteen

Well, Chase has been beaten to a pulp, and done so on purpose, ready to sacrifice his life to atone for his many sins of rescuing Ember and protecting her from harm, but since Ember loves him again they can’t do that.

So she pulls her gun out on Delilah, ties her up and walks out the door with Chase. And it was that easy.

Until Tucker comes running up the hill after his one true love, of course. I guess he’s supposed to be the main villain of the book, so that makes this The Final Battle.

Then Tucker reveals it was actually him who shot Ember’s mother, because why not? Are these the shades of Drina and Raven I see before me? Anyway, Ember threatens him with the gun and Tucker caves, letting them go free to join La Resistance without any Battle, what a dumb conclusion.

Chapter Seventeen

An entirely pointless chapter, tacked on to the conclusion for no apparent reason. The End.

Final Thoughts

Well, I’m tallying up the results and it looks like King Dumbass from ToG is still the most competent evil dictator on the show. Scarborough Fair comes in at a close second though, which shouldn’t be all that surprising, given his competition.

Actually, come to think of it, the morons from XIV, while having some really stupid ideas, didn’t do anything that would sabotage themselves nearly as much as Article 5 does, so I guess that puts Scarborough Fair in third. Oh well, at least he can still lord it over the Delirium-landers and ‘Our Saviour Greg’!

Article 5: Are You Going To Scarborough Fair? (Part I)

ARTICLE 5

Condensed Goodreads review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/739076460

Dystopia, and about time too! I’d come across this one on the lists of several I follow, and a brief overview of some of the shelves it’s been put on marked it as a potential winner! Let’s mosey on down to the Ministry of Love and see what Article 5 is all about!

I only hope I’m not at a disadvantage for not having read the first four ‘Article’ books!

(WARNING: This review contains overuse of a joke referring to the old song ‘Scarborough Fair’, thanks to a tenuous connection with the Big Bad (who never actually appears in the book) ‘s name. The reviewer apologises in advance).

Chapter One

Our heroine Ember is with her homies, Beth and Ryan, who are risking a citation for indecency by holding hands. Ah, it’s one of those dystopian societies.

One which causes the main character to infodump about her unfashionable skirt, apparently, as President Scarboro—henceforth ‘Scarborough Fair’—has decreed by Moral Statute that everyone must wear gender-appropriate clothing, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, and without no seams or needlework if they want to be a true love of mine.

… he’ll be another I’m going to be wondering about in regards to how he got into power in the first place, isn’t he?

More of his rules include persecuting the Jews, (always a classic) and other random people, at a rate at which I’m not sure would leave anyone left in the country after a year or so, but it was all because America was getting picked on by…

I don’t know, Canada probably, and installing a ridiculous theocratic dictatorship is mandatory after that. They should have got Our Saviour Greg from The Selection to set them up with a sweet caste system while they were at it.

So, Ember goes home to find her mother reading a cheesy Harlequin Romance of some sort, and the Good Taste Police drop by to arrest her for it. Actually she’s under arrest for having had a child out of wedlock, another thing Scarborough Fair came up with off the top of his head just last week. Mummy tries to protest that she has rights, but unfortunately we were also told that Scarborough Fair scrapped the idea of rights as well.

And what’s worse; the Love Interest is part of the arresting team. Bummer.

Tears and lamentations ensue.

Chapter Two

Ember thinks about the first day she noticed that her Love Interest was hawt, a completely appropriate memory to have as you and your mother are under arrest for you being illegitimate. This is followed by an info-dump about Scarborough Fair banning newspapers and the interwebz, and so Ember can wangst about her love interest, Chase Jennings.

On a bus, she meets up with an acquaintance called Rosa, who demands recognition of their shared English classes and calls her mother a whore. She’s the Bus Expositioner, there to conveniently explain Article 5, and how Ember is now a ward of the state.

This necessitates another flashback of wuvvy duvvy-ness involving Chase and a game of Truth or Dare. The flashback apparently accounts for several hours, after which time the girls end up at a reformatory school, run by a teleporting old woman called Brock who informs her she’ll be staying there at the Pokémon Centre until her eighteenth birthday.

(It’s funny because there was a character called ‘Brock’ in Pokemon).

Rosa tells her not to worry about this, because if you behave badly enough, you can be released early.

Uh, Rosa, this is a world that disappears you for skipping school. The fuck do they do to people who are too bad even for the Pokémon Centre?!

Anywho, Ember then meets Rebecca, who she describes as an ‘android’ because she’s… cheerful? Her parents were missionaries who left her at the Centre when they went abroad just before international travel was banned. Ember assumes they’re dead now, seeing as there was a lot of anti-American sentiment during the war.

Ems, there’s a lot of anti-American sentiment now, it doesn’t mean scary foreigners will kill a yank as soon as look at one!

Then it’s time for breakfast, at which Rosa makes a daring escape attempt!

Chapter Three

Ah, what nice long chapters this book has.

Oh, yeah, Rosa—what’s she up to?

… getting immediately recaptured, that’s what. Well, good, so far Scarborough Fair is beating the other Big Brothers for effectiveness, even if he is a loon. Then she gets the crap beaten out of her, and Our Hero is actually surprised that these soldiers would hit a girl. She also mentions that her mum had an abusive boyfriend called Roy, probably a cousin of Ed from XVI.

But never mind that, it’s time for class, where we learn about all of Scarborough Fair’s crazy rules. Article 1 mandates adherence to the Psychotic Bastard religion (ahem, Church of America, sire, call it Church of America!) Article 2 bans ‘immoral paraphernalia’, which could account for… well, everything. Article 3 says that families have to be one man, one woman, and children, which isn’t really a rule so much as a definition; maybe Scarborough Fair gave up on the Psychotic Bastard religion and started a Psychotic Bastard dictionary?

I’d buy it.

Article 4 says women must be subservient to men, and men must provide for the family. Article 6 outlaws a whole bunch of crap including divorce, gambling, and firearms, because if there’s one thing those ultra-conservative Christians love, it’s gun control!

And Article 5 says citizens must be born within wedlock. Given the skill with which these Articles were developed, I’m surprised they had the brains to count as far as six articles.

Anyway, this exposition is so boring that Ember decides to try her own daring escape attempt, faking the need to go to the loo in order to get access to a phone. But her epic plan fails, due to the phones only dialling within the Pokémon Centre.

Ember is sent to bed without any supper, except instead of being sent to bed she’s punished in front of all the other girls, even though Rebecca points out that that’s against their own rules. Ember sasses, and the ensuing punishment consists of the guard whacking her in the throat and Brock caning her hands.

More importantly, we learn that Brock is actually Judge Dredd.

“My dear Ms Miller, I am the law here.”

LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!

So, that night, Rebecca sneaks out of her room, and Ember follows to discover her shacking up with one of the soldiers, so Ember blackmails them to come up with a plan to get her out of dodge. Rebecca tells her she’s a moron, and that the last girl who tried to escape was killed, and it was someone Ember used to know. Dun dun dun!

It’s weird, but I keep forgetting Ember’s name as I write this review… I wonder what I can do to remember, remember, our heroine Ember?

Hmm…

Tell her to speak it with a mynah bird’s caw,

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,

And get La Resistance to betray the LAAAAAAAAW!

Then she’ll be a true love of mine…

Chapter Four

Actually, we haven’t run into La Resistance yet, have we? Well, thank Scarborough Fair for small mercies.

Ember harangues Rebecca for more information she doesn’t have, and what with her disbelief that the evil dictatorship is… evil, I suspect anterograde amnesia may be acting up again. Meanwhile Rebecca finds the phrase ‘iron bra’ absolutely hysterical.

The coiner of that shining example of wit, Sean the soldier, takes another two days to figure out a plan of escape rather than doing something sensible, like framing Ember for something and getting her sent to Room 101 (here called ‘The Shack’) like Rosa was. Rosa comes back all zombie-like, and Ember doesn’t even consider trying to help her or any of the other girls. Our Hero!

Eleven days later, Rebecca has taken hold of the Idiot Ball, and insists on accompanying Ember on the first leg of the Great Escape… and then she just doesn’t. Huh. Unfortunately the amazing Randolph, the bad guard, shows up and Sean is forced to resort to the ‘we were just making out’ cliché to avoid detection. Randolph decides to inform Sean that making out is also against the LAAAAAAAAW, and hits him on the head. So much for that subplot.

Rebecca still has that Idiot Ball though, and tries to attack Brock Dredd. She gets knocked out, leading to Ember attacking another guard, leading to both of them being taken to Room 101, where it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

Okay, enough with the references! It’s just… this book is so bland so far.

Anyway, before Ember gets the hose, Chase shows up to save her.

Chapter Five

A quarter of the way through!

Chase convinces Brock to let him take Ember out of the Pokémon Centre to be a witness in her mother’s trial. Brock doesn’t bother to check and see whether he’s actually been given this order, as she’d picked up the idiot ball when Rebecca was knocked unconscious. Then when tying restraints around Ember, Chase doesn’t cut off her circulation, making Ember hate him, because how dare he have nuances!?

Later, she sneers at his ability to drive within the speed limit, something apparently only the soldier of a dictatorship could do. But of course, he’s not really working for them because Ember is his fwend. Wow. I totally didn’t see that one coming. What follows is her whining and criticising her rescuer for absolutely everything he put himself through to save her, without even thinking of asking him for an explanation, what a nice person!

Anyway, it looks like mummy’s gone off to South Carolina to find a ‘safe house’, so that’s where our dynamic duo are off to as well, celebrated by a flashback to Chase giving exposition about his backstory, and how a bunch of places were bombed. Still, he got a shiny bike out of it!

Ember continues to snipe at Chase for everything when they stop for supplies, and thinks back on her dumb friends, who I guess won’t actually do anything in the story. Chase turns on the radio so we can get our first mention of La Resistance, who are apparently really shit in this book, and after some more exposition our heroes get chased by the fuzz!

Chapter Six

The fuzz stops them, asks for licence and registration, and then lets them go. Careful there, Article 5, something almost happened!

Chase then teaches Ember how to use a gun, and a flashback ensues. Then some filler. Then another flashback. Then a nonsensical conversation. Then they go to an abandoned department store to stock up on supplies.

Ember, however, was so traumatised just by looking at an enclosed space, that she can’t bear to change in the fitting rooms, prompting Chase to ask what happened to her, and her to start sniping at him that it was all his fault. And Chase is like, ‘whatever, brah’.

I like Chase!

But then disaster strikes, as two guys show up to be a bit rapey and we get a fight scene! They have the power of fire hands, as one of them ‘burns’ Ember’s head by grabbing her hair, but Chase and Ember have the power of being main characters, and manage to fight them off.

Chapter Seven

Ember is upset that Chase looked like he was going to kill one of the would-be rapists. What did you think the whole learning to shoot thing was for in that case, Ems—paintballing practice?

Well, whatever she thought it might be for, she now plans to leave Chase and try to make it on her own in the American dictatorship wilderness. Good luck with that, Ems, were this a paranormal romance I’d have been delighted to find a girl who wouldn’t put up with a Love Interest’s violence towards others, but these people attacked him with a knife!

She thinks she’ll get far, as she has ‘pretty good intuition about people’. Yeah, like Rebecca, Sean and Chase himself. Great intuition. (I notice you haven’t spared much more than a thought for Rebecca and Sean by the way—remember them? The guys you totally screwed over and left at the Pokémon Centre?)

Then she reconsiders, given how sexy Chase is and everything, and flashbacks to how he offered to run away with her but she said no, blaming that for her mother being arrested, because otherwise Scarborough Fair wouldn’t have had any dramatic irony to use against them.

In the end she decides she will RUN AWAY, and comes across an old woman with a dog. Her wonderful intuition tells her she can trust this fine upstanding citizen, but of course it turns out she’s a crazy woman who keeps rotting animal carcasses and thinks Ember’s her long lost daughter. When she says the carcass is called Luke, Ember assumes she’s killed a person, except the carcass is a dog, so I guess Ember couldn’t tell the difference.

Ember kicks the poor woman and makes her cry, and then Chase shows up to save her from this TERRIBLE ENCOUNTER again. Ember yells at Chase that she was trying to run away from him…

Chapter Eight

… and he’s like, ‘whatever, brah.’

I like Chase!

He tries to explain that her plan is stupid, but she brings up him using violence in self-defence, what do you say to that, Chase!?

Well, when he explains that he was defending her, it’s all okay!

He says he’ll never hurt her, and not to do stupid things anymore. I wonder what the chances of that are going to be?

*Spoilers: slim to none, that’s what*

Anyway, they make their way over to a checkpoint, but no one’s there to meet them so they decide to stay a while so Ember can patch up the wounds on Chase’s extremely sexy body, dipping some gauze in peroxide and sticking it on his cut without warning to remind us how well Ember thinks things through.

On the radio they hear about themselves attacking those guys; I guess random scavengers love reporting in to Big Brother, and also that Ember’s been declared missing. But Chase figures that if Brock was too stupid to check whether or not he had orders to take Ember when he showed up, then she must have been too stupid to check after he’d gone, and therefore someone must have ratted him out.

At least, I assume that’s his reasoning, he doesn’t actually seem to use any on-page.

(CONTINUED IN PART TWO… TOMORROW!)

A Beautiful Dark: ‘Of Course We Have Powers!’ (Part II)

PART TWO

Chapter Nineteen

Half-way mark! That’s super-exciting!

Let’s have another recap: two winged boys from opposite sides of a paranormal conflict showed up to stalk a girl whose eyes changed colour, and was a child of both sides. She sprained her ankle during an avalanche, then a girl called Raven showed up.

Wow, things are definitely happening!

Like Skye, doubting the existence of avalanche survivor support groups after Cassie suggests she join one. And Cassie, getting mad at Skye for not paying enough attention to her band—the Mysterious Ellipses. Because all ellipses are mysterious, apparently…

Yeah, when I use them it just sounds dubious.

Anyway, Asher and Devin pop up and tell Skye that they have to go have a training montage to help her control her powers.

Oh, ‘A Beautiful Dark’—you know how much I love training montages!

Chapter Twenty

The YA Romance gods decide to reward my worship by sending me this line by way of Asher:

“We’re not human, Skye. Of course we have powers.”

Yes, it’s true, everything that isn’t human has magical powers. I mean, did people actually think they could trust chinchillas? What about pineapples, are you saying you didn’t think they could shoot laser beams from their eyes? What kind of idiots are you!?

Anyway, the Guardians and La Resistance have different sorts of powers because…

Uh… Reasons for powers are stupid, that’s why! So then there’s more boring exposition.

Chapter Twenty-One

Skye fails to have any powers and Asher is annoying. Also he comes into her room at night like a creeper. She berates him for being such a douchebag, and he says that if he wasn’t a douchebag, he’d have to tell her all the scary stuff that’s happening. What a great excuse!

Then Skye lets slip that Raven’s around and Asher buggers off.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Our heroine tries to avoid her stalkers because somehow she thinks there’s something they’re not telling her. As you can imagine, this avoidance lasts all of a page and a half. After a boring conversation with Devin, Asher whisks Skye away in the middle of the night for more skiing and an even more boring conversation!

Chapter Twenty-Three

Skye gets a bad grade and has to do a make-up paper, oh noes! But then Asher sets the building on fire so she gets out of it, yay. He and Devin keep going on about how important it is that she learn to control her powers, but so far they haven’t actually given a reason as to why it’s so important…

Then Asher and Devin have a dick-measuring fight about Raven while Skye stands around screaming uselessly until her powers show up and she destroys a water tower.

Oops.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Asher leaves Devin to clear up the mess and flies away with Skye, who—in her no doubt perfect fragility—fainted after using her powers. They end up playing checkers, and the title is randomly dropped.

This somehow leads to Asher basically calling Skye a cock-tease for wearing a tank top, and this in turn leads to twu wuv. Somehow?

Chapter Twenty-Five

Aunt Jo calls up to make sure Child Services haven’t been calling—it’ll interfere with her eventual plan to murder Skye with an ice pick!

Then Raven breaks into Skye’s house to do some villainous exposition. It seems the future-seeing guys can’t see Skye’s future, and Raven thinks this is a good reason to taunt Skye. Makes sense to me!

She also claims Skye is tempting Devin with her main character-ness, and tells her to stay away from him. Wow, never seen that one before. Looks like Drina from Evermore has come again.

… and just as soon, she leaves, so Skye can moon about Asher some more.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Cassie is in the story again, god knows why, and gets upset with Skye for not paying attention to her over the past few chapters, for which Skye blames the distortion of time, inadvertently giving me ideas for a much more interesting story premise…

Asher, meanwhile is beginning to have second thoughts about the relationship with Skye being such a good idea, what with his mission and all, so she explodes with anger and flounces.

She then has a walk with Devin and… I hate to say it guys, but… *gulp*

This is an excellent scene.

OH NO! SCHLOCKHOLM SYNDROME STRIKES AGAIN!

*reboot*

Ahem. Anyway, Devin extols the virtues of Big Brother again, heals a flower, and then Skye drives him home, aww. Then Skye decides to stay the night at his house! Scandalous!

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Whoah, they’re suddenly sleeping in the same bed, talk about scandalous! Seriously, slow down guys, she was sucking face with the prick just yesterday! And Devin—you’re engaged!

But what really gets Skye to leave is that whole Raven threatening to kill her for going near Devin thing.

Wow, that was a short chapter…

Chapter Twenty-Eight

We’ve reached the point where even thinking about Asher and Devin apparently gives Skye a seizure. That must be inconvenient.

Well, she decides the best plan is to sit in the bathroom crying until Cassie comes along. She twigs that Skye is stuck choosing between the boys… which is funny, seeing as there’s never been any impetus for her to choose between them before now. I’m serious–I mean, she’s compared them against each other before, sure, but always in a mostly idle fashion–her mental-crisis thus far has seemed entirely to do with the fact that they and the supernatural exist at all, not which of them or which of their sides she should ‘choose’. Or if she did I must have missed it.

Then the title is randomly dropped again, and the girls have a friendship necklace moment.

Aww. Wait, did I say ‘aww’? I meant bleeeuugh…

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Skye fails to have powers again and everyone is upset with each other. Then Aunt Jo shows up again, and Skye asks about her family, which has apparently suddenly occurred to her to ask.

Pancakes ensue, and Skye feels that as long as she has Aunt Jo, she can do anything.

What do you want to bet Aunt Jo is not long for this world?

Chapter Thirty

Cassie’s band makes an unwelcome return to the plot, and the wings-crew go up to the mountains for more training montage. This time Devin almost gets randomly crushed by a convenient boulder, and Skye turns back time to save him. Yay, Skye has powers after all.

This causes Devin and Asher to start arguing again, Devin wanting her to stay and practice more, while Asher’s like ‘whatevs, brah’, and Skye flounces off to watch the band, during which time Dan shows up to remind the reader that there was a character called Dan in the book, and Skye realises that Cassie is in love with him, something I’d already realised ages ago despite Dan barely having a presence in the story.

Devin arrives and asks Skye for a dance, while Asher emos out, and Cassie invites herself and everyone else to a party at Skye’s house, foreshadowed as something that will go terribly wrong.

Chapter Thirty-One

Skye attempts to tell Cassie about the dumb plot of the book, but fails, and instead tells her about her and Asher’s dumb relationship. I don’t really blame her, I mean, the book doesn’t really have much of a plot after all. 80% in, guys!

Our wuvving wuvvers have an argument about nothing, Ian is seen talking to another girl and Skye immediately assumes they’re going out, and underage drinking ensues. Yay.

Chapter Thirty-Two

The party’s over, and didn’t go terribly wrong.

So what was the foreshadowing about?

Anyway, Skye and Cassie have a sleepover, and Asher does some more stalking and doesn’t even close the window when he’s finished—how inconsiderate! They run into Devin the next day and he offers to fix Cassie’s dead car. Duplicity is foreshadowed on his part, we’ll see what that leads to in a mo.

Asher shows up while Skye is shopping and warns her that Devin can only do what Big Brother tells him to, so Big Brother is having Cassie’s car fixed for nefarious purposes or something, probably they’re going to kill her because Skye almost told her what was happening, Big Brother can be a dumbass like that.

What I want to know is does that mean Devin has to get permission every time he needs to take a piss?

Then Skye passes out and has a vision of stuff in the parking lot.

Chapter Thirty-Three

Cassie drives off in her definitely-not-sabotaged car, and Skye and Asher have more Boring Conversation about wuv and choices. Then Skye realises Asher doesn’t have a heartbeat! Gasp! He must secretly be a flower!

He also gives us this line: “It’s a misconception that you need a heart to love.”

Thank you for that, Asher.

Chapter Thirty-Four

Well, what do you know, Cassie was in a car crash. This will probably have something to do with Devin or Raven or something, but personally I wouldn’t put it past Cassie on the best of days. Anyway, she got a few broken bones and it turns out her brakes weren’t working (nice job checking over the car, Asher!) so Skye goes off to find Devin so he can use his magic healing powers.

Even though he’s probably also the one who caused the crash…

Anyway, he doesn’t, of course, because Big Brother didn’t tell him to. You know, this book really should have explained the whole ‘Devin can only follow BB’s orders’ thing better, as far as I’m aware it only really came into play two chapters ago. Skye is then lead to wonder if he was the one to cut the brakes.

Wait, she’s only wondering that now?!

Devin wanders off and Asher goes to try and get the truth from him though Skye whines about him ‘leaving’ her.

Chapter Thirty-Five

Skye decides to try and heal Cassie herself, while rambling on about stuff that’s happened in the book in case we were able to forget it, but only succeeds in blowing up one of the machines.

Then Raven shows up to reveal it was her who removed the brakes from Cassie’s car! Wow, what a shock. (what really would have been a shock is if Asher had done it, but never mind)

It looks like we have a chapter of taunting exposition ahead of us, wherein Raven spouts exposition and makes everything sound like a taunt. ‘And then you went to school, didn’t you, Skye? Ha! School, how ordinary and boring! As if that useless waste of time could prepare you for the horrors the Order have prepared! But what did you do after school, hmm? You got yourself a milkshake. A milkshake! As if you couldn’t get any more pathetic!’

(She doesn’t actually say that, but it’s a close thing.)

Anyway, Raven reveals (for… some reason) that Big Brother has been trying to kill Skye her entire life, in which case… wow, they’re useless. And La Resistance are useless too, for not defeating them before now. Devin was ordered to remove the brakes from the car but didn’t, because Skye has the power to warp the destinies of everyone around her, blah, blah, blah.

Then Raven threatens Aunt Jo, oh noes!

Chapter Thirty-Six

Because Skye has apparently never read Twilight, she rushes off to the rescue of her mother-figure, is distracted by flashbacks, and has a car accident, what a ninny.

Sadly, she is unharmed, but Raven’s blocking her phone with magic and more taunting, and tells Skye to come with her. So Skye does.

What. A. Ninny.

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Raven takes Skye to some angels she’s ‘never seen before’, which I’d like to remind everyone includes all angels except Asher and Devin, who are also there with their bosses, ‘Astaroth’ and ‘Oriax’.

…oh boy.

They tell her she must choose between light and darkness, so that thing the book was supposed to be about has finally come into play, 95% in. And Astaroth expects her to choose Big Brother, despite them trying to kill her all the time and causing her dead parent wangst—that’s confidence for you!

But rather than making a choice, Skye flips her shit, suddenly declaring that Asher doesn’t really care about her, and her powers start going out of control until Asher gives her a hug.

However, this makes Asterix and Orac or whatever their names are agree that she’s too powerful, and must be destroyed, so Asterix gets his magic sword…

…and stabs Orac. Well, I wasn’t expecting that, good on you, Asterix!

He then orders Devin to kill Skye, but Devin refuses, then he tries to blurt out a warning, vanishes, and then reappears and stabs her, and Asher flies her away, begging for her not to die.

The End

Well, that was weird.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Umm…

Raven: Ha-ha! Isn’t it just like you to be lost for words—a so-called writer, who probably thinks she’s a master of the craft, being unable to form the very simplest of sentences!

Oh, hello, Raven, how are you?

Raven: How am I? Let me guess—you think you can try to trap me with your excuse for ‘conversational skills’. I don’t think so, you pathetic, socially awkward human; you have no idea of the power those of us who follow the Order are capable of!

That’s nice. Anyway, this book kind of reminds me of that one rhyme—

Raven: Oh, you’re going to give us a rhyme, are you? Well go ahead, little girl, try your best to impress someone who knows far more than you could ever dream of!

Right… anyway, you know the one—’when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid’?

Raven: Whoever you’re talking about better not be going anywhere near Devin! He belongs to MEEEE! The Order says so!

Raven: Oh, I see, you’re going to end the review now, because you can’t hope to compete with the power of the Order, or me!

… I’ll see you guys again, my computer needs fixing so I’ll just pop off to the repair shop.

Raven: And her computer’s broken! My heart BLEEDS! You mortal idiot, isn’t that just precious!? Hey, where are you going, I have some more taunting to do! Hello? Hello?!

The Rachelloon Review Show

… coming to a theatre near you, on Friday, the nineteenth of never!

Well, the drawing post was quite well-liked, so I believe I’ll make it a regular-ish thing, and soon the world will be mine! Anyway, I think I mentioned in another post that I also do bad book reviews, and you may be wondering: who is she–to say what is bad and what isn’t?

No one, that’s who, but I’m going to do it anyway because I enjoy it! Some people may think me of a mean spirit, but the truth is I do genuinely enjoy many of the books I review; they are the ‘Troll 2’s, the ‘Birdemic’s and the ‘The Room’s of literature. Well, of YA paranormal romance and dystopia anyway.

Okay, that’s a little unfair, the books I review aren’t quite that much of a trainwreck. Still, they entertain me with their badness, which is why they are judged on the Rachelloon scale of Things that Entertained me with their Badness (formerly the Karataratakus scale of the same name, as that’s my handle on Goodreads where I post the condensed reviews)

This blog gives me the opportunity to post… what aren’t really reviews so much as text commentary, chapter by chapter looks at various tales which usually amount to about four thousand words–Book Deconstruction Lite, if you will?–which I’ll start posting tomorrow with Becca Fitzpatrick’s ‘Hush, Hush’; a more light-hearted jaunt, perhaps, into that terrain, than many of the vitriol-filled rants I’ve seen before.

And who knows? It may be that some young aspiring writer will one day pick a book of mine up on Kindle, for 99p or however much my genius will go for, and they will say to themselves ‘This is a crock of shit! I’m going to write a four thousand word blog post explaining why, chapter by chapter!’

To be such an inspiration to others would truly bring tears of joy to my eyes!