This book has its highs and lows. At times I am in love with it and other times I am shaking my head asking if this is any better than Twilight. This first chapter is certainly a head shaking moment. Up until this point, chapters have been split up via POV’s and that is perfectly fine. But now Rowell has decided to change it up, for reasons I believe I understand and will explain in one moment, and include multiple POV’s in one chapter. I think Rowell did this because she had certain plot points to hit in each chapter but wanted different perspectives so she just lumped multiple POV’s into one chapter instead of making separate chapters as the book has been doing.
I hate this. I hate it with every fiber of my being. For starters, it says something that the book can’t even stick to its own rules. It says something about the lack of consistency and makes reading even more distracting than wondering when these two guys are going to kiss. Perhaps some don’t mind this decision, but as an English major and someone who appreciates creativity, this decision comes as very lacking in creative style. I’m not too pleased.
I won’t mention it for the rest of this entry but know it exists and I am annoyed as hell.
Simon, now staying with the Pitch family, eats dinner with the family. Then Baz takes him to his aunt Fiona’s room where they find a yearbook from Watford which has been discontinued since the Mage took over (as well as the drama club. Why Mage? Why you being a Trump and stopping the arts?). They look through the yearbook and find Nicodemus. The photo seems to hint that Nicky and Fiona had a relationship.
When Simon goes to bed, the room he is staying in creeps him out so he goes to Baz’s room and sleeps on the sofa. He falls asleep to the sound of Baz’s breathing that is suddenly a comfort to him. Awwww. KISS!
Then we get this out of place chapter from Baz’s aunt Fiona. Baz comes to visit her to ask about Nicodemus and they discuss how he was stricken from the record for becoming a vampire. Fiona thinks to herself that Nicky wanted to be more than magic, again resembling Voldemort. At the word vampire, Fiona cringes as if the world is taboo. While this obviously resembles wizards and witches speaking the name of Voldemort in Harry Potter, in the context of this book it could be compared to the taboo we have in our own world of LGBT pronouns. Just as they make us uncomfortable, in this world it is the word vampire that makes people cringe as if it is something dirty and uncomfortable. Of course, we know Baz is a good person even though he is a vampire but that doesn’t change the taboo that lays over society. I love the symbolism here.
While I said I suddenly loved Agatha last time we spoke, I find I am only just warming up to loving her. It is hard to escape the nagging feeling that her chapters are a bunch of filler and pointless to the plot of this book. I’m not all about plot. I love passages that are just character building moments, when it is appropriate and done well. I can’t say these are exactly done well in this book. They aren’t horrible but not the greatest either.
Agatha is at Penny’s. I never got the impression these two were close and apparently that observation was correct as Agatha also reflects on how she would rather spend time with her Normal friends than Penny who she is not close with. They are decorating ginger bread creatures and when Agatha gives her ginger bread woman a pink dress, both Penny and her mother comment on the color choice as if it is only enforcing negative gender norms while Agatha simply likes the color pink. I liked this moment very much. It seems Rowell is making commentary that it is good to be a feminist and question societal norms, but it is also okay to like pink. In fact, the entire book seems to run entirely on the theme that being yourself is the first step to true power and happiness.
Penny’s mom reflects on their friendship and speaks of her own friendships in the past. She then casually name drops Lucy and I’m like, that is a coincidence, huh book? You sneaky book, you.
She goes on to say that Lucy dated the Mage, making me think that the Davy in the Lucy chapters is in fact the Mage as I predicted. Schweet! This makes me wonder, is the Veil still lifted and if so, will Simon be getting a message from Lucy soon?
Of course another Lucy chapter follows this scene and she speaks of Davy, the young Mage, as a very serious guy who talks of a prophecy and a chosen one coming who would have the greatest power. He speaks as if this event is like the coming of Jesus Christ. It is the prediction of the messiah, a.k.a Simon. A prophecy in a fantasy novel? Who would have thunk it?! And a Christ figure? Even better!
I actually really enjoy meeting Penny’s family and seeing their home dynamic. We meet her dad, a regular old Arthur Weasley if I say so myself (except a bit more intellectual) and he talks to Penny about how they actually discovered the Humdrum. He explains that holes of no magic just started appearing similar to holes in the ozone layer. They don’t know the gender of the Humdrum. Dad then makes an interesting comment about Penny’s generation, saying he fears they will grow up used to this and won’t see the necessity of fighting back. What an interesting comment. Then Penny reaches farther by asking her dad about Nicodemus (remember, she does not know the info Baz and Simon know) and her dad says he knows nothing but Penny thinks he is lying.
Now it is Adventure Time!
Baz and Simon head off to look for vampires in London. Simon is now insisting Baz start referring to him by his first name and now simply by “Snow.” This leads to his internal monologue shedding light on his past. Simon reflects that he was dropped off at a home as a baby and his name was written on his arm. Simon also reflects that the Mage does not believe murdering vampires is wrong. Hmmm…another questionable belief from the Mage.
The boys come to a building and are let in. It is full of vampires. Baz confidently asks for Nicodemus. The book describes this scene like a good Christian nun entering a pub full of motorcyclists. They are taken to Nicky and he reveals that someone like them (does he mean good school boys? The Mage?) came to him asking to attack the school. That is all the info he will give and they leave, Baz super pissed. He drives all crazy down the street and Simon puts his magic into Baz so they speed faster and get all the green lights. That would be a cool thing to do in real life.
Then Baz pulls over into the middle of no where and basically freaks out, starting a magical fire in the trees around him. He is mad at the info Nicodemus gave them, mad at his mom for killing herself after she was bitten, and mad that if she knew what he was she would rather him be dead. He is crying and Simon is crying too. Baz admits to what he is…
…and Simon says he isn’t like the people they met in that pub. He says he will never turn his back on Baz. Then the chapter is over. Just over.
This scene is a perfect set up for a kiss. But alas, I come to a halt here. My excitement that this moment has most likely finally arrived knows no bounds, while my literary side also cries out, WHY? This is so cliche and dumb!!!
Until next time, friend. Danielle.