The first thing to happen in this chapter is that Blue askes the question we all dream will one day be answered: why is Neeve creeping around? Maura gives her a one-two punch of ridiculous answers. First, that Neeve is family, which Blue obviously does not buy. And then, after that, Maura says Neeve is helping her look for someone. I understand that Google won’t work, but it seems like Neeve isn’t doing anything but stirring the pot and looking mysterious.
Blue isn’t exactly listening to Maura’s excuses, though, because in trying not to think about Gansey and Adam, she’s thinking way too hard about Gansey and Adam. Gansey’s appointment (which we’ve been waiting for since chapter six) is looming, but it seems like the thing Blue’s more worried about is that she gave Adam her number and he hasn’t called her. Are boys supposed to call right away? I’ve never given one my number, so I wouldn’t know, but she seems to be expecting a pretty quick turnaround.
But my wondering was interrupted by, you guessed it! The love of my life, Barrington Whelk. He just let himself into someone else’s house and instead of being like, “hello?” he goes, “this is a strange way to run a business.” I thought we’d maxed out on douchebaggery but apparently I was wrong. Maura does her best to get him the hell out of her house, but before she can shove him out the door Persephone offers him a triple reading. This means she has to go get Calla from upstairs.
Let’s talk about Calla for a second. Actually, no. Let’s let Stiefvater talk about Calla, because nobody does it better than she can and Calla deserves the best.
Calla blew into the room, her eyebrows quite angry at being disturbed. She was wearing lipstick in a dangerous shade of plum, which made her mouth a small, pursed diamond under her pointy nose. Calla gave the man a lacerating look that plumbed the depths of his soul and found it wanting…the room seemed a lot smaller than it had a few minutes before. This was mostly Calla’s fault.
I love Calla. I love Persephone and Maura, too, but Calla is new to the scene and hasn’t gotten any love yet, so I feel like I can be a little indulgent. Anyways, they do a triple reading for Whelk and it doesn’t go well (for those of you that don’t know, a triple reading is when all three women lay their tarot cards at the same time and interpret them together). Strike one is when Blue notices that Whelk’s shower gel smells like it’s called “SHOCK or EXCITE or BLUNT TRAUMA,” which sounds more like his relationship with Czerny than it does a soap, if you ask me. Then, the results of the reading a creepy and specific and nobody in the room likes the vibe they’re getting.
Here’s what the reading reveals
- Whelk has lost someone close to him
- Money is a concern, because of a woman
- He’s good as his job but he hates it
- Whelk is looking for something, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it
- Then they all spot the Page of Cups and kick Whelk out on his ass
Whelk leaves, but not before making sure everyone knows he’s incredibly insulted. And then, the women of Fox Way sum up how we all feel about Barrington Whelk better than I ever could:
Maura whirled towards Blue. “Blue, if you ever see that man again, you just walk the other way.”
“No,” Calla corrected. “Kick him in the nuts. Then run the other way.”
Their reaction makes me feel justified and also vindicated, which is a lovely way to end a chapter.
Thoughts and Feelings: I have some things that didn’t make it into the summary, but that I promised myself I’d mention somehow, so here they are.
When Whelk walks in, one of Maura’s bras (described as both lacy and mauve) is lying on top of the laundry basket. Blue left it there. We get a lovely detail about how she absolutely refuses to feel bad, because how was she supposed to know a strange man would be in their house? She wasn’t. And it made me weirdly happy to read that line and be like, yeah, Blue. You shouldn’t feel bad.
The Sargents have a signed photo of Steve Martin hanging on their wall, and they’re really proud of it. When people look at it, they mention the autograph and are excited about the fact that this is what they’ve chosen to decorate with. I don’t know who’s in charge of handing out shows on HGTV but they need to call the women of Fox Way ASAP so they can get started on an interior design special.
There’s a moment, just at the beginning of the reading, when Maura, Persephone, and Calla all take their seats and prepare to shuffle their cards. The line that follows is the end of this chapter’s character moment, so go read it—and if after you do it doesn’t break your heart what will? Nothing. You’re heartless and now I have proof.
Other than that, this chapter is one of the ones we get in the leadup to Gansey’s reading that is pure setup. It puts Whelk in a better position to be a villain now that he’s pissed off some of our heroes, and confirms that he’ll definitely find something so the Gangsey better get looking and find it first. It introduces the basics of what a reading is like with all three women in the room before the boys show up and make things complicated. It gets us ready for what we’ve all been waiting so patiently for, but that’s coming up next, so hold tight for just a little bit longer.
Best character moment:
The man dropped into a seat. Maura took the chair opposite from him at the table, with Calla and Persephone (and Persephone’s hair) on either side of her. Blue was, as always, just a little apart.
Best turn of phrase:
Blue loved watching Persephone lay down her cards; the limpid turn of her wrist and the swick of the card always made it seem like a sleight of hand or a ballet movement.
Action: Two people jumped off a table and there was a minor break-in. Even after all that, I’m still waiting for the reading we were promised when the book began. 6/10
Magic: Not only is the reading scary accurate, but the Page of Cups gets its first mention! We give a +5 on the magic scale for every mention of our Blue-Faced tarot card and her handful of potential. 13/10
Comic relief: Maura made a joke about psychics not being strippers and only Blue laughed, which was annoying, because it was funny. 8/10