We made it, folks! It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, and it only took 140 pages to get there. But it’s gonna be a doozy of a chapter, so I’ll do my best to give you a summary that makes as much sense as possible. No promises, though. A lot of stuff is about to happen, and I’m just one person.
Gansey is late to the reading. Everyone is anxious, because I assume if they’ve been hyping themselves up for this reading half as much as the reader, they’re about ready to explode with anticipation. Maura offers lots of explanations as to why this could be–maybe there’s traffic, or he had car trouble. Blue dismisses them all and thinks maybe he’s just an asshole (although car troubles is, knowing the Pig, a perfectly plausible explanation). Blue gives up all hope when Persephone decides to make a pie—if Gansey really was going to show up, Persephone would not start something that takes as much time and love as a pie.
Until, of course, Orla starts screaming from the Phone/Sewing/Cat Room that there’s a 1973 Camaro that matches her nails, and it’s parked outside the house. The doorbell rings. Blue decides she isn’t ready to meet the boy she’s going to kill and/or fall in love with, but the door opens anyways, and there are the boys. They’re dramatically backlit and they look fabulous!
Then Gansey opens his mouth, and Blue realizes that she knows that voice. It’s President Cell Phone. She couldn’t see it in Nino’s because it was too dark and too loud, but she sees it now and she’s pissed. Not so pissed, though, that she forgets to spend a whole paragraph talking about how his sleeves are rolled up and his hair is messy and he’s glowing from either money or just because he’s really hot.
But if President Cell Phone is Gansey, that means the journal is his. And it means that Adam and Gansey are best friends, which could get really complicated really fast. In fact, it means a lot of things, none of which Blue likes very much, so she keeps her mouth shut and shrinks into the shadows while Gansey does his best to charm the pants off everyone in the room. And then Maura mentions that her daughter will be in the room during the meeting and all eyes go to Blue. Hilarity ensues.
Gansey’s eyes found Blue. He’s been smiling politely, but now his face froze in the middle of a smile.
“Hi again,” he said. “This is awkward.”
“You’ve met?” Maura shot a poisonous look at Blue. Blue felt unfairly persecuted.
“Yes,” Gansey replied, with dignity. “We had a discussion about alternative professions for women. I didn’t realize she was your daughter.”
A note about this scene: the entirety of it is comedic gold; Stiefvater’s been setting up this moment for 14 chapters and it shows. Please go read the whole thing if you haven’t already, it’s worth it.
Gansey gives Adam a look, but Adam didn’t know about this, either. Blue spends a moment being self-conscious about her fashion choices, because Adam seems to be staring, but then Maura yells at them all to sit down and shut up, so they do. Except for Ronan and Calla, who are having a staring contest to see who can piss off the most friends with blunt honesty. Before they can decide who wins, Maura pronounces the room too loud, and the only way she’ll be able to do the reading is if they just do one-offs.
A one-off is a reading where each boy picks just one card, and all three women interpret. Although Blue makes it too loud, she also focuses the reading, and so she’s asked to shuffle the cards—this is when she indulges in her theatrical side and does some cool card tricks, because whoever these boys are she doesn’t like how small they make her feel. Especially not in her own house.
No one volunteered immediately to go first, so she offered the deck to Adam. He met her gaze and held it for a moment. There was something forceful and intentional about the gesture, more aggressive than he’d been the night he approached her.
He draws the two of swords, which means that there’s a hard choice he’s avoiding. Maura determines the person who’s asking him to make it is close to him, and Persephone says it’s his brother. Adam says he doesn’t have a brother, but he’s looking at Gansey when he says it and nobody really believes him. The women tell him that he can only see two options, but there is a third he can find if he listens to his emotions.
Ronan calls bullshit on the whole affair, saying that if he’s going to pick a card, they better tell him something true and specific first. Calla takes it upon herself to use her gift of psychometry (the ability to sense things about an object from touching it) and says, “a secret killed your father and you know what it was.”
There might have been only Ronan and Calla in the room. He was a head taller than her already, but he looked young beside her, like a lanky wildcat not yet up to weight. She was a lioness.
She hissed, “What are you?”
Ronan’s smile chilled Blue. There was something empty in it.
Ronan leaves to wait in the car. Gansey’s President Cell Phone mask slips for a little bit, but he gets it back up just in time for his reading, which, as you’re probably guessing, goes great and nothing is wrong!
Reading your tarot cards shouldn’t be a hot scenario. Like, that shouldn’t be hot. Gansey should not be attractive to me, let alone attractive to Blue. And, yet, somehow…
She stopped in front of Gansey. This close, she again caught the scent of mint, and that made Blue’s heart trip unsteadily.
And then, Gansey decides he doesn’t know how to pick his own cards and he asks if Blue can do it for him. It’s explained that it doesn’t matter who turns over the cards, what matters is Gansey’s intentions. Everyone looks around and wonders what Gansey’s going to say next. It lives up to the hype: “I want you to,” he says. “Please.”
Ummmmmmmm… I’m not the kind of person that says “swoon” unironically, but this line really tested my sense of self.
Beyond that, Blue turns over the page of cups. We all know from Barrington Whelk’s disaster of a reading, the page of cups is Blue’s card. Everyone is like “no, Gansey, turn over another one!!! Not for you!” So Gansey turns over another one and IT’S THE PAGE OF CUPS AGAIN! Everyone is like “no! Gansey!” and so he turns over another card and it’s the death card, and then everyone is like “oh noooooooo, Gansey:(”
But Gansey doesn’t care. He just wants to find his dead king, and to do that he has to ask about the ley line. We know Maura can help him out, so it’s a little bit of a shock to hear her say she can’t help him. When she clarifies, it turns out that she didn’t mean that she couldn’t, she meant that she wouldn’t. Blue is just as shocked, and compensates for this by overcharging Gansey for the reading.
The best part of this whole situation is that, after Gansey and friends leave, Maura remembers she’s a character in a young adult novel and forbids Blue to see Gansey ever again.
“The best-case scenario here is that you make friends with a boy who’s going to die.”
“Ah,” said Calla, in a very, very knowing way. “Now I see.”
“Don’t psychoanalyze me,” her mother said.
“I already have. And I say again, ‘ah.’”
The last thing we learn is that Calla touched Ronan and felt some freaky shit: it feels like he’s pregnant with quadruplets, which is a fun image, but that’s not where she was going with that. What she meant is that Ronan’s creating something out of nothing. It’s ominous and cool, and a very Ronan thing to do.
Thoughts and Feelings:
This is the kind of monster chapter that defies recap, just because it’s the culmination of fourteen chapter’s worth of setup. I don’t think I could do it justice in such a small summary (although this is one of the longest I’ve written so far and is probably really rambly and doesn’t make any sense).
Although it is a monster, it’s also a masterpiece. I remember before Avengers Infinity War came out and everyone was speculating what it would be like for all these characters from different movies to be interacting in the same room. That’s what I felt like in the leadup to Gansey’s reading: not only Blue and her boys, but Persephone, Maura, and Calla, all in the same space! It didn’t get as much hype as a multi-million dollar film franchise, but in my opinion it should have.
There was something so vulnerable about Blue as she moved from boy to boy, holding out tarot cards for them to take, but there’s something in Blue’s voice that made me feel like she was protected. She registered what there was about each boy that made him dangerous (you might think Ronan is the only scary one, but you would be wrong), and she dissected it. I love a character that can do that. I also love a character that can hiss at a boy half their age and feel totally justified in their actions (have I mentioned that I love Calla? Let me do it again: I LOVE CALLA).
To wrap this up, I’m really tired because this chapter is so long and complicated and honestly every sentence deserves some response from me, but that would mean I was just rewriting the book, which I don’t want to do. So, if you’re ever thinking about the Raven Boys but you don’t have time to go back and read the whole thing, just read this chapter and then skip to the end. The buildup is lovely and sometimes soft and sometimes hilarious, but this is where we really start to get going. It was worth the wait.
Best character moment:
“Thanks,” Adam said. It wasn’t quite the right thing to say but it wasn’t entirely wrong, either. Blue liked how polite he was. It seemed different than Gansey’s politeness. When Gansey was polite, it made him powerful. When Adam was polite, he was giving power away.
Best turn of phrase:
There might have only been Ronan and Calla in the room. He was a head taller than her already, but he looked young beside her, like a lanky wildcat not yet up to weight. She was a lioness.
Action: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ALL MY PEOPLE IN ONE ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! 100/10
Magic: Tarot cards, psychometry, and a lot of tension, some of which was sexual. Magic is in the air! 9/10
Comic Relief: Please refer to the page at the beginning of the chapter when Gansey realizes Blue is his devil waitress and Ronan calls Adam a loser. I don’t think I need to provide any more evidence than that. 20/10