Hello again! I can’t wait for this part of the book, the part where the gang being together is more common than being apart. So, since I don’t want to wait, here we go:)
Thankfully, the post-gelato Gangsey hasn’t lost any of its charm. They’ve settled into a routine, which is basically meeting Blue after school (somewhere that’s not near Fox Way, since she’s still ~techincally~ sneaking around even though Maura keeps virtually no tabs on her whatsoever) and doing some kind of exploring or research together. They go to the courthouse to look at county records, and the library to look at microfiche, and some random fields to make stone circles and dick around with Gansey’s EMF reader. It’s all very intellectual and adorable.
There’s a brief snag where Blue forces them to eat at cheap fast food restaurants because she insists on paying for all her food herself, but Gansey seems bemused rather than offended. The whole thing makes Adam very proud of Blue. He’s prouder still when they introduce Noah into the mix and he and Blue get on better than anyone could have expected.
I keep gushing about friendships between characters, which I understand can get repetitive. I promise this is the last time; I just have a lot of feelings about Blue and Noah. She lets him pet her hair and she listens to his opinions and they deserve each other.
There’s some filler where Gansey keeps refusing to go back to the woods and they keep picking up Blue after school to do some more info-gathering sessions, and a nice scene where Ronan is trying to teach Adam to drive stick in his BMW. Blue shows up just as Ronan is swearing at Adam for stalling the car, and her hair smells like wildflowers. Adam finds this incredibly hot, which is weird, but whatever works for you, dude.
And then Gansey tells them they’re going back to the woods. That is, if the Pig’s engine starts. We get a nice couple of lines where Adam, Blue, and Noah sit in the back seat and Adam lets his leg press against Blue’s—you know, the kind of thing that makes this book rated R for “relatively tame.”
Time for some nice FRIENDSHIP MOMENTS for me to share with you before we get into the real action:
He saw goosebumps through the loopy crocheted cardigan Blue wore. She reached to take a handful of both his shirt and Noah’s, and tugged them both to her like blankets.
“Gas. Give it more gas.”
“That is with gas.”
Ronan punched Gansey’s right leg down, his palm on Gansey’s knee. The engine wailed high and caught. Gansey drily thanked Ronan for his assistance.
That concludes FRIENDSHIP MOMENTS, which are only there because I thought they were too good to leave sitting in the book for people to skim over. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
They drive to the woods and when Blue says she feels watched, they have a nice conversation about EMF readings to help bolster each other’s courage. Gansey marks the time as 4:13, Adam grabs Blue’s hand and tells himself not to crush her fingers, and they enter the magical forest.
A list of things that happen to them while exploring:
-Gansey loses Noah for a second (as in, Noah literally disappears and then reappears right in front of them)
-They follow the exact same path as the last time and somehow end up in a different place
-Adam feels crippling guilt because of his tree vision
-The leaves on the trees change from spring to summer to autumn in a matter of minutes
-Noah finds writing on a rock
I’d like to zoom in on the rock for a second, because it is the most important object in the whole chapter. Blue wants to know what language it is and she’s informed by Ronan and Adam that it’s in Latin. Adam isn’t as good at the language, but apparently it’s Ronan’s only strong subject in school, so he tells them that it’s a joke. Someone wrote a joke on a rock in a magic forest in Latin. Who in the world would do that?
“There’s a joke,” Ronan answered, “in case I didn’t recognize my own handwriting.”
This, Adam realized, was what had distressed him about the words. Now it had been pointed out, it was obvious that the handwriting was Ronan’s. It was just so out of context, painted on this rock with an arcane pigment, smudged and worn by the weather.
“I don’t understand,” Ronan said. He kept tracing and retracting the letters.
Everyone is shaken up, but Gansey brings up the whole time issue again: the ley line makes time an unpredictable beast, so this was probably future Ronan, leaving himself a dirty joke. It’s such a Ronan way to identify himself—don’t leave your signature, or a fun fact. That’s too easy. Leave yourself disgusting teenage boy humor, because that’s the best identifier.
And then make sure to tell yourself (or your past self) that not only do the trees speak Latin, but that they should call the forest by its name: Cabeswater. Which is a fantastic name for a magic forest, and also a fantastic name for my firstborn child. And I have dibs, so don’t even think about it.
Thoughts and Feelings:
I don’t know why, but I’m not having a lot of thoughts or feelings on this chapter. I think maybe because it’s pretty self-explanatory, in that what happens happens and what’s cute is cute. I’m glad we have more Noah and I’m glad we have some nice little friendship moments. A lot of the strength in this story resides in those moments, and the scene with everyone piled into the Pig is a particularly good scene.
I’m glad I can stop calling Cabeswater “the woods” in the interest of not spoiling anything (although I’m still not sure about my position on spoilers, since this is a reread but I like to think I’m approaching it with fresh eyes). It was kind of awkward to say “the magic forest” all the time, especially when I knew it had such a dope name that was yet to be revealed. Frankly I’m just excited for them to keep exploring Cabeswater and to continue on their journey to becoming best friends. Here’s to many more car rides where the Pig won’t start!!
Best Character Moment:
Blue permitted Noah to pet the crazy tufts of her hair, something Adam would have also liked to do, but felt would mean something far different coming from him.
Best Turn of Phrase:
As Adam stared at his lap, penitent, he mused that there was something musical about him when he swore, a careful and loving precision to the way he fit the words together, a black-painted poetry.
Action: There are two Ronans in this chapter, and one is taunting the other. And, yet, nobody gets punched, not even a tree. 7/10
Magic: Did I mention the fact that the magic bent time so much that future Ronan was able to leave past Ronan a note? That’s dope. 11/10
Comic Relief: I mean, a dirty joke in Latin is ten times funnier than a regular dirty joke. I still can’t believe nobody laughed. 9/10