We pick up in this chapter right where we left off: the ground is shaking and everyone is being tossed around like popcorn in the microwave. Gansey’s holding onto a tree for dear life, Whelk’s on the ground, Blue gets tossed into Ronan. I like to think of Blue and Ronan grabbing onto each other, both of them grudgingly trying to shield the other, but because it’s not explicitly stated I’m going to say that it’s just a hypothetical I came up with in my spare time.
Everyone’s freaked out, and rightly so. For those of you who have never been to Virginia, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: they don’t usually have earthquakes there. When Ronan yells “Look what you’ve done, you crazy bastard!” I can see where he’s coming from. I, too, like to call my friend a crazy bastard right after he sacrifices himself for the good of the friend group.
Somehow in all the commotion Whelk kept hold of the gun, and when he’s able to stand up, up he’s pissed.
“What would you know about what to do with power?” he snapped at Adam. “What a waste. What a fucking waste.”
Whelk is the fucking waste, and I’ve been saying that since day one. But I digress.
He points the gun at Adam and pulls the trigger. The reason I say “pulls the trigger” and not just “shot him” is because, well, Whelk had perfect aim and yet Adam is completely untouched. Whelk shot him but it didn’t take, and only Gansey knows what that means, at first. Everyone else catches on pretty quickly. Adam is strange now, different. He has powers that nobody understands.
These powers cause Whelk to make sad, pathetic noises, but he still doesn’t put down the gun. Adam tells him he should probably drop it, because Cabeswater, in all its sentient glory, isn’t cool with him having the gun. Me neither, but I’m not the one who triggers a stampede of aggressive white horned animals to trample him to death for not doing what I want.
On the plus side, this scene contains the line “she clutched at both Ronan and Gansey,” so it looks like I finally get my protective hugging scene. Or, some version of it. Instead of continuing to cling to each other, Blue throws everyone into the hole in that tree that gave them the visions because it’s probably safe from whatever is about to beat them to death with its hooves. Of course, the vision tree wouldn’t be the vision tree without—you guessed it—visions!
In this vision, the night smeared jeweled reflections across wet, steaming tarmac, stoplights turning from green to red. The Camaro sat at a curb, Blue in the driver’s seat. Everything was soaked in the smell of gasoline. She caught a glimpse of a collared shirt in the passenger’s seat; this was Gansey. He leaned across the gearshift towards her, pressing fingers to the place her collarbone was exposed. His breath was hot on her neck.
I like to talk about how this isn’t a “romance book”because of the stigma associated with teen YA. But something can be Teen Romance™ and still be Real Literature, and that quote is a perfect example.
But before we can appreciate it too much, Blue’s literally shoved out of her vision by Gansey and they fly out of the tree and onto the ground.
Thoughts and Feelings:
It’s honestly so rude to end this chapter with another cliffhanger. This weird extension of cliffhangers on cliffhangers on cliffhangers is going to get so old that at some point, there are going to be enough people hanging off the cliff that they can all just join hands in one big rope and touch the bottom.
Here’s the thing: they’re fine, when you’re reading the book all at once. You can devour it in one sitting and you hardly notice how few chapters give closure of any kind. But if you’re like me, and you’re reading this thing week by week and talking extensively about each chapter as a part of a greater whole, it starts to get a little tedious.
I guess I’m happy we’re back in Blue’s perspective? I’m not sure how much we gain from it, given that there’s nothing with her special little Sargent Spin. Again, much like the last chapter, I wanted her to notice more about Adam. I wanted her to look at him, really look at him, and make an observation that only she could make. I get it’s hectic, and in reality she probably would be more interested in preserving her own life than analyzing the actions of her would-be boyfriend but this isn’t reality. It’s fiction, and if I want a moment of deep thought within all this chaos then I’ll demand it!
We continued with the whole Gansey-knows-something-is-up-first thing, and I’m glad for the consistency. It’s nice to know that all of the angst and fighting after Adam was released from the hospital is because the bonds of their relationship are so strong. I’d like to hear from Ronan, though? He’s oddly quiet in these scenes, like I’ve found him to be the whole book. It’s probably because I’m coming at it from a Dream Thieves perspective and I expect him to have a very active role, but don’t worry. We’ll get there soon.
The last thing I need to mention, the truly egregious thing, is located on page 408 of the British paperback edition.
“Why?” Gansey asked Adam. “Was I so awful?”
Adam said, “It was never about you.”
“But, Adam,” Blue cried, “what have you done?”
“What needed to be done,” Adam replied.
First of all: it’s not a crime to use the word “said” more than once. It’s a very inconspicuous word, and nobody’s going to call the repetition police on you. Also, I was semi-on board with the conversation towards the beginning (I mean it was a bit dramatic, but I’m not going to freak out over it). Until Blue was described as crying out a phrase, and then I was like, is this children’s fiction from the 1950s? Haven’t we moved past this? I’m picturing an actress in a black and white movie calling out after someone ran out into the rain. Blue is from the 21st century, please allow her to inhabit it. “Cried” is not an acceptable dialogue tag. Thank you.
Best Character Moment:
“Look what you’ve done, you crazy bastard!” Ronan shouted to Adam, whose gaze was sharp and wary as he stood in the pentagram.
Best Turn of Phrase:
Gansey, she warned, but she felt unstable and dangerous.
I just want to pretend, Gansey said, the words misting on her skin. I want to pretend that I could.
Action: I mean. An earthquake in the woods, a shooting that wasn’t a shooting, a stampede! What more could I possibly ask for? 12/10
Magic: Cabeswater wants gun reform laws, pass it on. 9/10
Comic Relief: Not really funny, just, um. Surprising? 5/10