The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.13

Summary:

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

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.12

Summary:

This summary won’t be very long, because the gist of this chapter is: ADAM ISN’T HERE and SCHOOL IS ANNOYING AND NOBODY WANTS TO GO. But I’m obligated to go into more detail than that, so here we go.

Gansey pulls up to the dirt road that leads into Adam’s neighborhood, and he’s not there. To accurately describe the place where Adam lives, we’re taken back to the first time Gansey ever carpooled with Adam. First, he thought Adam’s road was just a clean spot of grass for him to turn around and look for an actual driveway. Then he pulled up to Adam’s front door, and the piece of human garbage that calls himself Robert Parrish spotted the Aglionby merch Gansey was sporting and gave him our newest nickname: the S.R.F. (soft, rich, etc.). So that’s why Gansey stops at little grove of mailboxes instead of pulling up to Adam’s house. And the human garbage dump that lives at the end of the road is why we’re all worried when Adam doesn’t show.

So, here’s where we are with the whole carpool situation: Adam doesn’t have a phone. Nobody knows where he is. Gansey counts down the minutes until the 15 minute drive to school becomes too long to make it on time, wishing that he could just skip school and go run around in the woods looking for a sleeping Welsh king. But he can’t, because Aglionby is actually a pretty good school, and Gansey doesn’t plan on asking Glendower for a passing grade in pre-calc. This means that, to appease his father and keep his trust fund intact, Gansey has to be at school on time.

Dick Gansey II had let his son know that if he couldn’t hack it in a private school, Gansey was cut out of the will.

He’d said it nicely, though, over a plate of fettucine.

And so Richard Gansey III turns the Pig around and drives to Aglionby, thinking maybe Adam will already be there. Spoiler alert: he isn’t.

Gansey figures this out when he gets to Latin, and, surprise! Adam’s not there. Ronan informs him that Adam wasn’t in second period, either. So nobody knows where Adam is, and they can’t ask, because he doesn’t have a cell phone.

A few months earlier, Gansey had offered to buy Adam a cell phone, and by doing so had launched the longest fight they’d ever had, a week of silence that had resolved itself only when Ronan did something more offensive than either of them could accomplish.

Someone tells Ronan they’re going to “fuck him up” (it’s Kavinsky, but we won’t get into that until book two), and Gansey thinks about needing to hire a babysitter for Friday nights. He’s distracted, though, when he finds out that Ronan is carrying Chainsaw in his bag. Our boy literally smuggled a baby bird into class because Google said he had to feed it every two hours.

“If you get caught with that thing—“ But Gansey couldn’t think of a suitable threat. What was the punishment for smuggling a live bird into classes? He wasn’t certain there was precedent. He finished, instead, “If it dies in your bag, I forbid you to throw it out in a classroom.”

Tell me this kind of banter isn’t exactly what you needed today. And then, like he’s just here to ruin this moment, Whelk turns around and starts eavesdropping on their conversation. Ronan manages to say what we’re all thinking, calling Whelk a “socially awkward shitbird,” and even Gansey admits that he’s a tool. Once that’s established it’s back to Adam: where is he and why isn’t he in school? It’s time for Latin, do you know where your kids are?

Before they can get very far in the conversation, Whelk asks Ronan why his bag is so large. It’s because there’s a baby bird in it, but Ronan can’t say that so instead he asks Whelk if he knows what they say about men with large bags, and then a punchline in Latin. I put it in google translate and it means “you show me yours and I will show,” but I think we can remember that Google Translate is a robot and therefore imperfect, and reasonably assume it means “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” Which, um, Ronan said to his teacher.

Whelk doesn’t do anything because Ronan said it in Latin (so even Gansey didn’t know what it meant) and he really can’t complain. The only thing he can do is teach a class, which Adam never shows up to. We can only hope the rest of the day goes quickly.

Thoughts and Feelings:

The story of how Gansey learned where to pick Adam up is heartbreaking in the quiet way that Stiefvater approaches the whole issue of Adam and his father. All throughout the beginning of the novel we hear about it like it’s something everybody knows but doesn’t want to talk about, and because that’s the way the characters understand the situation, it works. I’m certainly not an expert on subjects like this, and so I don’t want to make wild claims or assumptions about domestic abuse or violence. But so far, it’s never been stated explicitly. We all know about it, we’re all miserable about it, and, as readers, there’s nothing we can do.

And then what we hear about Adam refusing to take a cell phone from Gansey, the way he has to earn his own money and buy his own things. The way this plays out over the rest of the series is one of those undeniably human problems. Like, if Adam would just be less stubborn there would be so many less issues to resolve. He could move into Monmouth, he could stop working and Gansey could give him a loan, but Adam wouldn’t be Adam if he did those things. We have to sacrifice the ease of having all our characters in one place, searching for their lost king, for a group of characters that are flawed and human. Except for Barrington Whelk, who is all flaw and no human.

I just think this chapter shows why these books do such a fabulous job of giving us people that live beyond the page, and that’s why as much as it really was just a lot of “Adam isn’t here” and “I don’t want to attend this prestigious boarding school because I have better things to do,” it was also full of important details and moments that should not be overlooked.

Best character moment:

Gansey contemplated if he could give Ronan a curfew. Or if she should quit rowing to spend more time with him on Fridays—he knew that was when Ronan got into trouble with the BMW.

Best turn of phrase:

Ronan kept staring at Whelk. He was good at staring. There was something about his stare that took something from the other person.

Action: Honestly? Not much. But Ronan did talk about his balls in Latin, so. A different kind of action? 4/10

Magic: The only magic mention comes when Gansey says he’s tired and sad and no longer thinks Chainsaw is Not A Coincidence. Boo that. -1/10

Comic relief: Every chapter where Gansey is trying to keep Ronan under any semblance of control is comedic gold. 12/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.6

Summary:

Welcome to Nino’s, the pizza place that only the cool Aglionby kids frequent and that Blue uses to steal their money in the form of tips. Also home to one of the greatest meet-cutes in history, because it’s not a meet-cute at all! It’s a goddamn disaster.

Blue starts her shift thinking one thing: she does not want to be there. We hear about her many other jobs and about her waitress friend, Cialina, who sees the Gangsey walk in and immediately claims their table for herself. Darn, we think. Maybe this will be a ships passing in the night situation and we won’t get the interaction we so crave.

Wrong! Adam thinks Blue is cute and Gansey takes it upon himself to see if he can make that happen. He doesn’t know that he lost the battle the minute he walked in while talking on the phone (he’s actually asking Maura for a reading, which is ironic—but that irony doesn’t help anyone). And then, when he offers to pay Blue for her time spent talking to Adam, it’s all over.

For a moment, Blue was actually lost for words. She had never believed people who claimed to be speechless, but she was. She opened her mouth, and at first, all that came out was air. Then something like the beginning of a laugh. Then, finally, she managed to sputter, “I am not a prostitute.”

Gansey goes back to his table so Ronan and Noah can make fun of him mercilessly without shouting across the restaurant. Adam tries to crawl into a hole and die, which Blue thinks is kind of cute. Readers become confused, because, in Blue’s words, Gansey has to be her true love:

Neeve had said this was the year she’d fall in love. Maura had said she’d kill her true love if she kissed him. Gansey was supposed to die this year. What were the odds? Gansey had to be her true love. He had to be. Because there was no way she was going to kill someone.

While this is good logic, Gansey still manages to be completely tactless and convince Blue that there’s no way she’ll ever fall in love. But then we remember that Gansey and Co. are coming to the Sargent’s for a reading and we hold out hope that maybe this time everything will work out. Maybe.

Thoughts and Feelings: Seeing the Gangsey through Blue’s eyes is an experience I never want to forget. First off, Stiefvater always, without fail, uses the opportunity of looking through another character’s eyes to give out hilarious nicknames. She starts off the tradition with some zingers: President Cell Phone for Gansey, Soldier Boy for Ronan (he’s “a soldier in a war where the enemy is everyone else”—very Hot Topic), and Adam is the elegant one. Gansey’s the one who calls Noah smudgy and Blue sticks with it, so now the whole gang has code names and we never have to use their real names ever again.

We also spend some time getting to know Blue, which I appreciate. She’s got big dreams, that involve being a five-foot-tall researcher of pygmy tyrants. She’s also firmly in opposition of everything Gansey says to her, which is fun, and aware of the fact that Adam is being very cute and embarrassed. People don’t often realize how cute Adam is being and I’m glad she pointed it out. Ten points to Blue for absolutely crushing it in this chapter. Five points to Ronan for calling Gansey a bitch and thinking everything Blue said was hilarious.

Best character moment:

In the background, she caught a glimpse of Soldier Boy making a plane of his hand. It was crashing and weaving towards the table surface while Smudgy Boy gulped laughter down. The elegant boy held his palm over his face in exaggerated horror, fingers spread just wide enough that she could see his wince.

Best turn of phrase:

Really, she didn’t know if she’d truly like to find out more about the pygmy tyrant. She just liked the name, because, to a five-foot-tall-girl, pygmy tyrant sounded like a career.

Action: One half of the main love interest called the other a prostitute and yet it seems we’re still moving towards true love. Also, Blue’s embarrassing realization that she’s probably going to kill that guy she just yelled at in the pizza place is imminent, so. We’re getting somewhere. 9/10

Magic: No magic except for the comebacks Blue throws at Gansey, which are pretty sick. 6/10

Comic relief: I don’t need to explain myself here. 11/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.5

Summary:

And thus begins the worst plotline of the book: what did Barrington Whelk do? And was it because he was so unfortunate to be stuck with the name Barrington Whelk, or just because he’s a raging asshole?

The short version is that the Gangsey’s Latin teacher turns out to be the worst and also killed his roommate on St. Mark’s Eve when he was a student at Aglionby. He only works there because his dad lost all his money and now he’s as bitter as Severus Snape and probably just as mean to children. He especially hates the Gangsey, because he’s bitter that they have a beautiful friendship and he’s so, so alone.

The mere mention of Ronan Lynch’s name had scraped something raw inside Whelk. Because it was never Ronan by himself, it was Ronan as part of the inseparable threesome: Ronan Lynch, Richard Gansey, and Adam Parrish. All of the boys in his class were affluent, confident, arrogant, but the three of them, more than anyone else, reminded him of what he’d lost.

Boo hoo, dude. You lost it because you literally killed someone. But that’s neither here nor there. Whelk thinks nefarious thoughts for a while, and then resolves to steal Gansey’s research, because if he has to be alone he should at least have a purpose. End scene.

Thoughts and Feelings: As someone who went to a private school for thirteen years, I thought it was kinda nice to see how seriously these teachers take their jobs (if only there were a font that displayed the sarcasm I wish to be oozing right now). While my school was a co-ed day school, located in a progressive section of a city, and not full of quite so many rich kids, I certainly admit that there was a certain amount of prestige that came with just Being Very Expensive and had nothing to do with the quality of the education. I had some truly terrible teachers (and some great ones, but neither Whelk nor Milo justifies that description). It seems that the Aglionby elite are suffering through the same situation.

Other than that, this chapter was just to set up a Small Bad Guy™ who plagues our intrepid heroes and gets his comeuppance at the end. Not very interesting, but necessary.

Best character moment:

Whelk was suddenly afraid that Milo could see the memory on him, could hear the inexplicable voices in his head, incomprehensible but nonetheless present ever since that failed day.

Best turn of phrase:

Every time his heart beat, red lines streaked in the corners of his vision, the trees darkening with his pulse.

Action: I understand why this had to happen but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. 2/10

Magic: The only magic here was used to murder Czerny!!!! Very bad and no fun!!!!!! -4/10

Comic relief: Barrington Whelk is about as fun as a wet pile of paper. 0/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.4

Summary:

Declan visits his brother’s house/abandoned factory and, needless to say, it does not go well. He rolls up with a generic blonde girl and Adam, who’s suspicious someone’s trying to steal Gansey’s research on Welsh kings and thinks maybe it’s Declan. It’s cute, because in about five minutes we’ll realize that Declan doesn’t give a single solitary shit about Glendower and just wants Ronan to be less of a pain in the ass.

We’re then shown Monmouth Manufacturing as a tourist because Declan’s girlfriend has never been there before (her name is Ashley, which is important because she’s actually a smart cookie and shouldn’t be treated like an object regardless). She’s basically a stand-in for the reader and makes all the appropriate noises.

Beside Declan, Girlfriend held her hands to her chest in an unconscious reaction to masculine nakedness. In this case, the naked party was not a person, but a thing: Gansey’s bed, nothing but too mattresses on a bare metal frame, sitting baldly in the middle of the room, barely made. It was somehow intimate in its complete lack of privacy

(I included that quote for entirely selfish reasons; it’s one of those instances of absolute poetic brilliance Stiefvater doles out that I’ve thought about at least once a week since reading it).

Gansey then tells Ashley about Welsh Kings, not because she actually wants to know but because the reader would be absolutely lost without it and we’re already on chapter four, so getting the exposition out of the way is imperative for us to get to the action. Noah walks in, tells everyone he’s dead, and then Ronan’s entrance makes us forget that he doesn’t sound like he’s joking.

Ronan and Declan fight, everyone leaves angry, and then Gansey convinces everyone to go get pizza at Nino’s. Just another day for the good old Gangsey. Now we wait for the inevitable explosion that is Blue and her Raven Boys at Nino’s.

Thoughts and Feelings:

Adam’s first POV chapter! The first insight into the mind of our soft little guy. He spends most of it pretending to be invisible and worrying about money, but it wouldn’t be an Adam chapter without a healthy dose of self-loathing and a major case of impostor syndrome. But the beauty of Adam’s voice is that it’s the snarkiest thing in the whole world. He’d never say any of it out loud, but Adam spends the entire 12 pages he’s given judging everyone in a 5 mile radius and I love him for it.

On the other hand, I think my favorite part of the beginning of the book has to be the parallels between Blue and Gansey. Before this chapter, we’ve gotten Blue vs. Gansey at their respective church watches and then skipping school on the same day, which was nice, but Monmouth vs. Fox Way just feels more exciting. Seeing Blue in her natural environment and then seeing Gansey in his, both with these foreign intruders they don’t know what to do with (here’s the part where I growl at Declan and Neeve yet again) shows how they both present two different ways: rumpled scholar Gansey and Virginia money Gansey vs. sensible Blue and eccentric shredded shirts Blue.

Other than that, there are many simple pleasures we get during this scene: my perfect smudgy Noah, Gansey saying “excelsior” not because something exciting was happening, but because they decided to get pizza, and the fact that Declan ever thought Ronan would be caught dead playing tennis. Of all the sports for Ronan to be playing, and he picked tennis? The boy who got a full back tattoo to piss off his brother and supposedly taught his BMW to look like a shark is running around the tennis court in white shorts and sweatbands, and I’m supposed to picture it in my head without disbelief? I can’t, but apparently Declan can, because that’s why he showed up and started this whole mess. 15-love Ronan.

Best character moment:

“Oh! Your hand is cold.” Ashley cupped her fingers against her shirt to warm them. “I’ve been dead for seven years,” Noah said. “That’s as warm as they get.” BUT ALSO, Behind Ronan, his door, covered with photocopies of his speeding tickets, drifted closed.

Best turn of phrase:

He said you and Declan like it was a physical object, something you could pick up and look underneath.

Action: Adam took a scene where nothing happened and gave me some bomb ass character insights to make up for it. 8/10

Magic: There was no magic except for Gansey deciding Ashely was too much of a side character to explain it to because her eyebrows didn’t match her hair color. Boo that. 3/10

Comic relief: Full of so many good moments, plus an in-depth description of Monmouth which is very teenage boy and has a cardboard box town in the middle of the floor. 10/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.3

Summary:

Mornings in Fox Way: a three part drama starring a sleepy teen, a Cool Mom, and the weird aunt nobody invited but who showed up anyways. Except this morning, Blue missed the wakeup call and slept through the school day. She finds out this is because she let spirits walk through her while she talked to Gansey, and her battery ran out. Blue asks Maura if there’s any way she can save Gansey’s life, and Maura says of course not. They agree but Blue is ornery because she’s a teenager and won’t admit they’re on the same side.

“I probably can’t stop you from meeting him anyway,” Maura said. “I mean, if Neeve is right about why you saw him. You’re fated to meet him.”

“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”

“Everyone else,” said Maura, “had breakfast a very long time ago.”

Neeve decides to find out how Gansey is supposed to die using a bowl of cran-grape juice and a healthy dose of her sister’s disapproval. She finds nothing. This particular brand of nothing is interesting, though: being a psychic in Henrietta is very different than being a psychic anywhere else. Maura knew about this and didn’t tell Neeve. She also knew about Blue’s who amplification thing and didn’t mention that, either, so there’s some tension at the breakfast table.

Neeve said, “One moment he was there, and the next, he didn’t exist.”

“It happens,” Maura said. “Here in Henrietta. There is some place–or places–that I can’t see. Other times, I see”–and here she didn’t look at Blue in such a way that Blue noticed that her mother was trying hard not to look at her–“things I wouldn’t expect.” 

Blue decides there’s no use hanging around, finishes her yogurt, and heads to work, but not before Maura can remind her that kissing is off limits. End scene.

Thoughts and Feelings:

The biggest question of what comes out of this chapter is what happens to the giant bowl of cran-grape on the kitchen table? Knowing what I do about Neeve, I assume she’s not going to bother pouring it back into the jar. Does Maura do it? Do they just pour it down the sink? Is it cran-grape juice purchased exclusively for scrying, or is a Sargent woman going to open the fridge and be shocked and offended when her juice is gone?

Other than that, this chapter is one of the most masterful examples of creating a setting I’ve read in a long time. 300 Fox Way is as expressive as the characters that make it up. That’s good writing! We love to see it. We also love to see Maura enchanting a man so much he invites her to her house in Baltimore, only for her to reply with just one :(. That’s a baller move.

Best character moment:

Maura shrugged. “Nothing. I always wanted an eccentric daughter. I just never realized how well my evil plans were working.”

Best turn of phrase:

Blue kept thinking of what her mother had said: I won’t be responsible for anything that you see. It made this thing they did seem bigger than it usually felt. Farther away from a trick of nature and more of a religion.

Action: Blue is eating yogurt and getting ready for work at Nino’s which is Where Shit Goes Down. We are in a holding pattern but I like it. 7/10

Magic: Neeve does a bad job scrying. The casualty is an entire bottle of juice. I’m still not over it. 3/10

Comic Relief: Fox Way is the definition of playful, fraught, complicated female relationships—if that’s not a recipe for hilarity what is? 10/10

The Raven Cycle Reread: 1.2

Summary:

Meet Richard Gansey III and his motley band of friends (minus one slightly rumpled ghost)! The first thing we learn about Gansey is that he’s definitely going to die this year. The second thing we learn is that his car broke down, and it’s bright orange. We learn that his car is full of junk and that his pizza order is one large deep dish, half sausage half avocado. Gansey is so busy pining for the mountains to tell him where Glendower is, he doesn’t notice how gross his pizza order sounds.

Ronan Lynch pulls up in a BMW and we know that he’s cool and also kinda scary. In the passenger’s seat is Adam Parrish, who we discover has a neat tie and slender hands (hand description is apparently the gold standard for learning things about characters in the Raven Cycle). After some arguing about who’s going to fill the car up with gas and mess up their clothes, we get the sweet, romantic flashback involving Ronan and Adam dragging each other behind a moving vehicle using an old scab of Ronan’s as an entry point. 

Then the exposition ends and the plot moves forward: Gansey sat in front of a church all night and recorded the sounds of nothing going on. Except, when he played the recording back, he heard the previous chapter’s conversation with Blue.

According to the ley hunters he’d spoken to, the ley line sometimes transmitted voices across its length, throwing sounds hundreds of miles and dozens of years from when they’d first been heard… The strange thing in all this was not the other voices on the player. The strange thing was Gansey’s voice: Gansey was quite certain he was not a spirit.

Not right now, anyways.

The chapter closes out pretty quickly after this. Their Latin teacher drives by and doesn’t stop which is a nicely placed bit of foreshadowing. We find out that Ronan’s brother is a dick and he’s visiting the gang later that night. Adam gives Gansey the number for a psychic who we know is going to be the Sargent family. But most of all we’re left with a description of the characters in broad strokes:

It could have been any one of the mornings in the last year and a half. Ronan and Adam would make up by the end of the day, Gansey’s teachers would forgive him for missing class, and then he and Adam and Ronan and Noah would go out for pizza, four against Declan.

Thoughts and Feelings:

For starters, of course we meet Gansey when the Pig crashes. This is such an undeniably Gansey Moment™ and I’m so glad we don’t see him whooping with the crew team or, I don’t know, schmoozing some teacher. I’m not so sure, however, about the initial descriptions of Ronan. It feels like every adjective we get is emphasizing how incredibly sharp he is, and it overwhelms a lot of the personality we could be getting from this interaction. Again, though: painting in broad strokes allows us to get a feel for the characters before we start to discover their nuance. Coming off the last chapter where Blue is practically leaping off the page, though, makes the introductions to our boys seem a little less special.

I’m just surprised Ronan was actually in class when Gansey wasn’t. Sure, he probably didn’t pay attention and actively tried to disrupt everything that was going on, but he was there! Which is more than I can say for literally any other day in the whole series.

Best character moment:

The way Gansey saw it was this: if you had a special knack for finding things, it meant you owed the world to look

(Spiderman, is that you?)

Best turn of phrase:

He was slim and tall, with dusty hair unevenly cropped above a fine-boned, tanned face. He was a sepia photograph.

Action: Well, Gansey misses World History and nobody gets him notes, so that’s no fun, but other than that it’s just our boys and Camaro drama. 6/10

Magic: Gansey hears his own voice on a recorder when he didn’t say anything! Adam wants to call a psychic!! The ley line is here!!! 9/10

Comic relief: Our boys really pulled through with some hilarious quips and made standing on the side of the highway look #chic. 8/10