Beautiful Creatures Ch33 The Claiming

2.11

So anyway, turns out the real issue is that she can’t have sex with Emothan. That sure trumps knowing you’ll kill people!

She demands to know why Pretty Suit didn’t mention it.

“You had never had a boyfriend before, let alone a Mortal one. None of us ever dreamed it would be an issue. We didn’t realize how strong your connection with Ethan was until it was too late.”

She’s a teenage girl. As soon as you start sticking the two of them together, alone, in their room, it’s an “issue”. If it wasn’t for the author insisting they just didn’t have sex, he’d be dead a dozen times over by now!

God, we’re just getting plot holes atop plot holes. Pretty Suit objects to them interacting or being ordinary friends, but not to them making out constantly in her room while she’s emotionally vulnerable and talking about how this is her last chance to be a normal girl.

“When were you going to tell me?” she screamed over the wind.
“After you Claimed yourself.”
Sarafine saw her opportunity and took it.

The narration’s bias is just fucking stupid at this point.

She offers a way to fix this. Pretty Suit claims she’s lying because Dark Casters despise Mortals. They would never allow their bloodlines to be diluted with Mortal blood. It’s one of our greatest divides.” which is bullshit, because you just said the reason bloodlines aren’t diluted with mortal blood is the fact it’s physically impossible. I mean, I’m betting there’s lots of people who would object to mixing their bloodline with dogs, but that isn’t why no one is half dog! And this is all being talked about in the south, literally on a former slave plantation, the longtime capital of interracial fucking despite constantly going on about how inferior African blood is.

That’s on top of the fact I see no evidence the light side of the family cares about mortals. Certainly not enough to protect us from their dark relatives.

Instead of pointing out that both branches of the family are solidly mortal-racist, Evil Mommy says that sure they’re totally a pack of assholes BUT they’re willing to do this because the alternative is DYING which is pretty believable. This isn’t as good an argument as it seems because she hasn’t yet explained what the solution is, and since Lena doesn’t trust her, I don’t think she’d believe that Evil Mommy would do it for her after she makes her choice. Evil Mommy needs to be emphasizing that she can do it right now – and considering that kind of pressure would make it harder to Lena to think clearly, it’d really be a good idea to be hammering in that Lena needs to make her choice quick for Evil Mommy to evil up Emothan into I’m thinking maybe not-vampire lilum? Like I said, she’s not explaining, so I’m left guessing the rape demons that function like vampires function enough like them to turn people into vampires.

Pretty Suit demands to know how she could kill everyone in your family for Emothan because the dark casters aren’t people. Also, Ryan should be fine because she’s not claimed yet, the claiming force being an ephebophile rather than a pedophile.

“Once you Turn, you won’t even care about those people. And you’ll have me, your mother, your uncle, and Ethan.

Ah, this is one of the fun arguments!

Could this be true?

Ridley seemed to only definitely care about Lena and her little sister, who haven’t been claimed yet, Emothan and Link, who are outside of this entirely, and Pretty Suit, who’s dark-aligned. Maybe the dark and light sides get some weird mind whammy to not give a fuck about each other – but there’s at least seems like a degree of regret there from her family that she’s dark, and her prickly responses to the rest of her family suggest she must care to find it hurtful.

How about dark siders don’t feel normal remorse? In that case, they can care about the living but not the dead. That’s very, very dangerous, especially when it’s magically enforced so they know it’s there and can game it. Upset someone doesn’t love you? Kill them and you’ll get revenge and no longer care about it in the first place! In fact, I think that change alone would be enough to make dark casters terrifying and fundamentally evil aligned, without requiring them to actually be evil as individuals.

Anyway, I feel like Lena might as well just go evil already, because christ, this should not be a hard decision. If you’re even tempted to murder people to have sex with your boyfriend, you’re already a lot eviler than Ridley’s been this whole book. It’d be one thing if she actually respected the dark casters as people and she was currently paralyzed from the fact no matter what she does she kills half her family, but no, she was fine with that.

“She’s right. If you agree to this, you won’t feel remorse, because you won’t be yourself. The person you are now will be dead. What she’s not telling you is that you won’t remember your feelings for Ethan. Within a few months, your heart will be so Dark, he won’t mean anything to you. The Claiming has an incredibly powerful effect on a Natural. You may even kill him by your own hand—you will be capable of that kind of evil.

Hm. The fact he’s describing this as a slow change and one that happens fastest for her type means we can’t actually refute this with what we’ve seen. Ridley clearly is still the same person – especially now that we know she wasn’t just working for Evil Mommy for evil’s sake or even acceptance’s sake, but because the outcome of this will mean if Ridley lives or dies, and even still she couldn’t go through with killing his dad even though for some reason that was supposed to be a part of the plan. But what Pretty Suit is saying here is that’s all temporary, Ridley’s type just manages to keep their original feelings for a year or two rather than a few months.

I don’t really trust any of this, but there’s nothing to actually prove him wrong.

He then gives Sarafine murdering Lena’s father as proof this’ll happen.

“Your father stole you from me, Lena. What happened was unfortunate, an accident.”

Macon tried to turn the odds back in his favor. “Tell her, Sarafine. Explain to her how her father burned to death in his own house, by a fire you set.

I’m kind of still on the side of the person who got her kid stolen from her, sorry.

Lena’s dad was obviously a magic user, since we know mortals can’t interbreed with casters. If he wasn’t, then yes, Sarafine obviously acted with malice there. But what caster would get killed by someone just setting a fire? They must have actually fought for him to have been too weakened to escape, which in turn means that just because it’s a fire she started doesn’t mean it was her deliberately deciding to burn him alive for the lulz – chucking fireballs at him while he smashed stuff telekinetically into her also counts as “a fire you set” even though his death would be the result of a pitched battle and not her just being evil.

Evil Mommy sneakily arsoning her dad to death and Evil Mommy attacking her dad to try to get back her kid and having the place catch fire as a result both mean she set a fire. And if it was deliberate, Pretty Suit could’ve said that instead of working so hard to imply it.

Sarafine’s eyes were fierce. “You know, you’ve interfered for sixteen years. which means he was probably helping out with the actual child-theft too.

She sends his brother after him.

Now he looked less like a man and more like what he was. A Demon. His slick black hair stood up like the hair on a wolf’s back before it attacks, his ears sharpened to points, and when his mouth opened, it was the mouth of an animal. Then he just disappeared, dematerialized.

There’s actually a pretty cool fight scene now, with the two of them popping in and out and smacking each other into things. Good job, book! His brother quickly gets the upper hand and bites him, which seems to suck out his life.

Just as the dog sprang toward Hunting, Larkin’s body began to twist, spiraling into a pile of vipers in front of Boo. The vipers hissed, slithering over each other.
Boo didn’t realize the snakes were an illusion, that he could run right through them. He backed away, barking

So he really was just a dog this whole time and not an extension of Pretty Suit.

Anyway, the two of them end up dead still on the ground. Which actually seems like kind of a miscalculation – part of their pitch for her to go dark is it’ll avoid killing her beloved uncle. And yet they don’t bother saying her uncle is still alive or anything, they just turn up the gloat. Evil is dumb.

Evil Mommy starts toward her, and Lena throws fire at her.

“I’ll never hide anything from you, like everyone else in our family has. I’ve explained your options, and I’ve told you the truth. You may hate me, but I’m still your mother. And I can offer you the one thing they cannot. A future with the Mortal.”

Evil Mommy has a really good pitch. Lena responds by saying that’s bullshit and she doesn’t care about her and We all know what a bitch you are, Mother. because all this only works if we just take it on faith that Evil Mommy is totally evil.

Lena manages to free Emothan and tells her to run to get Ryan to help Pretty Suit. It’s 11:25 as seen on the cellphone that he suddenly has despite spending the whole book without it, so he’s got 35 minutes to get back in time to see the claiming. He rushes to Ravenwood, but can’t get in and no one responds to him banging at the door. He tries to call Amma on the new cellphone but no one answers. Then he calls the library, and ditto.

Link was pacing frantically. “Nothin’s open. It’s a freakin’ holiday. It’s the Battle of Honey Hill, remember?

Dumbass realizes that means the caster library is open. Hey, dumbass, that means instead of spending the day not fucking your girlfriend, you guys could’ve spent it looking through books for advice.

When we skidded to a stop in front of the Historical Society, Link didn’t even try to understand. I was out of the car before he could even turn off the Holy Rollers. He caught up with me as I rounded the corner into the darkness behind the second oldest building in Gatlin. “This isn’t the library.”
“Right.”
“It’s the DAR.”
“Right.”
“Which you hate.”
“Right.”
“My mom comes here like, every day.”
“Right.”
“Dude. What are we doin’ here?”

God, book, learn to have a consistent tone. Also, they were driving the whole way, he could easily have filled Link in. “There’s no time to explain!” only applies when there actually isn’t time for it.

“I don’t have time to explain

JESUS CHRIST WHAT DID I JUST SAY YES YOU DID YOU HAD THE ENTIRE DAMN CAR RIDE IT’S CURRENTLY 11:45 THAT MEANS YOU HAD TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES TO TELL HIM STUFF

but it’s only going to get weirder from here on out. We’re going down to the library, but it’s not, like, a library. And you are going to be freaking, most of the time. So if you want to go wait in the car, that’s cool.”
Link was trying to absorb what I was saying as quickly as I was saying it, which was rough.

THIS WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE IF YOU’D FUCKING TOLD HIM ON THE DRIVE OVER

So he finds Marian and babbles everything and she reminds him that how many times does she have to say she can’t interfere before he gets it?

I shook my head and handed Marian the nearest torch from the wall. “You don’t understand. I don’t want you to do anything, other than what the Caster librarian does.”
“What?”
I looked at her meaningfully. “I need to deliver a book to Ravenwood.” I bent down and reached into the nearest stack, and randomly pulled out a book, singeing the tips of my fingers. “The Complete Guide to Poisonous Herbiage and Verbiage.”
Marian was skeptical. “Tonight?”
“Yes, tonight. Right away. Macon asked me to bring it to him personally. Before midnight.”
“A Caster librarian is the only Mortal who knows where to access the Lunae Libri Tunnels.” Marian looked at me shrewdly and took the book from my hands. “Good thing I happen to be one.”

Plot holes everywhere.

The librarian knowing the secret ways into every caster’s house sure is a good reason to have her bound to noninterference. And that binding sure was a waste of everyone’s time if you can tell her you plan to sneak into someone’s house, then add “also, deliver this book which I am blatantly lying about” and she’ll happily take you there.

Bear in mind there was absolutely no reason to tell her all the stuff about current events. If he’d just jumped straight to this plan, she’d have plausible deniability. It’d still be dumb that the wards of every house have such a huge gap in them, and there’d be the problem that we’ve seen no sign she delivers books and it actively contradicts her claim she couldn’t help them find anything last time, but at least it wouldn’t be rubbed in our faces.

So anyway, they go through the maze of different looking areas, and still no explanation where that all comes from because “magic” is apparently good enough, and they end up under Ravenwood at the same time they left, which means that in theory, they could’ve stayed in the place reading books so long as they wandered around the tunnels while they did so, right? Because he definitely percieves time as passing and can observe his surroundings, so he could’ve read a book, which means he and Lena could’ve spent ages down there actually doing some damn research on any of the many holidays they ignored.

Anyway, so they walk in through Ravenwood, begging the question of why Ridley’s Emothan invite workaround was such a big deal when apparently she could have also snuck in on any holiday, and actually, Sarafine could’ve just walked in herself.

“Aunt Del! Reece! Gramma! Hello? Where is everybody?” I called out.

That’s kind of weird, Emothan. Why aren’t you using their regular names?

Del was positioned by the stairs, holding a lamp over her head as if she was going to whack Marian over the head with it in another second. Gramma was standing in the doorway, shielding Ryan with her arm. Reece was hiding under the stairs, brandishing a cake knife.

I hate this book so much.

They’ve got fucking superpowers, but no, the women are cowering in the house with lamps for defense. And cake knives, because they’re too stupid to even walk into the kitchen and get a real knife.

I looked at them in disbelief, taking the lamp out of Aunt Del’s hands, and handing it to Link. “A lamp? You really thought a lamp was gonna save you?”

Hate.

He tells Ryan they need him, and instead “Gramma” says that no, she can do it because her magic power is copying powers because that’s how empathing works, because god knows the author never saw a word she didn’t want to defile. More importantly, empaths – more or less broken than naturals? On the one hand, they can copy that power set too along with everything else. On the other, they can only do it when there’s already a natural there.

The reason she’s doing this isn’t just the obvious child-protecting.

“We can’t take an Unclaimed child out there, not on the Sixteenth Moon. She could be killed.”

Gramma was Claimed, obviously quite some time ago. So we’ll go with you.”

So somehow being unclaimed drastically ups your chances of getting killed during a sixteenth moon, and/or normal casters are unkillable at this point since apparently “she could be killed” doesn’t apply to someone who was claimed already.

I’m assuming this is just a pile of shitty writing that means nothing, because I can’t wrap my head around it.

I looked at my cell. 11:49.

That’s the only thing he seems to be using it for. Plotwise, its ability to call people doesn’t matter, because no one’s there, so it’d play out just the same with him thinking he has no way to reach them. I don’t know why he doesn’t just have a watch.

“What if we don’t make it in time?”
Marian smiled and held up the book.

So she doesn’t even need to be told someone wants the book, she can just decide to deliver a book and lead everyone past the wards into any caster’s house at any time. This is the shittiest non-interference spell ever. So they head off toward the Greenbrier tunnel.

We were five bobbing torches in otherwise total darkness. Since Link and I were at the back of the pack, the smoke was wafting into my eyes, making them tear and sting.

Why the fuck are you using literal torches.

Even assuming some Hogwarts thing about technology not working, which obviously isn’t true since we know they have lamps and stuff, you could at least use magic torches. In fact, isn’t the whole place already filled with magic torches?

As we got closer to Greenbrier, I could tell we were there by the smoke that started seeping down into the Tunnels, not from our torches, but from hidden openings leading to the world outside.

Okay, so on the one hand, the library and tunnels are infinite to the best of everyone’s knowledge. On the other hand, they’re directly linked to the outside.

Fine. Fine, that totally makes sense. Good job.

I climbed out of the tunnel, but when I got to the top, I froze. I could see the crypt’s stone table, where The Book of Moons had lain for so many years.
And I knew it was the same table, because the Book was lying on it now.

Well that sure doesn’t follow. Also, I don’t fucking care. The book has been doing mysterious stuff for a while and it’s come to absolutely nothing. The fact the book supposedly is the thing making the decision? Hasn’t mattered. The possibility it was fucking with his dreams? Hasn’t mattered. Writing all over the walls? HASN’T MATTERED.

I found Macon lying where we had left him. Gramma leaned over him and touched his cheek with her hand. “He’s weak, but he’ll be all right.” At the same moment, Boo Radley rolled over and jumped up onto all fours. He slunk over and lay down on his belly next to his master.

Well I’m glad that was a complete waste of everyone’s time.


Hurry, Ethan! I need you.
That’s when I found myself face to face with Sarafine.
Who plunged a knife into my stomach.
A real knife, into my real stomach.
The end of the dream we had never been allowed to see. Only this part wasn’t a dream. I know, because it was my stomach, and I felt every inch of the blade.
Surprised, Ethan? You think Lena’s the only Caster on this channel?

YES!

She’s been able to block the telepathy, and Lena even mentioned earlier that she was 99% sure her mom was also able to listen in, so being able to pretend to be Lena and call him is actually properly foreshadowed.

Mind you, this is yet another plot hole. The whole book’s really coming undone for the ending. If the end of the dream is stabbity by Lena’s mom, knowing this would’ve really helped them, since he could’ve been wary of stabbity by Lena’s mom. Furthermore, knowing about imminent stabbity by Lena’s mom, Lena wouldn’t have been tempted by the promise of being with Emothan, because it was obviously a lie.

Mind you, I can’t figure out why she’s doing this anyway, since killing Emothan, like killing Pretty Suit, is just making it that much easier to choose to go light. (And, assuming the morality of killing anyone was ever a factor, making her feel more okay with killing the dark casters in the process.)

If we weren’t told it was just her choice, then this would make more sense – if Ridley’s right and acting dark means you’ll go dark, Evil Mommy could just be throwing all the stress and temptation she can at Lena as fast as possible, hoping it’ll tip the scales.

Sarafine’s voice began to fade.
Let her try to stay Light now.
As I drifted away, all I could think was if you stuck me in a Confederate uniform, I’d be Ethan Carter Wate.

Confederate soldiers were extraordinarily skinny, both because they came from largely malnourished populations (which may not apply to Ethan Prime, since he’s presumably some slaveowning fucker) and because the army didn’t have the resources to feed them, and the deserters were even worse off that that, especially ones trying to rush across the country as fast as they could to get home before Sherman’s army did. So no, unless Emothan’s got an eating disorder, there’s no way he’d look like an end of the war Confederate deserter.

Even down to the same stomach wound

A knife and a bullet are actually pretty different.

with the same locket in my pocket.

Why the fuck are you still carrying that around what is wrong with you.

It’d damn well better do something, at least. The locket was the primary plot device for half the story, everyone who was anyone was terrified by it, we were told it was the darkest talisman to ever dark, and it…showed a couple plot relevant visions.

And then suddenly we’re in Lena’s head. Dammit book, if you wanted to switch POVs you should’ve done what everyone else does and just had it be third person. Even more acceptable would’ve been to have Emothan experience some out of body goodness – observing but unable to act would frankly be a step up for his plot role.

Anyway, everything’s frozen. She discusses how it looks.

The tongues of flame were still transparent, still hot, but they consumed nothing and made no sound.

And once again we see that time powers don’t make sense with the rest of our universe. “Heat” is energy being given off. Energy being given off is a thing that happens over time. No time means no energy travel. Smacking directly into hot areas might bump you directly into that energy, but you still couldn’t feel heat because it couldn’t penetrate your skin, unless anything you touch turns active again, and then we’re getting into the question of what defines “you” because you are, after all, coated in dead skin cells, to say nothing of stuff like hair? Where does “you” begin? Plus, somehow swallowing things makes time apply to that as well, or else you couldn’t breathe – oxygen reacting with your cells, moving from the air in your lungs to your red blood cells, is something that involves time passing.

The usual handwave is some sort of unconscious definition of what “you” is, but our sense of self is only broadly accurate at best, and suggests that anyone with severe dysmorphia would be outright killed by this effect because chunks of their body got hit by time the time stop while the rest kept functioning. If you’re a fat person with a thin person inside and “you” take a step, would you tear yourself apart?

(Also, how can you even see since light takes time to travel?)

Basically, don’t use time freezing powers in settings that are supposed to play nice with reality. You do this in a fantasy setting and I’m totally willing to believe physics could work that way, but keep it out of any our-world-plus-secret-magic settings.

Larkin’s leather coat was on fire and he was facing the wrong direction, halfway down the road toward Ravenwood. Predictably running from, rather than toward, the action.

This kind of aside requires that the guy actually have a character before now. Also, given he’s on fire, maybe he’s running because he’s on fire? Just a thought.

My mother held a carved dagger, an ancient Dark thing, high above her head.

How do you know that (you had no idea about the locket, after all) and why the fuck would she bother? All that mattered was that he get stabbed and die.

Ethan’s arm was stretched out, over the edge of the crypt roof. It hung, dangling, down toward the graveyard below.
Like our dream, but in reverse.
I hadn’t fallen through his arms. He was ripped from mine.

This is a decent execution of your usual having-the-prophesy-go-differently. One could even, with a bit of work, view it as addressing gender roles, where both of them naturally assumed it must be the boy saving the girl.

I had lost everything tonight. I sobbed until I couldn’t breathe and my fingers slipped through his, knowing I would never feel those fingers in my hair again.

Um, not to interrupt, but this isn’t actually what happened back then. You’ve frozen time before he died – gut wounds are really not instantaneous – and now can try to fix him before time starts up again.

I had nothing left, except those words. I remembered the words from the visions. I remembered every one of them.
Blood of my heart.
Life of my life.
Body of my body.
Soul of my soul.

Or I guess you could just be an idiot, that’s an option too.

Amma shows up to dialect wisdom at Lena about how she shouldn’t mess with no Book a Moons, no!

Lena asks if she’s gone dark or gone light, and Amma says that she’s not either, which I foolishly thought meant that the claiming thing hadn’t taken place yet, but no, that wouldn’t be special enough.

“Where’s the moon?”
“Well if you don’t know, child, I sure don’t. One minute I was lookin’ up at your Sixteenth Moon. And you were standin’ under it, starin’ up at the stars like only God in Heaven could help you, palms raised like you was holdin’ up the sky. Then, nothin’. Just this.”
“What about the Claiming?”
She paused, considering. “Well, I don’t know what happens when there’s no Moon on your birthday on the Sixteenth Year, at midnight. It’s never happened before, far as I know. Seems to me there can’t be a Claimin’, if there’s no Sixteenth Moon.”

So in conclusion, we resolve the story by saying that nevermind, she lucks out. She probably lucks out because she’s so extra super special powerful she actually did this, but it doesn’t do much to her agency when she didn’t even intend to do it.

Also, I’m presuming that the rest of the book won’t take place with the rest of the world wondering how the moon vanished, so like with the time stop, this is something that only makes sense when viewed from a self-centered universe, not one where the moon is a giant ball of rock that orbits the even gianter ball of rock that is our planet.

Anyway, despite interrupting her a second ago to say this was a terrible idea and what the fuck is wrong with her, she then lets Lena get going on the spell.

“You know it’s not natural. And you know there’s bound to be consequences.”
“I know.”
“And you know there’s no guarantee it’ll work. It didn’t turn out so well the last time. But I can tell you this: I’ve got my great-great-aunt Ivy downtown with the Greats, and they’ll help us if they can.”

So yes this would appear to confirm that no, she doesn’t even take care of her own family’s ghosts, she’s servant to caster ones. At least there’s an afterlife for regular people at all.

Anyway, also confirmed that she’s black! Or at least is under the one drop rule, since her family could have been marrying white people this whole time, but it’s the south, she’s still black as long as they know she is.

“Amma. Please. I don’t have a choice.”

Except in the literal sense of having a choice.

Anyway, she’s still got his mom’s ring and Amma says that might help.

“Love is a powerful thing, Lena Duchannes. A mother’s love, that’s not somethin’ to be trifled with.

Unless it’s Lena’s mom, in which case she’s an evil bitch.

You have the one thing Genevieve never had when she used the Book. The love a two families.”

Well, that’s an interesting moral to end with. If your family doesn’t approve your marriage, you deserve to go evil-crazy?

“Wait.” Amma reached down and pulled Genevieve’s locket, still wrapped in her family handkerchief, out of Ethan’s pocket. “Just to remind everyone that you’ve already got the curse.” She sighed uneasily. “Don’t want to be tried twice for the same crime.”

This appears to be saying there can’t be any consequences for doing the spell, so…why was it such a big deal in the first place?

I mean, me, I’d expect double cursing to lead to them being solidly all dark – well, I’d kind of expect that to be the first curse but whatever. But apparently there’s no real consequences? Except, I guess her personally going dark but being willing to fuck over your whole family line kind of already makes you pretty dark so.

Plus, she destroyed the moon, so, isn’t she going to get claimed by whatever the no-moon power is? Since doing a light spell when it’s a full moon gets you dark, and presumably a dark spell during a half moon would do the opposite, but what the hell would a magically vaporized or whatever moon accomplish?

Then she took the well-worn charm off her own neck, and laid it on the Book, next to the locket. The small gold disc looked almost like a coin, the image faded with wear and time. “To remind everyone, if they’re messin’ with my boy, they’re messin’ with me.”

So the moral is, free your slaves so they can keep serving your family but they’ll be more willing to lay their lives down to protect you from yourself.

Amma reached for me, taking my trembling hands in her strong ones, and we spoke the Cast again, together. This time we spoke in the language of Ethan and his mother, Lila, of Uncle Macon and Aunt Del and Amma and Link and little Ryan and everyone who loved Ethan

And that makes maybe blowing up the world right!

Also, why does Amma saying the words matter if she can’t cast spells?

BLOOD OF MY HEART, PROTECTION IS THINE.
LIFE OF MY LIFE, TAKING YOURS, TAKING MINE.
BODY OF MY BODY, MARROW AND MIND,
SOUL OF MY SOUL, TO OUR SPIRIT BIND.
BLOOD OF MY HEART, MY TIDES, MY MOON.
BLOOD OF MY HEART. MY SALVATION, MY DOOM.

Exact same dumb spell. Lightning or something like it hits her.

I heard Amma whisper. “My boy.”
I turned toward Ethan. He was bathed in gold light, just like everything else. He was still motionless.

And of course there’s no reason to bother checking for a pulse, just go apocalyptic, that’s the greatest idea!

The moon was there again.

…why?

Just, why?

Heat burned through my veins where there should have been blood. The anger welled inside me, with nowhere to go. I could feel it eating away at me. I knew if I didn’t find a way to release it, it would destroy me.

Okay, this seems to be saying dark is indeed determined by your emotions.

Hunting. Larkin. Sarafine.
The predator, the coward, and my murderous mother, who lived to destroy her own child. The gnarled branches of my Caster family tree. How could I Claim myself when they had already claimed the only thing that mattered to me?

So you don’t even give a fuck about the light side of your family now. You’re terrible.

The heat surged up through my hands, as if it had a will of its own.

Which is to say, it’s targeting based entirely on her will. She seems really into pretending she has no power over stuff she wants happening.

The lightning exploded into flame, striking its three targets simultaneously— the ones who had taken everything from me tonight. I should have wanted to look away, but I didn’t. The statue that had been my mother a moment before was strangely beautiful, engulfed in flame, in the moonlight.

So she murders her family, including the two who didn’t kill Emothan and may not have even known that was the plan – I mean, god knows it doesn’t make sense to kill your bargaining chip.

Ethan was gone.
Where Ethan’s body had been lying moments before, now there was someone else. Uncle Macon.

DAMMIT.

Wait, what did he even do? He didn’t switch bodies with Emothan at the stabbity time, because we were in Emothan’s head and he definitely got quite stabbitied. No one attacked the body after that point, so the switch was pointless.

Amma suddenly gets all upset and asks how she’s supposed to hold everything together without him to help her, nevermind that she thought he was evil and also complained about having to keep cleaning up his messes. She explains that this is the book’s whole payment thing, because ??????????????????????? no seriously I am so confused. Pretty Suit was already on the chopping block.

I knelt next to Uncle Macon and slowly reached out to touch his perfectly shaven face. Usually, I would find the misleading warmth associated with a human being

Sooooooo was he not warm-blooded then? Because things other than humans feel warm.

She rages that he’s dead and without her even picking light. So, I don’t know, be grateful you don’t have to agonize over the choice and just go light like you want to already? But then she realizes the trade was Pretty Suit for Emothan and is suddenly she’s thrilled with the book’s “horrible trade”.

I reached for Ethan’s hand, but it was cold. Ethan was still dead

CHECK FOR A PULSE ALREADY DAMMIT

And yeah his fingers move and he’s totally alive, or at least his undead corpse is twitching which is probably enough for her.

I’m not going anywhere. And neither are you.

Worst ending ever.

And it’s not even the actual end, there’s still another damn chapter!

12 Comments

  1. actonthat says:
    Not with a bang but a whimper indeed. This entire ending has been one giant, “Just kidding!”

    Also: “We all know what a bitch you are, Mother.”

    Fuck you too, Lena.




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    1. Farla says:
      It’s a shame because it’s actually a pretty exciting ending. It just doesn’t follow from anything we’ve seen and makes the rest of the book’s events irrelevant.



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  2. illhousen says:
    “You had never had a boyfriend before, let alone a Mortal one. None of us ever dreamed it would be an issue. We didn’t realize how strong your connection with Ethan was until it was too late.”

    – “I mean, after Ridley we thought you were gay, so it wouldn’t be an issue for you. Same for Emothan. I thought you bonded over it, actually.” (or “were Bound” to keep with book’s style)

    “A lamp? You really thought a lamp was gonna save you?”
    – “No, it’s my foci for setting everything on fire.”
    I mean, Ridley used a lollipop to make everyone suck up to Lena, may very well use a lamp to conjure fire.

    “More importantly, empaths – more or less broken than naturals?”
    Empaths would be as strong as any one of their opponents or allies, but Naturals seem to be stronger than other casters by default (especially if they have more subtle powers than what Lena and Sara demonstrated so far). Empaths also need to have casters around from what I understand. So I’d they they are less broken normally.

    “This is the shittiest non-interference spell ever.”
    In a better book it (and her previous actions) would be an indication that the spell on her was subverted. Perhaps she got tired of ever watching and being unable to do anything and help people she cares about (as I said, that would be the case in a better book where people actually have empathy). She seems close to Pretty Suit, so maybe he worked his mojo on her – ate away part of her memories that contain specific of the geis or something.

    “Mind you, I can’t figure out why she’s doing this anyway, since killing Emothan, like killing Pretty Suit, is just making it that much easier to choose to go light.”
    As a mother, Sara deeply disapproves of Lena’s choice of boyfriend, obviously. And rightly so.




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    1. Farla says:
      But what if, and I admit it’s a stretch, there’s some stuff naturals can’t do, or at least can’t do as well? It seems likely that they at least don’t have siren powers because those are for evil sluts, so, if Ridley starts mind-controlling people off a bridge, an empath could counter it and neutralize her entire ability set.

      If their power copying skill lacks a touch requirement, then they can always at least match any caster they get into a direct conflict with, and, if there’s others around, grab a higher powered one like natural once they want to start blasting. If it does require a touch requirement, then they’d be weaker since they could only double up their allies’ abilities. And if most caster conflict is indirect and spread out, they’d be really weak.

      As a mother, Sara deeply disapproves of Lena’s choice of boyfriend, obviously.

      Oh, you know what would’ve been awesome? Some villain in-fighting! I mean, evil not getting along is such a common trope. So the dark casters all agree that they need to get Lena to go dark, but Ridley doesn’t want to do anything that’ll actually hurt people and Sara decides fuck the plan her baby isn’t marrying that asshole!




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      1. MGP says:
        Maybe Sara’s plan was to kill Emothan so that Lena had to cast the same
        necromancy spell that Genevieve did, ensuring that she went dark.



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        1. Farla says:
          That would make so much sense, and yet, she doesn’t seem to have much interest in doing it. She lets Emothan run off to find help and he only manages to get back in the nick of time for murdering by using the library hack.



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    2. purplekitte says:
      “I mean, after Ridley we thought you were gay, so it wouldn’t be an issue for you. Same for Emothan. I thought you bonded over it, actually.” (or “were Bound” to keep with book’s style) lol



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  3. 13thlemur says:
    “And it’s not even the actual end, there’s still another damn chapter!” You mean it’s almost over? It feels like nothing really happened until these last few chapters.



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    1. MGP says:
      I think the best part of it only having one more chapter is that we won’t have to wait much longer for the “what this book should have been” post.



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      1. Farla says:
        There’s not even much for that. This book is so damn empty.



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        1. Ember says:
          Actually, it feels like there’s a lot here, it’s just that not a single damn thing connects to anything else.



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  4. Ember says:
    Actually, “they were hoping Emothan would get himself killed” is probably the best explanation we have yet for why Lena’s family was constantly leaving him alone with her in her room.

    And “the sixteenth moon” seems to just be the moon on the night of the sixteenth birthday. So the authors don’t actually think that a lunar cycle lasts a year, it just didn’t occur to them that they might want to clarify that to avoid making it sound like they do. Not pausing to think about what the reader will be getting out of what they put down is kind of a recurring problem for them, isn’t it? It’s like how they didn’t even realize how many paragraphs we’d all spend feeling like the text is building up to the revelation that Pretty Suit was attempting to rape Emothan in his sleep.

    I’m glad Ridley ran off to New York! If she were anywhere near this scene, Lena probably would have murdered her too.




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