Welp, Harry heads off to Susan again for more blather about her being his feminine girlfriend.
a white T-shirt blazoned with the words, EAT IT? I WOULDN’T SIT ON IT; It was one of mine.
Anyone else know what that means?
Anyway, she’s been crying because she girl, he man.
Harry recaps that they soulgazed that time and she fainted, BUT does say some positive stuff now about what he saw.
I’d seen passion, like I’d rarely known in people other than myself.
Maybe about calling women bitches, Harry, but not so much otherwise.
The motivation to go, to do, to act. It was what drove her forward, digging up stories of the supernatural for a half-comic rag like the Arcane. She had a gift for it, for digging down into the muck that people tried to ignore, and coming up with facts that weren’t always easily explained. She made people think. It was something personal for her-I knew that much, but not why. Susan was determined to make people see the truth.
But once we write off any claim Harry makes about this being things they have in common, it does fit her and it is some solidly positive, heroic characterization for her.
And yet – it’s barely featured, has it? And we can see this book just how bad secrecy can fuck people over – how can she care about someone like Harry who won’t tell her information she knows people need to know? The more noble her motives, the worse Harry is for opposing it.
We get a repeat of the but danger/but manly man conversation. Not sure if it’s to Harry’s credit exactly, but he makes the point that doing nothing now will just mean they’re killed next and I appreciate intelligence and a general grasp of the world.
But she says they could run away.
Which doesn’t seem like something she’d say, especially not after laying out her stated character like that.
I think the biggest issue here is that there’s no reason to think this will stop. If it was rogue FBI agents going after Marcone, you could make the argument that they’d get caught this time or at most next time, but the spellwolves are going to be tearing a bloody path through pretty much everything, and given how coherent Denton still is, they may remain collectively lucid enough to avoid getting caught for some time. (Plus there’s the concern we still don’t even know where/how Denton got the belts, but it’s assumed they have some benefactor, and we don’t know what else they might get.) Meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed that MacFinn’s curse isn’t just the werewolfing, it’s that his line is unkillable – you can’t just wait for him to dewolf and shoot him then. (And that’s actually a good idea because it means we don’t have to ask why no one just suicided their way out of this.) So what happens if Harry doesn’t solve this is MacFinn gets arrested again and locked up, then rampages again next full moon, and again and again and again until they can dig up someone else to make the circle – and the fact this has been going on this long already suggests the council’s official position is fuck you all and they’ve already got everyone who could help under their thumb. (Best case for MacFinn is he manages to convince them to give him house arrest at one of his other places where there’s still an intact circle, but that may take several cycles of attempts and there’s the possibility someone will wreck the rest in the meanwhile because they think it’s empowering him instead – killing lots of people usually doesn’t make them trust you.)
I blinked my eyes closed. She’d said “we.” She hadn’t really done that much, before. I hadn’t really thought in those terms, either. I hadn’t much thought in those terms for a lot of years. Not since the last time.
I should have said something about it. Acknowledged the implication. I knew it was there, and she knew that I had noticed it. She held still, waiting.
I said at the start of the first book that the strongest thing it had going for it was the chatty tone. This is the polar opposite. It’s plodding and painful to read.
She girls at him with her tears and shaking and fear and I found myself kissing her, the rough growth on my mouth and chin brushing her soft skin. She tensed at first, and then melted against me with a deliciously feminine sort of willingness, a soft abandoning of distance that left her body, in all its dark beauty, pressed against mine. and it’s always weird to remember that some people think of Mexicans as being dark skinned. Maybe if you live somewhere where the average person is too white to tan the distinction is more meaningful? But still not a dark color regardless.
Point is Harry’s a racist misogynist creep and this book has made me hate the relationship so much more than last book where she drank a love potion he made while he thought about how rape was too easy and he enjoyed the challenge.
Then they touch a bunch and finally have incredibly vague but definitely incredible sex despite the fact Harry is a pile of injuries, and then she’s all I DON’T WANT TO LOVE YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE SO GREAT and he’s all I DIDN’T MEAN TO WRECK YOUR LIFE WITH MY AWESOME.
“You see so much pain. I just wanted to remind you that there was something else in the world.”
But seriously though this must’ve been the most painful sex of his life, is there any part of him that isn’t bruised? No, really, can you believe that there’s at least one ragewolf who’s into chewing off balls and yet not one of them during his beating into a sobbing flesh puddle hit him below the belt? And even if somehow his dick itself wasn’t too bruised for action we know his whole torso is purple at this point and those muscles are involved in pretty much all movement.
But speaking of that time Harry cried, Harry starts crying again, this time from the emotional pain released by the presence of a supportive girl.
But he finishes and knows it’s time to set out
going out into the silver light of the full moon, which was growing greater underneath the horizon, coming up in a hazy nimbus.
Instead, I drew away from her a little and sat up.
It was a fool’s moon.
I checked and it seems like this isn’t an actual term, so probably would’ve been better to resist the urge to title drop.
She fetches him clothes and we learn Harry wears nothing but black and grey, including dark underpants, and also she sexy-dresses him.
Ever had a beautiful, naked woman dress you?
Sometimes I just stop and think wow, boys are weird.
She then pulls out a box and explains it was supposed to be a birthday present, but…
inside was the smell of soft, worked leather, sensuous and thick, wrapped up in translucent paper. I tossed the lid aside, took the paper off, and found dark leather, new and matte black, hardly casting back the light. I took it out of the box, and it unfolded into a heavy, long coat, like my own duster in design, even to the mantle around the shoulders and arms, but all made of the finer material.
…”subconscious” Harry is actually future Harry trolling the fuck out of past Harry. It all makes sense now. If you’re saying he has no reason to lie about being the subconscious or whatever, I remind you that Harry’s a pathological liar.
Apparently the machismo of the outfit is sufficient for Harry to pull out his pentacle and put it on top of his outfit for once. Then he realizes Rodriguez is getting dressed and is all wait why boobies covered???? She points out she’s still the driver.
“Besides. This could be the biggest paranormal event I’ve ever had the chance to cover. Did you expect me to stay behind?”
No but I do have to point out this just further underlines the weirdness of you opening the chapter with a suggestion you both run away and leave it.
Harry then whines about oh no people to protect.
“But the same rules I gave the kids. I’m in charge. You do what I say, when I say, or you stay here.”
Susan pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. “I kind of like the sound of that,” she said, teasing me. “I like that look on you, too. Have you ever thought about growing a beard?”
So much ew.
My double, the one from the dream, stared back out at me. Only the roughness of the three-day growth of dark whiskers, and the bruises, were at contrast with the subconscious-me’s neatly trimmed beard.
Everything else was precisely the same.
Huh. I wonder if future him trolling current Harry was ever actually the idea?
Well, we continue to next chapter, where it’s time to go rescue mobster daddy!
The moon rose in silver splendor into an October sky strewn with pale clouds and brilliant stars. The clouds churned, a white-foam sea, and the moon was a vast, graceful clipper ship, its sails full of spectral light as it ran before the strength of the cold autumn winds.
That description sounds dubious but hey, pretty.
Pale light bleached each of the uncut stones on the nine-foot wall around Gentleman Johnny Marcone’s estate, making edges sharper, shadows blacker, until it looked like a barrier made of gaping white skulls. Trees grew up thick on the other side of the wall, blocking the view of the interior, though no branches extended far enough to provide a way to climb over it.
Maybe it’s just that regular narration means minimal fucking Harry or something but seriously I’m enjoying this.
Speaking of fucking Harry, here’s his brilliant plan:
“We’ve got to get over the wall,” I said to the enormous, dark wolf beside me, keeping my voice low as we all crouched in the shadows of the bushes across the street from Marcone’s estate. “There will be security on it. Maybe cameras, maybe infrared beams, maybe something else. I want you to find us a way past it.”
“So I short out technology just by being near it. Instead, you, who barely understand what credit cards are and whose eyesight is comparatively terrible, should definitely be in charge of circumventing his high-tech security system.”
But Harry’s IN CHARGE ALPHA MAN, so Tera just agrees.
The Alphas didn’t exactly inspire confidence, but they had all managed to master enough rudimentary magic to transform themselves into very, very close approximations of wolves, at least. It was something.
Something probably worth less than if they stayed human and learned how to shoot a gun, but, you know, something. Definitely that.
We jump back to Harry explaining their arrival.
a nude Tera West and five young people, three female and two male, had leapt out of the van, the Alphas hurriedly tumbling out of their robes.
“Hell’s bells,” I’d complained, “we’re on a public street. Can you be something besides naked, here, people?”
Okay better question, why didn’t they transform inside the van?
Billy-the-wolf had snarled and struggled out of his robe, picked it up carefully in his teeth, like a large and particularly grumpy-looking Benji, and put it back in the van.
WHY DIDN’T THEY TRANSFORM INSIDE THE VAN?
Why would you head out, then take off your clothing, then transform, then walk it back in. In what universe does this make sense.
“Um,” one of the other girls had said, a redheaded lass who filled out her robe a little too generously. “We’re still a little new at this.” She’d covered herself with her arms awkwardly, letting her robe fall from her shoulders as she whispered a little chant, and had become a rather round, hefty-looking she-wolf with dark auburn fur.
God I hate Harry so much.
He then explains that since they don’t know what Marcone’s place is like, we’d chosen to approach from the rear, on general principles of sneakiness. Christ this is so stupid.
Okay look: the front, the part against the street, at least that has to look normal. The part where only people attacking you with general principles of sneakiness will ever be is the part where you put the bear traps.
The darkest-furred one, Billy, I thought, rose to his paws and started away, in the opposite direction from which Tera had gone. Georgia growled at him, Billy growled back, and the other male rose to follow him.
Well, so much for all that.
Sadly, the ragewolf never got to chew them off so Harry does still possess balls, so he can be even more in chare.
Billy planted his paws stubbornly and growled.
“Oh, don’t give me that,” I snapped, glaring at him without meeting his eyes.
Is this the first time Harry’s not played mindrape chicken?
Harry decides to give them a pep talk so they’ll be distracted until Tera finishes exploring, and because the author had word count to fill, it’s pretty much just repeating the plot.
I don’t want anyone to get killed. Not us, and not them. Maybe they deserve it. Maybe not. The power they grabbed has turned into a drug for them, and they’re not really in control of themselves anymore. I just don’t think we’d be much different than them if we went in there planning to wipe them out. It isn’t enough to stand up and fight darkness. You’ve got to stand apart from it, too. You’ve got to be different from it.”
I don’t know why Harry’s saying this, mind you, but fine. He recommends the babywolf pack tries to bite off the belts, which does make perfectly good practical sense.
Once their belts are off, they’re not going to be as crazy, and maybe we’ll be able to talk to them.”
I think we established that wasn’t true.
He then backtracks on all this and says that not dying is most important.
And if you’ve got to kill them to do it, then don’t hesitate.”
You can’t say that you should try not to kill and then at the same time to kill to preserve yourself without hesitation.
I think a coherent version of this could be made as “if they’re harmless/disabled don’t finish them off, but do whatever it takes to bring them down”. The thing is, because the spellwolves somehow keep all their stuff when they transform, merely getting the belt off doesn’t render them harmless, it just changes them from durable giant wolf to squishy but gun-having human. If the two functioned the same, you could make a good case that getting the belts off was simply the most practical option, and follow it up by saying not to kill the resulting naked human because killing is best avoided. As it is, well…
And if you’ve got to kill them to do it, then don’t hesitate.”
If you wait to be attacked and they attack, you’ll probably die, so “don’t hesitate” means kill them without wasting time trying to evaluate if they need to be killed.
Billy, now being pack leader, leads the group’s agreeing growls, although not sure how Harry’s so sure growls count as enthusiastic agreement. Tera then tells them they’re way too noisy.
I jumped and looked up to see Tera, naked and human, crouched down a few feet away.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” I hissed at her.
Harry really has issues with women.
“A place where the wall has crumbled.
Right, because the newly created walls by an obscenely rich mobster just, you know, crumble sometimes.
But she’s got a wolf nose, so if the walls were recently blasted open she should’ve smelled it. That means the only remaining option that’s merely improbable rather than impossible is this is some sort of trap. I’m not sure why Marcone is this concerned about enemies who are both weak and stupid enough to figure “a place where the wall has crumbled” is a good idea, but who knows, maybe he actually has a lot of attacks by nonhumans or crazy humans who wouldn’t think anything of it.
Point is, Harry, you completely deserve this for thinking Tera should scout for a way past the high tech security system.
Also it’s a long run. Harry whines at the idea.
“It would seem you have little choice. I also saw many streaks of light across the front gate. And there are black boxes with glass eyes every seventy or eighty paces. They do not see the crumbled place. It is a fortunate position.”
Oh my god all this needs is a literal arrow drawn saying DEFINITELY A GOOD PLACE TO ATTACK ME AT.
I think the book is actually that stupid. I think the book thinks that you keep walls in repair by watching them with cameras and not by the people who do your gardening walking by and noticing holes. I also think the book doesn’t get that walls don’t just fall apart at random.
See, these aren’t vanity walls here. It’s not some lightweight cement and air construction for the look of it. This is a mobster’s personal palace. The walls serve an extremely practical purpose, the kind of purpose that requires very solid, very durable material. Even without repairs, it just can’t be coming apart this fast.
Harry ignores these facts in favor for being upset about the cameras he knew were probably involved and which will just glitch out from his existence anyway.
Harry then decides it’d be easier to just jump over the wall.
Tera looked at the wall and shook her head. “I cannot bring the pack over that wall. They are not strong enough to keep changing back and forth, and they have no hands in their wolf form.”
So it’s now an active deteriment that they transformed.
Harry says he’ll go over alone then, and still not clear how just hopping the wall is even an option, is preventing this not literally the point of the wall.
Tera points out this is stupid a bit, but Harry insists because since when does he listen to stupid bitches.
Tera led me forward through the dark, silent and naked and looking as though she didn’t mind the cold evening at all.
So she was naked, and the book would like to remind you that also, she’s naked now. And totally fine with being naked. Just in case you’d forgotten the dozens of other times Harry’s explained this.
He’s led to the nearest camera – why he can’t hop the wall where he is if the cameras are so far off is also unclear – and it’s hex time! Wait, what?
Hexing up anything mechanical is usually fairly simple. The field of magic that surrounds practitioners of the Art plays havoc with the implements of technology. A passing thought, on the right kind of day, can blow out a cellular telephone or kill a photocopier.
Except how it’s been all last book and all through this book up to this point is that it’s involuntary. I guess you could say “passing thought” is close, but it still suggests it’s something that people can control and avoid.
He goes to explain that his magic depletion is suddenly acting like a proper story with tension and suspense, where his energy is low and even minor things are very hard to do and doing anything hurts.
” Malivaso,” I whispered, and pushed my hand out at the square shape, like a grade-school girl throwing a baseball wrong handed.
Fuck you too.
It doesn’t even work immediately, but eventually the camera shorts out. Then Tera helps him over a wall again, because apparently Marcone doesn’t even understand that you’re supposed to put something pointy on top. And the other side is nice soft dirt.
Harry then settles down to wait.
I remembered reading somewhere that the gleam of my eyes and teeth would be the most likely to give me away-but since I didn’t feel like sitting in the dark with my eyes closed, I didn’t. Instead, I crouched and got my confiscated gun ready in one pocket, and took my ace in the hole out of the other, getting that ready as well.
Okay so I’m not objecting here, I just want to share a different thing this reminds me of.
I stop when I see the silhouette of a man thirty or forty feet ahead. I think it is a man. The figure is not moving. He must have seen me at the same moment. We look at each other for what seems like a long time. I cannot see if he is armed, although I know I heard a carbine. Or did I imagine it? Am I imagining now? Maybe I am looking at nothing more than a bush shaped like a man. As I have been trained to do, I look at the outline of the figure rather than directly at it. If you look straight at an object at night, your eyes play tricks on you. So I look at the edges of the form, the figure, the bush, whatever it is. Yes, it is a man, frozen in mid-stride, apparently because he is trying to figure out if I have seen him. I cannot see a weapon, but he could have one; or he could be carrying grenades. I want to challenge him, to shout “Dung lai” (halt), but the words catch in my throat and a weakness creeps into my legs. Transfixed, I am still watching him as he watches me.
That’s from A Rumor of War, one of the better assigned school readings I had.
Harry then hangs out in the darkness, talking about how fucking awesome his jacket is.
droplets of rainwater fell from the trees around me, making little pattering sounds as they struck my new coat. They clung to the leather in tight beads and caught pieces of moonlight in them, brilliant against the black.
But he can only marvel at leather’s impermeability for so long before he realizes that wow, Tera and friends sure are taking a while to get back…
He counts to a hundred, they’re still not there, and obviously wolves only need a minute or two to do anything, therefore it’s time to go it alone.