Last time on the Summoning, worldbuilding continues not to have any attention paid to it.
The kids decided to leave at three in the morning. Well, can’t fault them there. Supposedly this is the quietest part of the night according to Derek. Whatever.
They meet up with Simon, who says Derek was already gone from the room. Well, you’ve been trying to talk him into going, and currently you’re both on a schedule and need to keep quiet, so that’s actually pretty reasonable.
When has reason had any place here, of course, so Simon’s flipping out and wants to know where Derek is. Of course, in a sense that then does make Derek’s disappearance odd because he’d have known his brother would act like this if he left and that would risk the escape plan too. In fact, Simon then says that he’s looked all over for Derek because Simon is a fucking dumbass who wants to get caught.
Rae tries nobly to keep things on track. Chloe does less good of a job.
Something happened to him.”
“If it did, would he have left you the watch? Maybe . . .” I struggled for a reasonable explanation, fighting the rising panic that said there wasn’t one. “Maybe he’s afraid we’ll try to drag him along at the last minute and we’ll wake someone up.”
“Speaking of which . . .” Rae said with a pointed look at the ceiling.
Simon and I looked at each other and I knew, as logical as my explanation was, Derek would know Simon couldn’t leave without making sure he was okay.
But this is all circular. Simon knowing Derek well enough to know that Derek would know Simon would worry and therefore not leave relies on Simon not knowing Derek well enough to realize he’d have reasons to disappear and not panic about it in the first place.
This is more of things being pushed around to fit the plot’s itinerary. Clearly, Derek needs to be gone AND the kids need to find him, so they’re refusing to let this go.
This isn’t even necessary – it’d have been easy for Simon to just say “No, Derek wouldn’t do that.” because it’s his brother and he’d know. And considering their dad vanished, they’d probably take goodbyes even more seriously than most.
Chloe then solves the problem. I should have kept track of how many times she actually does something protagonist-worthy, since I can’t imagine the number was high, but she does a pretty good job here. She volunteers to look for Derek, since it’s Simon’s escape that matters. He’s the only one who can find his father, who’s the only hope the rest of them know of. (Unmentioned and likely not intended – Simon might not leave at all if he can’t find Derek, while Chloe is only delayed by looking.)
Simon and Rae head off, and Chloe suddenly remembers that hey, Derek was sick! So she realizes he must have hidden so Simon wouldn’t notice that.
Last night, when we’d gone on our walk, he’d gulped down the cold air. When we’d returned, his fever seemed gone and I’d chalked it up to the Tylenol kicking in, but maybe the cold air had been enough. If he was desperate for a quick fix, he’d go outside, in hopes of cooling down enough to see Simon off.
That is totally not how fevers work, but you don’t know how to light a match or do laundry, so we’ll just chalk that up to your inexperience. And you did a good job observing things and now making an inference! Why couldn’t you have been clever like this more often?
It could actually have been a nice diversion for Chloe to be very clever but inexperienced, so she ends up wrong as often as she’s right. So instead of chapters of FUCKING NOTHING, we’d at least get a one step forward, two steps back thing. That can get tedious if it’s drawn out too far, but better than than nothing at all.
Chloe goes outside and sees a sneaker of Derek’s. Then she sees Derek, who’s on all fours, stinking of sweat and throwing up. He tells her to go away, she says that he is way too sick and they need to tell Simon (what’s Simon going to do? If he needs a doctor it’s time to tell an adult) and then Derek starts sprouting fur.
“I’m not going to run into any werewolves or vampires, am I?”
And Simon’s answer, coupled with a laugh. “That’d be cool.”
Not an answer at all. Avoiding a reply he couldn’t give.
Okay but why. What’s the big deal with him being a werewolf? I mean apparently there are half-demons running around. Even if there’s massive prejudice in the supernatural community against werewolves for some reason, Chloe’s not part of that. All she knows is what they tell her.
And if Simon’s committed to lying, why not just lie? As I complained at the time, that line doesn’t even work right as a response.
Also, we were told Derek is really rare. Werewolves are not really linked to rarity – even more than vampires, it’s a big part of their myth that they’re able to increase their numbers. Plus just on a practical level, Derek is thus far the only supernatural breed we’ve seen that has any actual advantage. At most, maybe more experienced sorcerers (of those lucky enough to be trained at all) might have spells that aren’t useless. Derek is a tank with super hearing and probably super everything else. Plus he apparently doesn’t get sick, and he’s probably got fast healing. Natural selection needs to get in gear already.
“Is there anything I can do?”
A voice inside my head said, “Sure. Run for your life!” But it was a small warning, not even serious, really, because there was no question of running. This wasn’t a matinee monster. Even now, with hair sprouting on his arms, fingers twisted into claws, when he looked away and growled at me to leave, I knew that whatever was happening, he was still Derek.
God, I hate this.
Hey, Chloe, what do you know about werewolves? Oh right, fucking nothing. You don’t know if this is a physical transformation only or if we’re going by the rules where werewolves have no control and are just roving killing machines. Maybe Derek’s telling you to leave because he’s going to kill you if you don’t.
Anyway, after she insists on staying Derek switches to saying to not go, throws up a bit more, gets patted by Chloe, and finally starts to change back.
Derek explains that this transformation is unusually early, it usually doesn’t start until later.
Yes, everyone’s different. Yes, some people develop faster or slower than others.
But if all the supernatural characters are all on one or the other end of the bell curve, it is just as ridiculous a coincidence as filling a group home with supernaturals, and it’s especially obvious when you’ve just hung half the plot on pointing out that the latter one makes no sense.
Anyway, then someone comes out into the yard.
Derek tells her he can boost her over the fence. Chloe doesn’t because she thinks she can’t let them find Derek and they know someone’s there, because she’s too stupid to realize that Derek can probably just hop over the fence after her. Admittedly, there’s a decent chance Derek is too stupid to realize that too.
Well. Stuff’s happening! With my drastically lowered expectations this is comparatively much better. But we’re at chapter forty. There’s less than ten chapters left before the end of the book, and this book has some very short chapters. The plot should not have spent most of the book on vacation.