((Once again some computer issues got in the way of this one.))
So now Max is meeting Ella’s mom:
“Mom, this is–” Ella stopped, her hand in midair.
“Max,” I said. Why didn’t I give a fake name? Because I didn’t think of it. (page 93)
Uh, Max, you know that Max isn’t your legal name, right? Nobody can find you with that name. It’s a fake name.
But anyway, they’re introduced and Ella’s mom is awfully calm given the circumstances. Which is apparently because she’s a vet and, according to Ella, “good with injuries. Even on people.”
Because she has so much experience with that?
And then Ella is off getting juice and Max is making narration quips as Ella’s mom starts dealing with the injury, specifically the bullet. Yep, that’s singular–apparently shotguns only shoot one bullet now?
Now Ella’s mom is about to see Max’s wings, but nobody outside the flock has seen Max’s wings before!
That’s a whole lot less dramatic when you account for the fact that nobody outside the flock has really seen Max at all, let alone her wings, but whatever, book. Do what you want.
Ella arrives with orange juice and apparently it’s just so good Max has to tell us about it! Honestly, this whole section reads like it’s intentionally void of drama or tension. JPatterson knows “YA” stand for young adult and not children, right? Because this book feels like it’s aimed at kids.
Aaanyway, Ella’s mom sees Max’s wings and Max considers racing out of the house (because…?) and her wings are still in those silly indents that apparently can hold, like, five foot wings. But Ella’s mom is cool with wings and so Max gets a tetanus shot!
Now we’re with Iggy and Gazzy, and apparently the Erasers set up camp. Why, I don’t know, because it seems like it would have been pretty easy to find an occupied house up in the mountains.
But there’s no time for logic because Gazzy’s angsting about the school and how he still has dreams about being tested on by the scientists (though what goes on in the dreams seem a bit… non-dreamlike. Too specific).
Oh, and now the Erasers are driving down the road that Gazzy and Iggy booby-trapped (which means they trapped a public road that anyone could have driven on–brilliant, that) and they’re going too fast so the kids snark about how they’re not practicing safe driving habits.
How these bird kids know how fast too fast driving is, I don’t know. Heck, I live by a decently busy road and I couldn’t tell you how fast the cars should be going. But I guess these are bird kids so they must be so much more intelligent than me!
The Erasers hit the trap (which is an oil slick or something–the book’s kind of vague) and the car goes flying, but oh noes none of them got hurt! And then Iggy and Gazzy decide to hide out at “the old cabin” for “a minute”. Don’t ask me why, because it makes no sense, especially since the Erasers are still out there (according to Gazzy, they “did enough good for today”, only “doing good” is not the point since the Erasers WANT TO KILL THEM).
The narration tells us this cabin was used eighty years ago by loggers and had been abandoned for the past thirty. Only this information is completely useless, raises the question of how the limited narration knows this, and also is completely unnecessary and pointless. (Yes, I know that’s redundant.)
All we’re told of this cabin other than its age is that it’s a dump which, according to Iggy, is why they like it. Though I’d think its dumpiness would hinder Iggy’s movement. And apparently the trap was a tarp full of oil. Yepyep, these bird kids totally have a bunch of oil on hand and the know-how to fill a tarp with it. Really, any eight-year-old and blind older brother can do it!
Then the ooh mysterious! “Big Boy” is revealed in the most undramatic way possible, but who cares ’cause it’s a bomb! Not even going to say anything about why they know how to make a bomb–oops, I just did.
And I mean, on the one hand it makes sense for these kids to want to kill the Erasers and everything… but on the other hand, it’s still contradicting with their normal kid actions the rest of the time. It’s like they’re Conveniently Tortured, so they can act evil with justification but not actually have to act like they were raised in a lab. Actually, that’s exactly it.
But all that’s interrupted when an Eraser scratches at the door and references the Three Little Pigs. Genius, now our villains are spouting “pop” culture references. And it seems like the Eraser can’t get in, but as the level of lock on the door was never established it’s just confusing. But no matter, because Gazzy can just escape through the window and Iggy will know where to go by following the “almost imperceptible sound”.
Um. Right. When did Iggy get extra hearing? Anyone know?
Then the Eraser kicks down the door, oh no! And now Gazzy tells Iggy where the window is (don’t question it, it’s book logic!) and rushes for it, but another Eraser is there! So Gazzy prepares to fight after “Years of Max-enforced training kicked [kicks] in”. I thought it was Jeb who taught them this stuff?
We’re with Nudge, who just woke up to find Fang gone. Only it just says “Fang was gone” and then we launch into a whole “first Angel then Max then Fang!” thing and she’s panicking but I don’t feel panicked ’cause the prose isn’t panicked. What I’m saying is, the prose is emotionless and dull and it’s bad.
Nudge looks outside and marvels about the birds and oh! Fang is one of the birds! Not sore at all from sleeping on that hard stone floor of the cave (on her stomach I assume, as she can’t exactly sleep on her wings), she leaps up and dives off the cliff edge and joins Fang!
Never mind the fear and panic she must have been feeling to find Fang gone; that was just an OOH DRAMATIC chapter opening that has no bearing on the story whatsoever and thus doesn’t get to have actual impact on the characters.
Nudge is hungry and Fang says they’ll go to a nearby town… completely forgetting the food they took from the house. They head for a small fast food place that’s got a Dumpster (yes, capitalized, which I believe is because dumpster, like Kleenex and whatever is a brand name for the item, never mind the third person limited that uses whitecoat and other slang terms just fine) behind it. So they head down and land on the Dumpster and start getting food out of the trash.
Don’t bother with that food you got in the house. Just use the trash!
Blah blah blah, Nudge and Fang go back to the cave and decide to go find Max and so they leave the cave and Nudge yells out “Tarzan” for… absolutely no reason.
Honestly, this book.
So Max wakes up in a bed in Ella’s house and panic because panic always all the time! and then she feels pain and she’s missing Jeb and it’s all very sentimental and we actually get a story about Jeb. This is the first time Max has really talked about Jeb or her family’s life before the book in, what? Oh yeah, 107 pages. Wonderful.
And then Ella enters the room and it’s breakfast time! But first Max gets new clothing, a lavender sweatshirt with slits cut out of the back.
If Max’s wings fold up into her body… how the heck do they get out of slits? Heck, how did she even get those slots in her body in the first place?
Oh, yeah. Logic. I feel like I keep coming back to that.