You know, the entire way Angel’s situation is being handled is very poor.
See, there’s just no tension. Angel gets all of ten lines before she’s kidnapped, and so there’s no time for the reader to get to know her, to care about her. Hence the lack of tension; we just don’t care.
So what does JPatterson do to add that tension? He shows us what’s going on with Ange, which ends up being a cheap trick. Rather than caring about Angel, we just see her being treated badly by such ridiculously evil characters that they can hardly be seen as real. By seeing these horrible things, the reader is then forced to be sympathetic because it’s just so horrible! And it is, I won’t deny that; but it’s weak. Because what the reader should be feeling is exactly what the flock is (well, when they bother to think about her); “oh my god, what’s happening to Angel?” JPatterson should have given us time to find out about Angel, learn to care about her (though first she’d have t0 actually be a good character), rather than have a bunch of scenes that serve no purpose other than to make us see what horrors Angel is going through. Then, when she gets kidnapped, don’t show us what’s going on: leave Angel’s situation shrouded in the dark, and it’s ten times more scary.
But JPatterson doesn’t do that. Because… because no reasons. There is no reason not to make this book emotionally stronger and to improve the character development.
Iggy and Gazzy are still in the shack (because just for a minute, right?) and the first Eraser tells them something quite interesting:
“We got the little one–they don’t need you two alive.” (pg 109)
So why the heck didn’t these guys kill the entire flock when they had the chance? I mean, they had guns when they were in the chopper; it would’ve been easy to just kill them. So… anyone know why this didn’t happen?
Anyway, the Erasers laugh like “deep bells” (because laughing can sound like bells, right?) and “morph” into wolfmen. And, in a moment that’s extremely embarrassing for myself, it would appear I missed the definition of “morph” that means to transform. So… I was completely wrong, essentially, when I said the word was misused back in part one.
A bunch of really pointless stuff happens and then Iggy and Gazzy fly straight up, breaking through the roof, but not before Gazzy shakes off an Eraser that grabs him.
I cannot make this stuff up.
Blah blah blah, Iggy throws “Big Boy” into the cabin and it explodes, killing the Erasers, and for once the book actually makes sense because Gazzy doesn’t really care. I mean, it looks more like poor characterization and bad writing than actual sociopathy (which, fun fact, is the proper word for what I was thinking of when I said “psychopath” way back–I just keep making errors, huh?), but I count it as a win.
Aaaand it’s a pointless Angel chapter as she’s being forced to go through a maze. Oh, and she wants the scientists to burn in “h-e-double toothpicks”.
JPatterson, Angel shouldn’t care about language. She was raised in a cage. By scientists. Where would she get a respect for religion or a moral code that prevents her from using PG-rated words for the PEOPLE WHO TORTURED HER ENDLESSLY.
Not to mention that this is marketed as a young adult novel. Which, you know, is for teenagers about fourteen and up. I think most fourteen-year-olds can handle the word Hell (oh no, now I’ve done it: the blog’s PG now!).
And then Jeb is there and aaa!
So Fang and Nudge are flying around, looking for Max. I mean, it’s not like anyone could possibly look up into the sky and see a couple of bird kids. Oh, wait… it’s exactly like that.
Nudge is saying how Max might be hurt, and Fang says that she couldn’t have gotten hurt on her own so it would have been someone else, which means someone knows about her, and Fang doesn’t want anyone to know about him and Nudge either.
…Never mind the flying around looking for Max.
And then Nudge is sad because Max is gone and she starts crying and then forces herself to stop and it’s all very dramatic and important and I really, really care about what’s going on right now. (Sarcasm is fun!)
Then Nudge sees a sign saying the town where her parents supposedly are is nearby and decides to go there. The narration makes this seem like just some random thing, but then she tells Fang she needs parents to be there for her if Max isn’t here.
So, which is it? Because I have no idea. The book tends to tell instead of show, but I’m more inclined to believe what it shows because that’s how books should work, and I believe JPatterson to have at least a little sense of how to write. Anyway, it’s impossible to tell if she just randomly decided to go to her parents, if she has real motivation, or if it’s somehow both (or neither!).
Now we’re with Gazzy and Iggy again, and the entire chapter is pretty much just pointless conversation and then a ooh dramatic! reveal that Gazzy has some mystery plan.
Max tells us that her day with Ella and Ella’s mom, Dr. Martinez, was the only day she’s felt the slightest bit normal. Because they have a real, normal breakfast! And then Ella has to go to school and there’s a bus driver for an actual bus, just like on TV!
And while I can understand the school bus thing, I’m not sure where Max has gotten a concept of normal meals. Most eating on TV is either at a fancy restaurant or snacking, in my experience. But I guess JPatterson assumed his readers don’t care where Max learned about normal meals, and it’s certainly an unnecessary detail… but done right, it would show so much about Max’s character. Did she see it on a soap opera? A cartoon? A comedy? Different genres would imply different personality, tell us different things about Max–does she enjoy the drama of a soap opera? Still find cartoons for little kids interesting? Actually understand the humor of comedies? You know, character development. And considering I’m 120 pages into this book, character development is starting to become important.
And then there’s an insanely awesome gem after Dr. Martinez asks for a last name:
I thought. Since I didn’t have an “official” identity, there wasn’t anything she could do with the information. (pg 124)
So Max was talking about giving a fake name before… why?
But anyway, Dr. Martinez is quizzing Max about being a bird kid and Max lies about how she ended up this way (saying she doesn’t remember). And that’s the chapter.