Note to self: Disable the air bags on the next car you steal. (pg 186)
Because when there’s a dramatic cliffhanger the best way to continue it is with snark.
So apparently the bird kids didn’t get very hurt because, in their haste to escape the Erasers, they put on seat belts. Suuuure.
Then there’s an action scene, which includes Erasers dragging Max, Nudge, and Fang out of the van, and Iggy and Gazzy flying away. Oh, and apparently Max is smart and calm enough to notice that the Erasers wear handmade Italian shoes… while she’s being kicked by one. Then:
“It’s almost like you don’t want to go back to School,” he [Ari] went on, showing his razor-sharp yellow teeth, dripping Eraser drool over me. (pg 187-188)
In an incredibly perplexing moment, it would appear that the Erasers were never trying to kill the kids–at least, I can’t find any direct quotes saying so by flipping back. So at least there’s that. But then Max somehow manages to look directly at Fang and Nudge while her forehead is being stepped on…
So now Max, Nudge, and Fang have been captured and are in the School with Iggy and Gazzy elsewhere, and Max is currently in a crate next to Angel, and then Jeb comes in. And that’s pretty much the chapter.
So we get treated to a narrative monologue about Jeb that does some telling as to how Max missed him so much, even though we never saw signs of it. Bleh.
“I know you’re surprised,” he said with a smile. “Come on. I need to talk to you.”
He unlatched my dog door and held it open. In a nanosecond, I had a plan of action: not to act. (pg 193)
I feel like that last line is trying to be deliberately contradictory in the whole “plan of action being not to act” thing, but the way it’s worded makes it seem more like JPatterson doesn’t know what words mean. Because not acting is totally an action, right?
But anyway, Max leaves the cage and gives the others (I have to assume Nudge and Fang are then in the same room, even though it’s never actually stated) a sign that means “wait.” Why she needs to tell them that when they’re stuck in cages, I have no idea.
Jeb and Max end up in a lounge of sorts, and while Jeb makes hot chocolate he says how proud he is of Max for being such a good leader. Though I must say, he hasn’t gotten a chance yet to know that. I guess JPatterson wanted to pat himself on the back for creating such a strong and amazing female character… or he just needed filler.
And apparently it’s really weird for there to be marshmallows in Death Valley, but Jeb’s putting them into the hot chocolate anyway. Why it was necessary to spend all but one sentence of a paragraph on it when this is a supposedly dramatic seen…
And man, I just have to say how cliche this whole section is. Oh, look, this supposed good guy is in a bad guy position but acting all friendly but the protagonist is not buying it! Gag me.
…Then Max’s brain “finally accepted the inescapable truth” that it’s Jeb and says that he’s evil. Though nothing’s actually shown that so far, at least from Max’s perspective, and given the fact that Max said she looked up to Jeb so much I’d expect her to be more likely to come up with excuses for why he’s in an evil position. I mean, maybe he got caught and he has to play evil! That seems reasonable enough, right? Certainly more reasonable than this great guy suddenly being evil.
And Max’s use of the word “quelle” (French for “what”, used as “quelle surprise” or “what a surprise” here) combined with her previous use of trés (French for very, used in the last spork in the context of “trés casual”) makes me think she learned some French. Why, I don’t know. It certainly wasn’t mentioned in Max’s monologue about Jeb even though it’s an entire foreign language and everything.
But anyway, Max is going all hating on Jeb for reasons I cannot fathom (HE HAS DONE NOTHING, MAX, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM) and then:
“The thing is, Max,” he said, tons of heart-wringing emotion in his eyes, “you’re even more special than I always told you. You see, you were created for a reason. Kept alive for a purpose, a special purpose.”
“Max, that reason, that purpose is: You are supposed to save the world.” (pg 197)
Will you gag me now?
I’ve noticed that there can’t a serious moment go by without Max making some quip about it. I really must wonder why. It’s certainly not funny.
Blah blah blah, Jeb says stuff, Max doesn’t like Jeb, Max goes back to her crate.
So apparently there is nothing more stressful than being stuck in a crate and wondering whether your destiny is to save the world or be killed. Sure, whatever.
And for some reason Max can’t tell anyone anything because she might be overheard by mics (the book uses mikes, but I refuse to use that terminology). I have absolutely no idea why it matters if she’s overheard, except that it would ruin this faux-tension thingy JPatterson’s got going.
Angel asks where Gazzy and Iggy are, and Max shrugs then thinks the answer so Angel can read her mind (why she can’t say that Gazzy and Iggy got away when the bad guys know it too, well)… then doesn’t do this again to tell Angel all the stuff she couldn’t say without being overheard.
Honestly, this book.
Time passes, then Ari and a “crowd” come in and Ari boasts that he killed the missing two bird-kids. I’m assuming he’s lying, but why I have no idea. I feel like me having no idea what’s going on is becoming nauseatingly common.
Max and the others then get their cages put in a cart, and they’re wheeled out in the yard that Erasers use to learn to “bring down prey and tear it limb from limb.”
Aaand this is what the test to become a School scientist looks like:
Your Erasers have finally captured the escaped experiments that have given you endless trouble, and you decide to kill them. Do you:
A) Execute them immediately?
B) Let your Erasers hunt them down in a yard?
I mean, really.