The book takes a page or so to tell us just how insanely, incredibly, astoundingly surprised Max is. The only showing of this is saying her jaw dropped, and her saying “whaat.”
“You searched her office?” I had never thought to do that. Not the first time, not this time. (pg 94)
Oh gee, you didn’t? Wow, because I definitely haven’t been reading this book and already knew this! And such relevant information, too! How could this information possibly not be important?!
So, yeah. Max is shocked and angry and whatnot, etc. etc.
Max and Fang reach where the rest of the flock had been left, and apparently it’s clear that they hadn’t been there for multiple days because the ground was “scraped”.
I really have no idea what to make of that. I suppose “whaaaaaaaaat” suffices?
But back to the matter at hand: let’s see how Max reacts to this information!
Massive understatement. (pg 96)
Yeah, her family is gone and there are supposedly signs of a fight, but Max decides this is a good time for some sort of humor.
We’re back with Nudge, and the narration seems to think it’s a good idea to recap that everyone’s defeated and that, gasp! the Eraser robots are ROBOTS!
I kid you not:
Basically, they were metallic robots with a thin Eraser skin over their frames. Their fur wasn’t as thick. And they never morphed into looking semihuman–they stayed in wolf form all the time. (pg 97)
No, really? The robots looked like robots? The robots didn’t morph, something even more impossible for robots to do than living creatures?
Anyway, the van stops, the kids get marched out, and
Nudge heard many feet walking quickly toward the back of the truck. She braced for whatever was going to happen next.
Which no one ever could have predicted in a million years. (pgs 98-99)
Let me guess: more birds, come to help? Max and Fang arrive? Total becomes humanoid and kills everyone? Jeb’s there?
…JPatterson decides to ignore copyright laws and have the Doctor show up, just because?
We get two paragraphs of things happening (i.e. things that happened next) before the actual reveal, which is…
It was Jeb! (pg 99)
I predicted it.
I kid you not, I had completely forgotten what happens here. I didn’t read ahead.
I predicted it.
Also, Ari’s there too.
Nudge put a bored expression on her face like she’d seen Max and Fang do a thousand times. Yeah, yeah, Jeb and Ari, she thought. Show me something new. (pg 99)
This is not believable behavior for either a normal eleven-year-old or a girl who grew up in a cage and has great reason to fear these two.
Then Angel shows herself from behind Ari and says it’s time to die.
Welp. I guess that was the “what happened next” that couldn’t be predicted, even if it came a good page after the “IT’S GONNA BE SHOCKING, YOU GUISE” line.
Back to Max and Fang again, who are having an easy time tracking down the rest of the flock.
They find the rest of the flock, and Max says that since her voice has never lied to her (and said the Erasers were dead), the Eraser robots (that, if you remember, look just about like Erasers) can’t actually be Erasers.
Let’s just take a moment to ponder that strangely clear logic in what should be a time of panic.
“I hate this.” Fang deliberately looked everywhere but at my useless hand. i(pg 102)
I like the mental image of Fang zooming around the world, literally looking everywhere. I actually don’t understand what this is supposed to mean, so I’m just gonna go with the funny option.
He grinned at me so unexpectedly I forgot to flap for a second and dropped several feet. “You looove me,” he crooned smugly. Holding his arms out wide, he added, “You love me this much.”(pg 103)
Most of the flock have been captured and are currently at the side of the road in the middle of the desert, surrounded by hundreds of what Max thinks are things worse than Erasers.
Fang, what the hell is wrong with you?
Oh, but evidently this was just to make Max angry for fighting!
So Max flies down, talks a moment, sees Angel, Angel says Max is going to die, and Max falls unconscious.
Part 2: School’s in–Forever
Max wakes up, attached by Velcro to a metal hospital bed. The rest of the flock (minus Angel) are there.
Turning to the right, I saw Iggy. He was lying very still, eyes open, staring up at a ceiling he couldn’t see. (pg 108)
I kid you not.
I nodded wearily, summing up our situation with a universal “this is crap” expression. (pg 108)
JPatterson does this a lot, saying expressions had specific messages. But I want you to try this one: make a face that says “this is crap.” Can you do it?
So, yeah. They’re at the School, oh no! Max apparently knows this because of the smell; never mind the fact that she’s smelled it numerous times over the course of the series.
The School, oh no!
Because of this place, when I saw a dog crate at a PetSmart, I broke into cold chills. (pg 110)
Max, when have you ever been to PetSmart?
The rest of the chapter is “oh noes angst” kinda stuff, which I don’t feel the need to cover.
A scientist comes into the room with a tray of chocolate-chip cookies. This development makes me extremely flabbergasted.
Max says it’s now the next morning, so I guess there are windows in this room? And that apparently killing the flock was dropped from the itinerary?
So then Jeb, Anne Walker, and Angel come in, being generally evil.
Jeb came and stood right next to my bed, so close I could smell his aftershave. Its scent awoke a slew of childhood memories, the years between ten and twelve years old, when I’d felt the happiest I ever had. (pg 116)
Are you going to tell me these memories, or–
“Hello, Max, he said quietly, searching my face. “How do you feel?”
Which was a ten on the “imbecilic question” scale of one to ten. (pg 116)
I guess that’s a no? Okay, I’ll just be waiting here. Come and get me when you want to flesh out your character.
Then Anne says that Max never left the School, and that the “past five months” were all a dream. So, Max never left the School four years ago, but it was only the past five months that were a dream.
Something doesn’t add up.