So, how about Angel? She’s just… a bad guy now. It hasn’t really been mentioned with the proper gravitas I think it deserves.
Jeb and Anne spin the story of everything being a dream, using such evidence as Max’s now not-there scars and the fact that Total is no longer in the room.
GASP! That means it’s true, right? Well, given Max’s impossible recovery, it seems more plausible than not.
Jeb and Anne continue to sell Max on their story, and then the whole “we’re going to kill you” thing gets brought back up. See, they’re retiring their recombinant-DNA experiments, which means killing them–minus Angel, apparently.
What’s that you say? Angel’s a recombinant-DNA experiment, but she’s not getting killed? Hey, be quiet! That’s logic! We don’t do logic here!
Max tells us she can see “perfectly” in the dark. Evidently she’s now an owl.
Oh, but Ari is there!
“Ari!” I whispered almost silently. (pg 125)
Is it possibly to exclaim something almost silently? Because it seems to me like the exclamation point here would counteract the whispering part.
Anyway, Ari somehow manages to unstrap one of Max’s arms and strap it to a wheelchair without moving any other part of Max, but long story short Ari’s gonna take Max on a wheelchair ride!
Ari says that yep, all the other Erasers are dead.
Despite what a walking chigger bite he was, there were still times when I could almost see the little kid he’d once been. (pg 127)
Okay, what the heck is a chigger bite? I have never heard that term before. (Also, note how many qualifiers there are in that sentence! Despite something, she can sometimes almost see something that once was. I don’t think it’s bad by any means; just amusing.)
Ari explains that all of the School’s experiments have “expiration dates,” which are set points at which the experiments will die. A few days before the expiration date, a tattoo of the date will appear on the experiment’s neck.
Basically, it’s a melodramatic, nonsensical, impractical device JPatterson probably thinks is cool.
Max spends an entire two paragraphs saying “the School was really evil and horrible and awful and I’m about to tell you why!” Then she actually tells us why, her first example being “enhanced” humans; that is, super smart babies.
Not really getting the evil, doom and gloom vibe here, Max.
Second is bodiless brains, which okay, that’s weird. Then there’s a bodiless brain affixed to an artificial body, and then a super strong baby.
Overall, I’m not impressed with JPatterson’s capabilities for inventing creepy experiments.
The next day they let us loose. (pg 134)
But since Max fails to elaborate, I have no idea what this means.
So the bad guys come in, bringing with them a caricature: that is, some random foreigner.
“Dese are dey?” he asked, sounding like Ahnold in The Terminator. (pg 134)
Which, of course Max watched that movie. And of course this guy sounds like that, because heaven forbid people from other countries talk without egregious accents.
Also, Max decides that this horrible display of cruelty (sarcasm!) means she gets a free pass to verbally abuse this guy.
Read: Max hears a guy speaking with an accent, mocks it, and seems to expect us to find her justified. Which she is not.
His eyes narrowed. Mine narrowed back at him.
“Yes, I can see vhy dey’ve been slated for extermination,” he said casually, as his assistant made notes on a clipboard. (pg 135)
I really like this guy.
The guy goes through the flock, talking about their flaws, and he’s revealed to be ter Borcht, the guy mentioned in the previous book.
“Und you,” ter Borcht said, turning back to me. “You haf a malfunctioning chip, you get debilitating headaches, and your leadership skills are sadly much less than ve had hoped for.”
“And yet I could still kick your doughy Eurotrash butt from here to next Tuesday. So that’s something.” (pg 136)
Is it just me, or is it getting really xenophobic in here? I mean, really, Max.
Max continues to make poor quips whenever ter Borcht speaks, and apparently they actually are managing to get to him. For the record, this is about the level of Max’s remarks:
“Ooh,” I said. “If I had boots on, I’d be quaking in them.” I tapped my bare toes against the floor. (pg 137)
So, you know. More cringe-worthy or eye-roll-inducing than anything.
Then ter Borcht begins questioning the rest of the flock and they pull the same junk as Max, but add making fun of his accent to the mix.
I just want to point out how crappy the flock are behaving right now, and how much I hate them for it. I have zero sympathy for them, which is kinda kills the tension. Not that there’s any tension as to whether or not they’ll die.
Ari takes Max on another tour, this time letting her walk. Gasp!
As they walk, Max gets a quick glimpse into a room that contains a map of the world with each country outlined and one city from each country highlighted, with the words “the By-Half Plan” above the map.
Max takes this all in over the course of a second or two, according to her because her “raptor vision took in a thousand details in a second”.
I’m gonna say WHAT?! to that.
On an off chance that it would actually get me somewhere, I asked Ari, “So, what’s the By-Half Plan?”
Ari shrugged. “They’re planning to reduce the world’s population by half,” he explained morosely. (pg 142)
My mind was reeling at the idea of genocide on that level. It made Stalin and Hitler look like kindergarten teachers. Okay, really evil kindergarten teachers, but still. (pg 143)
…And now JPatterson is comparing his villains to Hitler and Stalin. Brilliant.
Max says that the plan sounds familiar, and that it’s because it’s connected to her headache infodump things from the previous two books.
Who wants to bet that the information it turns out to be wasn’t actually mentioned in the previous books?
Oh, and then Max runs into Jeb and Angel, and apparently this is supposed to be a really dramatic thing even though it’s not.