This was not a very long spork.
Everyone panics because thingies! And then just as the captain is going away, Gazzy says he has an idea, and Iggy’s determinedness makes the captain listen to Gazzy’s plan. Which the captain proceeds to not understand because Gazzy lays it out poorly, and yet for some reason the captain doesn’t leave. ????
eight-year-old Gazzy and fourteen-year-old Iggy probably knew more about demolitions, detonators, and explosive devices than almost anyone else on earth. (pg 277)
Just… let that sink in for a bit.
So, Gazzy’s plan is to electrocute the outside of the sub, thereby frying the thingies. He heads out of the room with the demolitions expert, and rather than actually show us what Gazzy does, we stay with Max as the water apparently electrifies and the thingies seem to die. It’s all very boring and easy and pointless.
Then Gazzy makes a terrible joke and everyone laughs because this is the end of a kids’ show.
The captain wants to leave and report the radiation, but Max wants to continue searching for her mom. Before the captain can use his authority to make the decision, it’s noticed that Angel is missing. It turns out she’s out in the water.
“That’s… impossible,” Captain Perry said, sounding stunned.
“Totally and completely impossible,” John agreed, staring out the window in awe. “There’s no way anyone could be out at this depth without a pressure suit and survive. It–it just can’t be done.”
“Hello?” I said. “We’re children with wings. And now gills. We fly. Angel can read minds and communicate with fish, Iggy can feel colors, Nudge can draw metal to her, and now you’re saying that there’s simply no way Angel could be out there? Have I mentioned the wings part?”
The captain mentions that Angel surviving the pressure is more unbelievable than wings, but… Max makes a good point. JPatterson clearly doesn’t care about logic, even internal,* so this really isn’t much more ridiculous than anything he’s done before.
It’s still awful, of course.
*In this context, internal logic is the logic of a particular work of fiction’s world–for instance, I might write a story where people can pass through walls. Now, this is obviously not possible in the real world, but within the internal logic of this story it is possible. So the internal logic of these books is that scientists gave the flock certain bird-like aspects, which is not possible in real life. What defies this internal logic, however, is that the flock get arbitrary powers that have nothing to do with birds.
Oh, and then there are some of the sea creatures!
Say, where did that torpedo that took out the sea creatures last time come from, anyway? Was there a sub just patrolling the waters around the flock to keep them safe?
Max heads for the airlock to follow Angel, and before she leaves Fang comes near her and she suddenly spends a couple paragraphs talking about how she loves him a lot. So she kisses him and then goes out into the water. Though given that she developed gills some time after Angel did, I would doubt that she’d get immunity to pressure at the same time. Right?
Wrooong. Max feels pressure, and swimming is slow, but that’s it.
Max goes up to Angel and the sea creatures. Angel says that the sea creatures are intelligent and that they’ve been attacking fishing boats because the nets were hurting their eggs. Don’t ask me why Angel is now able to communicate with them. Also, they know where Max’s mom is, because of course they do.
Though the captain was going to head back to report the radiation, the sub is now going towards where Max’s mom is based on directions from a mutated fish.
They find an underwater dome, which is designed to blend into its surroundings but also has a lot of glass. Then Angel, for some reason, has to go out of the sub in order to talk to the mutated fish. Max goes with her.
Remember how Angel said that she needed to talk to the mutated fish? Apparently that was a lie, since she doesn’t do that and instead she and Max swim around the dome in search of Max’s mom. I’m betting that JPatterson changed his mind about what they were doing and didn’t bother to, or forgot to (either way it’s just as bad), change the preceding stuff.
Somehow, nobody seems to see Angel and Max, and they find Max’s mom easily. Because for some reason Max’s mom is in a cell that can see the ocean. Luxury hostage holding!
Just as Max notices that there aren’t many fish around, an eel gets zapped by something surrounding the dome. How convenient!
One of the mutated fish swims up to the dome and shorts out the electric field by absorbing it or something, then secretes a liquid that dissolves the outside of the dome. I assume JPatterson made this happen just to make sure people understand how ridiculous this is.
The glass in Max’s mom’s cell cracks, and water rushes in. She doesn’t die. Then the mutated fish create a bubble of the liquid, and there’s air inside, and it keeps Max’s mom safe from the water pressure. I assume, since it’s not mentioned. JPatterson probably forgot.
The bubble itself isn’t really explained, either–we know there’s air inside, but in order for them not to fall out of it there has to be something keeping them in it, such as the liquid stuff, but the liquid stuff doesn’t get all over them, and given that Max describes it as snot I’d imagine that she would note being covered in mutant snot. But she doesn’t, so really the bubble is just magic.
So, yeah. Max’s mom was saved, we get a tiny bit of Max saying “yay I saved you” and then the chapter ends and it’s all rather anticlimactic. I mean, there wasn’t even an attempt at an action scene, it was just “magic bubble from magic mutated fish saves the day the end.”
Also: not only does Mr. Chu dump radioactive chemicals marked with his name, he also builds his base right next to those chemicals. GENIUS.
The flock are hanging out at some unspecified place. And Total is there!
We got him his own Fanta and stuck a straw in it. (pg 302)
Oh, god. JPatterson not thinking about how straws work has left me with the horrifying mental image of Total having a human mouth. Thanks a ton, Patterson.
After Ella shows up and Max reunites her with her mom, Max notices Brigid looking serious, so she follows her because she’s snoopy and rude. Brigid talks to a few people in suits, and then Mr. Chu is there and Brigid shakes his hand.
Okay, so let’s look at this for a moment. Mr. Chu is someone who, when mentioned to Jeb, makes his face go white and poorly lie about not knowing who Mr. Chu is. Mr. Chu is also someone who will capture someone, have them refuse to work with him, and then release them, then try to kill them later. He’s also someone who dumps chemicals with his name on them, then builds his base next to those chemicals. And now he’s someone who, upon having his illegal chemical-dumping found-out by the government, goes to the infirmary where a person he kidnapped is being taken care of in order to shake hands with someone.
Jeb is not a very good judge of danger.
Epilogue: Just Like Heaven
There aren’t chapters in the epilogue! YESSSS!
We’re an unspecified amount of time later, and Max and Fang are talking in the air about things they would have known since moments after the previous scene. Basically, JPatterson is not very good at exposition.
Anyway, Max says that she confronted Brigid and that Brigid said she’s going to expose Mr. Chu. Though she obviously isn’t since he was in the middle of an infirmary and didn’t get arrested.
Then Max and Fang kiss and awww and then the book ends.
Remember when “the birds are working” was brought up? Yeah, it was never explained.