Fang asks Dylan where he comes from. Dylan says he comes from a test tube in a lab. And then he and Dr. [whatever I called him last time] leave.
I’m seriously confused as to what JPatterson is doing here. Over the course of 36 pages he’s introduced three large plot elements, then proceeded to completely ignore them to move onto the next large plot element. It’s absolutely bizarre pacing.
You know, I actually do know what this reminds me of: when I’m writing and find myself not sure of how my characters should react. Usually this results in awkward dialogue and whatnot, and it seems like JPatterson had a similar situation here. Then, rather than try to put some time into it and write a good scene, JPatterson went “I don’t know what to do so MOVING ON!”
And, yeah, I’m making some big assumptions, but with how lazy every other aspect of these books are… well, it’s a possibility. I dunno.
She [Angel] practically glued herself to Gazzy, and twenty minutes later, everyone was already settling down for the night in our tent. (pg 37)
Seriously though. Does JPatterson really expect us to think that Max spent the twenty minutes after two large reveals thinking nothing relevant to the situation? This is so lazy it hurts.
Iggy, a famously restless sleeper, was in a corner by himself. (pg 37)
If he’s so famous for it, WHY IS IT BEING FIRST MENTIONED IN THE SIXTH BOOK IN THE SERIES?!
Finally, though, the characters address what’s going on.
“Don’t think about what Angel said,” Fang whispered next to my ear. “You have to remember–she’s still just a little kid.”
“A weird little kid,” I whispered back. We were holding hands; our feet were entwined. (pg 37)
This is an example of JPatterson actually showing rather than telling. I don’t think he conveys the intimacy of this situation, but at least he’s trying.
Anyway, Fang says that if Angel is right, he’s glad, because he wants to die before Max, and then he tells her to get some sleep and falls asleep himself. Max then thinks about how terrible it would be if Fang died.
The really, truly horrible thing was, Angel had never been wrong. Never, ever. (pg 38)
…WHAT? Max, Angel has never made a statement of this type before. There hasn’t been anything for her to be right about!
I really don’t think JPatterson remembers his own writing. He just says whatever and hopes nobody will notice.
On the one hand, this book is SO BAD. On the other hand, I’ve got way more material to work with than any of the other books. Though I guess that really isn’t much of a plus.
Max is still awake when she hears a noise (we’re not told what it is) and turns her attention to a silhouette outside the tent. She leaves the tent, and finds the silhouette to be Mr. Chu. She is confused as to why he would be there. Apparently he didn’t get arrested? And heck, what ever happened to Brigid?
I bet JPatterson will never bother to cover it.
Max overhears Mr. Chu talk into a cellphone, saying he’s collecting new subjects. Max apparently has no thoughts about this because the next thing the prose says is that over the next fifteen minutes young-looking refugees enter the first aid tent that Mr. Chu went into and don’t come out.
So, uh, is it just me or does this chain of events make no sense? Max isn’t one to just stand by and watch as a villain she was fighting against say he’s collecting subjects. I’d expect her to, you know, assume the new subjects to be the flock, since Mr. Chu is right outside their tent. At the very least she’d attack him or something. Not just stand and watch as he says something mysterious and goes inside a tent.
Well, actually, she’s not standing and watching: she’s flying and watching. Mr. Chu apparently neither sees nor hears this.
My curiosity got the better of me, so I left the tree and quietly crept behind the tent. No sounds inside. Not even a breath. WTH? (pg 41)
This is not in line with Max’s character. Max rushes in, she doesn’t cautiously investigate. JPatterson isn’t even trying anymore.
Max goes inside the tent and finds nothing. She theorizes that she was either hallucinating, or there’s a tunnel under the tent. She says that she “wasn’t quite ready to accept either option right now” and decides to go back to bed.
He [Fang] blinked sleepily, awakening at the slight touch. “Everything okay?”
“Mmm,” I grunted. “Go back to sleep.”
I couldn’t lie to Fang. (pg 41)
????????????????????????? This makes no sense to me. Is she saying she wasn’t able to lie, and thus “mmm” was just a deflection? Is she regretting lying to fang as “mmm” was a confirmation that everything was okay? Does JPatterson just have no idea what the hell he’s writing and chooses to put in random dramatic lines whenever possible?
Picture a shantytown made of ragged nylon tents, like, for acres. Then picture making a left and finding yourself in front of the big top of the Big Apple Circus. That’s what Dr. G-H’s crib was like. It was an ornate, beautiful tent, complete with screened windows, a covered porch, and a strip of green carpet leading across the sand to the front entrance. (pg 42)
Well, it’s a good thing he’s humble.
Max tells the reader that for now, she’s going to pretend that what Angel said had never happened. Which really makes me think that JPatterson just wanted to try to up the tension without actually doing anything that could change the dynamic of the flock.
The tent door was pulled aside by a… a guy in a white uniform who opens the tent door. What a job description. (pg 43)
It’s called a doorman, Max. And I’m still amazed at how Dr. Whatever seems intent on living as lavishly as possible while surrounded by what the book describes as very poor people. I’m guessing JPatterson is purposefully trying to make him seem like a not-great guy, and I gotta say, he’s actually succeeding here. If it’s what he’s doing.
A servant came in with a silver tray piled high with food: pastries, a pitcher of fresh juice, sliced fruit, eggs, bacon! I thought of the mush the rest of the flock was eating, not to mention the mush that the entire refugee camp was faced with day after day, and tried (unsuccessfully) to feel guilty. (pg 43)
Max is so likeable. So empathetic. So caring.
And the thing is, if she had more positive traits, this would be good and make sense. She’s lived her life scrounging for scraps and living on the run. She doesn’t have much reason to not be selfish like this. The problem is, JPatterson frequently makes her selfless in ways that contradict with this. So on the one hand, she’s nice and cares about others and helped Ella when she was under threat! But on the other hand, she doesn’t even feel guilty about eating food of presumably better quality than she’s been feeding people who have less than her.
Max could be an interesting, well-constructed character with realistic faults and strengths. But JPatterson wants to have it both ways and so that just isn’t so.
Then Dylan comes in.
I almost expected a photographer to leap through the tent flaps, telling Dyland to work it. (pg 44)
I try to be diligent about noting when I enjoy or like a bit of these books. And I must admit, I find the mental image of a spontaneous photoshoot quite funny.
Max asks Dylan some questions, and he says that he’s about eight months old. Wonderful. Then Max’s voice comes back. Yay.
Calm down, Max. Relax and enjoy this. This is a special occasion. You see, Dylan is for you. He was designed for you. He’s your perfect other half. (pg 45)
Max’s perfect other half is an eight-month clone.