Max and Dylan talk to each other a bit about having wings and such. Apparently Dylan didn’t grow super-quickly in his eight months of living, or at least he can’t remember not being 14 years old, body-wise. There’s really not much else to cover: the scene is strange just by measure of who’s writing it and the nature of the characters involved, but nothing is explicitly bad about it.
Half an hour later, Max and Dylan enter the house and Max talks to Jeb.
“I miss you guys,” Jeb lied. I knew him too well. (pg 127)
Hmm? You mean you know him well enough to know he doesn’t miss you, or you know him well enough to tell when he’s lying? C’mon, Max, don’t be vague about your supposedly-justified omniscience.
[Jeb speaking] Being with the flock is exactly what Dylan needs. Already, in half an hour, you’ve taught him more about who he is, what he is, than in eight months. (pg 127)
Say, what’s up with Dylan’s origin, anyway? According to an earlier chapter, he was “cloned, from another Dylan. Who died in a car wreck or something.” Isn’t Max curious about that? I’d think it’s pretty weird to have another bird kid running around with no explanation.
Max suddenly goes on a tirade about the experiments the School did, blaming Jeb for it, asking when it’s going to stop. Apparently she’s never discussed anything like this with him in the months she’s been able to talk to him. Like, seriously, since the third book he’s been a character who’s just inexplicably there, with no explanation of what he’s doing, what he had been doing–he’s just a blank slate to be mysterious. Because he’s just a plot device that JPatterson didn’t bother to come up with a consistent story or motivation for.
Further illustrating my point: Max mentions the cages the flock lived in, Jeb says how he got them out, Max says that he put them there in the first place, Jeb claims that he’s saved their lives on numerous occasions, and I’m left noticing how his allegiances have swapped willy-nilly. He was instrumental in creating bird kids because [conveniently left out reason], took them away from the lab they were in because [never mentioned], disappeared because [angst for the flock], seemingly turned against them because [JPatterson has no idea], then just sat around doing nothing until suddenly he’s got his hands on Dylan. Maybe if these unanswered questions were ever addressed as mysteries within the books I might think JPatterson has any sort of plan, but no: these details and lack of explanation for them are simply ignored.
Anyway, Max gets angry and flies off. Something she sure does do a lot in these books.
I needed answers. I needed someone to say, “This is how it is, without a doubt.” Only problem was, who would I trust to tell me that? (pg 129)
Answers to what?
The voice chimes in and says that it can be trusted. So Max asks a question:
Why is Jeb really here? Why did he bring Dylan? (pg 130)
Uh, Max? Angel can read minds. Ask her.
The voice doesn’t answer, so Max speculates about whether Jeb came to kill Fang and replace him with Dylan because [mumble mumble]. The voice only says that Dylan is good for Max because he has potential, whereas she has history with Fang. Yeah, I don’t know what that has to do with anything, either. But more importantly:
He has incredible Sight. He doesn’t realize it yet. But he can see things happening far away, can see people across oceans–maybe even across time.
That was exactly what my dream had been about–Dylan saying that to me. (pg 131)
…I thought this was supposed to be science fiction? Instead, Max is having prophetic dreams about another character’s magical, capital S Sight. (Which I’m not going to be capitalizing from now on.)
The voice goes on with stuff about how if Fang and Max split up, he can lead another flock, therefor increasing the chances of survival for the bird kids, and that Dylan and Max will be better together in terms of problem-solving because Fang and Max are too similar. And this is actually an interesting to do a love triangle, making it a survivability sort of thing, even if it kind of takes the “love” aspect out of it (especially since Max and Dylan don’t have chemistry; she just keeps calling him hot in various different ways). That’s not to say that it’s well-written, but in concept it’s more interesting than most love triangles, especially ones that threaten existing relationships with a new character (because let’s face it, the existing relationship is always going to win). Also, it only really works if the apocalypse actually happens, and so far, that seems unlikely.
I was still about a half mile from home when I smelled smoke. …
Our couch was in flames.
Jeb hurried in from the kitchen, Angel right behind him. He had a big mixing bowl of water, and Angel had a juice pitcher. (pg 132)
What, no fire extinguishers? You’d think that the flock would have been prepared for a fire, given Gazzy’s tendencies. Also, that’s some fast wind (and open windows?) to carry the smoke half a mile in the time it took the fire to be noticed and a pitcher of juice to be procured.
“What’s going on here?” I shouted as loud as I could to be heard over the din of bird kids yelping at one another. I lunged into the kitchen and grabbed a red cylinder out of the corner. “Any of you ever hear of a fire extinguisher?” I screeched as I put out the blaze. (pg 132)
Finally, some sense in this book! Though at the expense of meaning Jeb didn’t even notice the fire extinguisher. Suuuure.
Giving a glare to Gazzy and not bothering to get an explanation for the burning couch, Max goes to find Fang since he wasn’t there. He’s under the house with Dylan, where Dylan is talking unusually seriously about danger and how he knows a lot, more than Fang, about someone with female pronouns (presumably Max). Max steps in, sasses Dylan a bit, then leaves without bothering to get an explanation. She seems surprisingly uninterested in those all of a sudden.