Aaaand we’re back!
Remember when Max got randomly attacked at Cirque Du Soleil? That was two weeks ago! And it turns out the attacker is one of the performers, grabbing her up into the air because acrobatics. It’s not a fakeout cliffhanger, though, ’cause when Max asks him who he works for he says he’s doing this for Max’s “own good.” Max breaks free with ease and looks for an escape route, flying around, seemingly forgetting about the ground-based exits. Fang uses a knife to cut the tent open as they get shot at (!) and Max just happens to look down and see Dr. Gunther-Hagen. So… the Dr. has Cirque Du Soleil’s performers under his thumb? Scary.
Angel tries to take the flock out to get tattoos but then Jeb stops them and there’s a bunch of awful dialogue and then he decides to talk to them about how they might each lead their own flock one day and he sits down on the floor and “motions” for them to do the same and this chapter is, like, the worst thing I’ve ever read.
Instead of explaining about them being flock leaders, Jeb asks them what they plan on doing differently to “survive” and how it will be an improvement over what Max did. Maybe this would be relevant if the flock were constantly on the run, but, you know, that’s not the case so I’m not sure what could be done differently. Angel, after listening to “her Voice” (???), says that “maybe living is more important than just surviving.”
Once again, we switch perspectives, because heaven forbid JPatterson actually follow through with any particular scene. Seriously, if you removed the formatting of the chapter breaks, these books would all be disjointed messes. They already are, really, but it’s a lot more obvious how annoying it is when things switch around when you remove the chapters.
Also, I just realized that back in chapter 53, Max refers to Cirque Du Soleil as “Cirque Du Soleils”, with an extra S on the edit. What wonderful editing these books get.
This chapter follows Dr. Gunther-Hagen, who’s with a geologist that seems to have found the water source for the flock’s tap. Gee, I wonder how this is going to go. Dr. Gunther-Hagen also mentions Mr. Chu, so I guess we’ve got confirmation that they’re working together.
As you’d expect, Dr. Gunther-Hagen adds a chemical (presumably something to knock out the flock) to the stream that feeds the flock’s water. I guess it’s time for the part of the book where the flock get captured.
We’re back with the flock, where we’ve skipped past the rest of the scene from the previous chapter because pshhh, actually following through with anything is for actual writers! I mean, remember when Angel said Fang was gonna die? No need to bring that back up. It’d distract from all the exciting scenes like Max playing slot machines!
Angel has some revolutionary idea that Max would hate, and she calls the rest of the flock from wherever they are to announce it. She first abolishes bedtimes and homeschooling, exposition tells us that she wonders if Total isn’t on Max’s side (as if that matters?), then says that the flock have signed up to appear at a charity concert in Hollywood that’s raising money to fix up “a section of Santa Monica Boulevard.”
So… when did Angel get contacted about this? How was she contacted about it? How did she sign up? Why did she do it without asking the flock oh wait, that’s because she’s terrible. Her dialogue in this chapter is also really… generic? Like, she never had much of a voice as a character before, but whatever was there is completely gone now. She doesn’t seem to have any personality whatsoever.
Oh, and apparently Angel has been interviewing agents? So it seems this is through her new agents? That six-year-old Angel hired? Because six-year-olds are so proficient at that.
I mean… okay. Angel reads minds. One would assume that she has a bit more world experience than most kids her age. But being inundated with the contents of others’ minds wouldn’t really give her the “maturity” she’s displayed in this book. If JPatterson would at least try to detail the effects her upbringing and abilities have had on her personality and maturity, maybe this could make sense, but as-is she’s just some sort of bizarre plot device who’s probably a robot, given how little anything seems to affect her.
Iggy, being Iggy, notes how unsafe they’d be, but I guess is sated by Angel’s agents “guaranteeing their safety” because next thing he’s telling Dylan to come with them when Dylan doesn’t want to. On that note, is it only me who finds it really strange how quickly Dylan has integrated into the flock? And how nobody yet has asked him literally anything about his past? I mean, for heaven’s sake, aren’t the flock the least bit curious about who created him and how Jeb got him from Dr. Gunther-Hagen?
Angel tries to mind-control Dylan into coming with them (as they’ve apparently decided to, despite the rest of the flock being initially confounded by Angel’s suggestion and then falling completely silent), and he agrees to come, though it’s not made clear whether her control worked.
Angel saw the intent look in his eyes. And for the first time, she picked up on some of his thoughts.
He had been hoping Max would come home. (pg 200)
Wait, she read his mind for the first time? Why couldn’t she read his mind before? Why weren’t we told about that? Why did Angel never bring it up with Jeb or ask someone about it? I mean, the last time she couldn’t use her telepathic powers, it was in the headquarters of bad guys. Isn’t she the least bit suspicious? Or maybe she is and JPatterson just hasn’t bothered to tell us. I guess her thoughts towards Total, who’s had maybe five lines in the whole book and contributes zilch to the plot, is more important?