Fang and the guy, Ratchet, are now in a diner. Fang asks Ratchet if he’s in. Ratchet says “I’m in, like I told you.” Even the characters know they’re repeating themselves! They’re waiting in the diner for another “contact” of Fang’s, and as they talk it’s revealed that Ratchet has super hearing and sight.
I’m sure this viewpoint switching is meant to enthrall the reader because hey I have to find out what happens in this tense action scene but it keeps getting extended by being interrupted by other scenes! But it also completely kills the flow of the action scene. So. Not great.
Anyway, we’re with Gazzy. “To his horror” he sees Jeb in the doorway of the plane (not sure why that in particular is horrifying), so he goes to save him. He grabs Jeb, Jeb is too heavy though and after saying that “the human race will have to die to save the planet” he lets go of Gazzy and falls to the ground and dies.
You know what could have prevented that? Jeb jumping from the plane when it was nearer to the ground so he and Gazzy would be near the ground and not die from the fall. Just sayin’.
And if I made Jeb’s death sound pretty sudden and undramatic, well, that’s because it was. We do get this, though:
All he [Gazzy] saw was Jeb’s face, white and scared, as it got smaller and smaller below him.
Then Gazzy realized that was the last time he would see Jeb alive, ever again.
And it was his fault. (pg 51)
Which is basically just “CARE, DANGIT!!!!!!!” put a bit more fancily.
Fang’s other “contact” (sorry, it’s too silly to use outside of quotation marks) is there, a girl called Star who’s the Uptight Icy Uber-Competent (and Super-Stylish, of course) Girl to Ratchet’s Rough-and-Tumble Guy. Boooring. She’s “fast” and got there by foot from twenty miles away, and ends up racing the guys. I wonder if JPatterson has a pseudo-science explanation for this superpower or if she’s just magic.
This chapter opens with a particularly awful paragraph.
When the fuselage hit the ground and exploded, I saw my future right below me, just seconds away. (pg 55)
Max, there are simpler ways to tell us you’re falling towards the ground. Use them.
My wings were burning, as I gulped air, my muscles shaking from the strain of keeping us both aloft. (pg 55)
Are your wings burning literally or figuratively? And come on, let’s be a bit more sparing in our usage of present participles in an action sequence. Which is punchier, “my arms were shaking” or “my arms shook”?
We were going to land hard–and soon. (pg 55)
I know you’re going to land soon! You established that two sentences ago!
Max shouts at Gazzy to go help Nudge.
Angel focused on guiding Iggy down for what she hoped would be a less-than-fatal landing. (pg 56)
These random moments of omniscience would make more sense if these books were recognized in-universe as a collaboration between the flock, hence the third person. Though that would then bring into question the chapters from the villains’ perspectives. So, uh, never mind, sorry JPatterson because you’ve got more perspective issues than a kaleidoscope. (That comparison may not actually make sense.)
Meanwhile, Dylan races down out of nowhere and saves Jeb. Congratulations JPatterson, you made me think Jeb had died. I mean, the only reason I thought it had happened is because I expect bad writing from you, but you got me nonetheless.
The flock land and all survive, yay crisis averted I was so scared for them!!!
The flock decide to get picked up by Max’s mom’s colleagues and go to her office to patch themselves up (including broken bones for Max’s mom and Jeb). Max’s mom, if you remember, is a vet.
That way, we didn’t have to worry about explaining the whole wing situation (pg 58)
Yeah, ’cause you know, when a bunch of kids with wings turn up and do public stunt shows, odds are most people won’t hear about it.
Max asks Dylan why he didn’t jump out of the plane after Jeb. Apparently the plane spiraled back “into” the wires and Dylan would have killed himself jumping out, but the plane didn’t get torn up anymore and spun back out of the wires in the fifteen-thirty seconds between Jeb jumping out and Dylan jumping out. Also, Dylan was described as having come from above Max, but the plane hit the ground before he passed her. MAKES PERFECT SENSE.
And by all means it looks like Dr. Gunther-Hagen was in the plane when it crashed, but this is never said with certainty so you know he’s still alive. Dylan wants to go to check the plane to make sure Dr. Gunther-Hagen is dead (gasp! That actually makes sense!) but for some reason is still waiting with the flock rather than, I don’t know, checking out the plane while they wait and then going with them to get checked out. Max suddenly feels drawn to Dylan and decides to go with him, which I guess is one way to make your protagonist stop hating another character: make her inexplicably attracted to him!
The flock minus Max and Dylan get picked up and leave and Dylan says that the plane is probably about a mile away. I don’t think that makes any sense whatsoever but it’s hard to say for sure when the whole action sequence was described so vaguely. Dylan takes off.
His wings were a little shorter than Fang’s but broader–more like a hawk’s–wings built for power and lift. (pg 62)
Ew, two non-parenthetical em dashes in the same sentence? At least it’s contextually obvious how they’re being used, but… ew.
Max notes that Dylan’s wings are different from the flock’s.
For the first time, it occurred to me that the mad scientists who created us might have used different avian DNA to make each of us. (pg 62)
MAX. YOUR WINGS ARE DIFFERENT COLORS. OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T USE THE SAME DNA.
Max takes off as well and Dylan says
“There’s really nothing better [than flying].” (pg 63)
And then they both, at the same time, say “Except a white-chocolate mocha from Coffee Madness.” They are surprised by how strange that is. Which, it is pretty strange. I just hope it actually gets explained.