Merry Christmas! And have some awful writing!
Now since you guys aren’t really looking at the physical book in front of you, I want you to know that we’re not even a hundred pages into this book. And yet we’ve already had two separate sections with separate labels (from The Inferno for no discernible reason). Despite all of this, the plot hasn’t really picked up. I’ll recap the actual meaningful events that have happened in the story thus far:
-Evangeline gave clue to Verlaine
-Evangeline got captured
-Verlaine and company go to Russia to figure out what it means
That’s pretty much it. There’s lots of exposition, true, but in terms of actual things characters have done? That’s all folks. The exposition has been interesting, if contradictory and flat out wrong at times, but I think the most important part is the reveal about the Angelopolis, a secret city of angels or something the Nephilim are supposedly building in secret. Given that it’s the title of the book, I would think it’d be the center of the plot. So let’s keep that in the back of our heads for later.
So where is this chapter set?
Angelopolis, Chelyabinsk, Russia
It’s already been built?!
You’re saying that the villains have gone ahead and done their evil plan? The place already exists? That’s… that’s incredible. I’m…actually impressed. I can’t wait to see what this place is like. Can you imagine—a literal city of angels? This chapter’s going to be awesome after all. So what’s it like?
[scans rest of chapter]
[finds absolutely no descriptions of the place]
Yup, if we go with the title of the book, this setting is supposedly the premise of the entire story, and it’s not described at all in its first scene. What is this scene, you might ask? Well it’s Dr. Merlin Godwin experimenting/torturing on Evangeline. That’s it and that’s all.
“It was so long ago, but surely you recall how you came to see me with your mother.”
Do you guys remember? Well then head back to the prologue, because that’s what’s being referenced. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Godwin was the creepy doctor in that section, and Evangeline was the girl in question. Now why it wasn’t just told to us then, I don’t know. There’s nothing gained by drawing out the reveal.
And yeah, those appointments were creepy. This chapter reveals that they always did them super early or super late, to make sure there was no one else in the building when Godwin was poking a little girl with medical instruments. Is that not unnerving to anyone else?
Also, as far as I know, security cameras aren’t really that new of a device. So you’re saying the angelologists didn’t have security cameras in their buildings? Or hell, even janitors or an around-the-clock security staff? Because that’s the only way to make sure no one’s in the building to watch you play doctor with Evangeline.
Okay, I’m being a bit over-the-top. Evangeline’s mother was there, but we’ve already seen what kind of person she was. I don’t know if she did much to comfort her daughter. The text says she “held her daughter close”, but I’d think that wouldn’t be much comfort when there’s a man taking multiple blood samples from you. Visits to the doctor aren’t supposed to be this creepy!1
The clinical nature of the procedure seemed to reassure Angela but not Evangeline—she had an instinctual fear that seemed to Godwin to belong less to a little girl than to a wild animal caught in a cage.
Look, the whole reason she seemed that way to you was because your entire secret society had it drilled into their heads that Nephilim are filthy evil animals that ought to be eliminated. When you go in with that mindset, that’s what you see.
Mind you he’s not an angelologist now—now Godwin works for the Nephilim because… he can do more mad science that way, I guess?
I dunno. I don’t care, and I don’t think Trussoni does either. I’m not one of those people who insists that all villains have to be sympathetic, that they’re just the heroes of their own stories or whatever it is that’s in fashion these days. But I do hope that they have realistic motivations. Godwin? I’ve got nothing on him.
So while Godwin pulls out scalpels he talks to Evangeline, telling her that he didn’t know what to look for when he was running tests on her as a child, because her mother never told him. Which makes sense, given Angela was an awful scientist. If you’re trying to look for something medically, it’s a good idea to at least tell the doctor what kind of things you’re looking for. In any case, back then Evangeline didn’t exhibit any angelic traits at all; they all came up out of nowhere in adulthood during the last book.
If you remember from an earlier chapter, her biology is currently completely different. I’d have accepted if her body had some differences that she just didn’t notice, or if as an angelic/spiritual creature, her body changed to be different. But the whole “trying to be more scientific angels” thing means that Evangeline has essentially changed species. From being a normal human being as a child to being an angelic creature with a body temperature just above freezing and her eyesight has improved remarkably.
That’s just weird. Not any weirder than anything else in the story, I suppose, but I just feel as if it doesn’t add up.
Godwin points out that he didn’t think Evangeline to be angelic because she had red blood and a navel, which also doesn’t make sense to me. Like, wouldn’t a creature without a navel have to have been born from an egg or something? And Nephilim eggs are pretty rare—that means there are plenty of them with belly buttons. Unless there’s something about navels I don’t know (which is possible), it shouldn’t be much of an indicator. But whatever. He goes on to say that if Evangeline proved to be angelic in her childhood, the angelologists would let him strap her to a table and cut her up to see how she ticked.
“You did not know your mother well,” Godwin said, lightly. “She was above all else a scientist. Angela would have applauded the rigorous empirical study of any one of these creatures. She allowed you to be tested. Indeed, she pushed to have you studied.”
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Angela Valko wasn’t supposed to be a heroic character. But I’m left with no other conclusion because, other than Verlaine briefly, no one feels uncomfortable with her actions. To the angelologists, who are supposed to be the good guys up to this point, she’s a martyr for the cause. So unless Trussoni just forgot to write the part where we look at Angela as the horrible person she was, I’m left to assume that Godwin’s statement is probably true: she would totally let her daughter be dissected so she can learn more. She wasn’t the type of person who cared about anyone else’s feelings.
Also, Trussoni: why is there a comma between the words ‘said’ and ‘lightly?’ There’s no reason for it. In fact it ruins the flow of the sentence.
Evangeline argues, saying that “My mother would have resisted.” Which, as I said above, I doubt; if Angela did defend her daughter, I’m sure it’d be for her own selfish reasons. But Godwin insists that the Society of Angelologists would have taken Evangeline away anyway and given her parents the middle finger because they’re all for cutting up an innocent child if it helps them on their genocidal crusade.
And then Godwin sticks a scalpel in her neck to take a blood sample.
He took a glass vial from the table. Holding it to the light, he felt a surge of triumph.
I’d like to tell you taking her blood is a part of his evil plan. But as far as I know, it’s not. He’s just experimenting on her; there is no evil plot straight out of a B-movie to make an army of Evangeline clones to serve the Nephilim; there is no super power gained from her blood. It’s just that Godwin’s a creep that wants to experiment on her. That’s it.
And that’s the end of the chapter.
So how did this chapter further the plot? It didn’t really. We already knew Godwin was going to torture Evangeline, and we didn’t learn anything about the Angelopolis. Making this chapter… entirely pointless.
Happy Holidays, People!
1 I think now would be a good time to bring up that Merlin Godwin was once Angela Valko’s prize student. Think on that. Evangeline’s mother’s best student is an evil mad scientist.