This book is almost done, I swear.
And you know what? I’ve said it before, but the writing in this book is atrocious! I know that an author doesn’t have to listen to an editor’s advice, but seriously, this thing should not have been published! You want to know what the first sentence of this chapter is?
As Verlaine opened his eyes, he understood that he was lying in a snowy field.
Yeah, Verlaine wakes up. Why? I don’t know! He apparently fell asleep since the last sentence in the last chapter, which was Evangeline telling him to buzz off before it’s too late. This scene takes place, at most, hours later. But in all probability it’s a few minutes after the last chapter ended. There is no narrative reason for Verlaine to have been unconscious, he just was so he could wake up dramatically and survey the carnage around him.
I wouldn’t be as harsh on this line if Verlaine had collapsed from exhaustion in the last chapter. Lord knows the guy gets taken down almost as much as Eragon in fights. But there is no explanation. Last we see him, he’s peachy; then BOOM he’s waking up from who knows what.
[sigh] See what I mean when I say this book has no continuity?
He studies the area, seeing that the entire angel death camp has been ruined. And conveniently, that’s when Dmitri rides up in a truck with Yana, Bruno and Azov (who just got here I guess). And just like with Sveti and Semyaza, he doesn’t even introduce himself to Verlaine on page; it’s summarized in the narration. Take a looksie:
A man Verlaine didn’t recognize followed behind Yana and Dmitri. He greeted Verlaien and offered his hand, introducing himself as Azov and explaining that he’d come at Vera’s request.
How did he get here so fast? Why did Vera request him to come? Why did they think it was important to be here? Last they saw the Watchers were flying off doing… I dunno, but they just barbecued Valko, so presumably nothing good. I would say that I guessed that Trussoni just wanted him to be here so that the main cast was all here, but then if that were the case, Vera would be here. After all, there were at least hints of tension between Verlaine and Vera. But she’s not so… Azov’s just there I guess. His significance was mostly that he was a guy that was friends with Vera, and eventually led her to Valko. Sure, he had the recipe for the poison from the Book of Medicines, but he couldn’t finish it because he didn’t have Valkine. Basically he’s a nobody. Anyone could have filled his role.
I suppose he was the one who told Valko his idea of releasing the Watchers was stupid, so I suppose he does have a single positive trait.
Verlaine asks what happened in the Panopticon, and Dmitri decides to give the vaguest answer ever: “Exactly what Godwin hoped would happen.”
Um… what? No? What Godwin wanted was for his machine to work, for him to make oodles of money, and to keep doing experiments. It certainly wasn’t for the whole place to collapse. Dmitri, you’re an idiot.
Dmitri says they have no idea if Godwin was inside or not, which Verlaine translates to “I didn’t see a body so he’s probably alive and still running around out there.” Which in fiction isn’t a bad assumption to make, but he’s confirmed dead by the end of the next chapter. So… this possibly intriguing plot point went absolutely nowhere.
Verlaine insists that they can’t leave without Evangeline, but Dmitri points out that they are literally surrounded by escaped Nephilim, and Verlaine only just now noticed because he’s a freaking moron. The text says “The escaped prisoners—every variety of angel—filled the landscape.” How did Verlaine, the master angel hunter with the eyes of a Grimm and the skills of Chuck Norris not notice this until a full page after he woke up?
Evangeline is still there, making her heartfelt goodbye in the last chapter kind of meaningless, and she’s with Lucien “hand in hand.” Verlaine notices the family resemblance, which really bugs me because this whole “Evangeline is Lucien’s daughter!” is a retcon that wasn’t vaguely hinted at in the first (and much better) book!
But Verlaine isn’t taking no for an answer! Evangeline is going with them! Azov tells him that Lucien might not allow it, because Lucien grew a spine while we weren’t looking or something I guess.
I know his strength, but also, more important, I know that he is a gentle and kind creature, one whose motives are good. Evangeline, if I can believe what I’ve heard about her, would never fight against him, or allow you to harm him.
Was he seriously implying that Verlaine was planning to kill Lucien just to get Evangeline back? Because that’s what it sounds like! Verlaine hasn’t said anything about hurting Lucien; he just wants Evangeline with them because… I don’t know. Is it because Twu Lurv? Is it because he thinks Evangeline will be harmed if she goes with Lucien? We don’t know. It doesn’t say. Just that Verlaine wants her with them, and Azov concludes that this would involve harming Lucien, who, as far as he knows, hasn’t done anything intentionally harmful to him or Evangeline.
And what the eff is with that dialogue? Do commas in Trussoni’s book multiply like rabbits or something? Try reading it aloud—it sounds incredibly clunky and off.
If you want to bring Evangeline with you, there is only one certain way.”
Azov removed a vessel from his pocket and showed it to Verlaine. He remembered Vera’s confidence that Azov could help her understand Rasputin’s journal. Somehow they had succeeded in making the formula.
Yes, Azov is saying you should use this uber-poison if you want to be with Evangeline.
How does Verlaine know about the poison? Yeah it was obvious that’s what it was when Rasputin’s book was described by Nadia, but I don’t think the specific recipe was mentioned. Whatever.
So Azov calls over Evangeline and Lucien, and they chat. And… I get confused. You’ll see in a second.
Azov took a plastic vessel from his pocket and held it out to her. “This is for you,” he said. “It will bring you—and the other creatures like you—back.”
“Back to what?” Evangeline asked.
“You have a choice,” Azov replied.
“You don’t have to be one of them anymore,” Verlaine said, stepping closer to Evangeline.
“If I’m not one of them,” she said, her gaze falling up on Verlaine, “what will I be?”
“Human,” Verlaine said. “You’ll be like us.”
It’s a…it’s a cure?!?
I reread this chapter a couple of times, because I didn’t get it. But yeah, apparently that super-secret poison they cooked up? It’s a cure that turns Nephilim human. It looks like I screwed the pooch in describing this entire subplot. And to this I scratch my head, because… this isn’t what the way it’s described is leads one to believe.
Let’s do a review. When it was first described in the excerpt from the Book of Jubilees about the Book of Flowers in Chapter 15 it just says that it’ll protect humanity from the Nephilim, or “evil spirits.” The very next chapter the characters speculate that Rasputin’s book was a recreation of the Book of Flowers and had a poison to kill the Nephilim.
With me so far?
Well turns out I missed a spot when I sporked Chapter 19, because when they describe the poison it’s like this:
“It’s my supposition that the medicines mentioned in Jubilees would produce the effect of human vulnerability in Nephilim. They would lose their angelic powers. They would be prone to human illness and mortality. And they would die as human beings die.”
The next couple of lines are about how that’s like poison (which reinforces how I read it) and Sveti says her line about how the Divine Origin means it doesn’t have to make sense or some other piece of insanity. Point is, when I read that line, I took it to mean that they would die on the spot—or slowly, like the virus that Angela Valko, Evangeline’s mother, engineered that afflicted the Nephilim by weakening them and making them sickly. Given that we learn Angela had the book in her possession, I thought the implication was that her virus was an attempt to recreate this effect.
Evidently, I read wrong.
I want to make it clear though, it’s not entirely my fault that I misread this subplot. The angelologits have always been the biggest douchebags, intent on killing and torturing Nephilim for giggles. Let’s not forget that they’ve set up death camps to this end. It’s not an unreasonable conclusion that they’d orgasm at the thought of a poison that would wipe them all out. Adding to the confusion, there’s plenty of evidence to support that it’s a killer poison/virus that they cooked up. Remember in Chapter 32? There Valko says a few drops in the water supply of a major city will affect all the Nephilim in the world. If we assume this is a poison or virus this sort of makes sense, because it’ll spread and infect them all. But cures don’t generally act this way, spreading from individuals and changing their species, especially not in fiction. Viruses and don’t do that either, change one’s species. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not magic, it’s sure as heck not scientific, so how would that work? Also consider that they were worried that this might affect Lucien; it honestly sounds like they think it might kill him. But if it just turns him human… why didn’t they mention that?
That blockquote above? That’s the only thing I missed. That’s the only indication that this magic formula turns Nephilim human. There’s a throwaway line somewhere about how Rasputin might have turned Alexei Romanov human by curing his hemophilia, but Rasputin’s backstory is so convoluted in this book that it doesn’t make a lick of sense no matter how you slice that tidbit of information.
Also, if the potion just turned them human, why did Valko feel the need to free the Watchers to help fight the Nephilim? They wouldn’t need fighting if the entire population was slowly turning human over the course of a few years. I suppose angelologits never need an excuse to be pointlessly cruel, but…
Basically none of this adds up! Everyone acts as if the potion is this dire poison the entire book, and then here they say it’s just a cure that turns Nephilim human? What the heck? Like I said, I goofed big time in this sporking, and I’ll take some of the blame for that, but I can’t say that the text made it any easier.
Without taking her eyes from Verlaine, she said, “I’m not sure I know how to be like you anymore.”
“I can teach you,” Verlaine said. “I’ll help you return to what you were. If you let me.”
Yeah. So the potion they made does that I guess.
Um… how do I move on from there?
Oooh! I know! How about this: Verlaine is doing this all wrong. Let me make a comparison. You ever play the Skyrim DLC Dawnguard? In it you get this friendly sympathetic vampire companion, Serana, and if you play your cards right you have enough favor with her to convince her to cure her vampirism. But she’ll reject it out of hand if the dialogue choices you make are like, “I think you should get cured because it’s important to _me._” Basically, if you make it about what you want rather than what’s best for her, she responds negatively.
That’s what Verlaine’s doing here.
This isn’t even like vampirism that’s something inherently bad. Evangeline doesn’t have to feed on blood or anything. She just has wings. And now she’s hanging out with her biological dad. But Verlaine is pleading that she become human, basically so that they can be alike. Again, let’s take out the fantasy elements: it’s like if your douche boyfriend insisted that you get matching tattoos, or tells you to quit your high-paying job near your family to be with him, and crying when he doesn’t get his way. There’s nothing Evangeline gets out of this, but Verlaine insists she makes herself human so they can be alike.
So she doesn’t do it1. Duh. She does take the vial though, stuffs it her pocket, and then runs to Lucien. Verlaine tries to go after her, but the angelologits restrain him and drag him bag to the truck. And then… I don’t know.
A noise filled the air. It began as a vibration, a clattering as sharp as the hum of a cicada. The daylight faded to a thin light, pale and pink, as a series of flashes rocked the earth. Within seconds, the air filled with ash….In the shadow of the escaped angels, the reactor burned.
I guess the reactor went off? That’s the last paragraph of the chapter, some sentences removed for brevity. But basically the escaped Nephilim decided to get the heck out of there and fly away.
What were we meant to make of that? I dunno. But we’ve got one more chapter, and an epilogue. But I assure you, it’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be the worse ending you’ve ever heard of.
See you next time.
1 It’s actually incredibly surprising that at the end of the book, she actually makes an intelligent decision. Maybe that’s why she’s my favorite character in this mess.