Sorry it took me so long to update. But good news! I’ve already gone ahead and marked several chapters in advance, so in theory the next few will be done quickly.
Now this chapter is… actually kind of boring. It’s Verlaine and Bruno in an airplane on their way to Russia. And what is Bruno doing on this plane? Why eating, of course!
Bruno pulled down the plastic table and set out his dinner, bought at Roissy before boarding: a baguette sandwich with ham and a bottle of red wine from Burgundy. If there was one he understood about the present situation, it was that he couldn’t think on an empty stomach.
I… I think that was a joke. I think. I mean, I’m not sure, because it sure as hell wasn’t funny. Look, I know some of you thought my intro to the spork wasn’t comedy gold, but this is just… bad. It’s like if a dad joke farted.
See, here’s another issue I have with this book: there’s no humor. I don’t mean there’s virtually no humor, I mean there is no intentional humor in this book. Everyone is so incredibly serious. No one stops and says, “Hey all of this stuff going on? It’s pretty freaking weird. Let’s make jokes to break tension.” There’s no clever quips lampshading the strangeness of what’s going on.
But you know, that’s not necessary for humor. Movies like Pacific Rim have comic relief without making it references to how ridiculous it is everything that’s going on. But this book? Has neither. There’s no funny moments in this book.
So let’s do a headcount: there’s no funny moments, the fight scenes are just kind of meh, the characters are barely interesting and inconsistent, and the world-building, while interesting at first look, doesn’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny. If it was only one of those things, I’d be fine—I can read crappy books with great humor or watch awful movies with great fight scenes all day long. But this? This is just boring.
That’s right—a conspiracy thriller about evil angels secretly ruling the world is boring.
Right, on with the story!
Bruno found two plastic cups and poured the wine—
Wait, wait—what do you mean, he “found two plastic cups?” You go through the effort of telling us where Bruno got the food and wine, but he just “found” plastic cups? Where? You’re on a plane. As far as I know, you don’t get those on planes unless they’re handed to you. So he just picked it up? Were they there before? So does that mean he is putting his wine into used plastic cups?
Sorry, moving on.
…and poured the wine. Verlaine accepted one, took a pillbox from his pocket, and swallowed two pills.
Okay, Verlaine takes medication? What? When? Why? Why isn’t this further explained?
And you know what? This is never brought up. It’s not important that the character is on medication. So why the hell was it mentioned?
At this point, Bruno’s all like, “So I’ve finally figured out what’s been holding Verlaine back all this time—Evangeline!” However, his internal monologue is also quick to point out that he has a similar stumbling block, a subject on whom he also doesn’t think clearly that might hold him back. Except while Verlaine’s is a woman he met ten years ago and fell in with and still can’t get over, Bruno’s is a psychotic killer.
No one knew it, he hoped, but Bruno was also wrestling with his own demons: He couldn’t forget Eno—the way she moved, her strength, her beauty. Calling up the profile he’d downloaded onto his phone, he scrolled through the supplementary documents, glancing at the DNA report before stopping to examine—admire, if he were honest with himself—the photographs of her exquisitely cold features. It was no use pretending to himself that her penetrating black eyes hadn’t burned into his heart.
Yes, that’s right, Bruno is now creepily obsessed with Eno. Like some kind of sick infatuation. Let me remind you that Eno has killed, mutilated, and castrated several members of his secret society. His secret society that is sworn to bring down the faction that Eno gets her paycheck from. And given angelologists’ view on their enemies, that basically means that the only thing they consider Eno good for is to torture for information or to shoot in the face.
And Bruno wants to get in her pants.
Do I need to explain how creepy this is? No? Well too bad, I’m doing it anyway: Bruno’s staring at pictures of Eno on his phone. He is sitting there, checking out an enemy asset on his phone because he’s just so captivated by her beauty. Even if we remove the plot, the angels and secret society, this is kinda sketchy. Dude, get some self-control!
Verlaine sees Bruno staring at his phone with wistful eyes and asks what he’s looking at. Bruno decides to tell him.
Bruno passed the phone to Verlaine. “Eno,” he said, opting to tell him the truth. “This creature inspires pure obsession among our agents,” he said.
He opts to tell him the truth. Except Bruno conveniently doesn’t mention to Verlaine that he himself is also obsessed with Eno. So… not the truth at all.
Bruno hands over the phone so Verlaine can read over Eno’s file. He’s understandably really disgusted about what he reads.
The victim suffered burns to the neck, wrists, and ankles; lacerations to the fact, torso, buttocks, and back. The body was marred by what appears to be—from autopsies documenting previous victims—ritualistic castration. Organs are never left at the scene and assumed to be kept as a trophy.
Let me repeat in case you didn’t catch that: it’s assumed that she keeps the dicks of angelologists as trophies. Why? Because they’re not at the scene with the rest of the body. Look, I’m not a criminal profiler, and I won’t pretend to be one, but how on Earth do you go from “a body part isn’t with the rest of the body” to “it must have been kept as a trophy?” Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to assume that it was disposed of somewhere else? Hell, the last body like this we mentioned was in a river—I’m surprised you found as much of the guy as you did.
And as far as I know, there’s not any other evidence that the whole ‘taken as trophy’ thing is the case. The angelologists just assumed that because Reasons. Personally, I think they just have an over-inflated sense of their dicks’ importance.
Also, keep in mind that Bruno knows all this, and still wants to get in Eno’s pants.
So moving on from talking about penises: Bruno monologues a bit about Evangeline. Her disappearance was considered pretty sketchy by angelologist standards, and she was basically branded a possible traitor to the organization. Mind you, I don’t blame her for disappearing. Later in this very chapter, Bruno talks about how he saw Evangeline with wings and “repressed an instinctual desire to destroy her.”
Yeah, that’s not healthy.
There’s a bit of narration about Evangeline’s parents. So let’s talk about them! Her father, Luca Cacciatore, was an angelologist who was the first to start the angel hunters, people who go around killing or capturing Nephilim. Now why this didn’t happen before, and what angelologists did before that, I don’t know, as it seems a bit essential in their field of study.
Angela Valko, on the other hand, was Evangeline’s mother. From the last book, we know that Evangeline was secretly the daughter of Percival Grigori III, but her mother married another angelologist, Raphael Valko, to avoid the distrust of having the former lover of a Grigori going around. Now Angela, unlike her husband, was less into field work and more of a scientist or scholar, who was apparently wonderful and everyone at the academy envied her. She was so forward and her work pushed the boundaries of what was normally allowed or accepted by the conservative angelologist leaders.
What was Angela Valko’s work? Pfft. Fudge if I know! Bruno doesn’t tell us. There’s an entire paragraph that keeps talking about how revolutionary her “work” is without telling us what it was. For all we know at this point, her work could have been training killer ferrets.
It’s like what happened with Verlaine. Instead of giving us any idea for ourselves what Angela Valko’s work was like or what the impact of it was, Trussoni holds back any demonstration and is like, “Trust me, it was awesome.” If we don’t know what she was doing, then we should we think much of her? Like I said, she could have been training killer ferrets. So what? Why should I care?
Verlaine and Bruno talk about Eno some, and wondering what she’s planning to do with Evangeline.
“Eno’s motives are never clear. She confounds the best of us.”
Um… objection? Eno’s a mercenary. Her motives are incredibly clear—she gets paid to do violent things. It’s not like Eno’s got this evil plan to take over the world by subtly manipulating anyone. She’s one of the most transparent characters I’ve ever seen. She’s not exactly Albus Dumbledore, guys. What you should be asking isn’t “What does Eno want with Evangeline?” It should be, “What do the people who hired Eno want with Evangeline?”
So they’re sitting there wondering why Eno took Evangeline until Verlaine says, “Maybe it’s because of this!” And he hands the egg that she gave him over.
“How’d you make it through security with that thing?”
I brought you this quote because that question is never answered. In fact, I didn’t actually think about it at all until Bruno brought it up. So how did Verlaine get this Faberge Egg through security? The Plot, that’s how!
There’s a small sculpture in the egg, and Verlaine hopes that Bruno might know what it all means. Unfortunately for him, Bruno knows jack squat about it, but assures them that since they’re going to Russia, they’re sure to find out.
So they land in Russia, and Bruno knows his best student will do anything to get Evangeline back. Have we seen many examples of Verlaine’s determination? Not really. But that’s Bruno’s purpose—to tell the audience how awesome Verlaine is. It’s not like we can be trusted to get that from Verlaine’s actions.
Just… I hate this book guys.