There are two chapters we’re going to talk about today. The first one isn’t that short, but when push comes to shove there’s not much that happens in it other than one major plot point. It’s just a lead up to the next chapter, and so I don’t feel like sporking all of it. It’s one of those bits that makes me wonder where the editor for this book was; there’s more padding than a room in Arkham Asylum. Then again, it’s not a long book as it is, so maybe the publishers just decided the book needed something to make it look like it was long enough to be worth it.
So if you remember the last time we saw Vera and Valko and company (if it’s okay if you don’t), Valko had just handed Vera a file that belonged to a deceased character from the first book, but had an account written by some Russian woman or something? I don’t know, I don’t care, and I suspect you guys don’t either, so I’ll summarize:
Katya, a young woman whose dad knew Rasputin, was requested by said Rasputin to create the recipe from the Book of Medicine/Flowers/McGuffins to heal the tsar’s son’s (Alexei Romanov) hemophilia. Later, Rasputin one day walks in drunk and gives Katya and her father TMI about the goings on in the court of the Romanovs, and says, “Hey, if you don’t trust me, check this out: go to my wife’s place in our home village and ask her for this present I left for you guys, it’ll prove everything!”
Then the Russian Revolution happened, and Katya and her father laid low. Eventually they went to talk to Rasputin’s widow, and she passed them the thing Rasputin mentioned—a chest with the Russian Imperial seal on it, and in the chest there’s an egg, about the size of an ostrich egg. And out of it hatched one of the Ogdru Hem, spreading chaos and carnage throughout the world to prepare the way for the Dragon of Revelation.
I wish. Then the BPRD could arrive and show the angelologists how hunting evil monsters is done.
If you remember Chapter 13 at all, you probably guessed where this egg business is going. If not… well then I’m telling you now it’s an angel egg. The Nephilim of Europe are usually born like humans, but way back in the day they used to lay eggs or something, but as they became less “pure” it became less common.1 The Romanovs were trying to make an egg to create a more “pure” heir that the other Nephilim would bow to because they’re fascist or some such shenanigans, but it never panned out.
Yes, part of the backstory of this book is that the bad guys were desperately trying to lay an egg. And yes, it’s as stupid in-context as it sounds out-of-context.
Chapter 28 begins with the modern day angelologists (Vera, Azov, Sveti and Valko) discussing Katya’s account, going over nonsense details like the coloration on the egg. Also apparently “the last Russian monarch born of an egg was Peter the Great.” You got that? Peter the Great was a Nephil. And apparently hatched from an egg.
[It’s also nonsensical, because “pure” Nephilim are supposed to have blond hair, right? None of the portraits of Peter the Great I Googled have that feature.]
Is Trussoni even trying to get me to take the book seriously anymore?
The Romanovs longed for another golden era in their reign, a monarch with superior power to unite the people behind the dynasty, and what better way to it than this? But the golden era never came.
Alright, how would a golden age develop from an egg-hatched/super “pure” Nephil? The average people don’t know about Nephilim. They couldn’t care less if their leader was pure or not! The idea that the Nephilim felt they needed a super Nephil to win the people’s support makes no sense! That’s like if Presidential candidates started changing their underwear based on what brands are more popular. We’re not going to find out what type of underwear he or she is wearing (hopefully), so it shouldn’t make a difference to them!
Yeah, the book keeps telling us that more “pure” angels are more powerful and beautiful and intelligent, but there’s not a ton of evidence in the novel to prove it adds up to anything but how smexy the angel in question is.
According to Valko, after Katya got the egg to a safe place and miraculously kept it hidden from everyone else, the egg took a whopping fifty-seven years to hatch.
Fifty-seven years. And it had been in the trunk for longer.
Alright, boys and girls, let’s take this slow: this egg took about sixty years to hatch? That is an insanely long time for an egg to be doing nothing. Being an egg sucks, because you could be smashed any minute. That’s why you have a bird that watches the nest, or animals that bury their eggs or some such. But if it takes half a century to hatch? The parent angel (or a substitute) would have to spend their time watching an egg for sixty years when they could be out doing other stuff. It reads as if Trussoni just put in an arbitrary number because angels are supposed to be long-lived and thought it didn’t matter.
This book tries to connect angels to birds a bit, with the egg-laying and being susceptible to bird viruses. Okay, well according to Wikipedia, bird eggs take up to about ninety days to hatch. That’s a pretty long time. It’s nowhere near sixty years though, which is a downright horrifying amount of time for a creature to look after an egg and attempt to keep it at constant temperature.
“But wait!” says the strawman I just propped up futilely attempting to defend this book, “It’s not as if they’re birds! They’re angels! Silly things like constant temperature for incubation and the time it takes to hatch an egg are different for them! Angels are both biological and spiritual creatures in this book!”
Good question. Here’s my answer: because no matter what way you slice it, the idea that an egg took about sixty years to hatch is really, really stupid.
Anyhow, Katya raised the young Nephil as her own kid, deciding to call him “Lucien,” which if you recall is the name on one of the blood vials that Godwin was studying.
No, not that kind. It’d make things much more interesting if the Assassins showed up and murdered all the stupid people though.
Vera is completely astounded by this information, and Valko goes on to say that Lucien was raised and educated, though he was isolated and Katya was the only human contact he had. Honestly, Valko’s tone in this segment sounds as if he’s astounded that Lucien was even remotely capable of acting like a human being.
…but he was taught to read, to write, to speak, to eat, and to dress like a human being. By the time I arrived in Leningrad he had grown to adulthood. I had never seen such a magnificent creature.”
…why is any of this surprising? Angelic beings are at about human level intelligence, as far as we’ve seen, so the idea that Lucien was raised to do normal things like eat and write and dress himself isn’t odd at all. It’s established that he didn’t have contact with a ton of other people other than Katya, his adopted mother so… how did Valko expect Lucien to act? How would an angelic being who wasn’t raised by a human eat or write or dress himself?
Vera asks if Lucien was a Nephil like those before Noah’s Flood, and Valko answers with this:
“Even a quick look at Lucien told me that he was no Nephil. He seemed to me to embody the ancient descriptions of the heavenly host, the passages that one finds in Biblical literature, with skin like pounded gold, hair of silk, eyes of fire.
First: Um… he was a Nephil? If he was part human and part angel, isn’t that what a Nephil is, by definition? If his mother was indeed one of the Romanovs (which is directly stated later), then he would have human blood in him. Quite a bit of it, actually. So what else would he be? Valko seems to try to argue that he’s an angel based on… not much other than he looks prettier than Nephililm and was hatched from an egg.
Second:…no. Angels aren’t described like that at all in any Biblical literature I can find. I’ve looked this up. I suppose in figurative terms, this might match the description given in Daniel 10:6, but I don’t think that was supposed to be figurative. In any case, that’s one description. In the Biblical passages that tell us what angels look like, it’s not like Abercrombie models.
Here, let me quote you guys some descriptions of angels from the Bible:
“His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”-Daniel 10:6
“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.”-Ezekiel 1:5-11
“His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” –Matthew 28:3
“…and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” –Revelation 4:6-8
I know that everyone says this when it comes to depictions of Biblical angels, but there’s a reason that when angels appear, the standard first line they give is “Fear not.” Because they’re effing terrifying. In case you’re unsure of how to visualize these things, I’ll give you a hint: the Angel of Death in Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a pretty good place to start.
There’s also a ton of Biblical passages of angels disguising themselves as human, and no one seems to find them at all notable-looking.2 People had no issues giving them shelter, or in the case of Sodom, trying to sexually assault them. So if angels did look human, they certainly wouldn’t be the obviously superhot sex gods Trussoni gives us.
So Valko does what any sensible guy does when he meets a super-hot angel—he calls up his daughter Angela and introduces them!
I was there with Angela the day she met Lucien. He looked from Angela to me, his eyes wide with curiosity. There was such purity in his gaze, such peace, that I felt that I was in the presence of divinity. I understood in a single moment the metaphor of the chemical wedding: that synergy, that renewal of existence that grows out of a perfect meeting.
I don’t understand this chemical wedding bullshit at all! All I know is that you’ve been blabbing about it to lead the Plot to this point: Angela seduced Lucien and that makes Lucien Evangeline’s actual baby daddy. That’s why she had Evangeline tested by Godwin as a child.
“…she convinced Katya to let her take Lucien outside. The creature was delighted by the air, the coldness of the snow, the blue sky, the open spaces. He had never seen the Neva, never touched the ice, never heard music played at the theater. Angela showed him the human world, and, in turn, he began to teach her what it meant to be ethereal. I cannot say if Angela had planned to seduce him from the beginning, but from the moment she saw him, there seemed to be no other course for my daughter. They fell in love before my eyes. Soon they were having an affair. And in 1978, after Angela returned to Paris, she gave birth to Lucien’s child.
Yeah, that’s the point of this entire book really—the retcon it so that Luca Cacciatore, Angela Valko’s husband, isn’t actually Evangeline’s dad anymore. Now it’s Lucien instead.
Also… I’d like to put in my two cents here and say… this entire plot development makes me incredibly uncomfortable. Maybe I’m being a prude, and you guys can feel free to call me out on that, but hear me out: Lucien was an incredibly sheltered individual. He apparently never went outside, never interacted with another human being, never even thought about romantic relationships (and Your Mileage May Vary on whether that makes Katya a good mother or more like Mother Gothel ). And Angela Valko, after meeting this naïve young angel who never interacted with a woman other than his mother, is implied to have immediately decided to have sex with him.
After Valko mentions the chemical wedding crap, Vera asks if Angela “felt” it too, and Valko says he believes she did—meaning that he thinks his daughter took one look at this person, an angelic being who was astounded at looking at a human woman who was not his (foster) mother and said, “Yeah, I’m going to fuck that guy.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into it (and again, feel free to call me out on this), but Valko’s description makes Lucien sound like a child (at least mentally), and with that context in mind, it is downright disturbing that Angela wanted to sleep with him from the get-go. Here it’s kind of described as if Angela really loved Lucien, but Valko acknowledges the possibility that she intended to have sex with him from the start; and given what’s been said about the chemical wedding and alchemical child and what not (it being her life’s work or something), it’s not out of the question that she only wanted to sleep with Lucien to create Evangeline, a child with stronger angel genes who would grow up to be a powerful weapon to be used against the Nephilim.
Yeah, Angela Valko is the woman who is said to have believed her work brought her closer to God. Apparently seducing naïve sheltered children into having kids to manipulate for your own ends brings you closer to God in her book.
This is the point when I began to realize how awful this book actually was. Remember what I said about Rasputin, the Russian Revolution, the Book of Medicines, the Enochian, the history, the Flood, and Noah? How none of it has fuck all to do with the ending of the book? Well here ya go. Because right now, the Plot is about this. The entire book is about the fact that Evangeline’s mother had sex with an angel in order to make a child to fulfill some alchemical child wedding crap or to use as a weapon. This book barely continues the story at all; no, the entire point is of a good chunk of the story was to lead us here, where we find out that Lucien is Evangeline’s father.
Dear Lord this book sucks.
Vera asks if there are any photos or videos of Lucien lying around. Valko (and Trussoni) answers as dramatically as possible.
“There is no need for photos or videos,” Valko said, crossing his arms and meeting Vera’s eye. “Lucien is with us.”
And with that, we end the chapter. Next chapter doesn’t deal with Lucien though, as we get back to the Torture Train and the other group of Protagonists. But we’re done for today, because I can’t take much more of this.
1 Don’t give me that look. I’m not the one who made up this crap! Seriously, go back to my sporking Chapter 13 if you don’t believe me!
2 Which probably knocks out being tall, blond-haired or blue-eyed, because those things in combination would all stick out like sore thumbs in the ancient Middle East.