The All Knowing:
We are informed Jafar’s body was lost and was never recovered. He was hit by the most “hanis” [sic] which I guess is intended to be “heinous” of all the spells of damnation.
It sends its victim into an eternal purgatory where every second lasts a hundred Zapatos and each breath is a thousand knives into every inch of the soul and being of the slaughtered (loc. 3957).
That’s dark. Yet, oddly fitting.
Harlow has been resting.
In this time she found Jafar and her children gone and she was horrified (loc. 3963).
When I returned, I found my children and all others gone. I was aware of all the death in the valley of battle. I turned back to that death, desperate for my children whom I barely knew (loc. 3964).
Why would you have the narrator tell us that she is horrified literally once sentence before you show us that she’s horrified?
She isn’t horrified for long, though, because Aurora comes running up, slathered in mud but otherwise remarkably unhurt for being a small child in the midst of a warzone. Harlow hugs her and looks for Judah. Eventually she spots him, standing a ways away, as the ground cracks around him. She goes running for him but the ground cracks and water sprays out, creating a river between them. Aurora assures Harlow not to worry, that he’ll be fine. Harlow accepts this, for reasons that are unclear, and then tells Aurora to run and hide. Um. That seems kind’ve irresponsible, especially since her kids have just demonstrated they’re not doing a good job at staying out of harm’s way.
Harlow runs towards “the beam of light that shone down from the crimson Luman Venir”. It’s truly astonishing how freely she can wander around in the middle of a war zone without encountering any enemies and not having to fight her way through enemy ranks and shit.
Darian is still babbling like a psychopath trying to speak baby. Then he sees Harlow approaching and thinks about how pretty she is. She calls his name, but he thinks “Darian is dead.”
Harlow pleads with Darian to stop whatever he is doing, that she always trusted him, and that he was her best friend.
He smiled and I did see, for one moment, the Darian I once knew behind the hatred and evil. Then I felt his hand touch my stomach. He stroked my no longer rounded belly. With only his bare hand, he stabbed through it, penetrating it completely so that it reached out the other side (loc. 4023).
Darian pulls his hand back out, probably with an ominous slurping sound, and Harlow collapses to the ground with her lungs slowly filling up with blood, which would make a lot more sense of she’d been stabbed in the chest rather than having a hole punched through her belly. But after a moment Harlow staggers to her feet, which is pretty impressive considering she has a fist-sized hole going clear through her body. She grabs Darian.
I pulled him close and held him an embrace that could be shared only by a kin of blood (loc. 4032).
They share memories, including a vision of their mother, who explains that Harlow is Darian’s sister, and then dies. This breaks the spell, Darian begins smoking and screaming in pain as Avery-Oliver abandons his body in a dark shadow. You know, it just occurred to me, but why would someone who is possessed by the most evil creature that ever existed talk in baby-talk? Wouldn’t it make more sense to, I dunno, speak in Black Speech, or have every word coming forth from his mouth echo like the teeth of a shattered skull scraping across Death’s chalkboard? Anyway:
The shadow exploded into a source of light that destroyed the demons of the battle field. The mortally wounded became miraculously healed (loc. 4040).
That’s awfully convenient. Except that for some reason, Harlow isn’t healed, which doesn’t make sense. Instead, she dies.
Darian is slightly upset that he was possessed by a demon and just murdered his sister. Before he can get too deep into angst Xanthippe and the other Angels come running up. Darian recognizes them even though he hasn’t met them before and would have no idea what their names are or whether he can trust them. Xanthippe explains that he needs to destroy the book ASAP because nobody else can.
“What . . . what must I do?” I asked, removing the heavy book from my back.
Well,” Xanthippe said uneasily. “We assumed that you would know.” (loc. 4057)
Great planning, genius.
Luckily, Darian thinks of something. He flips through the book until he finds a spell of destruction, and then, in a moment of high tension, it happens:
I licked my dry lips and inhaled deeply. “Equin Nerr,” I wailed, ignoring the pain in my gut. Fel Nerr Zu San Vech dropped from my hands. The demonic book sputtered and spit as its pages burned with the fire of souls and evil until not even ash remained (loc. 4063).
Nice, it only took a simple two-word spell to destroy the book of penultimate evil! It is a little odd that “equin nerr” translates to “burning book” which seems kind’ve odd to be labeled as a spell of destruction, but I’m not a magician so what do I know?
He then turns his focus back to Harlow’s corpse and we get several paragraphs of intense angst.
“Hurry, we might be able to save her if we work fast enough!” I yelled to the lot of people around (loc. 4078).
Oh wait, they’re actually trying to save Harlow. You’d think they would have done that previously, before pausing to have a discussion about how to destroy the book, then watching Darian destroy the book, then pausing to let Darian angst over his sister’s blood-soaked corpse. You know, before oxygen deprivation turns to person into a vegetable?
They slap an oxygen mask on and get to work.
The gaping hole in her stomach wasn’t helping though (loc. 4082).
We slaved. All of us. Sewing and clotting and trying everything. But in the end, she was too far gone, and even Media’s seemingly magical heart starters were ineffective.
We ended up burying her in the feild of royals that sat right behind the large castle of the Queendom (loc. 4082).
I’m not a huge fan of Breeanna’s use of segues in this book. Transitioning from attempts to restart the heart into the burial scene is a little sudden and glosses over some moments that would contain some dramatic character development.
Harlow is given a nice casket and a headstone that says R.I.P. on it and there are several annoying typos.
Somehow, I thought she might acutaly. Rest in peace. Silly me (loc. 4100).
I’ll file that one under “obvious foreshadowing”.
“Something’s wrong Xanthippe,” I had exclaimed at the Feast of Remembrance in honor of the battles fought to protect the earth (loc. 4102).
Darian’s the king now, and it’s not good to be the king, because he still has a lot of angst in his life. Because his sister is dead. Or… is she?
“I can feel her life force. I know she’s alive.” The Angels regarded it as my refusal to believe that my sister was gone and in part I suppose it was (loc. 4104).
Okay, so you have a civilization where magic is around and is perfectly normal, and a werewolf who DIED and was RAISED FROM THE MOTHERFUCKING DEAD…you’d think that someone might give Darian’s concerns a little bit of credence.
But they don’t.