Chapter Twelve – The Shadow Monsters

Rah is very sad. He cries about it to his adopted mother, Nona, who tells him that Zyn may have survived just fine:

“Let’s face it, Rah, he is just too darn nasty to die,” Nona said, trying to reassure him (page 214).

Let’s not forget this is her SON she’s talking about. Not the forgiving type, I take it.

Rah thinks about how he can figure out if they’re all alive and eventually sends the hawk, Seymour, to check them out. Seymour does so. Turns out all the Nevils and Zyn washed up on the island and are alive. Anyway, they find Shadow Monsters there. That only appear when it’s light out and follow them around. It’s their shadows, obviously, which makes me wonder why they are all afraid of their shadows considering that there has been sunlight on Aura for twenty-two years now.

Eventually it gets dark and the Nevils gather up the little bits of seaweed and grass that are around and eat it, even though it gives them indigestion.

Seymour winged his home where Rah and the Muggles were anxiously awaiting his return. After he had described the events in detail, Rah felt more at ease (page 220).

Because they’re stranded on a tiny island with nothing to eat?

Chapter Thirteen – Feast or Famine

Seven years have passed. Oh yeah…you thought that this book would be about the good, kind-hearted Rah organizing a rescue party and saving his brother from certain death by starvation on the island he was trapped on, and then Zyn finally realizes what a good, kind-hearted guy Rah is and the brothers make up and live happily ever after? Nope. Rah leaves his brother there to rot. He doesn’t even try contacting him. He doesn’t even send Seymour to the island with a proposal of truce. What an asshole. And that’s a really odd moral for this book to have. If someone isn’t nice to you and then falls into a well, kids, don’t pull him out, because he deserves it. If he wasn’t a bad person he wouldn’t have been standing near a well in the first place.

Zyn’s skin is gray and diseased. Evil, you know. He sticks his hand into his only pocket and feels the dirt and grit in it and then feels a stone. He pulls it out and realizes it’s the worry stone that Golda gave him long ago. Seriously, Stouffer? You expect us to buy that he hasn’t stuck a hand in his only pocket in seven years? How stupid do you think we are?

This next scene I find heartbreaking, and serves to make me even more pissed off at Stouffer. It reminds me of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Smeagol has a moment that he almost regains his humanity, and then it’s ruined by Sam speaking harshly to him.

As he rubbed his thumb across the indentation in the center of this magical keepsake, a momentary smile spread across his sad face. The smile disappeared quickly, however, replaced by the furrowed brow of an angry young man (page 222).

This is terrible because it proves that beneath Zyn’s harsh exterior, there is still remnants of who he used to be and his humanity. Which means that if someone coughRahcough would actually DO something and try to reach out to him, that humanity might come back and Zyn could be saved. Instead, nothing.

The Nevils want to get off the island. I think they might have brought it up before seven years had passed, but that’s just me. Zyn says it’s impossible and heads out for a walk in the dark. Yeah, it’s been seven years and they’re still afraid of their shadows. Seven years of nothing bad happening and you’d think they realize that the ‘shadow monsters’ aren’t actually monsters.

You know, how can they even call them Shadow Monsters unless they had a concept of what the word ‘shadow’ means?

Anyway, Zyn stumbles across a giant clamshell. He calls the Nevils over and they find four more. Afterwards, Zyn explains his plan. They’ll gather the Bordonian moss that grows in their cave (the stuff that Rah is allergic too) and ride in their clamshells back to Aura. They’ll knock Rah out and take him back to the island and leave him on a pile of the moss so he will sleep forever. Then Zyn will be able to rule Aura.

…I’m not sure why Zyn didn’t have this plan before. Or why they need to take Rah back to the island instead of just killing him or dumping him inside a hollow log. Sounds too complicated.

They get back to Aura and all of the Nevils are still obedient to Zyn, for some reason. Personally, I would have bolted the second his back was turn, but that’s just me.

Zyn sends some of them to go gather baskets of food. He and a Nevil sneak into Rah’s room, knock him out with the moss, and wrap him up inside a blanket. They head back to the beach and load Rah up – and, get this…every single Nevil then is willing to go BACK TO THE ISLAND. I’m dead serious. This place has been their personal hell, they’ve been sleeping on hard rocks, hiding inside during the day, and they’re willing to go back. Stouffer attempts to handwave it by stating that they can return anytime they want to get more food, but it’s already been clearly established that the sea is a bit tricky.

Chapter Fourteen – A Winged Investigation

The next day the Muggles wake up and find Rah missing. Yur is informed. Yes, he’s still alive. He was ninety-six at the beginning of the book, and it’s been roughly 29 years, so he’s 125 years old. The radiation. It prolongs life. Or maybe Stouffer is taking another page from Tolkien with the long life span of her vertically challenged creations.

Everyone is horrified but just then Deus Ex Seymour the hawk shows up and explains that he was out flying and he saw the Nevils landing on the island and they had Rah. Everyone is horrified. Yur says they’ll have to rescue him and gets out the Book of Ancient Tales to find information on how to construct sea-worthy rafts. So yes, they did have the available technology to rescue Zyn if they wanted to.

They build some rafts and make some lanterns with fireflies, and gather around for a game plan. Yur explains that their only weapon is the Nevils’ fear of the shadow monsters. Which don’t exist. Which they would know if they had paid attention to his reading of the Book of Ancient Tales. Good god, could this possibly be more contrived? Also, there’s another inconsistency, as Stouffer specifically stated earlier that Zyn was intelligent and a fast learner.

Chapter Fifteen – The Lantern Lights

The Muggles arrive at the island and start hurling lanterns of fireflies towards the shore, causing mass firefly slaughter. The Nevils wake up and are terrified and run around screaming like little bitches. The Muggles run in, past the Nevils who don’t even notice them, find Rah, carry him back to the raft, and take off. Rah revives halfway back.

After they land on Aura, the Muggles explain their ingenious plan: they left the lanterns on the island. The Nevils will be too afraid to come out because they fear the Shadow Monsters, and as such, they’ll be trapped inside the cave forever!

Well, at least for about forty-eight hours, until the last of the fireflies die. So yeah, nothing will actually be accomplished. Stouffer ignores this fact.

Rah worries that his brother will starve to death.

With unwavering compassion, Rah requested that Seymour make daily deliveries of food (page 252).

BULLSHIT. If you had any compassion, you wouldn’t have left your brother there for seven years.

Stouffer wraps up by stating that even today, many years later, you can still see the lanterns reflecting against the night sky. I’m not certain she has any idea of how fireflies actually work. In fact, I’m positive that she doesn’t. And then she wraps the book up with this:

So, each time darkness falls upon the daylight, and you look up and see the stars twinkling in the distance, you will know that Rah is asleep, and all around him is at peace! (page 252)

This doesn’t make any sense. Rah doesn’t necessarily sleep every hour of the night. And even if he did, that doesn’t mean there is going to be peace in the land. Also, this has nothing to do with the rest of the book.

I can’t finish this without mentioning the Character Glossary in the back of the book, which is mostly really boring with a few gems. Like the entry for Chops, which, after a brief description that is taken directly from the book, has this:

His given name is Peter (see Peter) a Muggle/Nevil (page 256).

Sweet, more information on the Peter entry. We turn a few pages to where it is, and:

PETER, see Chops (page 261).

That’s the entire entry.

Then there’s this one:

PLUCK, Keeper of the Gardens. He is a fruit tree specialist, married to Pick, father of Actavia (see Pick) (page 262).

There’s no entry for Pick.

Under Rah’s entry, Stouffer describes him. In-depth:

Richly tanned skin, long slender fingers, short groomed nails, walks confidently, muscular, violet blue eyes, 6’2” tall, weighs 175 lbs., soft spoken, compassionate, very intelligent (page 262).

I can honestly say that I have never read a character glossary that noted that someone’s fingernails were well groomed.

Finally, under Yur’s entry Stouffer mentions that he’s ninety-eight. He was ninety-six at the start of the series and a hundred and twenty-five at the end.

There are a number of misspelled words and typos throughout the glossary, but nothing really worth mentioning.

And wow. That’s the entire book. It’s difficult to sum up just how bad this book is. Wait. No it’s not. It’s a festering piece of shit. It’s downright terrible. Things are introduced but never expanded upon (such as the chest Zyn receives), there’s really no characterization to speak of, and the ‘plot’, if you can call it such a thing, is tacked on to the end of the book like a bad Twilight clone. The book is riddled with inconsistencies, typos, continuity errors, and scientific errors. And yes, I know this is a children’s book, and I shouldn’t be so hard on it, but I’m not. There were plenty of things that I skipped over and left out that I could have righteously bitched about but didn’t because…well, I didn’t really have the patience or desire to.

Overall, though, I think the worst part of this book is how Stouffer chose to handle the entire conflict. Rah comes across as a sociopathic bastard, and the underlying moral running through the book is that if someone does something bad, they should be shunned and left to their own devices. And this really wouldn’t have been hard to overcome. Insert a scene or two of Rah coming to the island and trying to rescue them, and Zyn drives him away by throwing rocks or something. You humanize Rah, demonize Zyn, boom, problem solved.

Interestingly, (considering this book was only published because of a plagiarism lawsuit), as I read through it I got a lot of The Hobbit vibes. The strongest is the opening chapters where the narrator talks directly to the reader and explains Muggle history and what they look like, which is very the opening chapter of The Hobbit. Do I think N.K. Stouffer plagiarized The Hobbit? Well, I think it’s a lot more likely than J.K. Rowling plagiarizing N.K. Stouffer. The only thing these books have in common, and I do mean the only thing, is they both use the word “Muggle”. That’s it. End of story.

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Comment

  1. Licht on 28 October 2010, 06:59 said:

    What. The. Hell. Was that woman thinking?!

    I would really like to know what was on her mind when she wrote this… book. Is this woman batshit insane or does she just hate children that much? Or is she a troll?

  2. TakuGifian on 28 October 2010, 08:30 said:

    Indexers are highly-paid professionals respected even within the editing industry, for a reason. (Fun fact: they’re treated with the same kind of awe by regular editors as the Dept. of Mysteries researchers are treated by regular Ministry of Magic employees.)

    Wait, is this story finished? Completely?

    … What an anticlimax.

    Also, that fairytale-style Moral Of The Story ending is completely out of place, makes little sense and is COMPLETELY EFFING INSANE. Unless the Muggle actually live in groud-zero Chernobyl, there’s no possible way that this could even be imaginable.

    There is NO reason that Stouffer should have written or published this at all, and she’s completely insane if she thinks anyone would actually want to infringe on her copyrights in order to ride on her coat-tails.

  3. dragonarya on 28 October 2010, 09:28 said:

    What, over already?
    Well, I suppose that’s a good thing.
    grabs brain bleach

  4. swenson on 28 October 2010, 10:56 said:

    …that’s it?! Wow. Way to spend forever going on about nothing, and then spend two seconds with the actual story. Congratulations, Ms. Stouffer (or is it Mrs.?), for wasting trees that had to be cut down to make paper to print your book on.

    This only serves to confirm my suggestion that the book really doesn’t need to be any longer than a picture book. And if it had been just that, I can see it—don’t kill me here—actually being relatively decent. The completely random “that’s where stars come from” bit at the end implies the whole thing was supposed to be a legend about stars, so if you focused on that, some of the impossibilities could be handwaved (like the fireflies) and the rather childish/cliched elements (Lemonade Lake? Really?) would be understandable. Of course, it’d still take some rewriting (probably would want to change the nuclear war to just plain war, for simplicity’s sake, get rid of the more wallbanger-y moments, and focus just on Rah and Zyn’s story instead of all the pointless other stuff), but a cute little story about the Muggles and the children they adopt would probably be OK.

    Except no, we can’t have that, because that would be the smart thing to do. So instead we have a too-decompressed story filled with useless details and inconsistencies and some disturbing elements if you so much as think twice about it. Seriously, what was this woman thinking?!

  5. Gray Falcon on 28 October 2010, 11:22 said:

    Well, if you want to read something more entertaining and satisfying, here’s something:

    Stouffer v. Rowling Summary Judgment Decision, Sept. 17, 2002

    It’s the judgment that was ultimately handed down to Stouffer after her poor attempt at a lawsuit. Particularly interesting are Ms. Stouffer’s attempts at nudging the evidence in her favor.

    There seems to be an interesting pattern emerging with her. In her book, Rah is hailed as a hero for the brave act of showing up, creates a waterwheel by virtue of being inexplicably superior to the Muggles, does nothing to help his estranged brother, and ultimate defeats a man scared by his own shadows. Somehow, we’re supposed to think he’s a great hero because he’s Rah and he’s so wonderful, with having to do anything mundane such as work at anything or care for others. Look familiar?

  6. Gray Falcon on 28 October 2010, 11:54 said:

    Correction, I meant without having to do anything mundane such as work at anything or care for others.

  7. Danielle on 28 October 2010, 12:37 said:

    WHAT? That’s IT? That’s how Stouffer chose to end her piece of cow dung “lit-ra-chur?”

    Man, I’m sorry you had to go through that. I mean, I know it was your choice and all, but that book should be sorry it even exists. Now…. grabs bottles and martini glass Would you prefer brain bleach, vodka or both?

  8. Chey on 28 October 2010, 18:56 said:

    …That’s how it ends?! WTF?!

    So…what exactly is the moral here? Because I don’t see one. At all. Rah is a jerkass and Zyn I actually feel sorry for. He screwed up, sure, but if anyone had bothered to reach out to him, things might have been different. The Muggles are all also jerkasses. Nobody at all even considered suggesting they try to save their lost breathren? Surely Zyn’s followers had families, right? If everyone wants to be a jerk and not help Zyn, okay I guess, but maybe Peter’s parents or siblings might want to save HIM? And yet NOBODY CARED ABOUT ANY OF THEM FOR SEVENAND SOMEHOW RAH IS THE GOOD GUY— I DON’T EVEN— …ARRAGHHH.

    I am flabbergasted.

  9. bs_08 on 28 October 2010, 19:30 said:

    wow, everyone already expressed my outrage better than me! i am left speechless. This woman is either batshit insane or the ultimate troll. Either way she needs a swift kick in the c*nt!

  10. Kytescall on 28 October 2010, 19:50 said:

    What a masterpiece. This will go down in history as one of the greats. There’s so much happening that it’s difficult to wrap my head around it. Totally blown away. It will be shelved along side literary classics such as Crime and Punishment, Ulysses and Maradonia and the Seven Bridges.

    I’d love to continue singing its praises but the orderly just showed up with my meds.

  11. Morvius on 29 October 2010, 06:55 said:

    A marvelous piece of literature. This book is a timeless classic which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Filled with memorable characters and jaw-dropping locales, this book is one not to be missed. Bravo Ms. Stofu!

  12. Klutor the Ninth on 29 October 2010, 07:52 said:

    This…. this is some sick, sick sh*t.

    Designated hero FTW, I guess.
    Also, Chey said it best:

    So…what exactly is the moral here? Because I don’t see one. At all. Rah is a jerkass and Zyn I actually feel sorry for. He screwed up, sure, but if anyone had bothered to reach out to him, things might have been different. The Muggles are all also jerkasses. Nobody at all even considered suggesting they try to save their lost breathren? Surely Zyn’s followers had families, right? If everyone wants to be a jerk and not help Zyn, okay I guess, but maybe Peter’s parents or siblings might want to save HIM? And yet NOBODY CARED ABOUT ANY OF THEM FOR SEVEN— AND SOMEHOW RAH IS THE GOOD GUY— I DON’T EVEN— …ARRAGHHH.

    Unbelievable. Rorschach, you have my sympathy. I agree with Danielle – you need a stiff drink.

  13. Lady Nobody on 29 October 2010, 09:47 said:

    Great spork. The strangest thing is that I would actually feel sorry for Zyn, if he wasn’t such an idiot. And I think I must be missing something here, because how on earth does killing Rah mean that Zyn would be able to rule Aura? I know their mother was supposed to be royal, but even so…nah, I think I will not even bother to fry brain cells on this subject.

    I also agree with everyone who was surprised by the book being over already. The ending came out of the blue, not that a story like this deserved to be any longer. Still…Stouffer, you suck!

  14. Zooty on 2 November 2010, 00:51 said:

    For some humour, here’s a great amazon review :P One warm, summer evening, I was perusing this novel for a bit of summer reading. I did not know that I would stumble upon the greatest novel to ever be produced in the United States of America: The Legend of Rah and the Muggles. I have never been moved so much by any novel I have ever read. My life has never been the same since it was made. Nor has the world. Nor HISTORY! Nor anything ever created by mankind! One may call Catcher in the Rye a classic, but they probably have not read this brilliant work of fiction. The muggles are a joyous people, that bring tears to my eyes every time they have a moment of self discovery. In conclusion, this is an incredibly work of fiction, that all must read to fully appreciate the life given to them by the great Gods. The incredibly large print and margins were easy on the eyes. The custom artwork by H.K Stouffer herself is brilliant, and is a must have for any art collector’s collection. The baby-like muggles are brought to life in these 12 pages of beauty! All must read this novel. It makes Mark Twain look like a chimpanzee with a stick to create literature with, while Mrs. Stouffer uses a gold quill, dipped in the feces of the Gods themselves. Do the WORLD a favour and read this wonderful book. You will be changed for life, and for the better.

  15. Prince o' Tea on 3 April 2011, 21:17 said:

    I think Golda is the biggest asshole in this book, simply for her legendary line: “All of Zyn’s problems belong to him alone.” While Rah is a complete and utter waste of organs, at least he had the fleeting notion of stopping his brother’s downward spiral, only to be pooh poohed by his adopted grandmother. What a bitch. It also makes the scene where Zyn and the worry stone even sadder.

    Seriously Rah and those harelipped little mutant midget freaks seem like a cult. If you want to survive in Muggleland, you have to join their lobotomized utopia, and anyone who dares buck the status quo will be shunned and reviled for ever by them. Even Gary Stu Bishie Rah will be told by the resident munchkin matron to not lift a finger to help.

    Oh well. I’ll just imagine the slutty countess and her boytoy were incinerated by an atom bomb, before they could get any nookie. Small favors. Seriously, I doubt her husband not dying would have stopped her from trying to boink the help.

  16. BettyCross on 15 April 2011, 10:10 said:

    About 40 people have posted reviews of this piece of tedium on Amazon, all scathing. So it may have sold as many as 40 copies at some point. I hope Amazon was selling at a discount.

  17. Prince O' Tea on 23 April 2011, 06:05 said:

    You have to see the cover of the Larry Potter books. The author shamelessly repackaged them so they looked as much like the Harry Potter books as possible.

  18. VikingBoyBilly on 23 May 2011, 23:50 said:

    I got a huge Lucas and Claus vibe from Rah and Zyn. Have any of you guys played Mother 3? I know you guys are all saying this is a horrible book, but Stouffer succeeded at making me feel sad for these two brothers, just like the tragic ending for Lucas and Claus.

    And, nobody pointed this out, but this last line here:
    So, each time darkness falls upon the daylight, and you look up and see the stars twinkling in the distance, you will know that Rah is asleep, and all around him is at peace! (page 252)

    This is speaking to us, the reader, in the present day. We are to surmise that Rah’s fireflies have become the stars we see every night.
    In other words, it suggests this whole story took place far in the past.

    Now, wasn’t the whole nuclear holocaust thing and the 500-years of muggle-mutation beating us over the head that this story takes place in THE FUTURE?????

    Maybe it’s intended to be some clever twist that this story actually happened in prehistoric times and the radiation is all gone now, but I seriously doubt it (both for the fact that I don’t give the author the credit and because it doesn’t make logical sense).