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Jealous Haters Book Club: Apolonia, Chapter 20

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When last we met, Hamech had arrived and was blasting the college all to hell. Dr. Z had just headed directly into danger and probably died (the way he should have long ago, when the Hero’s Journey demanded it), and everyone is in the big government warehouse.

 There were only two things left to do, and I had no idea how to accomplish either of them. Hamech’s ship was moving slowly, but it was headed straight for the warehouse. We still weren’t sure where the specimen was, if Tennison had reactivated the parasites, or if Brahmberger was being held captive somewhere inside the facility.

That’s three things, and none of them are things they have to do. They’re just things that are happening.

Benji needs to find his papa:

“Frank Reynolds!” he screamed.

Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. A quote at the bottom reads: "Hi, ladies. I'm Frack."

A scientist type guy grabs Benji. They know each other.

Sebastian shook his head, pushing his broken glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I haven’t seen him since we were forced here. Rendlesham said you betrayed us, but Frank didn’t believe it. None of us believed it. And we were right. You did it. You brought us the girl.”

Benji asks about the rock.

“The rock still hasn’t shown activity, but the girl,” he said, glancing at me, “knowing her past resilience, we believe she could stimulate them. Before, they had reacted immediately to the aliens. In theory, they’re more attracted to an extraordinarily strong host.” He stood up tall, clearly proud of Benji. “We’ve just been waiting for you to complete the objective, sir.”

It’s a good thing Benji already admitted to Rory that he was involved in the Majestic, otherwise this would give her a reason to distrust him.

All the breath left my lungs. Cy was right. Benji wasn’t just a college kid who happened to be going to the right college at the right time. He wan’t just watching over me for his father. Benji was one of the twelve. He was Majestic.

Look, there are only so many times you can pull the big, dramatic reveal. We have passed that point. It’s become an endless cycle of Rory having her suspicions confirmed, Benji declaring his undying love, Rory being sure she can trust him, Rory having her suspicions confirmed, Benji declaring his undying love, Rory being sure she can trust him, Rory having her suspicions confirmed…

You get where I’m going with that.

At this point all this, “Oh, the betrayal!” nonsense is doing is making Rory look stupid. Not for trusting Benji, but for not realizing that if all of the stuff that has happened was a plan to get her to the Majestic, it was unnecessarily convoluted.

All of the things he proved capable of since the radio station weren’t learned just from his father. He was a soldier, and Ellie was right. I was his target and he had achieved his objective–to bring me to the warehouse.

Then why didn’t he just hand you over to Rendlesham at the ship? Why not let the soldiers who’d come after them at the radio station take you? If the plan was to get you to the warehouse, he’s had ample opportunity to do so without going on this days long caper.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I wish he would have just handed her over.

Sebastian asks Benji to help them escape:

Benji frowned and then walked over to the tall fence that surrounded the courtyard. He stood back, aimed, and shot at the large chain wrapped around the gate.

Wait, these are the government’s most brilliant scientists or whatever, and they couldn’t figure out how to get through a fence? 

Rory tries to run away from Benji:

“Rory, stop!”

Before Benji could say another word, I maneuvered myself out of his grasp and elbowed him in the stomach. He folded in half, and then I grabbed the top of his sweatshirt and yanked him to the ground, stepping on the back of his neck with one foot and on the wrist that held Bryn’s gun with the other.

“Please just listen!” Benji begged, his words garbled from his face being smashed against the iron catwalk. He pressed against the sole of my boot until he could look up at me. “I love you. That changed everything.”

We know! We already know because this has happened like twenty times already! If this is where the big reveal was going to happen, it needed to be here! Not forty times per chapter every chapter since chapter twelve!

He’d lied to me before. He was probably lying now.

Of course he is. He got you to the warehouse, and instead of letting his sister take you to the science goons, he called her a bitch and threatened her with violence. His sister. But you’re right, nothing he’s done up until this point could possibly mean he’s in any way on your side.

“Don’t be stupid, Benji. Stand up slowly. It would be a shame to kill you with your sister’s gun.”

In case you were wondering, you’re supposed to be feeling betrayed and heartbroken on Rory’s behalf. Your heart should be pounding with excitement and rage at this sudden, shocking twist. The only reason that it isn’t is that you’ve seen this entire scenario play out already like eighty times.

Rory takes Benji back to the others, where Apolonia asks if Benji has been infected with the parasite.

“I heard him,” I said, my voice breaking. “He’s Majestic. He lied to us. He was bringing me here to be a test subject, to infect me with the parasite.”

Bryn laughed once without humor. Her eyes were red, blotchy, and moist. She was sitting on the floor, tethered to a desk with a phone cord. “You’re not on anyone’s side, are you?” she said to her brother.

So, here we have a member of this operation saying that he’s not on their side, but that and all the other stuff he’s done to fuck up the Majestic’s plan doesn’t prove anything.

Rory tells the rest of them that Hamech’s ship is headed toward the warehouse. Tsavi suggests they get to the roof.

“The specimen is being held between here and the only roof access. Soldiers will be there, guarding it,” Benji said.

You know, Benji. The one who betrayed them and shit. That Benji. Is telling them where the specimen is. That guy.

Bryn watched her brother, incredulous and sad. She held her bound hands in front of her, resting her elbows on her knees. Placing her cheek against her wrists, she shook her head. “You’re killing us all over a misfit girl who thinks you’re a lying piece of shit.”

So, Bry, Benji’s sister, who knew he was bringing Rory in when we met her in the last chapter, believes that her brother has betrayed the Majestic. Isn’t that kind of, I don’t know, proof or something that he might actually be on Rory’s side?

Her words stung. I knew she believed them, but that just meant she wasn’t in on Benji’s plan.

Which plan? The plan where he did everything he could–including killing soldiers who were on his side–to help you escape the Majestic? Also, at no point was it Benji’s plan to go to the warehouse. That was your plan, Rory. You were the one who suggested it.

“Rory, go with Apolonia and Tsavi. Show them the way to the roof. I’ll keep working on communications,” Cy said. “Try not to kill anyone,” he said to Apolonia.

Why, has she reached her quota? Is she on overtime now? Is she getting paid double-time-and-a-half because it’s a holiday or something?

Apolonia uses a contraction in a sentence, and Rory tells her she sounds “normal”, because apparently people who don’t speak English natively and therefore struggle with contractions aren’t normal.

“Don’t send her up there, Cyrus,” Benji warned.

Cy didn’t look at Benji but back at the control panel. “Quiet.”

“You’re going to get her killed,” Benji said, yanking on the cords. “Keep her here with you. Let the warrior princess and her BFF go upstairs to flag down the fire king. They don’t need Rory’s help.”

This definitely sounds like a guy who wants to hand Rory over to the Majestic. Just listen to the way he’s all, “Don’t let her go up there,” and “you’re going to get her killed.”

Benji looked at me, determined. “Don’t go, Rory. There are soldiers up there. You’ll be walking into a trap.”

I mean, he’s even telling her that if she goes, they’re going to get her. What kind of evil monster does that? He’s clearly not on her side at all.

“There are worse things than soldiers, Rory. Please. Don’t. Go.” A deep line formed between his brows. His wrists were white, the skin straining against the cord. He was leaning toward me, desperate.

“I don’t believe a damn word you say.” I tucked Bryn’s 9mm into the back of Cy’s jeans. “Shoot him in the kneecap if he tries to escape.”

Rory already knows that the scientists want to use her to activate the parasites that will destroy the entire Earth. He’s telling her not to go up to where the soldiers are guarding the rock. What could possibly be the purpose of that, in his “plan” that has thus far has only involved ferrying Rory around to places she or Cy or Apolonia have decided to go?

Rory, Tsavi, and Apolonia head off any way.

I peered around the corner. Jesus, Benji was right. We had walked into a hive. There were twice as many soldiers guarding the rock as there were in the courtyard.

Oh, so Benji told you the truth? He tried to keep you from getting to the place he was was supposed to bring you? Wow, it’s almost like he’s on your side. (Also, underlines are italics in the original text)

Apolonia nodded to an elevator shaft. “There is roof access.”

I shook my head. “I don’t do elevators.”


I peeked around the corner, in the direction of the soldiers. A room beyond the armed men was quarantined off by some type of clear plastic tarp, thin enough to see through.

clear plastic tarp, thin enough to see through. Glad you gave us such a detailed description there, Rory. I didn’t realize you could see through shit that was clear. I would have been super confused. Also, I think the word the author was looking for was “cordoned” not “quarantined”. You don’t quarantine something off. You just quarantine it. The separation is implied.

There were people definitely lying on the tables, but they weren’t scientists. They were people of all ages, including young children. One table was empty. Mine.

A blast rocked the facility, which only make the scientists work faster. The soldiers seemed to be nervous and antsy, but they remained at their post.

“Apolonia, there are children in there. I think the scientists are baiting the parasites with them. We have to get in there.”

A myriad of emotions scrolled across Apolonia’s face. Most times, she seemed heartless, but the thought of children inside clearly affected her. She nodded. “I will get you in, but if I go against Cyrus’s wishes by killing one or all of them, I will tell him you’re to blame.”

“Fair enough,” I said, positioning myself behind the lethal, beautiful being I was actually beginning to like.

Now there is a shocking twist. Rory, actually liking another woman? A woman whom she considers her romantic rival? I need to put this book down before I faint.

Tsavi reminds them that the ship is going to be there to blow the facility up any minute.

I was surprised she wasn’t okay with the new plan. Tsavi was usually the more compassionate one, but she was clearly afraid. She had seen what those parasites were capable of and didn’t want to be anywhere near them.

Well, Rory, you probably shouldn’t be anywhere near them, either. What with the whole thing where the scientist said that the parasites would wake up when they were exposed to you.

Apolonia and Tsavi take out most of the guards non-lethally, and then the three women all stand around congratulating each other.

In unison, we all responded to movement on the floor, but too late. A rifle was already raised, and a spray of bullets pierced through Tsavi’s torso. She cried out as Apolonia quickly removed the soldier’s head.

Tsavi is in bad shape, so she tells Apolonia to get Hamech’s attention. Then they can take Tsavi to the ship’s infirmary. But Tsavi dies first.

I stood, glaring back at the scientists in hazmat suits staring back at me, and then pushed through the plastic tarp.

Wait, so these scientists are just standing around watching all this happening? They see two alien killing machines taking everyone out, they just saw a guy get his head cut off, but they didn’t run away?

Rory tries to revive Rory, but  a scientist comes up and says the alien is obviously dead. All of the subjects on the tables have tubes draining their blood.

The boy had an open laceration in the same spot, and plastic tubing guided his blood to the rock.

How’s this working? Is the blood just spurting all over the rock? It’s a rock, it’s not like you can give it an IV and do a transfusion.

“You’re baiting the parasites?” I said, so angry I was shaking. “With children?”

How do the scientists know about the parasites? They didn’t have the rock until a few days ago. After months of research, Dr. Zorba didn’t even know about the parasites. And if they know what the parasites are, why would they want to wake them up? I suppose if this is a government organization they plan to weaponize the parasites somehow, but it doesn’t make sense, because once they’re released, they’ll eat everyone, not just enemies of the U.S.

The ginger smiled with approval. “Rory, nice to finally meet you.”

“Who are you?” I said, even angrier that he knew my name.

He chuckled. “I’m a little hurt you don’t recognize me. Either you’re not paying attention in class, or Byron Zorba is more jealous than I thought and doesn’t teach his students about the most esteemed biomedical engineer of all time.”

A picture of Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV awards, with the text "I'mma let you finish, but Dr. Tennison is the most esteemed biomedical engineer of all time. Of all time!"

Because it is the famed Dr. Tennison, who was responsible for getting the rock into Zorba’s hands, if I remember correctly. If don’t remember correctly, who gives a fuck, because this is the second to last chapter and we’re almost done. Let’s just get through this so we can pretend it never happened to us.

I grabbed a scalpel and lunged at Tennison, but a strong, thick hand grabbed my wrist.

“Easy now!” the man laughed.

I pulled away. It was Rendlesham, still wearing his ridiculous crocodile boots.

If you follow my Buffy recaps, you know that I’ve pointed out places where Buffy’s strength and skill seems to wax and wane dependent on the plot. This is exactly what’s happening here. We’ve seen Rory react with inhuman reflex in situations where she’s called upon to defend herself. But all it takes here is Rendlesham grabbing her wrist. She doesn’t flip him over or use the scalpel to stab him, the way she would have if he were a random dispensable character.

“Don’t be stupid, girl. You’re outnumbered and alone. We don’t want to hurt you,” Rendlesham said, forcing me to drop the scalpel.

Rory pulled away. How did he force her to drop the scalpel? Also, he doesn’t want to hurt her? When people say that, it’s definitely because they want to hurt you.

Rory tells them that Hammech is going to destroy the warehouse, so everything they’re doing is just going to get blown to bits, anyway and all of the data will be lost. I’m glad the data got brought up again. We haven’t talked about entering numbers or data in a long time.

“We know he’s here for her,” Tennison said, looking up. “She’s already gone to stop him. We’ve already seen signs of life in the specimen. By the time they come to get it–”

“It’ll already be too late?” I said.


“For them or for us?”

“Them, of course.”

I’m confused. Are they waking up the parasite specifically so they can kill these aliens? And if they are aware of the existence of the aliens who have basically fostered every single advance made by the ancient world, why would the government want to wipe them out? Why not work together and share technology, which the aliens are more than willing to do, and have been doing for centuries?

This is the second to last chapter in the book, and we still have no clear motivations for the villains.

Another scientist is revealed to be the missing Dr. Brahmberger, who is now in league with the Majestic. Rory tells him about the planets the parasites have destroyed.

“Your curiosity is going to result in the same end,” I said, looking to Brahmberger. “Do you want to be responsible for helping that thing eradicate our existence?”

“If it means I finally get the notoriety I deserve, I can live with that,” Tennison said, situating the girl’s arm closer to the rock.

The girl being referred to is, I assume, one of the people on the tables. It’s not clear. Also not clear is how Tennison thinks he’s going to be famous when every single member of the human race is dead, but okay, at least we have some motivation, I guess?

A photo of the 10th Doctor, with the words, "I'm sorry, not even the TARDIS can translate your stupidity"

Without missing a beat, I grabbed a pen out of his pocket and stabbed him in the eye.

This is exactly what I’m talking about. Rory couldn’t have had a page long conversation with the scientists if she’d fought against them in the first place. We needed something other than, “This scientist made me drop my only weapon” to make us believe that Rory had no chance to kill the bad guys when she’s been able to disarm trained soldiers and stuff before.

Rendlesham started to grab for me, but a gun cocked, and all movement stopped.

Benji was on the other side of the barrel.

Benji freed himself from the phone cord they’d tied him up with. Cy realized Benji was actually on their side (like we always knew all along, because you can see the strings when you’re watching False Tension Marionette Theatre).

The building shook again, this time more violently, nearly throwing us all to the floor. Benji grabbed for me and kept me from falling headfirst into one of the tables.

I pulled away from his grip.

“Rory,” he whispered, his eyebrows pulled together.

Since Cy–who never trusted Benji–now inexplicably trusts Benji, Rory can’t trust Benji. I feel like the author is the only one who’s really invested in keeping this love triangle alive. I know that as a reader, I want it to be over.

So, Benji sees that his dad is hooked up to the rock, too, and he and Bryn go nuts.

Bryn rounded the corner and rushed to her dad’s table, her wrists still bound together. “Daddy?” she shrieked. “What did you do?” she screamed at Brahmberger.

He began to cry and backed away, sitting on a nearby stood. “What I thought…what I thought was right in the name of science.”

You endangered the life of a high ranking CIA agent in a secret twelve-man organization for science? Why not use one of the soldiers? Anybody who’s expendable?

So, a bunch of stuff happens at this point that I can kind of sum up for you. Brahmberger uses a drug to reverse the coma that Daddy Reynolds is in. Rory cuts Bryn’s hands free. Bryn escapes with her dad, but they can’t move the other test subjects because they’re all in comas, too, and apparently this can’t be reversed by the drug they used on Daddy Reynolds. Brahmberger says he’s staying with the patients and going down with the ship, basically, and Rendlesham tries to escape, but Benji kneecaps him with the 9 mil. And out of nowhere, Tsavi, who was dead, starts to wake up.

When Cy had rested her back on the table, her arm had fallen onto the table the rock was perched on.

Thick red mucus was draining from the pores in the rock. At first, the substance appeared to be snaking up Tsavi’s arm and entering her wounds, but when I looked closer, I could see it was not the mucus moving, but small creatures inside the red trail. They were slug-like in texture and appearance, each one about as big as a human thumb.

Tennison gets around to pulling the pen out of his eye, and tells Brahmberger to get a sample.

“This is it,” Tennison said, his hand hover over Tsavi. “What we’ve been working toward for three years, Brahmberger.”

Okay, so now we have some kind of timeline of events. Let me see if I have this straight:

  • Tennison or Brahmberger or whoever find the rock.
  • They use Dr. Zorba to smuggle it out of Antarctica or whatever.
  • Dr. Zorba did a bunch of research on it.
  • Rory’s dad was involved somehow, getting his whole family killed,
  • Except for Rory, who may or may not be immortal.
  • The Majestic sent Benji and Ellie to keep an eye on Rory because they planned to use her impossible strength and/or immortality to reactivate the parasite.
  • The aliens send Cy to keep tabs on the rock and keep the parasites from waking up.

And that’s where we come into the story.

I guess my biggest question here is…why didn’t Tennison or Brahmberger or whoever just keep the goddamn rock in the first place?

So then this happens:

Brahmberger screamed, dropped the petri dish, and backed away as Tsavi rose from the table, her head, shoulders, and wrists twitching.

Then, the young boy began to twitch…and scream. Now that the parasites had found a familiar host, they were trying to embed themselves in the others. The humans.

So, the parasites are spreading, and they have to run. They have to get up to the roof before what’s happening to all the other people happens to them. But the stairway is blocked, and they have to take the elevator. Which Rory won’t do because:

“My parents were murdered, Benji. The men who killed them–they worked for Majestic. They got on the hotel elevator with us. They held a gun to my head and forced my parents to lead them to our room where they raped my best friend and tortured us before leaving us all to die. I haven’t been in an elevator since.”

The problem is that Tsavi shows up, all twitchy and dripping parasite goo, so Rory doesn’t have a choice. She doesn’t get on the elevator willingly, though. She just falls inside and Benji hits the button.

Okay, I get it. She has this thing about elevators because of her family getting murdered. But this is literally life or death. I get that phobias aren’t rational, but she’s be fine rushing headlong into the warehouse where the Majestic–the people who did all the stuff to her family–had tons and tons of men with guns at their disposal. She’s done this not once, but twice. Her inability to get into the elevator takes a big chunk out of all the growth she’s shown so far.

They get to the roof, where Cy and Apolonia are trying to activate some kind of energy source to signal Hamech.

An explosion set ablaze the field jut one mile to the east. I could feel the heat against my face. My hair blew into my eyes from the firestorm raging just a mile away.

Again, the distances in this book make no sense. Either the college is much further away from the warehouse than it originally seemed–making it unlikely that they saw the college get destroyed–or Hamech’s ship is incredibly slow.

They can’t get the energy source to work, so basically they’re all going to die.

“Will Hamech stop once he destroys the warehouse?” Benji asked. “Because if Hamech is going to to destroy Earth anyway, instead of just waiting here to die, we should all get a fighting chance.”

Uh, I think you got that backwards, Benji. If Hamech wasn’t going to destroy the Earth, then it would make sense to try for a fighting chance. If he’s going to destroy the Earth, why does it matter where you die?

Cy tells them that once Hamech destroys the warehouse and the parasites, he’ll leave.

Benji tensed and then held out his hand for mine. I took it, both of us staring up, waiting for our impending death.

Before when they needed to escape the warehouse, Benji and Cy jumped off the roof and made a run for it. It didn’t kill them then. Why can’t they do that now?

Oh, because this book is incredibly inconsistent.

But don’t worry, we still have time for Rory to critique Apolonia’s appearance:

Apolonia’s long hair blew in the wind, dull and dirty, like her skin and clothes.

Cy and Apolonia embrace, and he tells her that this isn’t the end, they’ll see each other again, presumably in the afterlife.

So, I was wrong when I said this was the second to last chapter. It’s actually the third to last chapter, but the next two are so short, I’ll just throw them into one recap. Then I can move on with my life, and we can forget this whole thing ever happened.

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  1. mydogspa

    Isn’t it amazing how an alien species is so advanced and powerful they can harness vast energies to travel faster than light, but when they get to their destination it takes so long to destroy a planet? Very convenient for our heroes.

    It’s like when aliens have space battles and they all leave their exterior ship lights on so the enemy can target them easily. And don’t forget the part where they all show up at the battle right-side up for both combatants.


    May 6, 2016
    • Vivacia K Ahwen
      Vivacia K Ahwen

      mydogspa: I am still recovering from *SIGNS*, which must’ve come out, like, 15 years ago. Remember that the super-smart-hi-tech aliens decided to take over a planet made of 71% water? When they’re allergic (???) to water? That movie.

      May 11, 2016
  2. MD-Tech

    Saw this posted and was happy for the first time this week. Had to post even before reading it. Damn I’ve now stopped just lurking here…

    May 6, 2016
    • Xebi

      Hee hee, I think you’re someone I introduced to this blog. If I say the way we met can be summarised by the word “beer” then you’ll know who I am…

      May 6, 2016
  3. Ilex

    Oh, dear. My first thought when I saw this in my in-box was, “Isn’t this awful book DONE yet?” I can’t believe you manage to keep reading this, Jenny!

    May 6, 2016
  4. I still have very little idea of what’s actually going on.

    May 6, 2016
    • Rene Steenkamp
      Rene Steenkamp

      Me too.

      May 7, 2016
  5. TellCosy

    Yeah, for real, I have NO IDEA what’s going on in this book. Even with your commentary, Jenny, I couldn’t keep up. It just seemed like there was a lot of things happening that…already happened? I just–


    What is happening?

    Also, seriously, Rory, you’d rather die than go on the elevator? Seriously that’s where we’re going with this in the middle of the end battle when everything is getting blown up and dead aliens are coming back to life and hunting you down and HNNNNGH

    May 6, 2016
  6. L

    I know this book makes no sense so it hardly matters but if Rory’s the one who “activates” the rock – shouldn’t she have “activated” it during the zillions of hours she was poking at it in the lab??
    This book hurts my brain. Jenny, you are a true hero for doing this recap.

    May 6, 2016
    • bewalsh7

      You bring up a freaking good point. If contact/being near the rock was all that was needed for the parasites to become active, they should’ve been activated a long time ago when Rory was “studying” it. As far as I can remember, the rock wasn’t being kept in any special conditions that would have prevented that, right?

      May 9, 2016
      • L

        I wish that had happened. Then they would have killed Rory and we wouldn’t have to read this book!

        May 9, 2016
  7. Xebi

    Apparently she didn’t know what it was then. She was just doing the measurements Dr Z told her to take or something. Apart from that, NOTHING here makes sense. Having read a lot of Jenny’s recaps before, I know for certain that she’s more than capable of following a story in a way that makes sense for readers. So it must be this stupid book. Was the author high when she planned the plot out, or has she just made it up as she goes along?

    Now I’m just picking at minor stuff, but it made me laugh when Mr Notorious Scientist suggested Dr Z didn’t teach about him just because Rory didn’t recognise him. Since when have teachers shown pictures of every scientist they teach about? I wouldn’t recognise half of my scientist heroes from photos.

    Also, it really annoys me how the characters seem to just sit around on standby until it’s their turn to be on-screen. WTF is it with that dude waiting until we’re looking at him again before he pulls the pen out of his damn eye?

    May 6, 2016
    • Oh, I’m not blaming Jenny. I followed the 50 recaps fine before I finally “read” the books myself. And as badly written as they are, at least the story made some kind of sense.

      This is definitely author error.

      Also, eye stuff is one of the things that I can’t handle AT ALL. Just ew. And the way it’s written here, like she stabbed him in the arm or something, so casual and stuff … Good grief. He didn’t even scream!

      May 6, 2016
      • Xebi

        These scenes kind of remind me of fight scenes from the really bad cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid.

        May 7, 2016
  8. Pax

    I am so confused about so much of this book. I can’t decide how much of it is down to the weird-as-hell plotting and how much is due to me trying to block it out.

    I feel like someone came up with half a story, then discovered the Flood in Halo (alien parasites who take over and mutate all complex life) and decided to throw them in too, along with the alien Covenant’s preferred method of dealing with humanity: ‘glassing’ planets, only in this case, rather than blasting it systematically with lasers, they’re doing it with fire. This book just feels like a lot of other people’s ideas.

    Hell, even Apolonia’s hair was ripped off from a passing character in The Fifth Element, if I remember rightly.

    May 6, 2016
  9. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    Okay, I don’t plan my stories out at all, never have, and they have all made way more sense than this heap. How the heck does this have so many good reviews on Amazon? Finding a pixie’s sewing needle in a giant’s haystack would be easier than trying to make sense of this, and there’s still the terrible characters, writing and everything else to deal with. How do people read it without their brains imploding?

    May 6, 2016
    • JennyTrout

      Fangirls. This author has an ARMY of fangirls. She wrote one of the first really popular “my love will change this abusive boy” New Adult romances.

      May 6, 2016
  10. Quint&Jessel

    I read somewhere that characters can only be as smart as their author. I think this book proves that this author is a dolt.

    May 6, 2016
    • Suzy

      Dolt. That’s a good word. We should use it more.

      May 6, 2016
    • Vivacia K Ahwen
      Vivacia K Ahwen

      Hmmn….Not sure on this one. I wrote two books following a formula which includes a heroine who’s “kind of ditsy but actually wicked SMAHHHHT!” and cringed at some of her internal monologue, never mind what she said to everyone she came in contact with. It’s not necessarily about characters/authors, but if there’s an audience a writer’s trying to draw, s/he will likely write for the audience. To be fair, I haven’t read the Beautiful Disaster series and shouldn’t be basing opinion on recaps…But am pretty sure that readers who find “Travis” an appealing character would think Rory kicks ass. If the author has found a formula that sells, well, fair play…Also, it’s cool to knock a book, but not call authors names.

      May 11, 2016
      • Anon

        Well, when authors engage in behavior that has nothing to do with their work and everything to do with the fact that they’re terrible people, there’s nothing wrong with calling them like we see them.

        It’s four years later, and this author has publicly indicated her support for a group of murderous racists.

        Four years prior to your post, McGuire left a trail of toxicity all over the internet then sicced the aforementioned fangirls on a negative reviewer in hopes that a good round of cyber bullying would make said reviewer see reason and either change or remove her honest opinion of the book. This review gets trolls and other drive by jerks to this day.
        There’s also the little matter of her gleeful celebration of another author’s misfortune.

        TL;DR, I feel pretty safe speaking my mind about this author, and so should everyone else. Jamie McGuire is a terrible writer and an even worse person. Full stop.

        May 23, 2020
  11. Katsuro Ricksand
    Katsuro Ricksand

    “There were people definitely lying on the tables.”

    This is a narrator who’s sure of what she’s saying. She’s not just saying there were people lying on the tables. She’s saying there were people DEFINITELY lying on the tables.

    May 6, 2016
  12. Melodie

    I cannot get over how much of a mess this book is. It makes little to no sense and reads like a ten year old making up stories with their dolls but can only deal with two at a time and kind of cycles through what everyone is doing which sounds epic to the child but convoluted to everyone else.

    May 6, 2016
    • Promise

      This. This is exactly what is happening here.

      I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your comment. Literally LOL’d (scared the cat that was on my lap at the time).

      May 12, 2016
  13. Gray

    This the first review that I didn’t have the energy to finish. I can’t even imagine going through the actual chapter. Maybe the author was just going for a word count, explaining the on-again-off-again-non-tensiony plotlines. Ugh.

    May 6, 2016
  14. Bryn

    I’m still incredibly bitter that Benji’s sister’s name is Bryn. Do you know how hard it is to find my name in print?!?

    I mean, there’s plenty of other things to be mad about here, too. But this is just the most immediate annoyance for me.

    May 6, 2016
  15. Laina

    “Rory tries to revive Rory, but a scientist comes up and says the alien is obviously dead. All of the subjects on the tables have tubes draining their blood.”


    Slug-like parasites… aliens… hey, I read Animorphs, too!

    I’m also confused. Confused, and so very, very tired.

    May 7, 2016
  16. Amatyultare

    The bad guys still have no coherent motivation, and even worse, *Rory still has zero curiosity about what the bad guys are up to*.

    If you want to have antagonists whose exact plan and purpose are obscure or confusing, fine. I’d love for the author to eventually explain it (doesn’t seem like that’s gonna happen in this book), but having a bad guy with murky motives can provide a reasonable sense of mystery….EXCEPT that our main character seems to spend zero time wondering, mulling over what she knows, or trying to puzzle it out. Even when she finds out that Majestic killed her family and best friend – the incident which defines her entire character – she’s just like, “oh, that makes sense, Tennison wanted to publish first” (?!?!?! I will never get over that “explanation) and goes back to worrying about which boy she likes better. It makes everyone in the story come off as inhuman – the bad guys because we’re never given a chance to understand their goals, and the “good guys” because they have an almost robotic lack of curiosity about why these bad things are happening to them.

    May 7, 2016
  17. Lacey

    I believe Rory’s inability to get on an elevator in a life or death situation is what my uncle refers to as “thinnin’ the herd”. Or it would be if this book didn’t suck.

    May 7, 2016
  18. falalala

    You know, I wouldn’t even be bothered by Rory’s elevator issue if it were written differently. I have PTSD and a couple of phobias; I can understand some degree of irrational response to triggering stimuli. So if Rory had, in the midst of her adrenaline rush from dealing with a terrifying situation, simply frozen for a moment when it came time to get on the elevator so that one of the others pushed her in, I would have accepted that as plausible. If getting on the elevator was the thing that made her start crying/shaking/otherwise emoting when she’d held it together up till that point, sure, I could buy that, too. Where I hit the “That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works” wall is Rory pausing in the middle of an extreme crisis involving multiple violent deaths to calmly and coherently give a little speech explaining that elevators are kind of a trigger for her because they remind her of her parents’ violent deaths, see, so while she’s perfectly fine with stabbing someone in the eye, witnessing a decapitation, and seeing an acquaintance get murdered and then horrifyingly reanimated by alien doom parasites, she’d prefer to take the stairs, thanks. That’s not PTSD or a phobia – that’s just stupid, shitty writing.

    May 7, 2016
  19. Cherry

    Don’t adventures kind of get your hair, skin, and clothes dirty? So Apolonia being dirty isn’t really noteworthy unless Rory isn’t dirty, right? So my question is… why isn’t Rory also dirty after all of this supposed adventuring?

    May 8, 2016
    • Vivacia K Ahwen
      Vivacia K Ahwen

      Cherry, she’s too busy checking out the physical appearance of her “love rival” during the most “exciting” scene in the book to consider her own “mid battle” look. I scratched my head at this one…until I realized it was the literary equivalent of girls in a high school bathroom saying, “She looked SO horrible with her dirty hair and shit!”

      May 11, 2016
  20. Jordan

    Had her best friend/anyone getting raped come up before JUST NOW? Like as if the horrific torture and murder was not enough, let’s just toss that in there, make our poor tortured waif more tortured because of typically lady-directed violence.

    This book. Good lord. I care about you Jenny, is this worth it? IS IT REALLY?

    May 8, 2016
    • taycibear

      Thats what I was thinking! I was like when did her friend get raped?

      This book is so awful and makes zero sense.

      May 12, 2016
  21. CthulhuKittie

    This “book” is just the fucking WORST.

    I don’t know how you’ve managed to slog through this shit, except that it’s some bizarre superpower you have.

    May 8, 2016
  22. Lieke

    I’m so incredibly bored by this book.
    Once again when Rory did her little recap at the beginning of the chapter, I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. Hamech? Tennison? Parasites? Brahmberger? I keep forgetting what is happening, because what is happening is so very incomprehensible and dull. And again with the stupid love triangle. I don’t care! Just end already!
    I never thought I’d see the day when even one of Jenny’s recaps couldn’t make a book at least fun to read about, but here it is.

    May 8, 2016
    • Vivacia K Ahwen
      Vivacia K Ahwen

      The last names are killing me, Lieke.

      May 11, 2016
  23. Laura

    I think I might have permanently damaged my ocular muscles from rolling my eyes directly out of my head at the latest “Benji works for the enemy and we can’t trust him!!!!” tripe.

    May 8, 2016
  24. rheather

    All I can hope for is that the cat (with the tracking device!) shows up at some point in the last two chapters. For no useful purpose but to magnify the fact that there was A CAT!!! Nothing else makes sense, why should the cat?

    I’m beginning to suspect the guy with the pen in his eye did it himself when he realized what a sucky book he was stuck in.

    May 9, 2016
    • Vivacia K Ahwen
      Vivacia K Ahwen

      Totally forgot about the cat, but your theory is awesome. Remember the Disney 70s flick “That Darned Cat?” That.

      May 11, 2016
  25. Noisyninja

    “Why, has she reached her quota? Is she on overtime now? Is she getting paid double-time-and-a-half because it’s a holiday or something?”

    The Majestic (worst name for a secret organization by the way, I keep remembering the song about the giant alien memory thing from that one episode of American Dad) is going to send wave after wave of their own men at her, until she reaches her pre-set kill limit and shuts down.

    May 9, 2016
  26. BlackSwallowtail

    I think I’ve said this before, during a much earlier chapter, but seriously, Anna from Fifty Shades is more likeable than Rory. She’s such a miserable, thoroughly unlikeable character.

    May 10, 2016
  27. BlackSwallowtail

    The parasite zombie thing was cool, though, for the two seconds that lasted.

    May 10, 2016
  28. “leaving us all to die” ?

    I thought the baddies took a very active role in killing everyone off, making Rory watch her mom die, etc. Am I making that up?

    May 11, 2016
  29. Anon123

    Okay, first of all, *never* pull a pen from your eye–or any other object lodged in a wound. EMTs are going to patch that sucker in place, move you to the hospital, and let actual doctors take care of it–and for good reason. This is likely to cause more damage than it’s worth, and that’s even aside from the risk of bleeding (depending where the wound is).

    Second of all, is it weird that in the third-to-last chapter, I’m just now *finally* starting to get that vibe of, “Okay, this is a train wreck, but I’m starting to have fun just taking it on its own stupid terms, and now I really do want to know what happens”?

    May 12, 2016
  30. Promise

    This is the first book that I’ve ever encountered where I really really really want the ending to be the deaths of every character in the entire goddamn book. Seriously, I hope the last line is Hamech’s ship pulling away after having incinerated every last one of them.

    May 12, 2016
  31. Myriam

    I’m reading these recaps years later as part of my procrastination process. But the being tied up with phone cords thing bothers me. Has the author ever seen a phone cord, like ever?! They’re super flimsy things that would never work to hold someone captive! You can literally just slip your wrists out of them.

    April 29, 2019
  32. Erin

    So much of Rory’s disdain for other women comes across as being a self-hating lesbian bending herself in pretzels trying to convince herself she isn’t a lesbian.

    July 10, 2019
  33. Ken Shinn
    Ken Shinn

    What really makes me facepalm is Hamech’s brilliant plan for destroying the lethal parasites. Turn up in one not very impressive spaceship and bumble back and forth over a small American college town, firebombing things at random.

    I’m not the World’s greatest strategist, but two better tactics spring to mind.

    One, bring a Death Star-type planet-killer to do the job. Blow the whole planet to pieces, which will almost certainly do a better job of destroying the parasites than one daft little battle cruiser jigging about and crapping fireballs.

    Two, have a large squad of ALIENS in suitable ABC gear or equivalent deployed from the spaceship. They can then destroy the parasites up close and personally to ensure that the problem is fully addressed.

    Or, y’know, if Rory really IS Captain Scarlet, just LET HER TAKE CARE OF IT. Like she volunteers to do.

    January 24, 2022

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