Before we get to the recap proper, I want to warn some readers about potentially sensitive content. That is, I want to warn you that if you’ve ever worked in the theater in any capacity, you will be fully outraged through this entire chapter, to the point that you might want to throw your phone or laptop or tablet or however else you’re reading this. So, read this only a soft surface to prevent damage to your device, and try not to fling it too hard.
In other news, Kayleigh Donaldson’s piece at Pajiba has been updated to include a response from Gill de Mace’s agent about the cover art controversy, as well as what might be the most bizarre aspect of this entire drama: the author of the infamous My Immortal has spoken. You can read her full statement at Pajiba, but this is the highlight:
Because I’ve received several messages asking this, and predict I may receive more, I’ll answer it here. No, I am not Lani Sarem. Really bad fiction simply tends to read the same.
Imagine if the writer of My Immortal, the most notoriously horrible fanfic of all time, called your work “bad fiction”? How could you ever possibly recover from that? You’d have to change your identity and start fresh with a new life. I mean, really, imagine that the author of My Immortal wanted to distance herself from your work.
Another rumor I’ve seen going around is that Handbook For Mortals: Book 1 Of The Series sold 7,000 ebook copies in the week following the controversy. I’m calling bullshit until someone can offer definitive proof. The only platform the book seems to be available on is Amazon, and even there it hasn’t broken the top 1,000 sales rank. During that week, when I was keeping occasional tabs on it, I never saw it rise above 10,000 in overall Kindle sales. In short: this claim of astronomical e-book sales is just as believable as the book’s claim to the #1 New York Times spot.
And in catty gossip news, an industry acquaintance on Facebook staunchly defended Lani Sarem, to which I responded in my usual Trout way, and Lani Sarem responded. I do not have screenshots, as I care so little about what a con-artist has to say that I didn’t bother reading the replies and muted the thread altogether. That’s not important news, but I know for a fact some of you will like hearing that story.
So, let’s get to the dirty business.
We open on
Lani Zade stepping into the lobby of a casino theater, which is packed with the cast and crew of the resident show.
I quickly tried to assess this large group who had been waiting on me.
Fired. Early is on time, on time is late, late is fired. You don’t make people wait. But don’t worry, the inaccuracies and improbabilities don’t stop there. Zani goes on to explain that she can instantly pick out the techies in the group because they’re wearing all black, then explains why they’re wearing all black, how different shows have different dress codes for “show blacks” and:
I have to admit that I’ve always found something handsome about a man in show blacks. Perhaps it’s the artsy answer to a man in uniform, or maybe I’m just odd.
Not Like Other Girls™
Either way, I noticed that several guys in their show blacks were handsome; one in particular caught my eye for some reason.
Because you were noticing people? Just off the top of my head, if you’re looking at all these people and specifically picking out the guys, obviously they are who will catch your eye.
He wasn’t the most traditionally handsome one out of the bunch, but there was just something really striking about him. If I hadn’t been so nervous I would have probably paid more attention to him.
Don’t worry, dear readers. This entire chapter is going to be an endless parade of tech guys Zani notices and describes, all with varying levels of handsomeness. The most handsome among them will, of course, want to instantly be her friend.
Zani thinks about how you can tell someone’s personality from the way they walk, and how this hot guy walks with confidence, but he also seems guarded. She goes on to describe how people look ready for the show, some of them in costumes, or half-costumed. Hey, guess where they wouldn’t be allowed to hang out? That’s right! In the lobby of the freaking theater.
Most of the performers looked bored. No one seemed to have noticed that I had opened the door and was standing in front of them all.
So, they were waiting for her, and they’ve been waiting while they’re apparently preparing for a show if people are in the middle of getting dressed, but they don’t notice that the person who kept them waiting is on the scene?
I cleared my throat and softly said, “Thank you for waiting. I’m ready.” I smiled nervously and pushed the door open even wider to welcome them back into their theater.
Important to note: everyone associated with the show, from tech to performers to management, were waiting in the lobby. Meaning, no one was in the house or backstage while Zani was setting up what follows. I’m just preparing you, theater people, for the massive explosion of angry disbelief that’s coming.
The crowd hushed and seemed to part a little. A tall man with dark hair walked toward the door. That man was the infamous magician to whom the theater basically belonged, Charles Spellman.
Charles was older, but still a very handsome man. I would describe him in a similar way that one might describe Harrison Ford.
Except, she doesn’t describe him as one might describe Harrison Ford. She describes him as someone you’re probably going to recognize:
Charles was one of the most well-respected magicians in history; he’d been famous since he was in his twenties. He’d had TV specials and won countless industry awards, and his shows consistently sold out arenas when he was on tour all over the world. A few years ago, The Wynn Casino in Las Vegas made him an offer to have a show on the strip.
So, just in case you didn’t pick up on it, Charles Spellman is David Copperfield. How do I know? Besides the fact that she describes him as being super confident and always dressed in black, he’s thanked in her acknowledgments, and he has a Las Vegas residency at the MGM Grand, in his own theatre. Thanks for the unsubtle clues, Lani. This took 100% no detective work on my part, which worried me a little bit that I know this much about David Copperfield. In my defense, he was my super favorite when I was kid. I freaking lived for his TV specials. I still even have his autograph from when I met him when I was eleven. It’s in my nightstand. Don’t start with me.
The comparison to Harrison Ford is something I keep stumbling over. If I was going to try to compare anyone to looking like David Copperfield, it would probably be the dude who plays the not-so-bright dad on Modern Family. I’ve actually been meaning to bring this up for a while. If they’re going to ever do a David Copperfield biopic, they need to check on Ty Burrell’s availability, first.
The theater is “in the round” as it’s called, meaning the seats circle the whole stage (that is also round) and the seats closest to the stage are basically level with the stage.
I’m glad she cleared up what “in the round” means. I would have never guessed that it meant the seats go around the theater.
In any case, I can’t imagine that an illusionist could actually do a full show “in the round”. Not even David Copperfield. Maybe Criss Angel does. Somebody check on Criss Angel. I would, but my mind is too freaked.
Standing next to Charles was a much younger woman who could have easily passed for his daughter, had she not been so tightly coiled around his arm.
Fun fact: David Copperfield’s partner, Chloe, is twenty-eight years younger than him.
She was undeniably beautiful, but she also looked extremely stuck-up, and looked to be around my age. I can’t stand stuck-up people. You can’t judge her yet, I kept telling myself.
But you will, Zani.
She was obviously a performer as well, and I got the vibe instantly that she wasn’t even one bit happy that I was there. She looked right at me and didn’t even bother to fake a smile; she just gave me the look of death instead.
Ah, yes. The bitchy, insecure, evil woman whose sole purpose in the story is to be bitchy, insecure, and evil to our you-don’t-know-you’re-beautiful-that’s-what-makes-you-beautiful heroine.
David Charleserfieldman tells Zade that he’s glad she’s there and he looks forward to seeing her illusion, and she gets all twitterpated:
I paused, flustered, before blurting out nervously, “You’re one of the greatest magicians of all time. It’s like you, David Copperfield, and then everyone else.”
“It’s like you, David Copperfield–WHO YOU ARE TOTALLY NOT THE DIRECT AVATAR OF–and other magicians I don’t mention because they’re not important in getting across that you’re not at all based on David Copperfield, whom I thank in my acknowledgments.”
To my relief, Charles chuckled. “Don’t tell David that and, please, call me Charles.” At this, the beautiful woman next to him cleared her throat as if to remind him she should be introduced; I had actually forgotten she was there.
The cut direct, madame!
“This is Sofia Austin. She’s one of our lead performers.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” I said, thrusting my hand out awkwardly. She took it, but only grasped it for a moment before loosing her grip and dropping my hand, like I’d burned her.
“And his girlfriend,” Sophia said coldly, and mean even, placing emphasis on the last word.
It’s important for us to know that the girlfriend of the most successful magician of all time is super threatened by the heroine of this novel, in part because when speaking to the heroine of this novel, the most successful magician of all time forgets that his girlfriend is, in fact, his girlfriend.
Hey, wanna know something else? When David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer were engaged, she worked on his show.
Everyone starts going into the theater:
I stood there and watched them walk past me, each seeming to give me a once over; I’m sure most of them judging me in their own way as they made their way past me and into the theater. Suddenly I realized that while I was mentally making notes of their behavior I was doing the same exact thing, I didn’t want them to do. I was judging them as well, so I couldn’t really hold it against them.
Here’s the difference between you and them, Zani: you’re there on an audition. They’re supposed to be judging you. If they didn’t judge you, it wouldn’t be an audition.
That said, I’m not sure why the audition is taking place a) apparently right before a show, since performers are already in costume, and b) in front of the entire cast and crew.
Walking closely with Charles and Sophia was the handsome tech who had caught my eye earlier. Probably in his late 20s, he was also wearing show blacks, and frowning. His sandy-blondish brown hair framed his face perfectly, and his hazel eyes seemed to sparkle. He was slender and tall, definitely six feet if not an inch or so more, with just the right amount of muscle in his arms.
Based on the physical description and the fact that Lani Sarem used to manage his band, one might assume that this character (whose name is revealed to be Mac) is Jackson Rathbone. But I think one would be wrong, as I will point out later in our reading.
Other characters are introduced, all of them men. Besides Mac, there’s a red-headed guy and someone name “Trig” which I am almost 100% certain is the name of one of Sarah Palin’s kids.
Everyone was so caught up in themselves that they didn’t notice me staring at them. They certainly didn’t realize I could hear them. I’m not sure that–if they had realized–they would have cared anyway.
Zade is the reason they are all there. Why are they ignoring her? Becasue she’s just so gosh golly average, not beautiful, and unremarkable. That’s the lure of this type of character, and it appeals to readers who are a) conditioned by society to believe that if a woman acknowledges her talents and strengths, she’s arrogant, and b) are intimidated by and resentful toward these “arrogant” women. As Zade is a self-insert character, Sarem is making her as beautiful, smart, incredible, etc. as she possibly can, but if Zade recognizes any of these traits, she–and by extension, Sarem–becomes an unbearably arrogant bitch and wholly unappealing to the readership who choose their heroines based on their own barometer for internalized misogyny.
Who, not for nothing, are the readers who hate Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Katherine Kavanaugh because she’s too arrogant and outspoken, but whose panties are dripping for Christian Grey because he’s arrogant.
Charles introduces her to Mac, who is the technical director of the show, and Zeb, who’s also some kind of technician:
I had done enough research before reaching Vegas to know that Zeb had designed or helped design a lot of Charles’s illusions and was well known in the magic community himself. Yet everything about him was a mysterious and–even in the magic community–very little seemed to be known about him.
How. How can he be well-known in the magic community, but they don’t know anything about him? HOW. Are you trying to say that his work is well-known? THEN SAY THAT BECAUSE WORDS MEAN THINGS.
He looked at me and stared hard directly at me till I felt uncomfortable before he finally stuck out his hand rigidly.
Man, I’m glad you cleared up that he was staring at you while he was looking at you. Otherwise, I would have thought he was staring at you while looking at something else entirely.
He didn’t seem to be happy about me being there and yet at the same time there was something odd about his coldness.
“And yet” implies “but at the same time,” as though there are two opposite conditions or sentiments involved that are coexisting despite their differences. “I was on time to my appointment, yet I had to wait two hours.” “I loved brownies, yet hated chocolate.” The only way “and yet” would work here is if he actually did seem happy about her being there, yet at the same time, there was something odd and cold about him. As it stands right now, she’s saying he’s being cold, but at the same time, being cold.
So, Zeb doesn’t care for her, Sofia doesn’t care for her, and apparently, she had some kind of bad impression with Mac, who literally only told her how long he’d worked for Spellman, so IDK how she ends up arriving at the conclusion that she’s never going to fit in. Two, maybe three people out of two hundred don’t appear to like her, so she’s obviously doomed to be ostracized.
Anyway, now it’s time to meet Trig.
“C.S. says it’s a go. Can I get all the stage crew in place, and then I’ll give Zade the clear.” He turned to me and pushed his mic off of his face and introduced himself. “Zade, hi. I’m Peter Trigger, but some people call me Trig. I’ll answer to Pete or Trig just not Mr. Trigger cause that’s my dad and it sounds like a dead horse. I’m the head stage manager, and I call the show. You know what that means, right?”
I am including this because it’s important that a) I’m not the only person who had to read a run-on sentence about a side character’s name and b) because Zade is about to perform an illusion in a state-of-the-art Las Vegas theater and this is the first time she’s met the stage manager.
Theater people, you may now start gnashing your teeth.
Have you noticed that besides the Evil Bitch™ character, there are no other women who seem to be working on this show? In a handful of pages, we’ve met Charles, Tad, Trig, Mac, and Zeb, but no women. I wonder why in a book with a heroine who is transparently based on the writer (who is also cast as the character in the film adaption of the book) there are no other women getting any page time? I’m sure there’s some reason totally unrelated to the author’s aversion to potentially sharing screen time with other women.
Pete asks Zade how to pronounce her name:
“Yep, like ‘aide’ but add a Z.” I grinned; I appreciated it immensely when people took the time to learn how to say my name properly. I hated it when people called me “Zaad” or something like that, which sounded more like a car or a super villain than an actual person.
Hey. Supervillains are people, too. That hurts.
The obsession with getting what should be a straightforward name right is hilarious coming on the heels of the book’s foreword, in which we were schooled carefully in the pronunciation of “Lani”. Especially considering that “Zade,” while being unusual, follows standard English pronunciation of words with an “e” at the end.
“Are we really going to let her do this?” I heard Mac ask Charles. I tsounded much more lik ea statement than a question especially because he didn’t pause for an answer before continuing. “I haven’t been able to do any safety checks on her equipment. I don’t even know what’s been put in!”
Again, feel free to seeth, theater folks. Because we know that there is no way on Zod’s green earth that a major professional theater is going to allow someone to waltz in and set up their own equipment without speaking to anyone on the production staff first, and that no theater would forego safety checks, which are required by insurance companies, unions, OSHA…
Plus, where did she get her equipment? The last time we saw her, she was packing her belongings into her car to drive off into her destiny. Was she hauling a semi-trailer that she never bothered to mention, full of lights and shit?
Now that I’m thinking of it, how did she even get this audition in the first place? She’d never met Charles Spellman before. How did Zod McGee manage to roll up into Las Vegas and not just get an audition with the most successful act in town, but get an audition that requires the participation of everyone in the entire production and her own private use of the theater, no questions asked? This is so beyond the realm of possibility that I can no longer suspend disbelief. I have sprained my disbelief. I will have to have surgery to repair the tendons in my disbelief. My disbelief is going to require extensive physical therapy. While I’m convalescing from this catastrophic injury to my disbelief, I’ll end up writing a New Adult novel about a twenty-something trying to break into Vegas showbiz, and then it will be adapted into a screenplay and everyone will be like, “Isn’t this just Showgirls?” and I’ll be like, “Shut up! I have blue hair and an IMDB profile!”
Where were we? I totally lost my place in this book because of the pain from my disbelief injury, which rendered me unconscious for a little bit there.
Oh, yeah. General Zade is about to perform. So, she sees that Mac is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Charles:
A strong will was an admirable quality to me and I had been taught to see that as something to appreciate about someone. Really stubborn and thickheaded, though, usually goes hand-in-hand with strong willed and is something to always keep in mind.
It’s possible that the reason that “stubborn” and “thickheaded” go hand-in-hand with “strong willed” is that they mean the same thing. But keep that in mind. That’s free advice she’s giving you.
Charles tells Mac that everything is cool, Zade signed a waiver. Zeb doesn’t want Zade to do the illusion, either, but Charles is in charge here.
I did that on purpose. Applaud me.
Mac turned back around, crossed his arms in a huff, and slid farther down into the seat with his legs completely stretched out.
Is Mac thirteen?
Okay guys, are you ready to meet the person who is obviously going to be a love interest for Zade? Brace yourself.
He was pretty, too pretty, beautiful, even.
I bet everyone in town tells him he’s pretty, beautiful even, and he doesn’t believe them.
I don’t think I could ever date a guy that was prettier than me.
Because they don’t exist, or because you haven’t even talked to this guy yet?
That does sound selfish,
“Insecure” or “egomaniacal” is what I would have gone with.
but I just would rather be the “at least slightly prettier” one in any relationship–
Any? Like, you couldn’t have friends who are prettier than you? Plus, we already know that Zade doesn’t think she’s attractive all. Who, exactly, does she think is in her dating pool?
and he was just too perfect: the chiseled jaw, not a hair out of place, and a bright, white smile. I never thought a guy could be that perfect looking.
That’s it? That’s the requirement for being “perfect”? Having white teeth, a good jawline, and knowledge of hair products?
This guy’s name is Cam, because it’s not confusing to have a Mac, Zeb, Trig, Tad, and Cam introduced in the same chapter.
I shook Cam’s hand and he cracked an even larger smile. His eyes were as kind as they were beautiful. I couldn’t but gush a little–
I might not want to date him but I did like him immediately.
Good news! He didn’t ask you out on a date. Yet. We all know it’s going to happen and you’re going to revise that opinion, but whatever.
So, remember way up above where Charles tells Mac that Zade signed a waiver? Well, Sofia just caught up:
I heard Sofia’s voice as I walked away. I strained to hear her saying to Charles, “You remembered her name. You never remember names.”
Sofia, sweetheart, I have some real bad news to break to you. Zade is the most important person in your world. There’s no way that Charles isn’t going to end up dumping you for Zade, or at least making a pass at Zade, or at the very, very least, liking Zade more than he likes you. Everyone is going to like her more than they like you. Just go limp and wait for the misogyny to lose interest in batting you around.
I turned my eyes toward them and caught Charles’s reply,
You hear with your eyes?
“Most people’s names aren’t worth remembering.”
See, Sofia? Zade is more important than “most people.” I mean, she’s more important than ALL people, let’s keep that in perspective.
Next to Charles, I noticed a younger, mousy woman with glasses who looked to be an assistant of some kind. She looked focused and anxious. She had a note pad and seemed to be writing down everything Charles uttered.
“See, Jenny,” you might be saying. “It isn’t a case of internalized misogyny. There’s another woman, right there. The fact that she’s described as being mousy and wearing glasses and therefore will not be a threat to Zani in the reader’s mind is unimportant.”
Just kidding. I know you would never say that.
Charles starts talking about how he wants Zani’s illusion to be included in his show before she even performs it. So now, Lani has not only somehow gone from small town nobody to having an audition with the most famous magician of all time in the space of one chapter break, but the audition sounds like more of a formality than anything. Cam takes Zani up to the catwalks:
Heights make some people nervous, but not me. I love the feeling of being off the ground and as high up as possible.
Not. Like. Other. Girls.
I quickly realized I needed to check on where the prop I’d requested was.
You’re supposed to check your props before you go to places. Also, she was able to bring her own equipment, but not a rose? They had to supply that?
But don’t worry, Cam already set her prop for her.
The only thing that was running through my head was how any girl could ever date him, because he was prettier than all of us put together.
In case you weren’t picking up on how “pretty” Cam is, Zani is reminding you while she’s standing on a catwalk fifty feet above the stage, moments before performing a dangerous illusion. I’m expecting to hear about how focused she is, next. Oh, hey, look:
My mind drifted about in a way where it focused on everything and nothing at the same time while I waited for the cue from Cam to drop the rose to the ground.
That’s not focus. Your mind drifting and thinking about everything and nothing at the same time is the opposite of focus. That’s called distraction. Also, how is she “thinking of everything and nothing at the same time” while “the only thing” running through her head is how pretty Cam is?
Too pretty for his own good–and mine, I thought. Trying to focus on what I was doing, I climbed onto the top bar of the catwalk and turned around on my toes.
With no safety equipment. Totally cool to be doing that in a professional theater, nobody’s going to object.
Anyway, Cam gives her the go-ahead, and she throws the rose onto the stage, explaining that it’s meant to show the audience that the stage is solid.
A single rose.
In a theater that seats two-thousand people.
Yeah, that’s going to read.
Join me now in this glorious description of Zade’s illusion:
I took a deep breath and leaned slowly back over the bar, bending backward until I had flipped myself over the edge. Once my body had inverted into mid-air, I began to “fall” toward the stage, like a high diver would.
Except high divers don’t “fall”. They just fall.
I stretched and tensed so that my body was completely vertical as I flew toward the ground. I was falling fast, and there was nothing below me to break my fall.
That must be a typo. Let me fix it: I was “falling” fast, and there was nothing below me to break my “fall”.
The audience of cast and crew gasped. A regular audience might think “trapdoor” but this group knew better because they knew the theater so well.
As I plummeted toward the stage, brightly colored sparks began to shoot from my outstretched hands. The sparks fell and hit the ground ahead of me, becoming a roaring fire directly beneath me. The fire burned a brilliant red, spreading and glowing below me. As the fire burned, it changed color from bright red to a vibrant blue. I could hear the audience murmuring again, but I couldn’t get cocky yet. I was near the ground and still falling fast.
Obviously, not that fast, because this description is taking forever.
The ground beneath the flames seemed to pool as if it had become liquid, and the fire melted into waves that started to lap the stage, as if a pond had formed where the stage had been just a moment before.
Here’s a theme I’m picking up on. Zade describes things as they “seem” quite often, even when they’re actually happening. If I drive my car to the store, I don’t “seem” to be driving my car to the store. I’m just driving my car to the store. The flames don’t “seem” to pool as if they had become liquid. It actually does so right after the comma in that sentence.
In full Olympic-diving position with my fingers and toes pointed, I dove straight into what looked somewhat like “water”.
No, it doesn’t look somewhat like “water”, it looks somewhat like water. If you “dove straight into the ‘water’,” the quotation marks would be necessary. But they aren’t. And here I am, having to say this about a published novel.
It splashed as I made impact, but as the droplets of liquid came back down toward the Earth to meet the ground, the stage had become solid once again. The rose and I had disappeared within the lapping water.
God damnit, Lani! We talked about this! This is where you use the quotation marks around “water”. THIS IS WHERE YOU DO THAT! NOT UP THERE!
About twenty feet away fromt he site of my impact was an open area where there was actual, real water–basically a pool, which was used in several other illusions. I popped my head out of the water and pumped my left fist victoriously in the air as I used my right arm to grab onto the edge of the pool–the rose safely clenched between my teeth.
I guess this explains why she doesn’t have equipment for them to inspect.
As for her illusion, she dove off a catwalk, into a pool of fire that turned into water…right behind an already existing pool of water? This is her brilliant illusion? Because from our vantage point, and from the vantage point of the crew who knows the workings of the stage, it’s impressive. If you’re in the audience at one of the shows, you just assume the pool extends further under the stage. This illusion only works if the audience has a fucking schematic of the theater.
But that doesn’t matter to the cast and crew, who are stunned into silence.
My smile started to fade and I was beginning to panic when they all applauded thunderously, and the whole cast rose to their feet.
And the whole train applauded.
I grabbed the rose from my mouth and tossed it to Sofia, winking at her. I laughed as I said, “For the pretty lady.” Sofia glared in response and smiled with the fakest smile I had ever seen. She wasn’t amused–nor did she find me funny, in the least.
“She wasn’t hungry–nor did she want food in the least.”
“She wasn’t cold–nor did she find it freezing in the least.”
“She wasn’t angry–nor was she happy, in the least.”
“That was perfect! Just as I expected,” I overheard Charles say excitedly.
How did he expect it to be perfect? He just met her. I’m so fucking confused as to why anyone on the show offered her the audition, let alone had high expectations for it. She has been living in a small town, reading tarot cards her entire life. Does she have some reputation for being a world-class illusionist? NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE.
“Beth, let’s have her sign that contract. That goes into the show right away. Wait until Copperfield sees this one! […]”
Yo, he just did.
But of course, despite the fact that her illusion won’t look impressive or mystifying to anyone in the audience, Zade is now a part of the biggest show in Vegas. Someone should have told Elizabeth Berkley she didn’t have to grind on all of those dudes to get a job on the Strip. It would have saved us all two painful hours in the ’90s.
Now, if you remember correctly, Thomas Ian Nicholas from American Pie is attached to star in the movie version of this book, as “Tad.” This is Tad:
Tad was slightly stocker with dark brown wavy hair and brown jovial eyes. I woudl soon learn that Tad was Mac’s best friend, an all-around good guy who worked well with everyone. In theory, Mac was Tad’s boss, but they had been working together for a long time and had been friends for much longer. Tad was the kind of guy to always tell it like it is. He never believed in sugarcoating anything. He’d always tell us that his motto was, “Why take anything seriously? No one gets out alive anyway.” He said it often, and meant it. Very little got him worked up. He was the epitome of easy going. Tad was also one of those people who was naturally good at most of the things he tried. I often wonder if a lot of it had to do with his attitude. Iv’e condluded that it must be that, and being born under a lucky star. I’d probably envy him if I didn’t adore him so much.
The only characters who’ve had this much intense description devoted to them are Tad and Charles Spellman. My hunch here is that every character who receives this kind of attention to detail is someone that Lani Sarem knows in real life.
“Jesus! That was quite the magic trick,” Tad agreed. “Holy moly! No wonder C.S. gave her free rein of the theater. Mac, how in hell did she do that?”
WTF do you mean, “no wonder?” Help me out, because I’m still wondering my ass off over here. Charles had never met Zade before, she has no background as a professional, big time illusionist, he never saw her perform the trick, so yes! There are wonders! I have so many wonders!
Look, just having a character say that something makes sense doesn’t mean it actually makes sense. I went through this already with Fifty Shades of Grey and I am damn sure not letting this slide now.
Mac can’t figure out how the illusion was performed, and it troubles him to the point of aggressive staring.
It wouldn’t have made logical sense no matter how hard they tried to figure it out because it was beyond anything a mortal could do. Tarot cards weren’t the only unique skill that my mom had taught me–or that ran in the family. And for the first time, I was starting to realize that it was going to be harder to keep our secret from everyone. They were going to want to know, I was going to have to keep dodging questions. This was a problem I was going to have to work out when I had more time to think about it.
I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but it’s a question you should have worked out before you arrived to an audition at a Las Vegas theater and performed a death-defying illusion without bringing any equipment with you. Do you expect to continue to do the illusion without any stage hands or technicians noticing that you have no equipment and really, no illusion? And if it’s imperative that you keep your family’s secret under wraps, why would you use that secret on stage every night in front of sold out crowds of two-thousand people? Why not just use your magic to win a bunch of money at the casinos like normal witches do in Vegas?
Oh, but we don’t know that she’s a witch yet. I forgot. Keep your surprised faces stowed under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartments.
Tad Fletcher, head of automation, rocked back on his heels as he talked. Calm, collected, sweet, kind and confident cascaded out of his being. I would slowly learn that Tad was all of those things through and through, which was why he was so well liked.
Why are we being reintroduced to Tad, as though we haven’t already met him just a page ago? And why does she keep talking about people like she’s Daniel Stern narrating The Wonder Years?
Tad introduces Lani to Riley, another male member of the crew who instantly likes her and tells her they should be friends, because of course. One thing I have to say for this book, it is definitely keeping me on my toes trying to guess which of these guys end up in the love triangle with Zani.
Zade notices that Mac is still staring angrily at her and she doesn’t know why.
I would have to look into that later, I decided, because I didn’t have time to concentrate on it at the moment.
Why is that italicized? Why is Zade walking around thinking in past perfect tense?
And why is Zade so busy? Because Beth (apparently this is the mousy glasses-wearer from before, though it’s not specified) has to talk to Zade about the contract:
She also basically told me what Charles was willing to offer me with regards to the show. It was quite generous and even Beth commented that while I should retain an attorney to look my contract over she doubted an attorney would find issue with anything it said. Beth even confided in me it was the best offer she had ever seen Charles make to anyone.
To recap: Zani has now received an audition with the cast and crew of a major Las Vegas production on the strength of her magic skills (which no one has ever seen before because they have to be a secret) and is getting handed heaps of money and a place in the show, despite the fact that her amazing illusion is only impressive if you know how it’s done.
I wasn’t really concerned with it that much. I already had what I wanted; I had made myself a new life.
A somewhat normal life.
That’s right. It’s perfectly normal to appear in the biggest show in Las Vegas every night after getting an audition based on the strength of skills no one has ever seen before. Just your average, every day, ho hum, normal life.
Ouch. My disbelief.