UPDATE: I should have remembered this in the first place, but thank you, everyone who has tipped me through Kofi, not just this week and last week but all the weeks. Book sales are down and you guys really help me out.
No news this week! I wonder if all the exciting media buzz is under embargo. Because, you know, surely with a movie and book this spectacular and eagerly anticipated, it must be kept under wraps.
Oh, but there is a gross and bloody gif in here. Heads up.
Lugnut opens the chapter by saying that she basically slept for two weeks until she was strong enough to hear about what happened to her. Of course, Charles has stayed by her side this whole time, contradicting the author’s “The Show Must Go On Even If A Performer Is Seriously Injured” insistence.
At least we find out that Lasagna hasn’t been non-consensually mind-reading for the last hundred or so chapters:
All three of them wanted to tell me the story on their own, but I found there were so many gaps, and I really wanted to know everything that happened in detail, so once most of my strength had returned I asked if I could pull their memories. They all gave me permission, which is really the only way to do that easily.
How about instead: All three of them wanted to tell me the story on their own but there were too many gaps. I really wanted to know everything that happened in detail. Once most of my strength had returned, I asked if could pull their memories.
Take a fucking breath. Someone has to narrate the audiobook.
Anyway, at least we know she isn’t violating the privacy of their minds or anything.
I started with Mac, though he made me promise I would only pull memories from the time when I passed out until the moment I woke up. My mom and Charles didn’t make me promise, so I decided to peek into a little more than just the accident––just a few other things I had always wanted to know.
Oh. Well, scratch that earlier comment, then. When Chuckie and Sandwich agreed to let their daughter pull the memories of the incident that just happened, that’s what they were agreeing to. Simply saying, “Well, they didn’t specifically tell me not to go rifling through other things,” is the telepathic equivalent of, “You said I could use your bathroom, but you didn’t specifically tell me not to go through your medicine cabinet or steal your hair products.”
Except, you know, worse, because mind reading is a profoundly deep invasion of privacy. And the off-handed way Sarem is comfortable with her character––the idealized version of herself––admitting unapologetically to that invasion of privacy due to a technicality that probably never occurred to either party (because she trusted them) is chilling. “It’s okay to do this thing someone would automatically trust me not to do because they never said not to do it,” is a red flag of epic proportions. And it added nothing at all to the story. We never needed to see how Chaz and Pastrami met. It has absolutely no bearing on the plot or anything in it.
Zarlon Lando talks about how the process works (arduously and over a span of days), during which we get this gem:
I wondered if I could find a way to do it easier, and better, without asking for permission. Having spent so much time on it, I decided that I was definitely going to try to look into it later; someone in the magick world might already have perfected the process in a way I didn’t know.
Remember, the only way to pull someone’s memories easily is to ask permission. Now, we’ve got Laffy Zaffy wondering if she can find a way to do it just as easily without permission. Meaning that the only reason she asked permission was that it made the process less of a hassle for her. If she’d been able to do it without their permission she would have had no qualms about doing so, I guess? And she’s even planning to read people’s minds without permission in the future.
Charles and Mac stayed with me at my mom’s house while I recovered and, back in Las Vegas, the show went on hiatus.
Um, excuse me, Lani Sarem. Excuse me. You said in your badly-disguised comment here a few months ago:
Injuries happen during the shows all the time. We are doing crazy stuff and it’s dangerous that’s why people pay a lot of money to see it. People get injured during the show and you don’t even know and we keep going. We don’t stop the show. The one and only time someone fell to their death was actually during KA. DURING A ACTUAL PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF A AUDIENCE. They witnessed it even…I think the show was back in a day or so. Accidents that happen during rehearsal that only leads to injury an injury like this, wouldn’t even stop the show that night. The show must go one is a real thing in our world.
Now, the official announcement of why the show is going on hiatus is not “a performer was dying” but that the theater is having new sets put in.
After one performance of the brand new show, which they just debuted.
Yeah, that’s not going to look bad for the show at all. Nobody is going to write about how suspicious it is that the fully overhauled show closed for another complete makeover after one performance.
I don’t think I was the only reason Charles didn’t want to leave, though. I noticed that he and my mom got cozier as they days went by.
Has he broken up with Sofiaieio yet?
When I was a kid, I had had odd fantasies about my parents getting back together. It was something I had always only slightly hoped for as I really never thought it could happen. As I watched them during my recovery, it looked more and more lik a real possibility. It was too bad it hadn’t happened years earlier.
You mean those years that your mom used majihick to keep you and your father apart out of spite for him cheating on her after he found out she used magic on him for years without permission? Why would you want Charles to get back with her? Why are you even speaking to your mother at all at this point?
Mac tells the cast and crew not to try to visit Lunky Zewster at the hospital. It doesn’t matter, because they don’t have time, anyway; they have to build the new sets.
Like, I can’t get over the fact that Charles is actually overhauling an entire Las Vegas show just so he doesn’t have to say that it’s because a performer was injured? I feel like someone on the show could easily call OSHA on this. “Hey, we had a performer who collapsed with severe bleeding and we haven’t seen her since. Our bosses are trying to stop us from going to the hospital to see her, so we don’t even know if she’s alive. Also, they immediately shut down the show and asked us to make all these really sudden changes,” is the kind of thing that OSHA would want to know about.
Ha ha, silly Jenny. OSHA doesn’t exist in Las Vegas. A real life Vegas Olympian told you so!
A lot of the cast siad they wanted to come but I think it was more something to say. They were, for the most part, easily talked out of it. Some didn’t care about visiting me at all, though they enjoyed the paid vacation they had been given.
LOL, excuse me.
You can either have everyone on the show head-over-heels in love with Lavinia or not. If they’re all as invested in her as previously written, they should be holding a fucking candlelight vigil and weeping in the god damn streets.
Jackson was the only one who put up a fight about it
Of course, he was.
and was going to come, but then a quick tour opening for Imagine Dragons came up that timed perfectly with our break and his band had to take that.
The amount of starfucking and name-dropping in this book is so sad and desperate, my second-hand embarrassment has second-hand embarrassment.
The gang realizes that they need to have an excuse for what happened to Zillard:
It took some googling, some illness-researching on WebMD, and a couple of conversations with a doctor my mom knew before we came up with a story that sounded like it made sense. We told everyone I had a combination of ailments, including double pneumonia––which supposedly is why I couldn’t breathe and what caused me to pass out––and something called “Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome.”
Hey. You know what you can’t do with that disease?
Like she did on the camping trip.
Yeah. I’m going to be that petty and nitpicky.
Massive hemorrhage from a perforated ulcer would have been a better choice since HHT (what they call the syndrome now) causes visible lesions on the skin. It’s also hereditary: Charlie would also have to have it in order for Zung to be affected. They both would have visible symptoms of the disease.
You know what would have been a lot more believable? Massive hemorrhage from a peptic ulcer.
The possibility of having both illnesses together was an almost impossible feat,
Impossible means no possibility, and it’s not a “feat” to have comorbid illnesses. You didn’t accomplish anything. A feat is an impressive achievement of some kind.
which is how we explained why the doctors in Las Vegas had been so confused.
So, the doctors at a hospital in a major city were so stumped by her illnesses that they had no choice but to take her across the country to a one-horse town in Tennessee to be treated? And this all made perfect sense and didn’t seem hinky to any cast, crew, or staff?
Charles and Mac explained to everyone I didn’t want to talk about it because I was embarrassed and upset that I had collapsed in front of so many of my friends and co-workers.
Keep this one in your back pocket.
After a paragraph break, we’ve returned to Las Vegas for some acrobatic feats of word rep. Emphasis mine:
When the big day finally came, Mac and I were walking towards the front of the doors of the theater. Right before we got to the doors, Mac stopped right where the carpet changes patterns. We were holding hands and he had his fingers wrapped around mine so tightly that when he stopped walking his hand pulled tightly on mine and soon I had stopped walking, too.
Look, everyone! It’s a rainbow of failure! That somehow couldn’t be caught by THREE paid editors!
Let’s try to fix this mess, shall we?
When the big day finally came, Mac and I walked toward the doors of the theater. He stopped where the carpet changed patterns, his tight grip on my hand holding me back, too.
Now, I’m not saying that’s the best sentence anyone ever came up with. But is it better than a full paragraph devoted to repeating the same words over and over? Yes. Objectively, yes it is.
So, Mac asks Zani if she’s ready to go back to work, which like. You’re already there, so that’s your answer. It’s been a month now since the incident, so the show that would never, ever close
has now been closed for a month because a secondary performer was ill. But this book is super accurate and I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Zani tells Mac:
“Thanks for not running for the hills when you found out everything. You handled it better than Charles did back in the day. That’s impressive; he can handle anything.”
And Mac is like:
“Well, I’ve grown pretty fond of you, Magi Girl. I would go to Hell for you if it needed to happen.”
Both of you can go to hell, honestly. Take your author with you. Because all three of you have sent me there. Sent me into a living hell, a waking nightmare from which I cannot escape so long as this book trashes up the earth with its presence.
Mac then makes sure that gonig to hell isn’t something he’s going to have to do, and then it’s time for Lani Sarem’s patented “comedy”:
“Guess you’ve come over the dark side?” I poked, teasingly.
“I heard you had cookies,” he replied with a grin plastered on his face.
I can just see Sarem strolling the aisles of Spencer Gifts, notepad in hand, scribbling furiously.
Now, one might assume that the book would end here. It feels like a natural ending. The romance is resolved, things are returning to normal, the story (what little there was of it) is over. So, the words “The End” come next, right?
Nope. First, we have to have Zamboni and Mac’s embrace “comically” interrupted by Tad, who warns them they’ll be late to rehearsal. Then Tad tells her he’s “ecstatic” (and yes, that’s the word used) that Zuppa Loscana is back. He actually tells her how glad he is twice. And then Mac says:
“No, we got back day before yesterday, but we were running around with all the wedding plans,” Mac said, almost rolling his eyes. Guys never seem to understand the importance of all the details for a wedding. I’m pretty sure Mac would have worn his show blacks if he thought I would have let him get away with that.
“The hardest thing was this one, finding a dress,” Mac said, pointing at me. “It’s one day for heaven’s sake.”
“It is one day––but a rather important day for me,” I said firmly.
“So…did you find a dress?” Tad asked, looking directly at me this time.
“Finally,” I answered in exasperation. “I think we went to every store from Tennessee to here.”
Before I explain the biggest what the fuck about this part, let’s remember that one of Zug’s defining personality characteristics that Sarem has rammed home with all the subtlety of a bulldozer is that Larvae is Not Like Other Girls™. You know. Because she hates shopping so much. Yet, any time there’s been a whiff of shopping in the air, she’s doing it for hours. Now, men don’t have any idea how important weddings are…garsh, Lani, it sure sounds like you––sorry, your fictional character––aren’t as special and not-girly as you took such pains to insist you––sorry, she––is. It’s almost like having any interest in any activity that’s traditionally coded as feminine is only bad when it’s other women doing it. They are frivolous and silly for liking shopping and weddings and makeup and male attention. When Lorthless does it, it’s fine.
But here’s what’s the most wrong with that excerpt above. It’s an attempted misdirect to make the reader believe that Zoey L0L is getting married to Mac. She’s not. She’s talking about her parents getting married.
Once again, for anyone who may have missed this throughout these recaps:
YOUR FIRST PERSON POV PROTAGONIST CANNOT WITHHOLD CRUCIAL INFORMATION FROM THE READER TO SET UP PLOT TWISTS LATER BECAUSE WE ARE INSIDE THAT CHARACTER’S HEAD AND PRIVY TO ALL OF THEIR THOUGHTS THE REST OF THE TIME.
Leorge Zazenby has already mentioned once in this chapter how it would be a big deal to her if her parents got back together. She’s not going to not react to that internally when she’s talking about their wedding. This is the culmination of her life-long hope and her yearning for a real, “normal” family dynamic. Her father, who has been kept from her for her entire life, is now back and they have a relationship and her parents are getting married! She absolutely should be having some reaction where she’s telling us, “I couldn’t believe that after all of these years, blah blah blah,” and how happy she is, and that reaction has to be present the first time the topic comes up.
“Well, this was adapted from a screenplay, so it’s clearly a case of the dialogue not working when it’s been rewritten as a––” Let me stop you. This scene isn’t in the screenplay. At least, not the version I’ve got. A lot of this book was clearly written not as an adaption of the screenplay, but an adaption of the screenplay with added scenes that are meant to be a part of the screenplay adapted from the book. She wrote this thinking only about how it would look on screen, how clever it would seem to the audience, without realizing that in prose, it’s just another mistake to throw on the mountainous pile of fuck-ups in this book.
Tad opens the theater doors and Zailure thinks about the first time she went through those doors, right before her audition, and how this is such a big parallel to then. And it’s clumsily spelled out for us because we’re too stupid to detect literary parallels on our own. And then the book is over, because that’s yet another place where it could end and feel complete, right?
NOPE! Not enough people have fawned over how amazing she is yet. She goes in and the theater is completely dark because the whole cast and crew has assembled for a surprise party:
The area right inside the doors in the theater had obviously been decorated for a party.
As opposed to when you decorate for a party in an imperceptible way.
Several balloons were floating around me and they all said “Welcome Home.” Everyone was staring directly at me, smiling and yelling “Surprise!”
And then the whole bus clapped.
Clearly, the book couldn’t end with just two people telling Zohn Lacob Zingleheimer Litt how loved and valuable she is. No, we have to have the entire cast and crew do it, too.
The entire cast a crew who didn’t want to see her in the hospital and were easily dissuaded because they didn’t really care.
Oh, and take that earlier thing out of your back pocket. The entire cast and crew knew that she was super embarrassed about the incident and didn’t want to acknowledge it, so…they threw her a party?
All the (male) characters hug and kiss Lump and tell her how glad they are to have her back and Jackson, of course, calls her beautiful. God forbid a single scene goes by and a man doesn’t praise her wondrous beauty.
I was wrong when I said earlier that Sofia never shows up in the book again:
The biggest surprise may have been when Sofia came over, gave me a hug, and told me she was glad I wasn’t dead. Hey, I’ll take that as progress.
Um, didn’t they work all their shit out earlier in the book? Is Sofieoeoeo mad at Lunt again because Charles is marrying Deli? Is she even aware that’s happening? We’ll never know because Sofia is a woman who isn’t Lani Sarem’s avatar and therefore we shall waste no more time upon her. She doesn’t even get her own dialogue.
There’s a paragraph about how everyone in the whole cast and crew hugs Zanzibar and tells her how happy they are that she’s all right and she thinks about how they’re not strangers anymore, they’re family, etc. and the book ends.
PSYCHE! We haven’t seen Zex Zuthor in bed with Mac yet. And of course, as they lay in what I assume is post-coital bliss, they talk about Jackson and how Mac seems to be okay with him.
I kinda thought that after everything we had just been through Mac would have been pushing for commitment.
Wait, Mac just told you he would go to hell for you and that’s not enough of a commitment?
“I’m just glad you’re okay. I think this has taught me that whatever’s supposed to work out, will. I think Jackson and I have an ‘All’s fair in love and war’ approach to this.” Mac paused for a moment and then continued as if he had needed to think about his next words. “Actually, I know we do, because he literally said it a while back. I know he’s kinda there waiting to sweep you off your feet, and he’s more than welcome to hold that broom for as long as he wants. If I have my way, he’ll be holding it for a very long time.”
The love triangle. Isn’t. Over.
“Interesting. I wonder if he’d still feel that way if he knew everything.” I thought for a moment about the possibility of Jackson knowing everything that Mac knew.
“You could ask your cards,” Mac said, obviously trying to play the conversation very cool.
She did ask the cards. It said not to be with both of you. I made a rambling, forty-minute video about it.
Lurgid Zember says that she would check her cards, but she’s busy right now, and they kiss “passionately” because everyone in the book kisses either “passionately” or “lightly on the lips.”
I think that feeling was the happiest I’ve ever been.
Yet Sarem still won’t resolve the love triangle! While trying to mislead readers into thinking Mac and Zunt are getting married? You know, your incredible misdirect that will have us all chuckling at how clever you are? It doesn’t work if you specify that Mac hasn’t asked for a commitment and if you’ve got Zander Larris sitting there playing coy about whether or not she’ll go after Jackson after all.
But at least the book is finally over, right? I mean, clearly you’re going to end the book on that line?
Ha ha ha, of course not. There’s another chapter. God save us all.