This is it, everyone. Exactly one year since we started Chapter 0, we’ve reached the end. This is the final installment of our Handbook For Mortals recap. I want to announce that I’ll be doing a Facebook Live event on Saturday night, 10 P.M. EST, on my Jenny Trout Facebook account, to talk about the acknowledgments section and do some drunk Tarot to get a forecast for the future of the book series and upcoming movie. These are pretty fun to do, because I can talk to you while I’m doing them, so drop on in at any time after 10 P.M. to join the live feed.
Shit, I might even brush my hair or put on makeup or something.
Shower that day.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all for coming on this journey through hell and scandal with me, yet again. Here’s hoping nobody pulls any bullshit and hits my nasty button for a while, so I can take a vacation from shitty, shitty books.
The chapter starts out exactly like the end of Clueless (as others have noted).
“You may now kiss the bride!”
The Nevada sun shone down on the bride and groom, and the breeze blew her hair as their lips met. It was like a perfect sight out of a magazine,
and I was pretty sure I had never seen anything more magical
Except in Clueless.
––and I knew magick.
Not very well, I guess, since you almost died trying to do majikx recently.
After a few moments, the bride pulled back and Charles looked at Dela with tears in his eyes.
So, here’s the thing about this reveal: she’s trying to be like, “Charles looked at Dela with tears in his eyes,” like everybody is going to go, “Oh, it’s Chuck and Sandwiches getting married, not Lazytown and Mac.” But if the fact that the love triangle was completely unresolved at the end of the last chapter didn’t clue you in that Lungbutter and Mac weren’t headed on the road to marital bliss, the POV skew here would. If Laparoscopy had been the bride, she wouldn’t have referred to herself as “the bride” and she wouldn’t have been able to see the kiss. I’m not sure if Lani Sarem thought she could keep dramatically delaying the “reveal” or something by referring to her mom as “the bride” and then saying Charles looked at Dela; it could be that she intended the reader to think Charles was emotional because his daughter was getting married, but it also could be just more bad writing on her part.
She goes on to wing us into another POV skew.
They felt relaxed and happy.
To an outside observer, they can look or seem relaxed and happy. And it could be shown, rather than told: “Relaxing in their chairs, the couple beamed at each other,” or something like that.
So much had happened, and they had come so far.
Look, this is the last chapter of the book and I feel pretty fucking confident in saying that nothing, let alone “so much” has happened. Unless she’s referring to the fact that Dela lied to Charles and secretly used mahjix to separate him from his child against his will for like twenty years, and also lied to her daughter about doing that. Everyone is just cool with that? I guess they are, because the author is insistent that it’s no big deal to have your mind and life violated to the point where you are physically restrained from asking for help by unseen forces.
Zani describes how fun the party is and is quick to point out that her mother is keeping her own name. You know. Because this is a work of sheer feminist artistry and possibly the most important, female-led project of all time. Sandwiches tells Zeda that she’s always seen that she and Charles would get married, but only if he changed.
So…how was he supposed to change? How was he supposed to learn to trust or become a better father if he was ensorcelled for the entire time of his exile?
Dela laughed and smiled at me before getting serious again, “You should learn a lesson from this: always have faith and remember sometimes the darkest moments really do come just before the dawn.”
Huh. I kind of thought the lesson to be taken away here is that if you have majick, you can do whatever you want and rationalize it later.
Of course, Jackson’s band is playing the wedding, and they announce it’s time for the bouquet and garter toss. Mac asks if Lubraderm is going to try to catch the bouquet.
“I don’t believe in those silly superstitions,” I remarked, smiling.
Get it? Because she’s majichk? It’s super funny. Laugh. Please laugh. Lani Sarem is begging you. She’s doing her best, damnit!
Even though Mac tries to “shove” her into the crowd of single girls (yikes, that is not the word I would have chosen), Labrador refuses.
As Mom watched, the bouquet, miraculously, flew past all the women who were desperate to catch it.
See, Lumbar Zuncture isn’t desperate because she’s Not Like Other Girls™.
At the last second I turned to see what was going on, just in time to see it flying at me.
If you weren’t looking, how did you see your mom throw the bouquet or it going above the “desperate” women’s heads?
I was completely startled as it landed right in my arms.
I was not.
“How in the world…? I wasn’t even trying to catch it!” I was stunned, trying to explain to all the women were looking at me in disbelief.
IDK, genius, maybe it’s like, fucking majjjjaeixckkkkx or something.
Jesus Christ, it’s like this book knows it’s ending and is racing to be the worst it can possibly be.
Then I looked over at Dela, who was grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and I knew exactly how it had happened.
How fucking dense do you have to be to––
You know what? Nope. I’m almost done. I just have to get through the next few paragraphs.
Mac tells Zunt that she can’t fight destiny, and even though they’re at the wedding together and she caught the bouquet, I want to reiterate that we still have not seen any explicit resolution of the love triangle at this point. Mac asks Lantern if there’s a book he can read.
“Yeah, you know, like a handbook for mortals, just so I can keep up!”
That would have been as strong a line to end on as Lani Sarem could have possibly come up with, but obviously, her avatar needs to get the last word:
“I’ll try to find you one.”
I can imagine her sitting at her computer, going, “Hmmm…that line about a handbook for mortals is pretty good…but I’m not the one delivering it. The ‘I’ll try to find you one,’ is spoke by me, er, Zade, so it’s obviously better…but how can I really give this ending the punch it needs?
And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?
I’m not joking. I didn’t add that. This is actually in the book, ALLCAPS and all. It’s followed immediately by this text in bold and a larger font:
Can’t wait to find out what happens next? Enjoy this teaser from the second book in the saga due out in 2018!
Nah, I’m good. But tick tock, Lani. Tick tock.
So, remember how I titled this recap, “You’re never going to guess where the plot finally shows up?” Well, I bet you can guess, now. I’m not going to recap it in depth because I have absolutely no interest in the “saga” *Twilight cough cough*, but the teaser starts out literally right after the last line of dialogue, without any break. Which will make the first line of the second book:
Mac had walked away to go talk to someone and, at the same time, my mom walked over to join me and congratulate me on catching the bouquet.
No, seriously. That is somehow going to be the first line of the next book.
So, what happens is that a man in a suit comes up and Dela greets him with “Namaste,” because enough cultures haven’t been ripped off already. Then there’s this whole explanation about how this guy is called Aunt Aldyth because he likes to dress up in women’s clothing and wears makeup and it’s this funny thing because he’s a guy who dresses in women’s clothing and is called by a feminine title, get it? Get it?
So, I guess, yeah, if you’re super into transmisogyny and cultural appropriation, this book is gonna deliver. Big time.
It’s also apparently going to have the fucking plot that didn’t happen in the first god damn book. This totally new and never before heard of but beloved relative tells them that all these various dark and light entities are out to get Zim’s powers because she was a special child foretold by some prophecy that also means she and Mac are not destined to be together. But they might be. But maybe not. Because the love triangle in Twilight stretched out over multiple books, so why not this one? Then, and only then, do they discuss the twice-seen, apparent antagonist of the first book, Lamorghini Girl. And they set some trees on fire.
So, here’s what I’m guessing: either one of the multitudes of editors she definitely, definitely worked with said, “You really can’t have the plot show up in the last three pages of the book,” and Lani though, “Well, I’ll just add ‘And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?’ and say the end of the book is a teaser,” or she realized she needed to have a teaser and went, “Well, I’ll just add ‘And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?’ and say the end of the book is a teaser.”
The remaining two percent of the book is the acknowledgment section:
The thank-yous were, by far, the hardest part of writing this book. I literally edited and rewrote and added to this section the whole time I was writing.
Just imagine if she’d spent any of that effort on the actual story.
And we’re done with Shitbook For Chortles.