Jealous Hater Book Club: Apolonia, Chapter Ten

Praise Joel, the plot has arrived. But the recap is shorter than usual, because the chapter is a shorter one, and also super repetitive.

Cy has just told Rory that his feelings for her are why he shouldn’t come back from wherever it is he’s going. Which is outer space. I’m just going to keep on insisting that this is how it is until we actually find out that he’s an alien because I believe in my heart that he is.

We were strangers in the beginning.

Everyone is strangers “in the beginning.” Because they don’t know each other. This is not as profound as I think it’s supposed to be.

It had taken me weeks to get Cy to warm up to me. He was only the third person I’d trusted since that horrible night.

Okay, but…we still have no idea why that is. What has made Rory so trusting of him? He hugged her. He vomited pizza. But her very first opinion of him, her foundation of her understanding of who he is and what he’s about, was that he was coming to steal her job. Which makes it even harder to believe that she, who trusts no one, inexplicably trusts a person she already distrusted in the first place.

When he was around, the urge to be next to him was overwhelming. If he didn’t come back, I wasn’t sure what that would mean, but it didn’t feel right.

Again…where is this urge? She has the odd thought about him, but the only time we see this clawing need to be near him is when she’s already near him. We’re supposed to believe she has this wild obsession with him that’s the result of some sexual tension they both feel, but it’s never demonstrated. Just, I thought about Cy and how much I couldn’t stop thinking of Cy. Then I went and did some other stuff and had sex with Benji.

It was all so confusing, and no matter how much I tried to make sense of it in my head, the more confusing it became.

You and me both, sister.

Cy tells Rory that the reason he can’t explain everything to her is because, say it with me, he wants to protect her. And she tells him, say it with me, she doesn’t need to be protected.

“Oh, I know. You’re fully capable of handling things yourself. But not this time, Rory.” He pulled his hands out of his pockets and gripped my arms firmly. “Not this time. And not Benji Reynolds. Stay away from him, Rory. He’s not who you think he is.” Desperation glossed over his eyes.

“Then who is he?”

Cy looked away. “That is exactly what is so frustrating about this situation. I can’t tell you with risking saying too much.”

Actually, what’s frustrating about this situation is that we’ve read this same conversation over and over and it never moves the plot forward. Writing Tip: Eventually, you have to reveal the goddamn plot twist.

“You’re not really leaving. Not for good, I mean.”

He nodded.

So, yes, he’s not really leaving?

“No.” I shook my head and then laughed the horrid feeling in my gut away. “No. I don’t believe you.”

So…he is leaving?

“You…you can’t just let someone care about you and then go away.”

…except for when you’re mad at them because they’ve talked to a girl you don’t like back in chapter three or four.

Rory asks if Cy has feelings for her, and he says:

“Of course I do. I care about you very much. I always have.”

He told her he has feelings for her, I said, “Bitch, where?” He told her, “I always have,” I said, “Bitch, where?”

Seriously, we saw him give her a hug, and beat up a guy who assaulted her at a party. We are supposed to be feeling stirring romantic tension and the pain of impending separation of two characters I assume we’re supposed to be rooting for. Instead, I’m sitting here going, “You’ve known each other two months, wtf is this always shit?” and “Do you have any documentation to verify these feelings?” Because I haven’t seen any of this. We have spent more time alone with Rory and Benji than we have with Rory and Cy, and in several of their early scenes, Rory and Cy barely spoke.

Then Cy drops a bombshell: he’s “betrothed” to someone back in “Egypt.” He tells Rory that she would love his fiancé (because Rory so loves other women, especially ones she feels she is in romantic competition with), and that Rory reminds him of her. Man, poor Cy.

“In some ways, yes. In others, you’re so different.

Like, their entire personalities, I would hope.

“You make me feel things that I’ve never…but none of that matters. I care for you very deeply as a friend, Rory. Sometimes, I feel that’s incorrect, that I feel more than that, but that’s wrong. I didn’t know it was possible to care for someone like this who wasn’t my betrothed. I love you, Rory, as a friend, very much. Too much.” He reached for me, but I pulled away. “I want all good things for you. I want you to be happy. I want you to heal.”

This makes Rory screech to a halt, because now she knows that he knows about what happened to her parents. She calls him on it, and demands to know how he knows. She asks if Dr. Z told him, but he didn’t.

“You were spending time with the specimen. I took it upon myself to learn everything about your background. It was important for me to know who you were. If you could be trusted.”

“Since when does someone get a background check to be around a rock? What are you not telling me, Cy? Because you know far more about me than you should. I’ve been patient, but if you’re really going to leave here and never come back, you owe me the truth. What do you know that night?”

So, here’s the thing. Cy knowing that Rory’s parents were murdered? Doesn’t prove that she’s trustworthy. And bringing it up? Is extremely unfair. She didn’t tell him about it, so why would he think it was something she was willing to talk about?

But I’m kind of thinking that background checks are probably necessary if you’re going to work in a lab with a heretofore unknown element that landed on earth from space, but that’s because you’d be, you know, working with the government in Area 51 or whatever.

Because this entire back-and-forth of tell-me-stuff-no-I-can’t-tell-you-stuff will never end, Cy keeps being evasive while Rory keeps saying he has to tell her. When she gets angry and tries to leave, he says:

“Rory…you are the bravest being that I know. I’m not sure I could have survived something like that, physically or mentally. I’ve seen a lot of things. War. Death. But to watch such brutality waged against your loved ones and to suffer in that way is–”

Stop talking.”

Who the fuck keeps going on and on about someone’s past trauma when they obviously don’t want you to know about it in the first fucking place?

But notice his wording: “You are the bravest being.” BEING.

aliens-meme

Rory leaves the lab, once again without any explicit answers that would move the story forward. She encounters the elevator that triggered her PTSD in an earlier chapter. The doors open at her floor and she tries to make herself get on, but she can’t. It’s literally the first moment of strength and bravery we’ve seen Rory display in this entire book that isn’t explicitly described as brave and strong by the author. So, thanks, author, for trusting us enough to realize that considering taking the elevator is a huge step forward for Rory.

Also, thanks for putting any character development into the story at all. It only took ten chapters.

Rory forgot her keys, so she has to go back to the lab.

The elevator dinged as I passed, but I ignored it. After a few seconds, the cables squealed, and the elevator lurched and rumbled as it climbed again. The moment I took the first step down, the few lights that illuminated the lobby went dark, and the elevator went silent, coming to a stop between floors. Something invisible, in my mind, had kept me out of elevators for over two years. If it weren’t for my maddening aversion, I could have been stuck in there.

You know what might have been more helpful, Rory? If you’d realized that the elevator operating on its own, when you know the building is empty, might be a sign that something weird is going on.

She uses her cell phone as a flashlight, but halfway down the stairs, she hears a door open:

Feet, many feet, shuffled quietly down the hall. I couldn’t fathom who would be in the building this late at night but myself, Cyrus, and possibly Dr. Z, but something told me that I didn’t want to be caught by whoever it was.

So like, what was your first clue, Rory? The fact that the CIA is after you guys? That Cy told you some spooky shit? That the elevator was operating by itself and then there’s this sudden blackout? Also, the fact that the CIA is after you guys? HOW DO YOU KEEP FORGETTING ABOUT THE CIA?

Rory runs into another lab, because she doesn’t have her keys to unlock the one she works in:

There was a large Plexiglas window separating the unlocked lab from Dr. Zorba’s. Cy was standing at my desk, scrolling the mouse with one hand and making notes with the other. A few lights were on in the lab. He was using backup power.

I’m not going to ding McGuire for this, because I do it all the time and I really don’t have a huge problem with it in reading or writing, but I promised to give you guys writing tips, and here’s one. Writing Tip: The first sentence is an example of passive voice; “There was a large Plexiglass window separating” is passive, “A large Plexiglass window separated” would be active voice.

But like I said, I don’t really care about it. Maybe because it’s in first person, and people tend to think in passive voice. Anyway, just a note, in case you were wondering what the difference is.

Rory tries to warn Cy, but it’s too late:

The heavy metal door of Dr. Z’s lab blew open, and a dozen or more men dressed in black and armed with semiautomatic rifles flowed into the room. I slid to the floor and pressed my back against the wall. Alone, in the dark, I wasn’t sure if I should stay hidden or make a scene. I could hear Cy demanding to know who they were and why they were in the lab. The men were yelling at him, too, insisting Cy step out from behind his desk with his hands in the air.

I have two questions: why does Rory know they’re semiautomatic? Is she a gun expert, in addition to a martial arts expert? Also, it’s dark, because it’s a blackout, and the lights are running on backup power, so it’s probably like, brownout conditions. Anyway my biggest tick here is that Rory isn’t sure if she should make a scene. Uh…why would you do that? You’re the only one who’s witnessed what’s going on. If you stay hidden, you can go for help. The choice here is pretty obvious.

My mind fought to stay in the present, but the yelling and the sound of panic in Cy’s voice brought me back to the night when they’d murdered the people I loved most–including who I used to be.

I actually laughed out loud at this, because Rory lists herself as one of the people she’d loved the most. While I’ll totally fine with people loving themselves, we’ve seen Rory as such a selfish character, this was perfect. But seriously, here’s an issue. She says “they” murdered the people she loved, and the reader doesn’t know if she means the people with guns who’ve rushed into the lab or what. I assume not, but then the confusion continues:

I thought about how much fear I had seen in their eyes, and I knew it mirrored my own. I hadn’t been afraid like that since. Why would I? I couldn’t be killed. I had died with my eyes on my mother until my lids became too heavy to hold open. The men who had been laughing while doodling on my skin with the tip of their knives had faded to the background while my warm blood had spread out on the carpet beneath me. It had pooled, blanketing me and soaking my hair. The warmth had made it easy to let go, so I did.

1. Died is kind of a past tense and pretty final thing. You can’t die until something. You just die. End of story. She could have been dying with her eyes on her mother, but she couldn’t have died until her eyelids were too heavy.

2. The carpet had blanketed you and soaked your hair?

3. Bleeding to death doesn’t make you warm.

At least we’re going to get some info on what the fuck Rory meant by not being able to die:

After a time, I had awoken in a silent hotel room. No maniacal laugher, no sounds of sharp metal penetrating flesh, no crying or begging, no breathing–not even my own. When my eyes had opened, a curvy red pond lay between my mother and me. She hadn’t fallen asleep as I did. She’d died as she lived–with her eyes wide open, watching over me.

My breath had returned then.

AHHHHH THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING! You either fell asleep, or you died. This is a science fiction novel. If you say you can’t die, you need to be fucking specific about this shit. You can say the character died, then say that she’d fallen asleep. WHY IS THIS BOOK LIKE THIS?!

No one could explain it. Not even me. They’d said I must have passed out, that it was impossible that I had come back to life without medical intervention, and I’d just imagined floating over my own body, watching them carve me like a tree trunk. Even when they couldn’t explain how I’d lived despite losing a lethal amount of blood or how I had made it across the hall to call for help, they’d still refused to admit I’d died. But I was dead, and then I wasn’t.

Okay, but none of this actually explains that she can’t be killed. She lost a lot of blood. She had a near death experience. Then she was alive again. All that means is that she died that time. Not that she can never be killed. Also, if Rory is truly immortal, we needed to know that a lot earlier than ten chapters in. Because right now, this book feels like the author remembered she had to put some science fiction into it at the last minute.

The guys with the guns take Cy away, and steal the space rock. After they’re gone, the lights come back on.

I stood up in the empty lab, in shock, afraid, but only for a moment. If someone had seen my family and me get taken away or heard our cries and helped, my parents might be alive today. Sydney might be experiencing KIT with me. She could have found a boyfriend, fallen in love, and gotten married. Because no one had helped us, the man she would have married would be kept waiting. The children she was supposed to have would never exist. And entire line of people was wiped out, descendants of one of the most amazing people I’d ever met.

Then, I wondered if that was ever her purpose. Maybe she was put on this earth to teach me to be strong, to show compassion for those who were victims of the same heartless sons of bitches that killed her, and to compel her brother, Sam–who was active military and a cop–to teach me how to defend myself, things he wanted to teach her but never made the time.

cordelia me me me

What the fuck, Rory? Your friend died horribly so you could get a life lesson? What the fuck kind of self-centered bullshit is that? She died violently, ending the potential lives of other people, so her brother would teach you how to defend yourself? What the fuck even is this line of reasoning?

Sitting there, on the floor and alone, I finally had my answers.

Can the answer be when you sat back down again? Because you were standing just a minute ago.

 The death of my parents and Sydney left me with the guilt and grief that would empower me to get off that floor. I was drawn to Cy because he would need a savior, and I was the perfect person to save Cyrus. I had nothing to be afraid of. Death couldn’t touch me.

Okay, but you still don’t know if you’re immortal. Again, you just know that you miraculously survived something. How difficult would it have been to mention an unsuccessful suicide attempt or something that proves to Rory and to the reader that she can’t die?

Rory decides that she’s going to go off and rescue Cy, but when she gets to the parking lot, the guys in black are already peeling off with him. She thinks about calling Dr. Z for help, but decides against it, because his phone could be bugged. She knows she can’t call the police, because the guys who kidnapped Cy probably aren’t going to be worried about the police. She’s also worried that they might have taken Benji, because she doesn’t see him or his car. So she decides to run to Dr. Z’s house instead, and the chapter ends.

Raise your hand if you’re excited that something plotty has showed up.

raise your hand

62 thoughts on “Jealous Hater Book Club: Apolonia, Chapter Ten

    1. I dunno, if I couldn’t die, I would still take self-defense classes. Being immortal doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt or traumatized, especially if it would have been enough to kill anyone else. After the first time or two, I’d want to do anything I can to prevent myself being hurt. Being immortal? Fine, whatever. Being in a world of pain? Hell no.

      (Granted, that’s putting too much thought into this pile of drivel. I’m sure the self-defense classes were meant to show how ~strong~ she is and how she won’t take anyone’s shit or let anyone close to her or whatever… ugh.)

      1. This is what I was thinking too. Plus, if people attack her and try to kill her and she keeps not dying, someone’s going to catch on eventually and then she could find herself imprisoned in Area 51 or something. P sure the government would take a keen interest in an immortal.

        (They might go all Winter Soldier on her, y’know. Train her to be an assassin or super soldier or something that’s actually interesting and would make this novel REALLY REALLY cool omg.)

        Anyway, yeah, self-defense isn’t about like keeping the reaper at bay so much as protecting yourself, so immortal or not, lots of good reason for it.

    2. Also I think that she is having a psychotic break. I mean, she just decided that she can’t die and was put on this earth to be a savior, probably to justify that she couldn’t save her parents. I hope Dr. Zoidberg gets her help, when she gets to his house and doesn’t enable her dangerous delusions of self-aggrandisement … oh, who am I kidding?

  1. “…except for when you’re mad at them because they’ve talked to a girl you don’t like back in chapter three or four.”

    Speaking of — what is that character’s purpose, anyway? (I can’t recall her name.) Is she just there so Rory has another female in the book so she can hate her? Does she come into the plot at all?

    “I’m not going to ding McGuire for this, because I do it all the time and I really don’t have a huge problem with it in reading or writing, but I promised to give you guys writing tips, and here’s one. Writing Tip: The first sentence is an example of passive voice; “There was a large Plexiglass window separating” is passive, “A large Plexiglass window separated” would be active voice.”

    One of the first pieces of writing advice everyone gives is not to use passive voice, but I haven’t yet read a book that didn’t use it constantly. I avoid it. It always, always, always reads better in active. It’s worth making the effort (sometimes in the editing phase). But your point about it being in first person makes it easier to take. First person allows certain leeway.

    “who was active military and a cop”

    When is he a cop? If you’re active military, that is your entire job. I know people who are active military and I know people who are cops. You can’t do both. Does she mean he’s an MP?

    1. Yeah that whole cop/active military thing is like little kids pretending to be super heroes. “My super power is flying. Also heat vision. And I’m immune to all weapons. And I have a Pegasus! and my dad is a cop and active military!” hell, this whole book is pretty much that.

      1. I mean, he could be a cop and be in the Reserves, but then you wouldn’t say “active military.” A teeny tiny little bit of research — or, you know, just asking someone or having a little common sense — would tell you that! lol

        I thought maybe it’s poorly worded and the guy WAS in the military and THEN became a cop?

        Everything about this book sucks and I haven’t even read beyond what Jenny has posted.

    2. Wouldn’t passive voice be more like, “The unlocked lab was separated from Dr Z’s by a large Plexiglass window”? I mean, in both of the other two examples it looks to me like it’s the window actively doing the separating.

          1. It’s ok if you’re 9 years old and writing stuff like, “There was a garden with lots of pretty flowers in it. It was very nice.”

            So, yeah.

    3. I don’t have a problem with passive voice when it’s necessary. For instance, one online grammar site recommends changing “The city has been burned by a dragon’s fiery breath” to “A dragon burned the city with its fiery breath.” But for instance, if I’m a messenger sent to alert neighboring towns to the tragedy, I might want to use the former sentence, because to my mind, the city is what’s important and the subject of my sentence, not the dragon. It depends on what you’re trying to emphasize.

      But with the Plexiglas example here, to my mind a good sign of heading for trouble is starting a sentence with “There is” or any variant of those two words. They’re almost always unnecessary, and lead to long, overly-wordy sentences instead of tight, pointed sentences.

      1. The best example I can think of for use of the passive voice is “I was born in London.” I’m hardly going to go out of my way to use the active voice there. “My mother gave birth to me in London.” Nope, sorry, I’d rather leave my mum out of it :D

  2. Ugh, how long is this pile anyway? And how is it that so many adult women are putting out books that sound like thirteen-year-olds wrote them?

    1. My bigger question is how are so many books that sound like thirteen-year olds wrote them selling so successfully? It’s so discouraging.

      1. Probably because there’s a lot of people that don’t really read at all unless they have to, so they wouldn’t know well-written if a copy of Sherlock Holmes hit them in the face. :/

  3. Super nitpick! Because your point totally still stands, in that “A large window separated” is DEFINITELY the better phrasing – but “There was a large window separating” isn’t technically passive voice! I have no idea what that sentence construction is actually called in English, but “a large window” is still the subject of the sentence, and it is performing the action of separating. The verb is (in my understanding) an English rendering of what I know of as an “imperfect” tense – “was separating” in the sense that it CONTINUED TO SEPARATE THE ROOM AT SOME POINT IN THE PAST. It’s super clunky in the prose, no doubt.

    A better demonstration of what I’m saying might be…here, I’ll split it into two sentences: There was a large window. It was separating…

    “There was a large window” isn’t passive! It’s just a boring sentence, haha.

    A passive rendering of the initial sentence would be: “The unlocked lab was separated by a large window.”

    END TANGENT, anyway, I super enjoy your re-caps and let’s reads, Jenny!

    1. WAIT NO, my bad, ‘was separating’ wouldn’t be imperfect in the original sentence – it’s actually ADJECTIVAL, a participle describing the window itself.

      (all the grammar i know is latin/greek I AM VERY SORRY)

      1. We should totally be friends, Kat. Grammar geeks unite.

        And I mean that in a slightly jokey way, not a creepy “I wanna be your frieeeend” kind of way ;-)

  4. “Also, if Rory is truly immortal, we needed to know that a lot earlier than ten chapters in. Because right now, this book feels like the author remembered she had to put some science fiction into it at the last minute.”

    What, you don’t remember that one time she thought the words “I’m immortal” at one point? That one throw away line that wasn’t expanded on or acknowledged until just now? Yeah, I have no idea what this book is doing. That random piece of information was designed to be either remembered for how bizarre and out of place it was, or forgotten for how quick and, up until know, irrelevant it was. Maybe the author really did just come up with it at the last minute and then went back to a random point in the novel to make it seem set up that way.

  5. i’m just… offended that the author is calling this sci-fi. this might be the first time that i’m hoping for a “surprise! everything was in her head!” plot twist at the end. like maybe rory was so high on something that she seemed passed out and dead to the murderers and they ignored her, while she “died” in some really vivid hallucinations. or she was on one of those drugs that make people do crazy shit because they can’t feel any pain, and she actually did lose a lot of blood but still managed to cross the hall and call for help. everything we’ve read about the school year is the result of some combo of prescription meds and self-medication, and after she gets sent to rehab for some reason and starts taking the right meds correctly she’ll have a better grasp on reality.

    1. I have a feeling we’ll all just keep being disappointed. She doesn’t have the talent to pull off even one of those “I saw that coming from page one” plot twists, and you have to be pretty bad to screw up one of those!

  6. Wait, wait, wait…we the readers sat through ten chapters of relationship drama with the occasional reference to a space rock thrown in and now suddenly it’s “ARMED GUARDS! COORDINATED BLACKOUT! CONSPIRACY! TRUST NO ONE!”? That is a whiplash of a tone change, to be sure!

    One of the comments I got on my WIP was “please introduce plot points earlier”, “earlier” in this case being the first damn chapter. I wish one of two things: 1) this author had editors(/picky friends) like mine, or 2) I had the self-confidence to just push my shit out on the internet sight unseen because, clearly, I will still gain a fan base.

    Honestly, if she’d excised all mention of aliens from this book, it would be more plausible as an action/adventure/romance story. It’s mind-boggling that the genre is the most disposable part.

    1. Seriously. All of this alien/CIA/royalty/family murder/whatever the hell else she is calling a plot needed to all be introduced in the first chapter. I remember she had a pretty attention-grabbing first sentence, but the rest of the book so far has been so blah. It’s both too much plot and not enough at the same time.

  7. TEN CHAPTERS and she’s immortal now? TEN. CHAPTERS.

    There’s not enough cold medication in all the world for this.

  8. I just can’t get my mind around the fact that this is supposed to be science fiction. Its actually infuriating. I think I need to go read my copy of The Dispossessed again to remind myself of what good sci-fi is.

  9. “I couldn’t fathom who would be in the building this late at night but myself, Cyrus, and possibly Dr. Z.”

    So, it’s perfectly understandable to her that her labmates would be working late, but there’s not a single professor, postdoc, grad student, technician, or undergrad from another lab who would be? No one from housekeeping, emptying the trash cans? Not campus security, checking that all the doors are locked? (I have learned the hard way to always keep my keys on me after-hours)

    I would say that Rory is probably the type of person who considers everyone else’s projects unimportant and a waste of time compared to hers, except she obviously doesn’t even care about hers…

    1. I believe that it’s suppose to be Thanksgiving Break, so most students professors etc… would have gone home for it. However, Housekeeping or campus security would still be floating around. Plus, I’m pretty sure that Dr Z’s team would not be the only professor/student etc… that might be on campus over the break.

  10. I think what’s annoying me the most is Rory’s internal dialogue being all about how confused, confused, confused, confused she is. Mcguire seems to ascribing to the belief that explaining things lessens suspense and tension, which is why Rory and Cy ignore the CIA. Because somehow if we the readers knew the CIA was after them, we’d be all like, “Whelp, the CIA is here to kill them. The CIA is so dumb, though.”

    I just really dislike it when MCs spend chapters running themselves in circles because “that’s what writers do”. I used to do it, too, gosh. And then I improved (I hope).

  11. “I took it upon myself to learn everything about your background.”

    Does this creep anyone else out? Because if a guy said this to me, I’d see a giant red flag with the word ‘NOPE’ emblazoned ALL over it.

      1. I would be too busy being scared to feel any sort of romance with any guy that said that to me. Even if I liked him like that, those emotions are going out the door. And so I am.

        1. Given how private and reserved Rory can be, it made no sense to me that she didn’t freak out at that point.

  12. Up until this point, I had read the whole “I can’t die” stuff as being metaphorical; as in ‘all the people I love have been killed, I’ve lost everything that matters, I’m already dead on the inside’ kind of way. Suddenly Rory has had this miraculous recovery? Suddenly she’s immortal ‘immortal’, not simply DEA inside and therefore less caring of her physical self? Alrighty then. Clearly the little credit I had given this book was way too much and I need to reset my expectations even lower. Let me get my expectation shovel and dig that hole. I maybe some time…

    1. Maybe she’s suffering from Cotard delusion, where she believes she’s dead, but also immortal because she’s already dead so can’t die again.

    2. Yeah, that’s how I took the I’m immortal thing too. Then the nonsense in this chapter and now I don’t know. This book reads a 13 years olds first attempt at writing. Hell the Host had more science fiction than this, and it still managed to cram convoluted love triangle up in there too.

  13. My headcanon so far:

    Rory is gifted in a way that makes her visible to Cy’s people in another galaxy… some psychic thing. That same gift led someone to try to eradicate her genes by killing her whole family (possibly so that some other gifted person could benefit… say, Benji). But Cy’s people brought her back to life so she could go on to become – what was his major again? Interstellar anthropology? – and bring peace to the peoples of the universe. The rock is a test to see if she’s ready for the training. Cy will soon be reporting back that not only is she not ready, she’s a horrible person who wouldn’t want to bring peace to the universe even if she could. Benji will emerge as the one for the task, and whether he gets selected for training or cruelly passed over will determine the outcome of the story.

  14. …I think I’m on the CIA’s side now. Hurry up and get her, boys, before she dullards again.

  15. Scifi Smchifi! Paranormal books have oversaturated the market – lets throw some “aliens” in there and call it science fiction and BOOM! DONE!

    I for one, am excited that there may be car chases. In passive tense.

    1. @ Lovell: Exactly! This reads just like a bog-standard paranormal romance, just using aliens instead of vampires or werewolves.

  16. That moment where Rory made the death of her friend all about her was awful.

    I hate it, because that’s what people do in real life too. Look, it’s okay to say ‘this shitty thing happened and it sucked, but I learned something about myself and I came out of it stronger.’ It’s not okay to say ‘this shitty thing happened BECAUSE I needed to learn something about myself and become stronger.’ That just makes it sound like horrible things happening to other people is about you and the world revolves around you and it makes you sound like a huge dick. Not that Rory needs any help sounding like a dick…

    What a book. I’m not buying the romance angle. The sci-fi is nonsensical. Rory’s traumatic past is super confusing and I don’t care. I don’t like any of the characters. I’m not interested in what happens next. Why the hell would anyone keep reading at this point? (Unless they’re writing hilarious blog posts about it).

  17. What’s puzzling to me here is that science fiction writers are usually all too eager to tell you, the reader, all about their s-f elements. It’s clear that for a lot of science fiction and fantasy writers, the world-building is at least half the point.

    I can think of innumerable examples of s-f or fantasy writers who were unable to resist the urge to info-dump, even at the expense of drama or story coherency. The reverse is considerably rarer. I’ve seen a number of s-f novels whose plots were too cryptic for their own good, but I’m struggling to recall any that buried its actual premise this much.

    1. I think that’s because the writer in this instance doesn’t give a toss about world building or even really care about science fiction. Apollonia seems like a half-assed cash grab, pulling in elements that have proven successful and cramming them into the story without much care or skill.

  18. the only time we see this clawing need to be near [Cy] is when she’s already near him.

    My theory is, Cy has a powerful but very low-range glamour going for him. It only extends a foot or two. ;-)

  19. Wait, wait I’ve got it. Rory is an alien. She was left here on earth and her mom is really her adopted mom. She’s also from the same planet as Cy which is why they feel this mystical connection but only when they’re near each other. Because kryptonite or something.

    Or am I giving the author too much credit? I’m only reading the recaps and not the book because I have limited time on my hands and like to spend it reading well written material. Like this blog.

  20. I bet Rory is the woman he’s betrothed to. But, she changed after her parents’ murder. To Cy, she’s a different person, but would like her old self (the betrothed.)

  21. Y’know, I really do admire McGuire’s bravery in getting published and books are really so hard and tricky to write, so kudos to her for that.

    But this book really is extremely underdeveloped. And boy howdy, is Cy frustrating here. I don’t understand how Rory’s not more upset w/ him.

  22. Confession: I’ve never understood why the Passive Voice was considered “wrong”. I tend to find that I favor (both in writing and in reading) a more passive voice. Active certainly, but passive can be really effective when you’re dealing with more mellow or reflective scenes. Like when there’s a lull btwn action moments, the passive is super helpful in reflecting that.

    Idk, I always wondered why ppl say to ALWAYS use the active voice, bc I think both are useful.

    1. (Not “Active certainly”* – I meant “Active can certainly be good” but the sentence got lost in my head and didn’t come out well through my fingers)

  23. “HOW DO YOU KEEP FORGETTING ABOUT THE CIA?”

    Their mind-control is too strong. Predicted Chapter Eleven excerpt:

    “‘Rory, I think you should wear this tinfoil hat,’ Cy told me. ‘It’s to protect you.’

    ‘I don’t need any protecting!’ I shouted.

    ‘Yes you do!’

    ‘No I don’t!’”

    And so on ad nauseam.

    Also, I’m raising my hand now. I feel personally victimized by this book. Should I just bang out 60,000 words involving a love triangle and send it around to publishers? Because nothing could be cludgier than this writing. The only reason I can see for it seeing print is some BS about the YA market liking love triangles. Probably the word “trending” was used incorrectly at some point in the discussion.

    P.S. I know that wasn’t the proper way to do those quotation marks up above, but it looked like sh** when I added the extra leading ones for each paragraph.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>