Jealous Hater Book Club: Apolonia, chapter 16

This is the chapter where if anyone knows anything about radio, we could use some fact checking. So even if you don’t generally read these recaps, it would be swell if you’d take a look at a section toward the end where radio wattage and frequency is being discussed.

We last left Rory in the medical ward of the Nayara, the ship flown by Cy’s betrothed, the titular Apolonia.

My eyes opened and blinked a few times. It wasn’t a surprise. I’d come back from much worse.

Rory is the polar opposite of Anastasia Steele, who always wakes up surprised. The two recaps really balance each other out. Rory is  talking about the fact that she’s immortal, but as the scene goes on, it becomes unclear whether or not she actually died and came back, or if she was just asleep. The consistency of the story’s inconsistency is comforting to me.

Benji is sitting beside the table she’s on, and Tsavi, the alien doctor, and Cy are missing. Rory is dressed in a pair of what are basically alien scrubs, and Benji is super relieved that she’s conscious:

Benji rubbed his eyes with one hand and rested the other on my arm. “You had a significant laceration in one arm and a bullet hole in your thigh. It was clean. Exit wound.”

I looked down. “It doesn’t hurt.”

“Apolonia did something. She had this little…” He was trying to draw it in the air. “Anyway, you don’t even have a scar. Lost a lot of blood, though.”

I can’t believe blood got mentioned, but wasn’t used as a chance for something like, “Blood, like the kind I had laid in, watching my mother and my best friend die, while I didn’t die, because I’m immortal. Blooood” or whatever.

Cy, Dr. Z, and Tsavi come in.

Benji helped me off the table, and Cy hurried over to help as well.

“I’ve got her,” Benji said.

“I see that,” Cy grumbled, and then he hugged me.

Just in case you missed the last fifteen chapters, here’s some backstory: both of the guys want Rory. It’s a subtle theme, but it’s crucial to the plot that you’re aware that both of them are fighting over the heroine.

“I was worried for a bit.”

“You shouldn’t have been. I’ve told you a million times–”

“And I’ve told you once, you’re not invincible, Rory. Lucky but not invincible.”

Could someone please clear up whether or not she’s actually invincible/immortal/what the fuck ever?

“I don’t know, Tsavi said. “Judging from the extent of the scars she has, I would say she has survived many wars.”

This is important, because we need to know that Rory is just as tough and battle hardened as Apolonia, who is not as good as her. Rory feels violated by having her scars revealed, because hiding them is how she controls her perception of the event.

“I would not call it luck,” Apolonia said, frowning.

So even Apolonia thinks Rory is this tough, strong type. Maybe she can tell us if Rory is actually immortal?

Apolonia needs to contact her father so he doesn’t burn down the entire Earth to find her, but the Nayara‘s communications are not an option. Benji suggests the campus radio station, but Dr. Zoidberg shoots that theory down as hard as the government shot down the Nayara, because:

“If Rendlesham starts shooting at us again, we don’t want an innocent student to get in the way.”

True facts, but here’s a question: why is Rendlesham still alive? We saw death machine Apolonia carving up everyone and everything, but somehow Rendlesham escaped and Apolonia didn’t go after him, despite the fact that he’d killed her entire crew. Why did he get away, other than convenience to the plot? And why didn’t we see how he escaped, other than the author just not having any idea how to get him out of Apolonia’s path?

But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is Cy and Benji fighting over Rory:

“How do you just happen to be everywhere at the right time? The fact that you attached yourself to Rory is questionable in itself. You’re not even remotely her type. You look like the kind that would be chasing Ellie Jones or Laila Dixon.”

I frowned at Cy. “Laila Dixon? From administration?”

Cy shrugged. “She’s more Benji’s type, voluptuous and oblivious.”

This is important. This is what we should be arguing about at the moment. Whether or not Benji could possibly be attracted to someone as skinny and smart as Rory.

“I haven’t lied to her,” Benji said.

“What have you omitted?” Cy said, unyielding.

“Omitted? Let’s talk about omission. You don’t lie? Please. Not being honest is lying, Cyrus. Don’t fool yourself.”

Cy’s jaw worked under his skin. “I haven’t lied to you. But he” –he pointed at Benji–”hasn’t told you who he really is. Tell her, Benji, or I will.”

That’s an interesting punctuation choice with those em dashes. Also, underlines indicate italics.

The line between Benji’s eyebrows deepened. He was clearly troubled by Cy’s threat. He looked to me, trying to find the words to say next.

His expression made me nervous, even more so than Cy’s threat.

Rory tells Benji that she’s tried to get everyone to trust him. But he does have a secret, a secret he claims he’s been trying to tell Rory for a long time:

Cy spoke, “He’s Benji Reynolds, son of Agent Frank Reynolds, chief intelligence officer for the Majestic Twelve.”

Wait, wait, wait. Cy knew this all along. He knew this from the moment that Dr. Zoidberg told them about the CIA’s interest in the rock. He told Rory not to hang out with Benji, but he never thought to make it clear why? On top of that, did he even bother to tell Dr. Zoidberg? This is information that, if it needs a big reveal, can’t be something Cy knew about all along, because that means he actively endangered Rory for seemingly no reason at all.

“So, you were a plant, just like Ellie? I was your target?”

Dr. Z was immediately next to me, holding my arm. He always knew what I needed. And right now, I needed not to fall onto my knees in shock.

So, did Dr. Z know about all this already? Because he doesn’t react at all in the scene, other than to support Rory.

Benji came to my other side, but I pushed him away. “I knew what Cyrus was. Even before that, I knew Majestic was watching Dr. Zorba. I know this looks bad–really, really bad–but I wasn’t using you, Rory, I swear. Dad said he wanted me to watch out for your safety. Heck,I wanted to watch out for your safety. And by the time I knew what Majestic really wanted, it was too late. I’d already made a decision by then.”

“We do not have time for this,” Apolonia said, crossing her arms over her stomach.

“We don’t have time for this” is to Apolonia as “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” is to Star Wars. It seems like everyfreakingbody gets to say it.

The obsession with Rory’s safety continues, despite the fact that she’s highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat and apparently immortal. The one step that, inexplicably, no one seems willing to take is actually telling Rory what’s going on so that she will be safe. Both Cy and Benji knew the threat posed to Rory by the Majestic, and neither of them bothered to give her a heads up about it. If you’re walking down the sidewalk and a bear is chasing you, you’d want someone to yell, “Watch out for that bear!” You probably wouldn’t want them to keep that information to themselves while they tried to figure out the bear’s motives, right?

“What kind of decision?” I asked, facing Benji.

Benji shrugged, as if it should have been obvious. “That I was in love with you.”

Dr. Z watched for my reaction. If you recall, Rory, Ellie also said that there was one member of Majestic who couldn’t stay away from you.”

See how Dr. Z seems completely unfazed by the reveal here? Did he know all along? If so, that’s three people who were keeping important information from Rory, despite having more than one opportunity to warn her. But it never occurs to Rory to question this, because Dr. Z is basically set decoration/a convenient exposition device at this point.

“What was too late?” I asked.

Benji took a few steps toward me and then cupped my shoulders. Purplish half-moons under his dim brown eyes revealed just how sleep deprived he was from looking for me the night before and from watching over me on the infirmary table. His shirt was wrinkled, and his hair was tousled. “It was too late for them to convince me to help them because whatever side you were on was where I wanted to be.”

So…why not turn double agent? If you knew Rory was on the run from Majestic, if you had access to all of this information and you desperately wanted to keep Rory safe, why not tell Rory, Cy, and Dr. Z everything you knew? Because if the motivation there was “I don’t want to ruin my chances with Rory,” it makes you a hell of a lot less likable, buddy.

And it should make him less likable to Rory, but the romance here is more important than the CIA science fiction plot, so:

I fell into his arms, and he pressed his cheek against my hair, squeezing me tightly against him.

“I knew they were coming for the rock. That’s why I wanted to get you away from there before dinner. I was going to try to get you both out before they came. But I’ve had to plan every move carefully, Rory. I couldn’t help you if I didn’t have inside information. I wanted to tell you everything. It just had to be the right time.”

Okay, but you did have inside information at the right time. You knew that Majestic was going to storm the lab, steal the rock, and probably kidnap Cy and Rory. That was the inside information you had that would have been helpful at the time. But I guess since that would have destroyed this clumsy reveal that’s supposed to shock and intrigue the reader, we have to accept that Benji just couldn’t do that because the author is insisting that’s so.

What I really can’t accept here is Apolonia not killing Benji outright over this discovery. But she didn’t bother to kill Rendlesham, either, so her judgement is apparently not great.

Because the plot can’t move forward without it happening, Rory manages to convince every to trust Benji. The army will be coming back soon, they have to leave, but Apolonia stresses that they have to come back for the bodies of the fallen crew members so they can take them home to their families. Tsavi gives Dr. Z and Rory warm robes to wear.

Cy smiled at Tsavi. He appreciated his people being kind to humans, and Tsavi seemed to like us. The feeling was mutual. She seemed more…human–at least more so than Apolonia.

Brace yourselves, dehumanizing of coded woman of color coming in three…two…

Knowing Cy, I couldn’t imagine what made him fall in love with such a dry, emotionless, and angry person. He once called her emotional. I couldn’t disagree more. From what I’d witnessed, it was unclear if she even had a soul. Cy was a warm, kind being. He begged the soldiers–men who were out to harm all of us–not to engage his betrothed, so we wouldn’t have a massacre on our hands. How can he love such a monster?

Apolonia is emotionless, but at the same time, angry. And just a few paragraphs above, she shows clear caring for her people. She also cares for humans. Know how I know? She’s on Earth, trying to stop a devastating parasite from escaping and decimating the entire species. She also just saved Rory’s life, or at least thought she was saving Rory’s life, depending on whether or not Rory is immortal. Rather than acknowledging that and having any sense of gratitude for it, Rory is cruelly critical. And Apolonia is the one we’re supposed to feel is soulless?

And there’s no reason for this information to be included at this point. Apolonia hasn’t done anything so far in this chapter, aside from stand around, then express that they should return their dead to their families. If anything, she’s depicted as having more humanity in this chapter than in the last one. But it’s important for us to know that she’s not good enough for Cy, and Rory is. Rory is the one we’re supposed to be rooting for. Rory needs to have both guys in love with her, and all other women are described as wanting, because this book is misogynist trash.

Apolonia gives Tsavi some kind of space weapon, but Cy is against it, because he doesn’t want to see any other humans harmed.

Apolonia touched Cy’s face tenderly, but her expression still seemed emotionless. “I have already lost so many. I can’t leave Tsavi defenseless.”

I’m sorry, Apolonia. Even though you’re the most interesting character in the book–the title character, even–we have to hate you, because you’re romantic competition for the actual lead. You can’t even tenderly touch someone’s face right. We seriously have this character arming someone she cares about because she can’t stand to lose her. Because the death of her entire crew has so devastated her. But she’s emotionless and soulless.

Remember how Rory described Cy in the beginning of the book? How he was aloof and cold and unfriendly? And she persevered and cracked through that shell? How does she suddenly not remember that, when it’s a female alien displaying the same characteristics?

Oh. Right. Female.

They leave the ship, and literally nobody is outside of it. No army, no CIA, no Majestic. Everybody just left. Which is a good thing, because it would have been a lot of work to write an exciting escape.

Benji pulled the robe from my other hand and held it up.

“Dr. Zorba called this warm. It’s a millimeter thick and has no liner.”

“I guess we’ll see,” I said, slipping my arms into the sleeves. The front melded together, and instantly, the cold dissipated from my body. “The fabric must include some special form of technology. It’s better than my goose-down coat.”

“And all this time, I though you didn’t own a coat,” Benji said with a teasing smile.

character just pointed out an inconsistency. Though I suppose you could make the argument that Rory hasn’t been immune to the cold for a while. Probably because of the power of love or something.

Cy and Dr. Z explain away the lack of military presence by stating that the roadblocks must surely be manned, and the area quarantined. Which still doesn’t make enough sense because spaceship just crashed on Earth. This is not the kind of thing our government would just kind of wander away from until they can get to it later. But again, it’s much easier for the army and the CIA to just shrug and leave than to write the characters escaping without detection, or fighting their way out.

Dr. Zoidberg mentions that there’s an old radio station ten miles away, and that its equipment is old and highly inefficient.

“So, we cannot use it?” Tsavi asked.

“No,” I said. “Efficient broadcast signals make the signals weaker for someone to pick up in space.”

“That’s right,” Dr. Z said. “Old radio programs were broadcast from massive ground stations that transmitted signals at thousands of watts. In theory, those signals could be picked up relatively easily across the depths of space. This is exactly what we need–an inefficient old station. [...]“

Okay, now, wait a second. I’m not an expert, but I know a little about radio, albeit second hand from informal conversations. I may be misunderstanding the concept of radio waves here, but wattage doesn’t increase range when there are other transmissions on closer frequencies, does it? Do we have any radio peeps reading this who can confirm the wattage/range connection? Because the way I’ve always pictured radio working is that it just kind of shoots up into the sky and fans out like water ripples, becoming less intense the further you get from the center point. Which is the reason radio stations cut out when you get closer to another station near the same frequency, right? Because the stronger ripples overlap the weaker ones? So if there are other stations in range, the “inefficient” wattage wouldn’t necessarily make the range of the station stronger in space.

God, I hope at least one of you is a broadcast expert, because of all the things that have been weird or inaccurate in this book, this is going to be the one that bugs me the most. I could call my grandfather, who is the source of any radio-related knowledge I have–he was a senior engineer at Electro-Voice and worked on NASA’s Project Mercury–but he cannot break it down Barney-style at all, and that’s what I’m looking for from one of you.

Anyway, Dr. Z says that three beings of higher intelligence should be able to get the station going again, and Benji makes a snide comment about how being of an older race doesn’t equal higher intelligence. Cy argues that he learned to speak every language on Earth in two months, and Benji is like, yeah, but can you write a symphony?

I elbowed Benji. “They already don’t trust you. You’re not helping yourself.”

He pulled out keys. “I have the only car, and it’s fast. Does that help?”

I don’t know, Benji. Are you going to actually use the car, or hide it from Rory for her own protection, until you’re all in mortal peril?

This book. This fucking book.

64 thoughts on “Jealous Hater Book Club: Apolonia, chapter 16

  1. Why isn’t this book over yet? What the hell is even the point because all the author seems to care about is that every guy wants Rory and Rory is the best woman ever so the rest of us should all feel inferior.

    And why, with the wonky immortality? What is this shit? Why is the author being so coy about it? She either is or isn’t immortal, just let us know!! It’s kind of important for the reader to know and it shouldn’t be left this ambiguous in a paranormal/sci-fi book.

    This author is just atrocious at this. I’d say she should just stick to writing romance but she sucks at that too. I’m thinking she should go back to whatever day job she had before thinking she could write.

  2. Benji is a secret agent? Oh, there’s a big surprise! That’s incredible! I think I’m gonna have a heart attack and die from not surprise!

    Sorry, I’m not radio expert, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’re right and this is completely inacurate. It’s a safe assumption to make, given we’re talking about this fucking book.

    You know, I’m trying to think of a way in which this book could have been less horrible, and there’s like a million of them, but here’s one that would justify the book being named after Apolonia: if she had been in Cyrus place to retrieve the rock, like some sort of space super spy, minus the love triangle. Rory just falls for Apolonia, Benji is just some guy who follows her around and when this super underwhelming declaration of love happens, Rory’s like: “Thanks, I guess, but I didn’t ask you to do that. Besides, Apolonia and I have been banging from months. She’s promised me to take me into an intergalatic road trip. Can you do that? No? Didn’t think so.”

    Because there’s nothing, not even this ill-conceived book, that can’t be improved by intergalatic lesbian lovers.

    1. But if you’re going to do a love triangle, it would have been kind of fun to bank on a bisexual love triangle. Lame and boring Benji on one side, amazing Apolonia on the other. It was already set up to say that Rory is bisexual.

      I would love to see a bisexual love triangle if I have to deal with love triangle.

      1. Yeah, that was what I was going for: the only person who thinks there’s a love triangle going on is Benji, because he’s so lame. For it to actually be a bisexual love triangle with at least some tension, he would have to be updated to a character whose description went beyond “token human boy next door who falls in love with you for no apparent reason and even though you treat me like shit”.

      2. “I would love to see a bisexual love triangle if I have to deal with love triangle.”

        Try “Adaptation”by Malinda Lo. It’s not perfect, but for a YA Sci-Fi/Romance it’s surprisingly progressive. And there’s actual Sci-Fi before the middle of the book. Oh, and the main character isn’t a shit to other women.

        Really, it’s a great palate cleanser after this trash.

    2. I hate love triangles, but I would read this one. I like your alternate story better than mine, which is “Apolonia kills all the protagonists”.

  3. The thing about the radio station is kind of like worrying about whether a car would run out of gas before getting you to the moon. Exactly where is her father? Back in the home galaxy? Radio signals propogate at the speed of light, and the nearest thing that could be called a galaxy is 25,000 light-years away, meaning it would take 25,000 years for the signal to get there. If he is close enough that the signal would get there in any reasonable amount of time, the wattage of the radio station isn’t really the issue, a ham radio would do.

    She is right that more wattage means that a radio signal will propogate farther before weakening so far as to be indistinguishable from background noise. But what she’s saying is that they need a lighthouse instead of a bonfire on the beach to signal a ship to come help within an hour. If you need a lighthouse to reach the ship, the ship is too far to be of help.

    1. The radio question is a bit tricky. The book says the station is very old, so I’m imagining an AM station. That technology has been essentially unchanged for a very long time, and any shortcomings in efficiency are usually overcome by blasting millions of watts into the sky. The thing is, as you move further away from the station, the signal will get weaker until it is too quiet to hear over interference from nearby sources (like other stations, power lines, your microwave oven, etc.)

      An FM station acts more like you’re thinking, Jenny. A good FM receiver has digital circuits that lock onto a signal and blank out interference until the signal is too weak or another signal on the same frequency is too strong. Then the weak station is gone and the strong one takes over. This could allow the station to operate using less power (though I don’t know that for sure.)

      Going back to AM radio, there have been advancements (single-side-band) that allow a signal to remain intelligible, while requiring about 1/4 as much power output. Those are used mostly by hams and military radios though.

      Speaking of hams, it is totally possible (and a popular challenge) to bounce a signal off the moon using 1000 watts output or less. I agree with Andrea, power requirements are far less important than travel time.

      1. Don’t confuse the transmitter power with what happens at the receiver when a stronger signal overwhelms a neighboring weaker signal. That is irrelevant because they have to get a strong signal out to daddy’s ship, then it’s up to his receiver to 1) pick up the right weak signal amongst all the other weak signals coming from the planet after the requisite time of light travel mentioned above,
        2) DEMODULATE the signal (strip off the carrier frequency to attain the analog or digital message Appaloosa & co. is trying to send), either in FM or AM modulation.
        3) Understand the message if the demodulated analog signal doesn’t match what daddy’s used to

        So a 20,000 watt transmitter will overwhelm nearby earth-based receivers, but won’t affect how daddy receives them.

        1. Very good points, though there might be some confusion over how we’re using “nearby” signals. It doesn’t matter much if the stations are physically close together as long as they are using different frequencies. But if the frequencies are too close together, our heroes need a stronger signal to overwhelm the other. (Since they’re transmitting into space, they need a louder signal than any other station on the planet that is using that frequency. I guess we could be generous and assume they know how to adapt the equipment for the mode, encoding, frequency etc that daddy would be listening for.

          1. Not so fast. All the transmitter gear is tuned to the frequency of the original transmission, from the length of the antenna to the tuned couplers to get the RF from the amplifier to the antenna, and even coupled from the modulator to the amp. Changing the frequency means all that stuff has to be retuned to the new frequency, and that’s no easy task in short order. The only thing I can see them doing logically is broadcasting on the frequency the original transmitter was set for and hope daddy just happens to be listening on that freq. if the change from AM to FM freqs that would be pretty much impossible, even for our alien friends. Besides, the author means to tell me Appaloosa doesn’t have a portable radio in that big ship of hers tuned to the exact frequency and modulation that daddy can hear? What a failure as a captain!

          2. Oh, forgot to mention, the RF spectrum is so crowded now that, even if they could change frequencies, they’d wipe out other users. For example, aviation frequencies are just above broadcast FM stations. Note your FM radio goes from 88MHz to 108MHz. Our aviation freqs start at 118MHz and go up to 136MHz. The 1.3 m amateur ham band is 222 to 225 MHz. You just don’t jump from one to another with that kind of power output easily.

            Oh, and to answer Jenny’s question, getting a signal to deep space is all about the power of the signal, so it doesn’t mean diddly how inefficient the transmitter is as long as the radiated power is strong enough. The inefficient transmitter merely uses more input electrical power to produce the same RF output power. That’s why I suggested they need a directed dish antenna to get the signal to daddy across space otherwise he won’t receive it. But as mentioned before, he’d better be in orbit to get it in any timely manner because of one-way light time. The trouble with the dish is that they have to know where daddy’s ship is so they can point the antenna to it.

          3. Yep. I forgot about antenna resonance. They might as well have just said there’s a transmitter in the ship and they just need a power source that they can rig up a connection to. Then they could yank it out and go to a power station and do whatever plot thing is going to happen at the radio station. It doesn’t make a lot of sense but it would be easier to hand-wave unknown alien tech than stuff that readers could actually be experts in. I’m of the opinion that there’s no part of her present plan that makes sense in a realistic world, but of the many sins this book commits against science fiction, misunderstanding the details of radio communications is a minor one.

            (As a side note, there is more than one way to define efficiency for a radio. There is, like you said, the input power to radiated power ratio. There is also the efficiency of the signal itself. For an example of this, the switch from analog to digital TV in the US means that “Some stations can cover the same area while transmitting at an effective radiated power of approximately 25% of analog broadcast power.” I don’t know if that’s what the book refers to, but I don’t think it makes much difference anyway. Poppa Alien still needs to receive the signal in any case.)

    2. What I’m getting from this thread is that it would basically be more effective and efficient for them to just write “SPACE DAD I’M HERE!” on a big banner and lay it out on the ground.

      1. Close, but not quite. And if you want me to explain why daddy’s telescope would have to be a mile in diameter to read that banner(hint, Google “modulation transfer function ” to see how images are diffraction limited by quality of the optics and lens diameter of the primary mirror) it would take another thread twice the length of this one to explain.

        But yeah, the writer don’t know squat about a lot of things, radio being one of them.

        Do you need any more explanations on radio transmitters or are we good for now?

  4. “It’s a subtle theme, but it’s crucial to the plot …”
    “Why did he get away, other than convenience to the plot?”

    Have you located this alleged plot???

    And I’m confused about what, exactly The Majestic 12 is. Has this been explained in any way? Is that who tortured and murdered Rory and her family? Why? What do they want? Why is she in danger?

    OK. So The Majestic is the CIA group after the rock who wants to release the parasites? I’m … confused.

    “Knowing Cy, I couldn’t imagine what made him fall in love with such a dry, emotionless, and angry person.”

    Rory’s known this woman for how long and she knows all this already? Character development is not the strongest part of this book …

    And through all of this, it’s still dull as a doorknob.

    1. I just…How can someone be emotionless and angry at the same time?

      Unless she means OTHERWISE emotionless. Which…huh, well apparently Benji managed to do just that, right?

    2. Not only is Rory judging Apolonia unfairly and prematurely, what she says about Apolonia is actually a description of her own character.
      Dry, emotionless and angry?
      If that doesn’t sound like Rory, I don’t know what does.

      Also Yay to the bisexual love triangle!

      The way Rory bitches about Apolonia wrongly caressing Cy’s cheek is irritating for another reason. I mean, Apolonia is in presence of people she doesn’t know: some old dude, a spy working for the enemy, and a chick who’s trying to steal her man. AND she’s just lost dozens of friends/crew members. Heaven forbid she tries to control her emotions!
      Or maybe Apolonia just doesn’t show affection in a flowery way and prefers private display of affection. In fact, her caressing his cheek is very tender, more so than any other thing Rory has ever done.
      Because if a character is cold and harsh, it’s Rory. She has been pushing around people, using them, etc. She shows no real emotion or affection. On the other hand, Apolonia mourns her dead friends, wants to protect Tsavi, saved an entire race, and obviously loves her fiancé. So…yeah…author, you fucked up.

      1. “Not only is Rory judging Apolonia unfairly and prematurely, what she says about Apolonia is actually a description of her own character.
        Dry, emotionless and angry?
        If that doesn’t sound like Rory, I don’t know what does.”

        Ha, yeah, that’s what I meant and now realised I worded poorly. Benji managed to fall in love with someone apparently emotionless save her anger: Rory.

        Projecting, perhaps? :-)

        1. I’VE GOT IT!!!

          When whoever it was tried to kill Rory, she was actually split in two (like Xander in that one Buffy episode) and she and Apolonia are two halves of the same soul living independently. That’s why Rory is “immortal,” because you have to kill them both to kill one. So she’s seeing the parts of herself she doesn’t like in her other half.

          I know, I know … giving the book and its author far too much credit …

  5. Even pared down, in recap form, this story is unremittingly dull. Boring characters, predictable plot twists, and as subtle as a brick. Every time I see another recap it astonishes me because, à la Melodie, WHY THE FUCK ISN’T THIS FUCKING BOOK OVER YET?! JFC WHYYYYYYYY???? I am agog and aghast. The very shiteness has me hooked. Jenny, you’re a fucking superhero for ploughing through this drivel and making it even vaguely interesting with your wit, sarcasm and rage. *salutes you*

  6. There is this weird thing throughout the book that seems to kind of expect the reader to have a lot of ufo lore in their back pocket.
    Rendlesham of the rendlesham forest incident.
    Majestic 12 of the Roswell incident etc.

    At least I assume these are really out of the book and not you reading them through the lens of ufology, but they seem confusing both in context without knowing about the ufology of it and with knowing about the ufo lore. I have an inappropriate love for ufo lore for someone who wants do believe but just can’t buy it, and I consider myself well-ish versed, but wow that’s so confusing. It makes me wonder if the author knows these things or just googled some ufo terms and watched a couple episodes of some ufo tv show and called it good enough. Does she expect that the audience for this are big mufon fans? I am confused.

    1. See I had no idea about any of that even though I also love the X-Files which you would think would mention this stuff but I can’t recall it has or I would have made some connections since I recently started re-watching, relatively recently anyway. So that missing context is huge.

  7. OKAY SO I’ve been holding onto this ever since you recapped chapter five way back in november 2014. SO in this chapter we find out that dun dun dun Benji’s part of majestic and he knows about what happened to Rory, specifically he knows about what happened to Rory’s parents. So why in the hell does he intentionally bring them up with her back in Ch. 5? Here’s the section from your recap:

    Since he doesn’t know that Rory’s parents are dead, Benji imagines that they’re super cool, which is not the impression I would get about a family who raised Rory:

    He smiled. “That doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m sure they know that you would have found a way to do what you want. Makes me wonder what they’re like. Raising such a free spirit.”

    If he knows that they were murdered why why why would he bring them up? Obviously her murdered parents are a sore subject so what did he hope to gain from asking about them?

    1. There are three possible explanations to this contradiction:

      One, Benji was acting clueless to maintain his cover.

      Two, he really is that much of an insensitive idiot and wanted to test Rory’s reaction to the comment.

      Three, McGuire can’t write for shit and refuses to listen to her editor, if she even has one.

      I’m leaning towards the third.

    2. You were withholding information from us, Deidre? Why? Why wouldn’t you tell us? What have we done to you? I’m so angry, I’m emotionless. I don’t know you, but I know I don’t like you, because you are a woman.
      Hey! But now that you’re at it: do you, by any chance, know what the plot is?

  8. Ok…radio broadcasting student here, so I’ll try to explain what you’re asking.

    More wattage does mean more coverage BUT there are also considerations to make. If you have an area where two frequencies are close together (for example, 102.1FM and 102.3FM), there’s major interference. The stronger signal will usually win, but there will be spots where they’re both shit. It also depends on if they’re referring to AM or FM stations. I’m going to assume they mean AM because they’re talking about “old radio” (regardless that FM broadcasting has been around since the 1930s). AM radio relies on towers above ground and copper mesh/wires underground that the radio waves bounce off of and amplify. Fun fact, if you stand at an AM transmitter site and hold up a metal shovel, you can hear what’s being broadcast on that station.

    Now, if they’re talking about FM radio, FM works on line of sight. That’s why you’ll lose FM stations if you go in a parking garage, or under bridges/through tunnels, and sometimes if transport trucks get in the way.

    In both cases, a typical commercial radio station (like your typical music station or newstalk station) broadcasts with thousands of watts, anyways, it wasn’t just the old ones. Many run between 20,000 to 50,000 watts or higher. Either way, though, from my understanding of radio, using a standard radio station, they won’t get any signal up in space. And Benji is just ridiculous for suggesting the campus radio station, because most campus stations don’t have super high powered transmitters. My campus station only has a 60 watt transmitter.

    This is just for terrestrial (normal, free, on Earth) radio. For satellite radio? Perhaps if they had the ability to adjust the position of the satellite so that it pointed it’s signal outwards into space rather back down to Earth. And because this is a sci-fi book, I’m sure the author could have come up with some reason why her aliens knew how to hack into satellite systems to move their position. But of course there’s also the consideration of in what direction Daddy Alien is from where they are and how far away he is.

    I hope this makes sense. What I’m trying to say is that the author is just pulling stuff out of her ass…

  9. I’d like to read you recap more of this author’s books. You sound positively cheerful in comparison with when you recap 50 Shades nonsense. :-D

    This “emotionless” descriptor of Apolonia is getting to me too now, though. “Apolonia touched Cy’s face tenderly, but her expression still seemed emotionless.” Um…but she’s an *alien*? People have trouble recognizing expressions merely across different *cultures* (save for a few core feelings like happiness). And you’re expecting someone from another planet should show tenderness in a way you can process? As a wise woman once said: Okay, Rory. It’s your life.

  10. Okay, how many chapters are in this thing? This has to be one of the most boring books I’ve ever read, and I’m not even reading it!

  11. Cy argues that he learned to speak every language on Earth in two months…

    A quick Google search says there are about 6,500 languages currently in use on this planet. So even if we assume that Cy studied these languages during December and January, so he got two 31-day months in a row, that’s still around a hundred languages “learned” every day. Were they all just installed in his brain, like Gunn getting the Law on Angel?

    If he’d said he’d learned the 10 most-used languages on Earth in two months, it would still be impressive and a lot less just impossible.

    1. This raises so many questions. Like, did he even learn the languages only spoken by 100 people in the Amazon? How would that be useful to him?

      1. And why would the kind of person who saw value in learning languages he’d likely never encounter during his mission end up being so fascinated with Rory, a college student whose lack of intellectual curiosity is so vast that she can’t even be bothered to be interested in the space rock she’s studying for work?

        Not all heroines need to be brilliant bookworms, but a basic building block of a romance is showing the reader how and why the couple is suited to each other, even if they begin their relationship with some hostility.

    2. [Shameless plug for the purpose of a "good for you" butt pat, and tangently relevant to the comment (Italics are not in the text, but to illustrate the relevancy to the comment about learning all Earth languages in two months)]

      In my SFR, I have an alien that also learns Earth languages. This is what he has to say about the topic:

      “I do. That is why select Gabriel are trained in most Earthly dialects. [...]”
      “I entered the service at the age of my majority and trained for ten years.”

    3. LOL I missed that. That’s so stupid, impossible, and impractical. So he learned obscure nearly extinct languages that have only a few speakers left? Was he planning on going to New Guinea, and needed to learn the 500+ languages there?

    4. *Thank you*!

      That bugged the hell out of me.

      I’m sure the “author” (quotes because we all know she can’t write for shit) has no idea that the number of languages currently spoken is so high (or that it used to be so much higher). The likelihood is that the “ten most used languages” thing is about how many languages the author was thinking there actually are. The fact that the number of human languages is in the thousands tends to boggle the minds of a lot of people, especially Americans, who tend to speak/read/write only one language (often very poorly).

      1. BTW, since Cy was supposed to be from “Egypt”, why is his human name a Latinized form of an old Persian name? For all I know, there could well be an Arabic version of the same name, but it certainly wouldn’t be spelled “Cyrus”.

        I’m reminded of one Ford Prefect character in Douglas Adams’ Hitchiker series. Only in this case it’s the author who doesn’t know human cultures as well as they claim.

  12. To add to Andrea Taylor and Nessy’s radio talk, the typical radio station uses a quarter-wave monopole antenna that broadcasts the bulk of the emitted RF energy in a toroid around the antenna, but gets VERY weak straight UP. (Google monopole antenna) . The RF (radio frequency) energy will decrease as the square of the distance from the antenna (1/r^2), so at 4000 miles away from the antenna a transmitter putting out 20000 watts would only be 1.25 milliwatts by the time it gets there.

    So unless they can get a directional antenna (like a dish) that has a tighter beam pattern and direct exactly toward daddy’s ship, they’re screwed. Google “deep space network 70 m antenna ” And you’ll get a feel for the types of antennas we use to communicate to deep space. You run-of-the-mill college radio station doesn’t have that.

  13. Apolonia is way cooler than Rory could ever be. Despite all attempts to write her as a terrible ‘non-person’.
    Like I’m way more interested in the events that lead to a space princess trying to save a world full of people she probably shouldn’t care about because her fiance cares about them.
    I’m a little pissed that Cy’s being an unfaithful turd to her because of some emotionally damaged, self-absorbed human, but I suppose it’s too much to ask that people value faithfulness to their much cooler and more compelling committed partner in a hack romance novel.

    Also, are we 100% sure that Rory isn’t in high school? Because I know I was shocked at how people were still totally immature when I went to college but this is unreal.

    I don’t understand why some women/authors/whatever feel that every single person who possibly could be attracted to them needs to be in order to validate their attractiveness. I’m sorry but there is literally no one on earth that is going to be appealing to everyone, and I don’t even know why you’d want there to be. The closest you can get to that is probably Ruby Rose <3

    This comment is still going on for some reason, I just can't get over how goddamn obnoxiously full of herself this terrible snotty heroine is. And why for some godawful reason, all the other characters seem to think her self-obsession is appropriate.

  14. I know very little about radio signals, but isn’t the point to broadcast the information far and wide to an audience? How is an old station capable of broadcasting to the whole damn galaxy inefficient?

    1. That would work if one had a transmitter that could crank
      out RF in giga watts or even tera watts, but typical radio stations don’t have or need such power amplifiers as they would need all of Hoover dam to run them.

      Also, don’t forget that the Earth is spinning about its axis, so Appaloosa and co. will not only have to know where daddy’s spaceship is, but based on the time of day they have to steer the antenna elevation as needed to get the signal to actually point “to” the ship itself. So at 6 AM the antenna elevation angle will be much different than at noon, midnight , or 6 PM.

    2. To get full coverage of space with only a dipole antenna actually can be done (almost) but it takes time. 12 hours, to be precise. Here’s how:

      First, imagine you have a globe of the Earth. Take a short, 1/2 inch long yellow wood pencil( the painted section is the half inch, but you have a sharp point and eraser on top) jam the pencil into the globe at the city where the story takes place.(Ohio? Midwest?)

      The pencil is the radio station antenna. Pretty much all of the radiated RF energy is emitted from the painted portion of the pencil perpendicular to the painted surface. There’s no or very little coming out of the eraser end straight up. So the RF is coming out of the antenna in a flat plane and emits to space.

      Place the globe near the wall of a room. The center of the room is the sun. Imagine daddy is somewhere else in the room. Pick a spot, any spot.

      Rotate the globe so the pencil eraser is pointing toward the sun, or the center of the room. This is noon local time. Rotate the globe clockwise 90 degrees. See where the pencil is? As you face the globe the pencil should be on your left. This is 6 AM local time. Conversely, if you had rotated the globe 90 degrees counterclockwise the pencil antenna would be at 6 PM local. 180 degrees of rotation would put the pencil opposite to the sun at midnight local time.

      Stay with me here. At 6AM the antenna is sending a disc of radiated energy in a plane that includes the sun and behind the Earth toward midnight side of the globe. As the earth rotates counterclockwise the antenna-pencil now covers a Different sector of space.

      UPSHOT: it would take at least 12 hours to cover the northern 2 PI steradian hemisphere.(note, the Southern Hemisphere is NOT covered because the earth is in the way.)
      So if daddy is in some spot in your room ABOVE the equator, Appaloosa will need to broadcast from a dipole antenna every 15 to 30 minutes for 12 hours to get a signal to daddy ONLY IF DADDY’s SHIP IS ABOVE THE EARTH’S EQUATOR and nearby within an hour or two of one- way light time.

  15. The only thing I have to say is that everytime I read immortal I hear it in Robert Sheehan’s voice. Can we just all watch Misfits instead of reading this?

  16. If we were supposed to be surprised at Benji being Majestic or whatever, then why did the author tell us back in whatever whatever chapter that he was Majestic? If you’re working up to a Big Reveal, you probably don’t want to outright tell your reader what the Big Reveal is chapters and chapters before the actual Big Reveal… Idk. Seems pretty How To Write A Good Plot Twist 101 to me.

  17. This book just goes on and on and on. I’ve read stories like this. Hell, I’ve written stories that have some of the non-misogyny flaws. But if you’re going to pay so little attention to the plot and the dialogue and the progress of the romance arc, there at least ought to be either some rousing action scenes or some dirty sex scenes. Thus far, the action here has been as dull as the rest and the sex has, to my memory, been limited to that questionably consensual drunk sex scene between Rory and Benji. So, what is the purpose of this book?

  18. I am somehow consistently surprised by the lack of substance in this book. How bad of an author do you have to be to make something as inherently interesting as aliens attempting to escape the government to save the planet from a deadly plague, so goddamn boring? I mean, WOW. That’s almost skill.

    I struggle to even get angry at the stupid in this because there’s just so much nothing that it’s hard to engage with it at all. We’re 16 chapters in and the dramatic tension level is -6. I mean, the ‘dramatic twist’ was revealed several chapters ago (that Benji was in Majestic) and it was also so obvious that even if it hadn’t been it wouldn’t be a surprise. But worse than that the scene wasn’t even written with any tension. It was ‘oh shit Cy’s gonna reveal his secret if he doesn’t!’ *minimal anxiety and fear expressed* ‘oh shit Cy revealed it! And it’s not a problem 10 sentences later!’ when it could have been written so much better, even with all the crappy foreshadowing.


    “Dammit Benji, I kept your secret this whole time because I thought she didn’t have to know, but I was wrong! It’s going to come out, just grow up and admit it yourself! Or I will do it for you.” Cy was glaring daggers.

    I looked to Benji, hoping to see confusion on his face, but all I saw was fear. He looked back at me, and sadness and guilt mixed with his anxiety. I felt a pit in my stomach growing as the silence made it painfully clear Cy wasn’t making an empty threat. It felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. The seconds ticked by, feeling like hours. His lips moved, and he choked out a strangled sound, but then turned away, looking down at the ground. I turned to Cy whose expression had changed to disgust.

    “He’s the son of Majestic’s leader.” He spat out venomously. “He’s been using you this whole time to gather information for his father.”

    Benji’s head jerked back up immediately, I could see horror in his eyes for just a second before it changed to indignation. “You’re wrong! I am who you say I am, but I NEVER used her!” He turned to look me in the eye. “I thought I was here to protect you! I knew what had happened to you and I thought I was sent here to help, to keep you safe. And the second I learned otherwise, I stopped helping them. I know you have no reason to trust me. I wanted to tell you as soon as I realized what was going on, but I thought if I told you, you would hate me, and I was a coward. I… I fell for you… and I was so afraid that you would hate me. I know keeping it from you makes it even worse, and even harder for you to trust me now. I was an idiot. But I NEVER used you. I was NEVER trying to hurt you. I swear.” The look on his face made it feel like his life depended on me believing his plea. I felt like he was telling the truth. But did that matter? I thought he was telling the truth before, too.

    I could barely breath. I had been so adamant that everyone should trust him and he had been lying to me this whole time! And everyone else knew it! What the hell do I believe?! What do I do now?! Why didn’t anyone ELSE tell me? What else are people keeping from me? How the hell am I supposed to trust any of them?!

    I felt nauseous. I bent over and held my stomach as I tried not to gag. Benji leaned over to touch me and I smacked his hand away.

    “DON’T TOUCH ME!” I shouted louder than I’d intended. “You LIED to me! You knew about my past this whole time and you used that knowledge to get close to me!” My anger faltered as my stomach churned. “How could you?” I muttered softly as a tear fell.


    And suddenly the stupid boring scene actually feels like it has some weight to it. Benji actually has something he has to be redeemed from, allowing for more tension going forward because the weight of what he did is still hanging over his head instead of being instantly forgiven, you can have Apolonia jump in having had enough of everyone’s shit and wanting to kill the man associated with her enemies as vengeance for her fallen comrades. Then Rory jumps in and begs her not to because she’s tired of being surrounded by death and just wants it all to stop! Benji thinks this means she forgives him, but she shuts him down saying that she can’t forgive him, but that doesn’t mean she wants him to die. He sulks in a corner till a plot point lets him be useful again. This gives actual reason for some tension between Apolonia and Rory because Rory sees her as too quick to kill, thinking it indicates she doesn’t value life enough, and Apolonia sees Rory as opening them up to danger by allowing Benji to keep ‘helping’, instead of just relying on Rory’s internal misogyny and jealousy as the only source of tension between them. This gives some actual depth to the characters and creates two people with points of view you can understand (Rory watched everyone she loved die, and even though Benji hurt her, she had developed feelings for him and doesn’t want to watch another person she’s close to get killed over a rock. Apolonia just watched several of her people, who were there to assist her, who she valued and was in charge of keeping safe, get killed by Benji’s organization and doesn’t trust him to not turn on them and do even more damage.) and let readers pick a side rather than try and pigeon hole them all into thinking the main character is the only one woman of any value in not just the planet, but the whole universe. I mean, I know it’s awful to have a second sympathetic female character, but maybe we could give it a shot?

    It’s still stupid, because this book is stupid, but at least it’s less dull and actually leaves the story open to a little more depth, and has a little more ‘oomph’ to it, which is what you should aim for with a ‘shocking’ reveal. It should have some impact on the story beyond a mild distraction to pad the length!

    The author’s writing style just has absolutely no weight to it. The parts that aren’t dialogue or Rory badmouthing people inside her head feel like they were just written in a rush to get to the next part that the author actually cares about writing; badmouthing women and everyone telling Rory how awesome she is. This makes it hard to actually give a shit about what the hell is going on because the author doesn’t seem to.

    I have no idea how you keep making yourself read it.

  19. At this point in the book, I’m all about #TeamApolonia. And I can’t stop picturing her as Katy Perry in her E.T. song.

  20. This book sucks. However, I’ve learned more about space, geology and radio than I ever imagined. Which is cool. Let’s keep using this book’s inaccuracies as teaching moments.

  21. How is this only chapter 16? This book is so tedious it feels like we’ve been reading (posts on) it for ages. Jenny makes me laugh, so I can’t understand who would find this enjoyable without her wit and critique.

  22. This book is a great example of lazy writing. Pretty much all of the problems in the book are a result of the author’s sheer laziness. It’s boring because the author can’t be bothered to figure out and write the scenes that would be exciting, so she skips over them or makes problems disappear for no fucking reason (like the gov’t people just disappearing so the heroes can easily make their escape). It’s full of inconsistencies because she can’t be bothered to keep track of anything or to use beta readers/an editor (or can’t be bothered to follow their advice). It’s full of errors because she can’t be bothered to research. There’s basically no plot because she can’t be bothered to construct one. All of the characters are flat because she can’t be bothered to flesh them out.

    I vote she gets the award for the laziest author. Seriously, why bother to write at all if you’re too lazy to, you know, actually write?

  23. I feel like someone has said this already, but the characters referring to the space rock just as “the rock” has inspired me to read all mentions of said space rock as “Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson.” So now all characters are fighting over/studying/etc. Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. The book is slightly more interesting.

    But only slightly…

  24. This book seems to be the printed equivalent to “Breaking Dawn Part II,” which is on tv all the time and I mutter and sigh and try to watch it because, you know, vampires! Werewolves! Demon baby! but it’s so boring every time and nothing happens so I turn the tv off and go play solitaire on the computer for a while.

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