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Jealous Hater Book Club: Apolonia, chapter 17

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So, we left off with everyone deciding that they need to get to a radio station that will, realistically, be of absolutely no use to them, for reasons more than explained by Trout Nation resident experts in the comments section last time. Thank you to everyone who took the time to teach us a lesson in radio communications, by the way, that was fantastic!

Anyway, now everyone is standing around Benji’s bright orange Mustang, which is too loud and conspicuous, and doesn’t have the room for six people. Benji suggests making two trips, because duh, two trips in a bright orange car that’s super loud is way practical, especially when you’re trying to beat the clock. Cy decides it will be easier to leave Benji behind, and Dr. Z steps in to create some weak dramatic tension:

Dr. Z sighed. “Whatever we do, we must do it now. I’m sure there will be more soldiers coming at any moment.”

Why is this weak? Because there should have been soldiers there already. Detective Rorschach or whoever he is got away; reinforcements should have already stormed the ship hours ago, while everyone was dicking around in the med center. The only reason they didn’t was because it would have been disastrous to the author’s plans.

Benji tells Cy there’s no way they’re going to take his car and abandon him in the woods, which might be macho caveman posturing over Rory, but it’s also pretty understandable. But then Dr. Z says he’ll just stay behind.

Okay, let’s talk about the stupid uselessness of Dr. Z, shall we? The only reason Dr. Z exists is to make the space rock plot. At this point he’s so bumbling and totally incompetent within the structure of the dilemma he created, he’s John Hammond surviving at the end of the movie version of Jurassic Park. Nobody needs him once the dinosaurs get loose, so why is he still there? He’s useless. That’s why Crichton killed Hammond off in the novel; once he created the park and people started dying, he was no longer needed. Dr. Z hasn’t made a single useful decision since he told Cy and Rory about the Majestic. And any suggestions Zoidberg has made could have easily been made by other characters. The moment the reader finds out that Cy knows far more than Dr. Z, Dr. Z has outlived his usefulness. They should have found Dr. Z dead at his house, leading to the confrontation with Ellie. With Dr. Z dead, it would have removed an ally and upped the stakes. We also wouldn’t be stuck with Dr. Z trailing along behind them, throwing out the occasional bit of dialogue to remind us that he still exists. Unless Dr. Z does something pretty spectacular that saves everyone and wraps up the plot, he should have been cut loose a long time ago.

We’ll see what happens.

For right now, though, tough girl Rory has the situation in hand:

“No one is staying behind. We can all fit,” I said. I took Benji’s keys from his hands and pushed a button on the keyless entry remote. The trunk popped open, and everyone stared at the empty space. I climbed in, lay on my side, bent my knees, and propped my head with my elbow.

“This is ridiculous,” Cy said.

Benji smiled at me. He broke something off his keychain and tossed his keys to Cy. “You wanted to drive, right?” He climbed in, too, and made a show of getting comfortable next to me.

I can’t remember if the specific year of the Mustang was mentioned, but the classic models did not have much trunk space. I looked it up. A 1970 Mustang convertible had like 8 cubic feet of trunk space. An average refrigerator has 18.  A brand new Mustang would have like 13. Good luck, guys.

“What are you doing?” Cy growled. His patience with Benji was waning.

Right, because he was so patient before.

“It’s cold, and there are two too many bodies versus seats in the Mustang. I’m volunteering to keep Rory warm.” With that, he reached up and pulled down the trunk lid.

So, once they’re sealed in, Rory hears Dr. Z giving directions to the radio station and Cy and Apolonia talking in their language (she notes that it “doesn’t sound like a pleasant conversation”). There has been no mention of Tsavi so far, so who the fuck knows where she is or if she’s even in the scene anymore.

I wasn’t sure where the radio station was, but I assumed Cy would have to take back roads to get there. I didn’t realize until the ride began to get really bumpy that Cy was have to stay off-road until we cleared the roadblocks.

“I hope your car isn’t too damaged after this.”

Uh, I hope you don’t end up leaving your drive shaft on the fucking forest floor while Cy tries to drive an American muscle car through a bunch of trees and stumps and bracken. This car shit is KILLING ME.

Benji says he hopes they don’t get stuck or Cy doesn’t drive them off a bridge. This is an outcome I haven’t considered before, and it’s what I’m really rooting for now.

“Is that–ow!” he yelled. Cy had taken a bump too fast, and Benji banged his head on the trunk lid. He rubbed his head and then pounded the side of his fist against the interior wall of the trunk. “Take it easy! He probably wants to make sure we’re too rattled to cuddle.”

Finally, some childish, repetitive love triangle drama to break up the monotony of the space rock and aliens plot.

I smiled. “He’s got his hands full with the warrior princess.”

“Oh. I wondered if they were…if so, he’s doing a poor job of hiding it.”

“Hiding what?”

“How he feels about you.”

Just in case you were wondering, gentle reader, Cy is definitely in love with Rory and not with horrible, awful Apolonia (for whom the book is inexplicably named) and everyone can see that, except Rory, so that definitely makes it so.

Benji tells Rory that he was worried she would leave on the ship with Cy and never come back, or the soldiers would shoot her or something, and that’s why he’s on her side.

“So, it wasn’t all an act then? You didn’t want the rock?”

Benji’s face compressed, and he leaned toward me. “I don’t care about the rock. You’re the only thing I’ve wanted since the day I met you.”

Okay, but why? Serious question: what about Rory at the beginning of the book would make anyone want to be around her? Especially when she continually tells people she doesn’t want to be around them?

Also, how can Rory see Benji’s expression if they’re in the trunk?

They try to kiss, but Cy hits a well-timed bump, and they arrive at their destination. I am continually perplexed at the distances in this book. If it was such a difficult trip in a conspicuous vehicle, but the drive only took long enough for Rory and Benji to have a brief conversation about her relationship with Cy, why didn’t they just walk? It couldn’t have been that far away.

Cy lets them out of the trunk:

“Are you okay?” he asked. “Sorry about the sharp turns. Helena is crawling with Humvees. We had several close calls. It’s not easy sneaking around in an orange sports car.”

1. No sharp turns were ever mentioned.
2. Why didn’t Rory and Benji hear anything about the close calls, when they could clearly hear the people in the interior of the car speaking only a page before?
3. I don’t remember if we ever figured out where they were before, but the town is called Helena? So they’re either in Montana or Alabama?

We followed Dr. Z to the front door of the radio station. None of us were surprised that it was locked, but Benji successfully picking the lock with some wire from his trunk surprised us all.

“What?” he said.

“Where did you learn to do that?” Cy asked. “That’s a fairly expert move for a conservative engineering student.”

Yeah, engineers are terrible with mechanical systems. Like these engineering students, who built a robot that can pick locks. Of course, an argument can be made that an engineer would probably build the robot to do the thing before even thinking about trying to do the thing themself.

Benji tells them that his father taught him lock picking and a bunch of survival skills.

“Do you always carry a lockpick in your trunk?” Cy asked.

“It’s two paperclips, one bent like so,” Benji said, holding out his hand. “They were in my backpack in the trunk.”

“Amazing coincidence, that’s all,” Cy seethed.

No, Scooby Doo‘s Velma always having a bobby pin in her hair, despite wearing a hairstyle that clearly didn’t require bobby pins in the first place, was an amazing coincidence. A student having paperclips in his backpack isn’t that big a stretch.

A raggedy, skinny gray cat meowed and rubbed itself against the wall of the station and then against Benji’s leg.

“Aw, poor guy,” Benji said. He tried to pet him, but the cat maneuvered out from under Benji’s hand and kept rubbing his side against Benji’s other leg.

“Looks like you found a friend,” I said.

“Animals and kids love me,” he said before smooching at the overgrown kitten.

Britney Spears looking extremely confused.

What exactly is happening here? What does the kitten add to the story? Why is this happening?


Apolonia and Tsavi guard the door while Cy, Benji, Dr. Z, and Rory try to get the radio station up and running. Benji goes outside to look for an electrical box, giving Cy and Rory a moment alone for more romantic tension drama:

“Why are you so hell bent on hating him?” I asked.

“I’m just waiting for him to betray you.”

“You mean, us.”

“No, I mean, you. One can’t be betrayed by someone one doesn’t trust.” He sighed, frustrated. When he spoke again, his voice was calmer. “This is a bad idea, Rory. His father is Majestic. Benji has been raised with that allegiance, and you think one girl is going to make him switch loyalties?”

“Why didn’t you make him leave then?”

“Because you wanted him to stay.”

Okay, but…

You know what, fuck it. I’m done looking for sense and logic in this book. Underlines = italics, you know the drill.

Cy checked over his shoulder, and then his eyes met mine. “I do care for you. When Tsavi, Apolonia, and I leave this planet, I don’t want you to be alone. If Benji is what he says he is, then you’re going to need him even if it makes me physically ill to put any thought in that scenario.”

This is some pretty impressive mental gymnastics. I hope he’s stretched. I think I understand now what Cy is saying: He’s going to be leaving the planet, so he wants Rory to have Benji in her life on the off chance he’s not going to betray her, even though Cy is 100% certain that Benji will betray her. But it makes him physically ill to think about Benji not betraying her.

Look, just because I understand what he’s saying doesn’t mean it makes sense.

 “So, you’re allowing Benji to stick around because you want us to be friends just in case he’s not a lying Majestic minion?”

“Precisely, but not friends, an asset.”

“We’re already friends.”

“Yes, this concerns me.”


“I’ve already told you, Rory.”

“You care about me.”

You know what would make more sense in this conversation than Cyrus having this line of reasoning because he cares about Rory? If he would just come out and say that he wants Rory to have Benji in case anything goes wrong with Majestic once Cy and Apolonia leave. She could use Benji’s safety for leverage or something, since his dad is involved in Majestic. That would make far more sense than, “I want you to have this dude hanging around you, even though you might be evil, because god forbid you are left dude-less in this situation.”

And that’s the real problem with the love triangle in this book. All the characters are making bad choices because it’s unthinkable that Rory might end up without a boyfriend at the end.

“Let’s be honest. You don’t get to deny me Benji because you’re jealous. If you choose Apolonia, then you can’t claim me, too.”

He released my wrist, clearly disgusted. “You’re wrong. I wouldn’t do that to you or to her.”

“I guess one girl can make someone completely contradict everything he thought was right.”

“Now you’re comparing me to him?” Cy said, his face twisting to anger.

The beauty of this passage is that the reader isn’t supposed to realize that Rory is unintentionally comparing him to herself. See, Benji likes Rory. She’s the only girl he’s interested in. He’s not stringing anybody else along. But Rory is doing exactly what she’s accusing Cy of: keeping one on the back burner just in case the one she really wants doesn’t choose her. She goes on to accuse Cy of being jealous, and he has been jealous. But Rory can’t get too high and mighty about that, because she’s been seething ever since she found out about Apolonia’s existence.

And let’s remember that the only thing Cy has done to make Rory jealous is be engaged to someone else, long before he met Rory. It’s Rory who’s gone out and actually fucked somebody else.

Benji finds the electric box and the lights come back on. He comes back inside, cat in tow, interrupting the fight.

In that moment, I realize how close Cy and I were. He noticed it, too. In unison, we stepped back, putting distance between us, fidgeting and failing miserably at appearing casual.

Benji picked up on it, and his smile disappeared. “Everything okay in here?” The cat wriggled out of Benji’s grip and ran into the back of the building.

Why? Why is the cat still a thing?

Rory storms off into another part of the building, and Benji follows her, demanding to know what she and Cy were talking about. She warns Benji that if he humiliates her with betrayal, she’ll never forgive him. But it kind of seems like if Benji betrays her to the Majestic, she’s not going to be around long enough to be mad at him, anyway. He tells her that his father believes Apolonia et. al are only interested in the rock as a way to keep humans from protecting Earth from them, and Rory points out that Benji is pretty interested in this rock he claims to not give a shit about.

As they set up the radio station, this happens:

Every once in a while, Benji would take a break and try to coax the cat over to him. It looked as if it had already been electrocuted once, so I wasn’t surprised that it wanted nothing to do with Benji while he was wrapping the copper wire.

This cat better turn out to be an alien or a spy trained by the Majestic or something that would make it a necessary element to the story.

Benji clipped his wire. “There are several radio antennae on the north hills. This radio station must redirect to them. It’s possible we could divert the beam, redirect by linking the ground signal to the antennae. Hamech’s ship could intercept the signal. If we knew the ship’s trajectory, we could even point one of the dishes here in that direction and bypass the antennae all together.”

Radio people covered why this would be extremely unlikely  in the the comments on the last recap.

Dr. Z points out that the only way that would work is if Hamech’s ship is monitoring those specific antennae, and Benji asks Apolonia if that’s a possibility.

“It is possible,” Apolonia said, her voice monotone. She was emotional all right with the one emotion she had–anger.

Just incase we’ve all forgotten, Apolonia is horrible and doesn’t deserve Cy the way Rory does. I mean, all Apolonia has done since she got there is be super angry about everything. You’d almost think dozens of people she cared about had been killed only hours before or something.

Cy and Dr. Z tell Rory she needs to rest. This constant need for everyone to rest, right in the middle of what should be urgent action, slows this book down almost as much as the love triangle does. Benji gets his emergency blanket from the car, and they get ready to go to sleep.

I returned his smile and felt my stomach flutter when I realized he was shifting to lie down behind me. The radio station was fucking freezing, but that wasn’t the only reason I wanted him next to me. Benji had been pursuing me a long time. It wasn’t until Cy came into the picture that I was able to feel anything. Ironically enough, it was for Benji. Now that that door had been opened, I couldn’t seem to get enough of him.

Now it’s time for a long conversation about their relationship. Benji asks if Cy leaving means something for them, and Rory says no, it just means Cy is leaving. She also tells Benji that she doesn’t know if they’ll work out, but she feels like they’re right together, or something. Benji suggests he and Rory could leave and not put themselves in danger anymore. Which is stupid, because if they leave and Apolonia and Cy and Tsavi fail in their mission, the entire planet is going to be overrun by horrific parasites. If they leave, they’re in more danger than they are just running around with the aliens.

I looked over at Cy and Apolonia, smiling at each other and stealing small touches every once in a while.

Huh. For someone who doesn’t have any emotions besides anger, Apolonia seems pretty happy to be with Cy, huh?

Rory tells Benji that Cy is her friend and she loves him, but she’s unwilling to say that she loves him as just a friend.

I turned on my back, looking up at him. “It’s different with you.” He tried to soften the tension around his eyes, but it was still there. I touched his cheek. “In a few hours, I’m going to tell Cy good-bye. But if I had to do that with you, I couldn’t do it, Benji. I couldn’t survive if you left me.”

Benji leaned down, touching his lips to mine. It didn’t matter who else was in the room or what they thought. The right pair of arms was around me, and that was all that mattered.

I don’t know. I think probably the alien parasite potentially taking over Earth kind of matters, but it’s never really treated that way by the narrative.

Then there’s more shit with the cat. Literally paragraphs of the cat.

Benji wants to name the cat Snuggles.

I frowned. “That is the lamest name ever.”

and after the cat actually approaches them, Benji says:

“See? He doesn’t think it’s a lame name.”

I’m pointing these out because there’s another “lame” earlier in the chapter, and it’s ticking me off. Even though I’m physically disabled and mentally ill, I’m generally not too freaked out about ableist language like “crazy” or “idiot” or “the meteor strike crippled the space station”, but there are a few situations that do make me furious and “lame” used to mean “stupid” is one of those. Especially because it specifically means not being able to walk due to disabilities affecting the legs. Like, sorry people who can’t walk are stupid? I feel like “lame” is one of those words like the r-word or “that’s gay” in terms of everybody knowing they’re wrong.

Before long, my body melted against Benji’s and I felt myself drift off. But I didn’t dream. It was just a warm, sweet darkness, the kind I had sunk into when I died. All I wanted was to lie still, heavy and relaxed against Benji. In that moment, it felt okay to just slip away even if it was forever. Staying there was easy. It was the waking-up part that was hard. This time though it was even harder.

My body lurched, and voices around me grew louder.

“Jesus! She was convulsing!” Benji cried, his hands hovering over me. “What…what do I do?”

Cy says Rory needs water, and Benji volunteers to go to a nearby gas station for it.

Cy touched my arm. “It will be over soon.”

My body lurched again. For someone who was so dehydrated, I seemed to be vomiting buckets. My palms were flat on the concrete, covered in whatever my stomach was rejecting. Maybe my whole body was rejecting what Apolonia had done to me. Maybe she had done it on purpose. Maybe she had been trying to kill me.

Of course it was something Apolonia did. Every woman in this book has wanted to kill Rory. And okay, that’s probably a natural reaction that anybody would have once they’ve met Rory, but I’m so finished with her assumption that all women are out to get her.

“What did you…” I said, but I couldn’t finish.

Once Apolonia recognized what I was accusing her of, her face finally flashed an expression–anger.

Of course it’s anger. You’re accusing her of poisoning you or something.

“You think I did this to you?” She took a step, but Tsavi held her back.

Let her go, Tsavi. Just end this for all of us.

“I saved your life,” she spit out. She looked to Cy. “This is who you are so fond of? How could you care about someone so weak? Look at her! Sweat dripping from her like an epocshta.”

Tsavi pushed her back, out of sight. I could hear them arguing in their native language.

Cy put a gentle hand on my back. “She’s just upset. I told you she’s emotional.”

Yeah, people tend to get, like, irrationally angry about being accused of murder. Silly, emotional, Apolonia and her mindless savagery.

Rory asks Cy what language they speak, because that’s of the utmost concern when you’re seizing and puking, and he tells her it’s Anhktesh. She’s all, “It’s beautiful,” or whatever, then throws up again.

“She didn’t mean to,” Cy said, a begging tone in his voice. “None of us could know it would have this effect. Please be okay,” he said before kissing the crown of my head.

Oh. So it was Apolonia’s fault.

Animated gif of Lucille Bluth rolling her eyes.

I’ve probably used that .gif in an Apolonia recap before, but it’s really needed almost every time.

If I felt better, I might have appreciated Cy caring for me, even in Apolonia’s presence. Being near death was probably the only time she would allow it.

This is how petty Rory is. She’s convulsing and puking, but still has time to remind us that Cy is caring for her, and she’s won some kind of victory over his bitch fiancé.

Benji comes back with water and gas station snacks and sweatshirts. Apolonia gets Rory cleaned up–that bitch, how dare she–and Dr. Z, Cy, and Tsavi test the power to see if it will work.

But we need to know what the cat is doing. The cat is important.

The cat ran away when Apolonia gave me an improvised shower, but it returned when it realized Benji had food. Apparently, cats like pork rinds and Slim Jims.

With a new tarp beneath us and four extra-large C-Mart sweatshirts that Benji had bought from the gas station to use as a blanket, Benji, Snuggles, and I were huddled together again.

I hope that fucking cat gets infected by the alien parasite and kills you all.

A spotlight shone through the front window, and everyone who was standing ducked down. Apolonia, crouched and silent, walked across the room to look out.

Her body relaxed. “They are gone, but they might be back. We should stay hidden.”

The best way to do that, Cy decides, is to, you guessed it, sleep.

“Maybe we should all get some rest and try again in a few hours.”

Apolonia took a step toward him. She’d taken down her hair, and the black waves cascaded down past her shoulders, settling at her elbows. “I am not sure we have a few hours. I have been out of contact with Hamech for most of the day. If he tracks the Nayara to her last communication and sees that she is down…if he does not find me in the ship…the bodies…”

Oh, Apolonia. Don’t you realize what book you’re in? The science fiction is secondary to the real plot, which is just about Rory being a man magnet.

Apolonia nodded, still unsure. She and Tsavi made a pallet on the other side of the room. Cy made his a few feet away from the DJ booth and Dr. Z.

So, Cy sleeps far away from his betrothed, close enough to talk to Rory while everyone else sleeps.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better. I can admit now that I was afraid,” Cy whispered.

“That I was going to die or that Apolonia had tried to kill me?” I whispered back.

“The former. She wouldn’t hurt you. I know she’s–”

“Cold? Unfriendly? Hostile?”

All qualities that apply to Rory through this entire book, but they’re totally unacceptable in a romantic rival, even if that romantic rival is currently in a tense situation and has sacrificed the lives of her crew just to save the planet Rory currently lives on. But whatever.

Cyrus explains that he can’t sleep beside Apolonia because of some custom with his people, and how he and Apolonia met. He expresses uncertainty at the prospect of her still marrying him after they return to their planet.

“Why wouldn’t she?”

“My friendship with you…unsettles her.”

“Should it?”

Cy looked down to the floor. “No.”

I smiled. It’s okay. I can see that you love her.”

“If I’ve…seemed confused about the nature of our friendship, please accept my apologies. Being here, so far from home, and spending so much time with you…you make it very easy to forget.”

There’s the validation Rory needs. Cy forgot about the woman he loved because of her.

“It’s so strange to feel so strongly about two women who are so different. Sometimes, I wish the situation were different. But it’s not, and it’s wrong of me to think that.”

“So, stop.”

“You don’t know how much I wish I could.”

Screen cap of Jake Gyllenhall or however you spell it, from Brokeback Mountain, saying "I wish I knew how to quit you."

Rory tells Cy that she loved her best friend as much as Cy loves her, and Cy says the way he feels about her is confusing.

Love is the most overused word in the English language. It’s confusing to everyone. Some people live their whole lives and never get it right.”

“Thank you. I don’t think I would have truly understood if I hadn’t met you.”

“Well, how about that? I finally get to be the one to say, you’re welcome.”

And that’s it. That’s how the chapter ends. They find a cat, they don’t contact the ship, Rory pukes a lot, and there’s way too much talking about how who loves who. I look forward to the next chapter, when probably more stuff doesn’t happen, and maybe there will be a dog or a spunky orphan added to the mix.

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  1. mydogsPA


    “Benji clipped his wire. “There are several radio antennae on the north hills. This radio station must redirect to them. It’s possible we could divert the beam, redirect by linking the ground signal to the antennae. Hamech’s ship could intercept the signal. If we knew the ship’s trajectory, we could even point one of the dishes here in that direction and bypass the antennae all together.”

    How does one ‘direct’ a radio frequency signal (RF) from a radio station to an antenna on another hill WITHOUT A CABLE?

    Does the term ‘ground signal’ refer to the signal generated by this particular station on the ground or the notion of the ‘ground plane’ where the Earth is a zero-volt reference? (note, if you shunt all your RF energy to the ‘ground’ it will absorb and just not transmit diddly.)

    “one of the dishes?!?!?!?!?” IT’S AN AM RADIO STATION FER CRISSAKES !!!!!! THERE ARE NO ‘dish’ antennas! AM stations use quarter-wave monopole antennas to get a good 360 degree radiation pattern around the antenna to get good coverage to the surrounding neighborhoods at all compass angles around the antenna. There’s NO reason to have ANY ‘dish’ antenna WHATSOEVER!!!!

    Author==has NO CLUE.

    January 13, 2016
    • Claire

      I just love you for this ^

      January 13, 2016
      • mydogsPA

        It’s infuriating like when an author writes “the caveman used his anti-gravity muscles to float himself over the obstacle” in a modern (not Sci-Fi) novel . . . .

        January 15, 2016
  2. Amy Hirschtick
    Amy Hirschtick

    “That’s why Crichton killed Hammond off in the novel; once he created the park and people started dying, he was no longer needed.”

    Disagree! Hammond stuck around so that he and Ellie could have a discussion about sexism in survival situations when she got back (from saving everybody from raptors). Also, he knows how to read a schematic!

    January 13, 2016
  3. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    Ugh, I’d say it’s hard to believe that a grown-ass wrote this “book”, but considering what’ve been literary hits lately…

    And as bad and downright stupid as all this is, I can’t help but get the feeling this story could’ve actually been something had someone a lot more competent gotten the idea instead of McGuire. I mean, the elements for something good are there, they’re just used very, very, very poorly.

    January 13, 2016
  4. Mary

    I *think* they are in Indiana. I only remember this because I’m from Indiana, and I remember being horribly insulted that this book was set there, and also because of something else that sounded inaccurate about Indiana.
    Also I’m very, very confused as to which boy I am supposed to be rooting for to win fair maiden’s heart.

    January 13, 2016
    • Trying to find out for you and I came across this, directly from the author:

      “… even though it’s not straight NA and has sci-fi in the plot, I constantly found myself getting lost in the story.”

      I’ll say! lol

      Anyway, I can’t find anything online, but I think we speculated a few recaps back that she was attending Northwestern, but no one was quite certain.

      January 13, 2016
    • xebi

      I thought Indiana too, because I vaguely remembered it being mentioned. But this is so poorly written it’s pretty hard to remember any of it.

      January 14, 2016
    • Kylie

      Being from Indiana, nothing about this book remotely reminds me of Indiana… like………….. nothing. Nowheresville, USA is what I’m getting.

      January 15, 2016
  5. I like cats. I like aliens. The fanfic I’m working on includes a draenei mage who adopts a big foofy cat that sits on the books he reads.

    This is not a good use for cat. Cats are for downtime, not “omg we’re all gonna die…after the break.” *Commercial jingle*

    January 13, 2016
  6. eselle28

    Why are they even talking about Benji’s lock-picking skills? We’ve already established his dad is Majestic, and I think there have been a couple conversations about how he’s some kind of Cub Scout version of Majestic. There’s no reason to foreshadow anything. It’s already very clear that his loyalties are, at best, mixed. He knows how to and is prepared to pick locks because he’s been trained to. Simple.

    I’m assuming the cat is there to soften a character who’s previously been pretty unlikable, but that’s so ham-handed. Either give the character some Rory-unrelated sympathetic detail before the action starts, or soften him in a more sensible way now. Like, for instance, we have a woman sitting over there who’s grieving her friends and coworkers. Maybe it would be interesting if someone other than her fiance tried to talk to her? Maybe there could even be a bit of a bonding moment between the people in the group who are most inclined to be enemies. Of course, that would involve treating Apolonia as a person…

    January 13, 2016
    • xebi

      I read it as the author very clumsily trying to insert a “d’awww look at this dreamy man who loves children and animals oh look he’s everything a woman could possibly want” vibe. *barf*

      Except she didn’t know how to do that competently, so she inserted a random cat and had Benji TELL us they loved him.

      Sooooo awful.

      January 14, 2016
  7. “Then there’s more shit with the cat. Literally paragraphs of the cat.”

    So paragraphs of pussy but nobody is getting laid.

    Fuck this book is awful. I love you and your recaps, but I literally don’t give enough of a shit to remind myself what happened last time.

    January 13, 2016
  8. Wait, where did Tsavi come from? Was she in the car? And if the Mustang seats 4, you know you can squish more people in the car if you’re not worried about seatbelts, right? I fit 7 people once in a Honda Accord because it was college and we were all idiots. And no one was in the trunk.

    January 13, 2016
    • JennyTrout

      A Mustang does have four seats, but the backseat is usually very small and has a signature immovable hump thing that essentially makes the backseat two connected buckets. I guess someone could sit on the hump, and someone could sit in someone else’s lap?

      January 13, 2016
    • I’m 39 years old and we did that three years ago to get a cheaper price for carload night at the county fair. But it was a Camry.

      January 13, 2016
  9. Hth

    Step One: chapters and chapters and chapters of, “I reluctantly allow you to hang around me, but your Feelingsbombs make me uncomfortable and I have to say I don’t know if I ever will want to date you, though I’m fairly sure I don’t now.”

    Step Two: ???????????


    I feel like…there was a whole book there in the middle that got skipped over? Like, what exactly happened that won Rory over to the glory of Benji? I mean, sure, people change their minds! I just think — that’s the plot, in a romance-heavy book. You have to, um. Write that part, where that happens. For us to read.

    January 13, 2016
    • eselle28

      I find it especially strange because that conflicted sexual encounter could have been followed by something to warm the relationship up between the two of them. Instead we got lots of Cy stuff and found out Benji was a spy.

      Up until this chapter, I’d been assuming that Benji was the False Romantic Lead.

      January 13, 2016
    • xebi

      It doesn’t make sense. From what Rory said, it was developing feelings for Cy that made her develop feelings for Benji. How exactly does that work?

      January 14, 2016
    • drmaggiemoreau

      This book is the Underpants Gnomes of writing romance AND sci fi.

      January 14, 2016
  10. “Unless Dr. Z does something pretty spectacular that saves everyone and wraps up the plot, he should have been cut loose a long time ago.

    “We’ll see what happens.”

    Now why would McGuire want to go and ruin a perfectly boring book with something interesting? Tsk, tsk, Jenny.

    “What exactly is happening here? What does the kitten add to the story? Why is this happening?”

    And why is it an “overgrown kitten”?

    And do we know yet why Majestic is after Rory? And is that who killed her family? Or not? And why? Has any of this been explained???

    “This cat better turn out to be an alien or a spy trained by the Majestic or something that would make it a necessary element to the story.”

    See above.

    What, exactly, has Apolonia done to deserve contempt, beyond simply existing? And where did all the vomit go? And Rory must STINK if she threw up that much and needed an “improvised shower” to get it off of her. And why was she puking? Like, does this add anything to the story? I feel like the author just threw darts at a dictionary and put the words she hit together and made a book.

    January 13, 2016
    • eselle28

      Also, if someone in the story is going to be inexplicably vomiting, does it really make sense that it’s the one person in the group who’s immortal? Or is Rory mortal? Have we worked that out? If she can’t die, then sure, it’s not fun to throw up, but it’s not something that’s going to build all that much tension.

      January 13, 2016
  11. mydogsPA

    Oh, and if you wanted to get 6 people in a Mustang, then just cram everyone in so they’re sitting on top of each other. Did it in college all the time when there weren’t enough seats . . . .

    January 13, 2016
  12. Laina

    There’s a dog in my book and it’s plot relevant *sticks tongue out at McGuire*.

    Seriously, this cat thing is just making me angry now.

    January 13, 2016
  13. mydogsPA

    Ooh, I know. Rory is so wishy-washy and uncertain if she’ll pick Benji or Cy, that Cy and Benji BOTH give up on Rory and date each other, instead! (After all, if Cy and Benji become a couple, they both have something in common, namely their subconscious’ both want Rory for whatever strange reason. . . . )

    January 13, 2016
  14. I just had a revelation: what if the cat is a third romantic lead? Cats are just as needy and mood-swingy as the guys are, it makes perfect sense! This is the character that makes you go, “leave the men, run away with the cat!”

    January 13, 2016
    • mydogsPA

      Vs. Ripley when we were screaming at her “Leave the Cat!!!!”

      Luckily for Jonesy Ripley went back and got him . . . .

      January 13, 2016
  15. Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
    Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

    I have no idea as to what’s going on in this thing.

    January 13, 2016
  16. candy apple
    candy apple

    Is it too late in the plot for Apolonia to kill everyone on Earth and render the planet a barren, smoking cinder?

    Also, if you fed a kitten Slim Jims and pork rinds, it would be barfing as much as Rory.

    January 13, 2016
  17. Jenna

    So it sounds like this chapter could basically be reduced to “They took the Mustang to the radio station and went inside.” and slapped at the beginning of the next chapter. Goodreads says this thing is 385 pages. Is the end anywhere in sight?

    January 13, 2016
  18. Isabella

    Isn’t it obvious? This cat is important for the plot! It must be there so we get reminded that Benji is such an adorable, pure, lovely guy, someone who could actually could be a threat to Cy, given the fact that even animals instinctively adore him!

    January 14, 2016
  19. Yeah

    benji’s face compressed haha nerd

    January 14, 2016
  20. jooyous

    For the record, English is my second language and I learned the jokes/names being “lame” meaning before the actual meaning. Kinda like the way jokes being corny or cheesy has nothing to do with either corn or cheese? Like, I see horses/people being referred to as lame in old-ish book or maybe books that are trying to sound old-timey, but I’ve never heard anyone say/report/etc “oh that person is lame, don’t stare at their walking problem.”

    Jokes also “fall flat” or something. Maybe that’s where it came from?

    January 14, 2016
    • Amber Rose
      Amber Rose

      English is my first language, and I was fully an adult before I learned that lame was supposed to refer to disability, and not something boring. I have used lame nearly all my life, and never knew it was anything wrong. The definition has changed. It has been changed for a long, long time.

      And also, i’ve never considered lame to mean stupid. It was always just like, the opposite of cool. Uncool, or boring, or annoying. I know that’s not really better, but figured i’d point it out.

      January 14, 2016
      • Hth

        Yeah, I’ve literally never heard anyone refer to a human with walking-related disabilities as lame; that feels like an extremely archaic usage. Horses still go lame, but unless you’re Tiny Tim, I just don’t think most people think of attaching it to people. Its usage is, at the very least, dwarfed by the “lame joke”/nerdy/uncool sense of the word.

        I mean, it’s not really up to me to sign off on the word, but it surprised me to hear it held up as the word that “everyone knows” is an ableist slur, because it never occurred to me that anyone associated it with disability anymore.

        January 14, 2016
        • Xebi

          Dunno if it’s because I’m British (lame as an insult is an American thing) or because I read a lot of old books as a kid, but I had the exact opposite experience and was very confused the first time someone said an inanimate object (or possibly someone’s fashion sense) was “lame.”

          January 17, 2016
  21. Artemis

    You can barely fit two adults in the back seat of the only Mustang I’ve ever ridden in. I can’t imagine ANYONE fitting in the trunk.

    Also this book is so hard to follow, and I am so sick of love triangles. I want to give every single one of these characters a copy of the Ethical Slut.

    January 14, 2016
  22. Anon123

    Great as always, but I specifically wanted to mention that I appreciate your use of “themself.” The spellchecker hates it, as I’m sure you know, but as a nonbinary person and a feminist, I firmly believe that word is the way of the future. B-)

    January 15, 2016
  23. Lovell

    WOW. The book has a literal (and very long, ongoing, forced) “save the cat” moment. Clearly, thats what the cat is there for.

    January 15, 2016
  24. Tracy

    It’s kind of sad in a way that this book is so bad even Jenny’s humorous recaps cannot save it from steadily losing viewers and commentators for its entries in this blog.

    January 16, 2016
  25. The Unicorner
    The Unicorner

    My book has a guinea pig that is plot relevant–in fact, I’d argue the guinea pig is more plot relevant than some of the human(oids) in this tome.

    This book is sofa king boring, I’m almost impressed. How have so many chapters and pages passed and so little happened? How do I care so little about these characters and what happens to them? How does this book even exist? How are you reading it without going mad?

    January 17, 2016
  26. I’m saddened that my library owns both a print and eBook copy of this.

    January 17, 2016
    • emily

      Yep, every time. Glad I’m not alone. Sashay through the sarcasm.

      January 17, 2016
  27. Michelle


    January 20, 2016
  28. Sigyn Wisch
    Sigyn Wisch

    I like the cat. It’s more interesting than most of the characters. That said, Apolonia is actually my favourite, mostly because Rory is unlikable and doesn’t want us to like Apy.

    And if a guy told me I made it easy to forget about his fiancée, I’d probably smack him.

    February 6, 2016
  29. Angélique

    I know this is an old post but I actually didn’t know that about the word “lame.” English isn’t my first language and I’ve only ever seen it used in the context of calling something uncool. Now that I know I won’t use it.

    August 20, 2019

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