This is the penultimate chapter, thank god. I’ve already read ahead and by gum, this is perhaps the LAZIEST final chapter (not counting the epilogue) that I have ever seen in any printed book. That’s mainly because of the pacing, though. I was talking it over with Goose, and this book is something like 20% beginning/build-up, then a very, very drawn out 75% of ‘middle’, and 5% ending.
In the weeks that followed, my brother and sister did their best to tidy up the confusion that Jake had left behind. They visited the families affected by the crimes he’d perpetrated and spent a lot of time trying to rebuild trust in Venus Cove.
Okay, I would have thought that a couple of weeks would be more than enough for an angel ‘with limitless energy’ to recover from a demon attack, but what do I know, eh?
My sister wiped the memory of Jake’s activities from their minds, careful not to touch any other unrelated recollections. [...] When she was done, they remembered the newcomer Jake Thorn, but no-one recalled having any association with him.
“Hey, you guys remember that one guy who attended our school for a few weeks? Who nobody associated with? Yeah, ’cause he was British. Kind of deserved what he got.”
We cut to Molly asking after Jake, and Bethany informs her that he has been sent back to boarding school in England. (Which is certainly worse than hell. Ask anybody who’s been to one.)
“Shame,” Molly commented. “I liked his tattoos. Do you think I should get one? I was thinking one that says ‘leirbag’.”
“Gabriel doesn’t like tattoos,” I said. “He says the human body is not a billboard.”
Yeah, which is why Ivy has that golden snake tattoo on her arm and… seriously, can we stop this conservative attitude towards tattoos? Like, forever? I know these guys are angels and they’re kind of paraphrasing Leviticus 19:28, but come on. Not carving your flesh or making tattoo marks is basically decrying the heathens who would flagellate themselves in times of mourning, and tattoos back in Biblical times were seen as idolatry. Some translations refer to ‘tattoos’ as ‘branding’ or ‘printing’. Come on, though, that’s serious Old Testament stuff. Do you think that somebody who lived a really good, virtuous life and got themselves a few tattoos along the way is going to be kicked out of Heaven for that?
Bethany’s hardly left the house since the incident with Jake, due to the emotional trauma, as well as having badly burned wings. Bethany cries for Jake, but not due to what he did to her, but because she could have saved him, if only he had let her.
Xavier’s visit was the only part of the day I looked forward to.
He threw himself back into the task of looking after me
Looking after you? Like you’re a hazard unto yourself normally and you need a man to keep you safe? PLEASE.
[...] and seemed to have accepted the supernatural world without question.
That’s rubbish. Sorry, but it is. This guy is from a devout Christian family. Knowing that his religion is actually true would blow his mind and perhaps instil a further curiosity in him. I know I’d be asking tonnes of questions about religion if I ever met an angel. (Though I already know one thing: “Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God’s true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out.” Thanks, Alan Rickman.)
But then again, Bethany praises Xavier for his black and white outlook on the world. So I guess this is just normal behaviour for him.
“When I’m not with you, I feel like I’m wearing a pair of glasses that turns the world grey.”
“And when you are with me?” I asked softly.
“Everything’s in technicolor.”
I feel like this has just been thrown down my throat. And for those of you who don’t recognise what that it, it’s not a bread-bowl of vomit — it’s a cheese and corn chowder.
God, this is so cheesy it’s almost like it really was written in the 1950s.
Despite Xavier’s presence, however, Bethany still has nightmares of being taken back to Heaven and not being able to say goodbye to Xavier.
Without him, nothing in my world made sense.
Look, Adornetto. Please, please don’t confuse love with dependency like this. There’s no reason to make Bethany such a weak excuse for a female character just because you think a hawt rich white boy should totally take care of you and settle down beyond a white picket fence and have a family of six kids or whatever.
Bethany has so many opportunities to be better than this. Many. I don’t want to shame anybody for wanting to be a housewife. But Bethany here is an angel on a mission, and she’s crowing over Xavier and his beautiful nutmeg hair and turquoise eyes like he’s the be-all and end-all of her existence, and unable to handle any form of separation from him. That’s not love, that’s dependency.
When her wings recover, Bethany wakes up late one night and decides to go out flying. She also creeps into Xavier’s room and prays to God that he has a blissful life, because clearly Xavier is the prime-time candidate whom God should be focusing on. You know, an able-bodied, wealthy, conventionally attractive cisgender white guy in a quaint coastal town is somebody who really needs God’s favour, as opposed to people in really disadvantaged situations elsewhere. Fuck this book.
There in front of me was His greatest creation of all. Angels may have been created as watch guards, but I felt like I could sense in Xavier a great power — a power to change the world.
How is this not idolatry? How is this not something God should cast Bethany out of Heaven for? Read fucking Angel Sanctuary. Alexiel goes against God’s orders, and what’s her punishment? Being cast in ice and having her soul thrown to the Earth, to forever reincarnate in individuals who are going to live miserable, pain-filled lives. Alexiel and Bethany ought to swap places. Seriously.
Also, why are you just now figuring out that Xavier is super-speshul? How the hell will Xavier change the world? Is he secretly Utena Tenjou? There is actually a basis in this, though. In the third book of this miserable trilogy, Ivy reveals to Xavier that she once came across a married couple, who were having trouble having children. Ivy made their bodies ‘healthy’ (which makes an IVF baby like me an abomination, I guess) and perhaps a tiny bit of her angelic powers rubbed off on Xavier. It doesn’t quite read as foreshadowing, though. It’s too crap for that.
Before leaving, I took a final look around his room. I took in the ll.A. Lakers flag pinned to the wall, read the inscriptions on the trophies that lined the shelves.
ll.A. Lakers? That’s a formatting error, I guess, because how you you spell LA with two Ls? We aren’t in Wales here, people. (In which case you’d be pronouncing it as a kind of throaty hissing noise. The *hiss*-A Lakers.)
Also, Xavier keeps the feather he found in his car after his and Bethany’s first date in a little wooden box. Isn’t that technically like the creepy old practice of keeping a lock of your lover’s hair?
Oh, whatever. ON TO THE EPILOGUE!