Guys, I’m sorry this chapter’s a week late; my regular migraine decided to shred its shirt and morph into HULK MIGRAINE, then proceeded to smash me around more than usual. I spent a fair amount of time draped across my bed with a wet rag over my eyes and generally wishing for death—which, actually, isn’t much different from how I’ve spent most of my time snarking this book so far.
Previously on Obsidian, Katy once again succumbs to misogynistic cultural conditioning, and is lengthily assaulted by an unknown (and blatantly alien) alien as a result; only Daemon’s magical, biceply arrival prevents her murder.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold or block-quotes, it’s paraphrased snark.
Katy’s in the hospital,
exhausted and in pain traumatized by her attack terrified at the realization Daemon’s not entirely human uh, guilt-ridden that she’s ignoring “surly, dark-haired” Daemon (who’s lurking sullenly in the corner) instead of bowing grateful sobs over his feet. Because paying attention to him is totally the most important thing right now, as ever.
She skims over the doctors’ exams and the police officers’ questions and her mother’s maternal cooing, but she does deign to inform us that the officers’ radios bark at them to get their butts to the scene of another girl’s (possible) murder.
Whoa. What were the odds that I’d be attacked on the same night another teenage girl died in such a small town? It had to be a coincidence.
. . . oh my god.
The police hup-two out of the hospital, and Dee hup-twos in, her radiant face radiating guilt as well as beauty:
I was struck again by the twins. Daemon and Dee didn’t belong here, but I did. I could blend easily with the whitewashed walls and pale green curtains. I was plain as the linoleum, but these two seemed to light the room with their flawless beauty and demanding presence.
Places Katy Deems Unworthy of Being Frequented by Beautiful People:
- Grocery Stores
- Medical Facilities
And then—oh, shit.
Guys, I think that Daemon’s worked some alien magic to make Katy more calm and receptive while in his presence. Remember how he’d touched her wrist after the attack, and she described it as a therapeutically relaxing warmth akin to sunning on the beach, until the physical contact between them broke?
Well, now this happens:
Dee shifted, and my view of Daemon was blocked. I immediately felt panic rising and struggled to move until I could see him again. My pulse quieted the moment my gaze settled on his still form.
He’s made her—the girl he’s been mocking and manipulating and threatening for the entirety of the book thus far—emotionally dependent on him. He’s reshaped her fear and discomfort of him into trust and need.
Is this book.
And the what-the-fuckery is further confirmed: Katy feels like she’s being a bitch to her mom (who’s working a shift at the hospital, and can’t take time off to drive Katy home, to Katy’s intense hurt), but when she looks at Daemon, “the bitchiness eased from [her] shoulders.”
This is sick.
Mom’s called back to work and Dee bops guiltily off to see to getting Katy discharged, granting Katy and Daemon some much-not-needed alone-time.
“Your sister acts as if this is her fault.”
“She doesn’t like it when people get hurt,” he said softly. “And people tend to get hurt around us.”
A chill snaked around my insides. Even though his expression was blank, his words were heavy with pain. “What does that mean?”
He didn’t answer.
Naturally, Katy lets the topic drop and doesn’t give it a second thought, because WHY DOES SHE ALWAYS DO THIS. We’re a third of the way through the book, Katy, and the twins are literally dropping one mystery into your lap after another; you are our heroine, get with the mystery-solving program.
The twins opt to escort Katy home in their car rather than via teleportation (not that she would’ve noticed anything amiss if they had), allowing her ample time to nest “against Daemon’s hard chest,” which “felt right” and “felt safe,” and reminds her of the warm relaxing alien powers Daemon’s touch had poured into her after the attack, and I am over here screaming.
Katy’s too close to unconsciousness to follow Dee and Daemon quiet conversation, except to note that Daemon’s “not going to let anything happen this time,” and that he acknowledges he accidentally “did something” to Katy that he shouldn’t have. (I’m still screaming.)
Scene change! Katy awakens the next morning on her couch, clamped leech-like to Daemon—who, quick thinker that he is, immediately pounds into her head that last night’s attack was the work of some random mugger who was totally definitely human, and this situation isn’t larger and more complex that it seems, and she for sure shouldn’t go investigating anything because seriously there’s nothing to investigate, and she should just put the whole thing out of her head because it’s not even worth talking about much less thinking about, because obviously it was just some unexpected and meaningless event that’s totally over and done with now so why can’t she just let it go already, Christ.
Katy, amazingly, refuses to buy what he’s selling, and insists that, no dude, this guy wasn’t a mugger; he was clearly pounding her face into the pavement to find out who “they” were (whoever “they” are). Daemon gauges her anger and determination levels (both high), grits his teeth, and growls, “you’re going to make it bigger than it is, aren’t you?”
And she lays him low with a glare and rises to her full (if diminutive) height and declares, “Look, guy, I 100% remember him calling me a disgusting walking mammal human, and then you came riding in on a bolt of lightning and shook him over your head like a keg you’d emptied a frat party, and then you soothed the pain and terror right out of me with your delicate tentacle-touch. I know that Something Is Up. Tell me what it is.”
Except that I’m totally lying, and Katy lets Daemon convince her not to think about the attack too much, and definitely not to talk to Dee about it:
“I don’t want Dee worried that there is an idiot out there attacking girls.” His eyes were hard. Cold. “Do you understand me?”
My lip trembled. Part of me wanted to cry. Another part of me wanted to whale on him. So all his caring was about his sister? How silly of me. Our eyes locked. There was such intensity in his, as if he were willing me to understand.
- Everyone in town (including Dee! especially Dee!) already knows teen girls are going missing, and Dee literally already knows you were attacked by a guy last night. Katy, do not fall for this obvious bullshit.
- Nothing makes me swoon harder than a guy staring with “hard” and “[c]old” eyes while giving bullshit self-serving commands (followed by contemptuous demand likes “Do you understand me?”) while a girl is literally about to dissolve into tears. So hot.
Katy stares deep into Daemon’s sexy, sexy eyeballs and is barely able to concentrate on forming words with her mouth-parts, but manages to agree that yep, sure, she won’t talk to Dee—her only friend—about the traumatizing attack that nearly killed her last night. And then Daemon hustles off to the kitchen to help Dee cook breakfast, and by “help Dee cook breakfast” I mean “discuss the attack and their alien situation in vague but intriguing terms, so Katy can conveniently overhear.”
Not that eavesdropping helps Katy much:
I stood in absolute confusion, trying to figure out what they could be talking about.
And, slowly, tentatively, Katy begins to attempt to think:
I wanted to shrug off the nagging feeling that they were hiding something. I hadn’t forgotten Dee’s weird aversion to me going to the library. Or the strange light I’d seen outside the library that reminded me so much of the light in the woods, when I’d seen the bear and passed out, something I’d never done before in my life. And then there was the day at the lake, when Daemon had turned into Aquaman.
I mean, Dee’s “weird aversion” wasn’t so much a weird aversion as it was Dee literally telling you that girls have been disappearing from this town for the past year or more, and it isn’t safe for you to go out on your own at night.
And as proud as I am that you haven’t forgotten the strange light and Daemon’s ability to hold his breath for ten minutes, you failed to mention:
(a) Daemon’s teleporting,
(b) Daemon’s superhuman strength,
(c) Daemon’s ability to control the weather,
(d) Dee’s ability to turn transparent,
(e) the attacker’s ability to turn transparent,
(f) the attacker’s sneering at you for being a worthless human and a dumb mammal,
(g) Daemon’s constant reminders that Katy’s “not like them” and therefore not suitable friend material,
(h) Daemon and/or the attacker speaking in whale song,
(i) Daemon’s healing/soothing touch.
I told you I’d lose my shit this chapter if Katy neglected to address the clearly not-quite-human thing Daemon & Co. have going on. Well, consider my shit lost because Katy, I swear to god, now drops this entire line of inquiry to go take a shower.
But wait, maybe my shit’s saved, because she looks in the bathroom mirror and behold, her scabbed bruised wrecked face is almost healed like new.
“What the heck?” I whispered.
What the heck, indeed! Could this be the power of Daemon’s touch, she wonders? Are his hands magic? Surely not, she decides, while staring the evidence of his powers literally in the face.
But as I stared at myself, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that something was going on here. The twins knew it. Things didn’t add up.
Guess how long it’s been since the last time Katy ended a chapter thinking There’s Something Weird About These Twins?
Fifty-two pages of her blithely ignoring her (rare, and therefore not-actually-nagging) “nagging feeling” despite Daemon & Co. all but waggling their tentacles in her face.
I genuinely don’t understand what readers find entertaining about this book. Katy is a goldfish, living forever in the moment and repeatedly startled when the same thing happens over and over again: Daemon’s dickishness, the aliens’ alien powers, her own repeated realization that Things Are More Than They Seem In This Backwater. She never thinks; she just observes, then forgets what she observed, ad nauseam.
Katy’s consistent refusal to engage with the plot is agonizing, guys: it’s boring because the plot is not advancing, and killing me with frustration because she isn’t doing anything when there are so many things she could and should be doing. She’s our damn protagonist, and literally the only things she’s accomplished on her own are (a) going to the twins’ house the first day to ask for directions, and (b) going to the library.
Celaena is a more active protagonist than Katy, and all Celaena ever did was flip idly through books for a few months while waiting for a ghost to conveniently drop all the necessary plot information in her lap.
And I trust you’re well acquainted with my opinion of Daemon as the “romantic hero,” so let’s go ahead and add infuriating and disgusting to my description of this book.
You know what would make for an enjoyable story? A protagonist who didn’t take Daemon’s shit, even if she wasn’t impervious to it; one who stood up to him and made him realize that his behavior is fucking awful; one who became scared of and curious about the dual mysteries of the town and the twins, and cautiously began digging for info on both or either mystery—and then got into trouble as a direct result of her own plot-centric decisions and actions.
In other words, a protagonist who shuts down abusive behavior and actively engages with the plot.
I’m not asking too much here.