Previously on Obsidian, Katy lolingly ridicules the locals’ totally absurd superstition that there are nonhuman creatures in town, then anoints Douchebag Daemon and Asshole Ash with her spaghetti lunch.
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.
After three brief paragraphs summarizing the remainder of her school day, Katy gets down to business:
After school I drove home, trying to figure out everything that had happened since I moved here.
Her list is as follows:
- “The first day I’d felt something on the porch and in the house.” (Wait, what? The only feelings I recall you feeling in those two locales are lust for Daemon’s loins and angst over the twins’ unfairly high metabolisms.)
- Daemon’s remarkable ability to breathe underwater.
- The flash of light when she and Daemon saw the bear was similar/identical to the flash of light she saw when her attacker fled from the library’s parking lot.
- “And all that junk [about alien sightings and roving government agents] Lesa had been saying.“
And then oh my god this book. The VERY NEXT SENTENCE reads:
Once I got home, though, and saw several packages on my front porch, all the crap from the day disappeared.
I’m appalled at myself for not keeping a tally of how many times the book prevents Katy from thinking about her situation, either by (a) distracting her with something trivial, or (b) forcing chapter/scene breaks and opening the next chapter/scene hours or days later.
Because, honestly, I don’t think Katy is this dumb. The book is forcing her to be this dumb, for the sake of drawing out the Great Reveal of Daemon’s Slimy Magnificence—which had better be fucking worth it.
But let’s take a cue from our protagonist and just move along.
I hurried upstairs and powered up my laptop. I checked on the reviews I’d posted last night. No comments. People sucked. But I did gain five new followers. People rocked. I closed out the page before I started redesigning everything.
This is seriously the shittiest, laziest pandering to book bloggers possible.
Amazingly, my unceasing wails against Katy’s passive, inactive protagonisting appear to have transcended time and space and paper, because Katy actually fires up Google and starts investigating the two things Charming Classmate Lesa had carefully megaphoned for her benefit: the local belief that the town is host to nonhuman, probably-alien “people of light,” and a similar (less local) belief in the Mothman.
Alas, “people of light” proves a dead-end (stranding her briefly in the Internet’s Christian subculture), but the Mothman stuff proves . . . well, equally dead-end-ish, apparently:
Oh. Dear. Lord.
West Virginians were crazy. Down in Florida, every once in a while someone claimed to see Big Foot out in the Glades or the chupacabra, but not a giant flying whatever he was. He looked like a huge satanic butterfly.
Why in the hell was I looking at this?
It was insane. I stopped myself before I started searching for aliens in West Virginia.
OF COURSE YOU DID.
And here’s the next sentence:
As soon as I went downstairs, there was a knock on my door.
Yet again she doesn’t think; she just wipes the dry erase board of her memory clean and moves on to the next scene, while I’m collapsed in a deepening pit of resentment.
We’re on page 144, Katy finally starts engaging with the actual plot by investigating its mysteries, then—after only nine lines, most of which I quoted above!—she decides that NOPE, THAT’S ENOUGH ACTION FROM ME, THIS IS ALL POINTLESS, NO SUCH THING AS THE PARANORMAL, TIME TO DISENGAGE.
We’re 40% of the way into the novel.
I’m just grateful that it’s Dee who’s knocking on her door instead of Daemon, because I absolutely cannot handle his face right now.
Dee’s apologies for Daemon and Ash’s behavior are already gushing forth as Katy opens the door, but Katy’s less interested in apologies than an explanation (preferably with footnotes) of Daemon and Ash’s gross prejudice against her. Dee came unprepared for that particular oral exam, though she does explain that Daemon’s just sleeping with Ash, not dating her (to Ash’s eternal chagrin).
And Katy’s response to this genuinely surprised me, in a good way:
“He’s using her?” Disgusted, I shook my head. “What a douche.”
Katy then reconfirms her undying friendship with Dee (undying friendship: confirmed), which is actually just the first step in a devious master plan: guilt trip Dee for not telling Katy all the details of her missing-and-presumed-dead other twin brother, Dawson.
“HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL ME ABOUT HIM,” Katy demands.
Dee’s answer is a tearful, “Talking about him hurts.”
Katy’s response: “Oh, yeah, makes sense.”
But Dee’s not done: Dawson was not only her twin, he was her best friend, and now she’s spraying tears and Katy’s realizing she’s “a nosy bitch” for demanding answers on such a sensitive topic. Wow, who is this Katy, being all self-aware and sensitive?
But Dee’s fallen hard into the morass of guilt Katy’d carefully laid out for her (DEE: “I’m such a crappy friend that you find out about my other brother from kids at school.” ME: “Dee, honey, no.”), which Katy—stellar friend that she is—doesn’t bother helping Dee out of:
“I was confused. There’s been so much . . . ” I trailed off, shaking my head. “Nothing. When you’re ready to talk about him, I’m here. Okay?”
Precious Dee’s highly-tuned My Friend Needs Me alarm is instantly (politely) beeping at this, and she valiantly sets aside her own grief and guilt to ask, “There’s been so much what?”
But Katy, OF COURSE, opts not to ask Dee about the strange occurrences (“Talking to her about all the weird crap wouldn’t be good. And I had promised Daemon not to talk about the attack.” ME: “It wouldn’t be good? And you’d promised Daemon? Katy, honey, oh my god.”), and the scene ends.
Time skip! Katy’s dreading the start of second period, which she shares with Daemon. She’s also in serious lament over her spaghetti-flinging extravaganza yesterday; yeah, she was embarrassed by Ash’s cruel taunts, but Ash had to have been even more embarrassed by her tomatoey facial. She decides maybe Daemon’s assholery is rubbing off on her, and “it would be best for everyone if [she] stayed the hell away from him from now on.” Guys, I’m maybe starting to like Katy.
Lovely Classmates Lesa and Carissa swarm Katy to invite her to lunch, and the football game tonight, and the game’s afterparty, which are 100% Lesa’s thing and -100% Carissa’s. Because Carissa, Lesa sneers, is a straight-edge who wouldn’t know fun if it stood triple-fisting a hookah and beer and barrel of lube in front of her.
CARISSA: “Excuse me if I have standards.” [Narrows eyes at Lesa] “Unlike some.”
LESA: “lul wat r standards”
Someone please reassure me that Lesa isn’t the next girl to be kidnapped. If something awful happens to her “because she was impure and therefore deserved it,” I will legit set this book afire.
Daemon finally arrives (heralded by a dozen classmates’ lustful sighs), Katy tries to chameleon herself into the color and shape of her chair, but he—too keen-eyed to be fooled—spots her and demands she replace his shirt which she’d ruined yesterday, and then he clambers over his desk to jut his “poetic lips” to hers and murmurs (I’m describing this from Katy’s libido-enhanced point of view), “CLEAR YOUR DANCE CARD, I’M GONNA KEEP YOU UP ALL NIGHT,” to which Katy replies “I can’t hear you over my arousal, what was that again?” and Daemon clarifies “BETTER DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS TODAY BECAUSE I HAVE PLANS FOR YOU LATER that only involve talking and maybe a few physical threats and definitely nothing sexy, unless you’re into the threats thing which I guess you are, so long story short TONIGHT YOU ARE MINE. FOR TALKING.”
(What Daemon actually says: “You and I have to talk,” and, “Yes, we do. Tonight.”)
Part of me wanted to tell him to forget the whole talking thing, but I gritted my teeth and nodded. We need to talk if at least for me to tell him we shouldn’t ever talk again. I wanted to find the nice Katy he’d had gagged and put in the corner.
- Dude, you can tell him “I never want to talk to you again” right now. That’s, like, eight words—ten, tops, if you throw in his name or a few choice curses.
- And wait, it’s been nine pages since you strapped on your combat boots and declared yourself Totally Over Being Nice To Douchebags, and you’re already deciding you’d rather be a mousy pushover? What happened?
- Why do you need to meet up with him alone tonight to “find the nice Katy” again? You can “find the nice Katy” well enough on your own, I promise you.
- That description of yourself at Daemon’s hands—gagged and put in a corner—is a scarily accurate representation of what he wants to do with you, as far as I can tell.
So Daemon’s still crouched over his desk, his mouth a “[t]otally inappropriate amount of space” away from Katy’s, and only the teacher’s awkward ahem-aheming breaks Katy of from her libidionous enchantment. Turns out the entire class was caught up in the scene: “we had the entire class transfixed,” Katy informs us, with equal parts mortification and smug.
Class begins, and Friendly Harlot Lesa, sensing that the chapter’s ending and that I’m more emotionally engaged with my Dr Pepper than this scene, chucks a note onto Katy’s desk. “Holy Hawt Chemistry, Batman!” it reads, and hold on, I’m having agonizing flashbacks to using that same spelling of “hot” when I was younger. I think I’m ready for death now.
I looked over at her, shaking my head. But there was a fluttering deep in my chest, a breathlessness that shouldn’t be there. I didn’t like him. He was a jerk. Moody. But there had been brief moments that I’d spent with him—like a nanosecond—when I thought I might have seen the real Daemon. At least a better Daemon. And that part made me curious. And the other side, the jerky one, yeah, that part didn’t make me curious.
It sort of excited me.
Okay, now I’m ready for death.
So there was “a nanosecond” in which you thought maybe Daemon was not an asshat to his core, and so you instantly assume that’s “the real Daemon,” or that at least he can be improved into “a better Daemon“? And regardless of whether or not you imagined that nanosecond, his abusive manipulative threatening behavior excites you?
What the fuck.
If I can praise the book for one thing, it’s its ability to winch my fury a few degrees higher with each new chapter. That’s . . . something.
In other news, my bud Morgan pointed out that there’s an entire novel retelling the first three books of this series from Daemon’s perspective. Perhaps that’s where the three Daemon-POV bonus chapters at the end of my copy of Obsidian came from? (I’m not curious enough to confirm this.)