Previously on Obsidian, Katy continues to prove herself the worst Paranormal Romance Heroine ever. Later, she decides that Daemon has a heart of gold under all his swoony manipulations and threats of violence.
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.
It’s still the second day of school, and Katy gets to leave early to get her splint removed; “As expected, my arm was completely fine,” she narrates, thus reminding us that she suspected Daemon’s magical cuddles had healed her inju—OH MY GOD SHE GOT MAIL, GUYS, ACTUAL MAIL IN HER MAILBOX, LET’S TALK ABOUT HER MAIL INSTEAD. THIS IS A GREAT PLAN, VERY ENGAGING.
The ominous dark of night eventually descends, and right on cue there’s our favorite asshole lurking on her porch, come to give her the talking-to he’d sexily mumbled into her face about in the previous chapter.
Katy steps out, greets him, and launches herself face-first into the topic of Ash (“You guys were totally humping at lunch yesterday”), Daemon responds as expected (“Jealousy looks good on you, let me smirk about it”), Katy decides she doesn’t like this topic after all (“DIDN’T YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, ANYTHING ELSE, PLEASE GOD”), and Daemon eyes her tiny thin sundress and the chilly dark night and decides they should probably go for a hike through the forest before any serious talking takes place.
“You’re not going to take me out in the woods and leave me there, are you?”
“Sounds like a fitting case of revenge, but I wouldn’t do that. I doubt you’d last very long without someone to rescue you.”
Oh, shut up, Daemon. She’s not that helpless, and what the hell do you mean fitting case of revenge? Are you seriously insisting that she deserves punishment for standing up against your verbal abuse? Fuck off already.
But I am eternally doomed to disappointment, and he does not fuck off. Instead, they walk “deep into the woods,” where “[e]very cell in [Katy’s] body seemed to be aware of how close he was” (to her dismay), and where she stumbles and he catches her (for the, what, sixth time so far in this book, because being caught as you fall is literally the only possible way to achieve sexual tension) and her body is warmed by both the moistness of his breath on her cheek and tingles over her skin, etc.
Their conversation is riveting and and realistic proceeds thusly:
DAEMON: “So, like, FYI, Ash and I aren’t actually boning, and I feel bad about being mean to you.”
KATY: “I’m sorry your brother’s probably dead.”
No, seriously, look:
“Look, I am sorry about that. I am.” He let out a long breath. “You didn’t deserve the way we acted.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. He sounded genuine and almost sad, but it wasn’t as if he didn’t have a choice in how he acted. Searching for something to say, I settled on what probably wasn’t going to take well. “I’m sorry about your brother, Daemon.”
The book even acknowledges that Katy has no reason to—and frankly shouldn’t—flail her way into this particular topic, but flail she does anyway.
Her flailing does serve a purpose, though: to let Katy talk more about Katy (oh, and also the great mystery of What The Hell Is Going On In This Town).
Some choice Katy-quotes:
- “It’s just that everyone is so . . . secretive. Like, I don’t know anything about your family.” (“I deserve to know everything about everyone, including the sordid details of your family tragedy, so spill it.”
- “And Ash hates my guts for no reason.” (“This is totally a huge deal, and, I mean, the fact that I’m the pretty new girl who has the attention of the boy she’s in love with clearly doesn’t count as a reason, because that would actually be logical and heaven forbid I give that a try.”)
- “I dumped food on your head yesterday, and I didn’t get in trouble.” (“The fact that I wasn’t sent to the principal’s office is just as important and mysterious as your brother’s disappearance.”)
- “The town—it’s odd. People stare at me.” (“Even when I’m talking about how weird everyone else is I must make myself the subject of the sentence because ME.”)
Noticing a trend in Katy’s increasingly heated monologue, Daemon cautiously ventures, “You sound like those things have something in common,” then deploys a complex combination of gaslighting and evasive maneuvering to prevent her from asking him What Is The Deal With You And This Alien-Obsessed Town.
And his tactics work. When, finally, she points out that he can apparently breathe underwater, and he gaslights her again, she just gives up:
Several responses lined up, but I pushed them away. Arguing with him in the middle of the woods at night wasn’t on the top of my list of things to do. “Why did you want to talk, Daemon?”
Of course getting answers isn’t topping her to-do list. (Yes, Daemon, please hurry this up, I’m ready for this chapter to end.)
“What happened yesterday at lunch is only going to get worse. You can’t be friends with Dee, not like the kind of friend you want to be.”
Huh. This actually reads as “I know you’re in love and want to be ‘friends’ with my sister, but this is a conservative Christian backwater town and you’ll be bullied and shunned if you pursue a ‘friendship,'” and I would absolutely rather read that book than this one.
And so they launch into their same tired argument (KATY: “Why can’t I be friends with your sister?” DAEMON: “Because you aren’t like us”), and it’s just as tedious this time around. Though they do try to spice things up a bit, adding:
“Why . . . why do you hate me so much?”
For a brief second, the mask cracked and pain contorted his features. It was so quick, I couldn’t be sure I’d actually seen it. He didn’t answer.
Is this one of those for a nanosecond I could see into his carefully hidden soul moments? I seriously hope so, because I am loving his true self looking like agonized constipation.
Katy, overcome with pain at the apparently shocking revelation of his dislike of her and his refusal to let her be friends with his sister, thrashes tearfully off in some random direction to get away from him—and the sound of Daemon chasing her (shouting that she should at least take his flashlight, because he’s a gentleman as well as a squid) only pushes her to greater speeds.
She erupts into the middle of the road just in time to sway to a halt and stare down her large, oncoming, truckish doom, which is three seconds away from ending this book and my misery with it. (I might possibly be rooting for the truck, don’t judge me.)
The chapter ends with these two totally well-written, very evocative, absolutely gripping lines:
I was too shocked to move.
It was going to hit me.
We’ll see what Daemon has to say about that.
Okay, guys, my face is probably looking a lot like Daemon’s hidden soul right now, because Katy actually initiated a “what the hell is going on with your magic powers and the weirdnesses of this town” conversation, and let Daemon convince her to drop it after a page and a half. Because, and I quote, getting answers “wasn’t on the top of [her] list of things to do.” What. The HELL.
And now Daemon’s going to reveal the unearthly glory of his true form not because Katy sleuthed her way through the book’s mysteries and confronted him to determine His Great Truth, but because she unintentionally bumbled herself into mortal danger and needs rescuing.
This is good old fashioned shitty storytelling, guys.
Protagonists need to earn their plot advancement, and they do so by engaging with the plot; they shouldn’t loll about in their underwear while someone else hands them all the items and info they’ll need to defeat the antagonist, or solves the plot’s mysteries for them, or literally defeats the antagonist for them.
All Katy’s earned is this look on my face, and lord knows that’s not something she should be proud of.