Previously on Obsidian, Failing Heroine Katy continues her fourteen-chapter-long fail streak, and instead accidentally flings herself in the path of an oncoming truck-o-doom.
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.
THIS IS IT, GUYS. THE BIG REVEAL HAS COME.
Katy’s a millisecond away from morphing into her final form (road crêpe), when BOOM, deafening thunder booms and holy moly the truck and its driver are frozen like time itself has stopped—except that it hasn’t, because the truck’s engine is still running. I’m suddenly a hundred times more interested in Daemon’s magical abilities than I was before, because how the hell is the engine still running like normal but everything else about/inside the truck (including its tires) is at a standstill?
Anyway, Katy slow-mo turns and gapes at Daemon, who’s standing clench-fisted glowering at the truck with his “beautiful eyes” now “glow[ing] iridescent in the dark,” which is still absolutely (kind of) in keeping with my squid hypothesis.
And then, for the first time in this entire god damn book, Katy does something sensible:
I took another step back, now out of the path of the truck, my hand held in front of me, as if to ward [Daemon] from coming close to me.
Run, Katy. Just run.
She doesn’t run. Instead, she watches as Daemon . . . shows off, apparently? Like, she’s already out of the truck’s way, but he spends the next full page straining to hold the truck immobile; it’s a page of “[t]he light [from inside Daemon] seemed to be growing more intense,” and “his fists started to shake, the trembling moving up his arms until his entire body seemed to be reverberating,” and “Daemon began to fade out,” and “[he was] being replaced by an intense reddish-yellow light,” and “time seemed to stop,” and “[his power] caused the air to vibrate around us unnaturally,” and “[t]he ground shivered under his sheer strength,” and “not only was [the truck] shaking, but the driver was, too,” and “[t]he metal beast shuddered and the engine screamed,” and Jesus, dude, yes, we see you’re a badass, calm your pecs.
But he’s one of those guys who can’t stop flexing until the girls have looked away, and it’s not until Katy finally turns and runs that he lets the truck go.
And as Katy’s running, she thinks:
No human could stop a truck on command, stay underwater for several minutes, or fade in and out. All the strange things I’d been noticing seemed to make sense now.
Good to see you’ve caught up to the rest of us, Katy; it only took you 46% of the book to get here.
She’s hauling ass to nowhere in particular, overcome by a flight instinct that I wish had presented itself thirteen or fourteen chapters earlier—and then she can hear him chasing after her, and oh my god:
A curse sounded from close behind, and then a hard body crashed into me. I went down, surrounded in warmth. Somehow, he managed to cushion the brunt of the fall with his own body by twisting in midair. Then he rolled me under him, pinning me.
What the fuck, Daemon? She’s running for her life away from you—the inhuman creature she’s out-of-her-mind terrified of—and you CHASE AFTER HER AND RUGBY TACKLE HER AND PIN HER TO THE GROUND?
I pushed on his chest and tried to kick him. None of it worked. I closed my eyes, too afraid to see if his eyes still held that eerie glow. “Get off!”
Daemon grabbed my shoulders, shaking me gently. “Stop it!”
“Get away from me!” I screamed at him, trying to inch away, but he held me down.
“Kat, stop it!” he yelled again. “I’m not going to hurt you!”
SHE IS SCREAMING AT HIM TO GET OFF HER, AND HE SHAKES HER AND SCREAMS BACK AT HER TO STOP TRYING TO GET AWAY.
I, TOO, AM SCREAMING.
How could I believe him? Some small part of my brain that was still thinking reminded me that he had saved my life. I stopped thrashing.
Daemon stilled above me. “I won’t hurt you, Kat.” His tone was softer, but still laced with fury as he tried to control me without doing any real damage. “I could never hurt you.”
His words made my stomach quiver. Something inside me answered, believed him even as my mind rebelled at the idea. I didn’t know what part of me was that foolish, but it seemed to be the part winning.
I’m going to just assume that this “foolish” part of Katy is the part of her that’s been alien-brainwashed to feel calmed and comforted by Daemon’s presence, and continue screaming.
Daemon forces her to open her eyes and look at him (which she does not want to do), then sighs “a soul-wrenching sigh,” forces her to promise she won’t run away, gets off of her, then blames her for the fact that his alienness has been revealed:
“Why did you have to walk out in front of the truck?” he asked, but didn’t wait for an answer. “I was trying everything to keep you out of this, but you had to go and ruin all of my hard work.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose.” I raised a trembling hand to my forehead.
“But you did.” He shook his head. “Why did you come here, Kat? Why? I—we were doing well and then you show up and everything is thrown to hell. You have no idea. Shit. I thought we’d get lucky and you’d leave.”
“I’m sorry I’m still here.” Pulling my legs away from him, I tucked them against my chest.
Who was it who kept showing up at Katy’s house and demanding she spend time with you? Who kept crawling over his own desk to whisper PAY ATTENTION TO ME in her ear at school? Who’s the one who’s been casually using his power at every goddamn opportunity around her? YOU, DAEMON. IT WAS ALL YOU. And now you’re making her feel shitty like it’s her fault you couldn’t leave her alone? Fuck you and whatever the hell you rode in on.
So Katy asks, “Daemon, what are you?” and Daemon “smile[s] ruefully” (it’s about to get angsty in here, isn’t it, please god no) and says, “That is hard to explain,” but Katy insists on knowing because otherwise she’s “about to lose it again,” so he replies, “I don’t think you want to know, Kat,” and let me punch him just this once, I’ve earned this.
- Yes, Daemon, (incorrectly) mansplain her own emotions to her, do.
- He’s literally forcing her to face what he is—and I mean literally: he tackled her to the ground and forced her to open her eyes to look at him when she was trying to run away (FYI I am still screaming)—and now he’s being coy? “BEHOLD, HUMAN, YOU CANNOT ESCAPE THE TERRIFYING REALITY OF MY SQUIDENTITY but, like, you seriously don’t want to know what I am, so please don’t make me explain anything.” Aaargh.
Surprisingly, Kat pauses to reflect on this no-turning-back moment:
The old Katy would be running again. I was sure of it. She’d rather pretend none of this happened. But I was different now, and I had to know.
You know what would’ve made the first 46% of the book significantly more enjoyable? If Katy had this degree of self-awareness throughout; if she’d been getting increasingly freaked out over the twins’ abilities (etc.), and had to try harder and harder to not think about what those powers mean. I would’ve loved to watch her become increasingly terrified while desperately pretending that nothing was out of the ordinary.
Anyway, Daemon’s gathering himself up for an Epic Angst; he arranges his human features and vocal cords into a shape “so sincere they filled [Katy] with a deep sense of dread,” coughs out a few humorless ha ha has, and—his glorious inhuman NiCl2·6H2O eyes holding Katy as immobile—whisper-reveals, “We’re not from this planet.”
All right, Katy. The mystery’s been solved; the answer’s been spelled out for you, straight from the alien’s beak. There is absolutely no way you can fuck this up now.
Okay. There. He said what I’d pretty much already figured was the truth, but that told me nothing. “What are you? A vampire?”
Oh my god Katy.
He rolled his eyes. “Are you serious?”
Let it be marked upon the calendars that on this day, while reading chapter fifteen, in the eighth full paragraph of page 169, I experienced true kinship with Daemon Black.
“What?” Frustration whipped through me. “You say you’re not human, and that limits the pool of what you can be. [ . . . ] There’s no such thing as [paranormal creatures]. But there’s no such thing as aliens either.”
Doing more or less exactly what I wish I could do, Daemon grips Katy (“I froze at his touch, my senses ran hot and cold at once“) and demands, “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS.”
Shamed that her love interest noticed her inability to heroine in her own damn book, Katy stammers and changes the subject: “Hell, what do you call yourselves?”
He leaned his head back as the seconds skipped by, and my heart doubled its beats in wait for his answer. He seemed to be wrestling with how much to tell me, and I was pretty sure whatever it might be, I wasn’t going to like it . . .
And this is how the chapter ends. This right here.
Why didn’t this chapter end on Daemon’s whole “BEHOLD, I AM ALIEN” reveal, and the next chapter open with her reaction? That’d have been significantly more affecting and effective than shoving a chapter break into a lull in their conversation.
But whatever, the chapter’s over and I’m free to spend my weekend pretending I’m not reading this wreck of a book.
Sorry I included so many excerpts in this chapter, guys; the ridiculousness was beyond my snarky-summary-abilities.
But hey, the plot’s bound to pick up now that the secret’s out. I’m obviously not expecting Katy to do anything plot-related, but it’ll at least be happening out in the open around her, right?