In the twenty-sixth chapter of Deadine, I am so done and I’m not even done with the book. Done. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Deadline.
I should have known this was possible, but have y’all ever read a book where BOTH of the protagonists who narrated two consecutive books risked dying like this? This is a world with no escape. We know this because that’s what we’ve been told. Sort of, I suppose, because the whole point of the penultimate chapter of Deadline is to shockingly remind us that the answer to this whole nightmare has been there all along.
But before that moment of hope amidst terror comes, this is just terror. Shaun was definitively bit, and that means he’s dead. There are no exceptions. As soon as Shaun started describing the dryness in his throat, I knew he was done for. How else could this end?
Thus begins a harrowing experience for Shaun and the reader. His entire team must turn on him to protect themselves, even though they don’t want to. In a way, it’s a way to show Shaun that they care, that they’re well aware of how protocol works, and Shaun’s proud of that. It’s so bittersweet to read because… well, shit. Is this the last time Alaric, Maggie, and Mahir are ever going to see Shaun? Grant handles this particularly well, conveying the heartbreak these people feel for Shaun. In particular, this line stuck out to me:
Alaric lingered for a moment, shifting his weight from foot to foot. Finally, he said, “Say hello to Georgia for me,” and fled, leaving only me, Becks, and Dr. Abbey behind.
OH MY GOD, AVALANCHE OF FEELINGS. Could you say a more upsetting thing??? These people know, however, that Shaun isn’t going to come out of this alive. What are you supposed to say in a situation like this? Plus, think about what’s happened recently. The trip to Memphis was a fucking disaster, no doubt about. Mahir, Becks, and Shaun narrowly outran a storm carrying virus-laden mosquitoes. (Apparently so. This still hasn’t been confirmed. Oh god, HOW IS THERE ONLY ONE CHAPTER LEFT???)
Dr. Abbey and Shaun both seem to take this situation as if it’s nothing more than a minor development. Dr. Abbey is still as sassy as ever, though this time I got this weird sense that she was almost proud of After the End Times making it this far along. Right? Like, she’s still abrasive, but she calls Shaun a “test subject.” I love her sense of humor, okay? I JUST DO.
Unfortunately, I was just waiting for the inevitable. Dr. Abbey separates Shaun and Becks from the rest of the group before she eventually asks Shaun to step into an isolation room. My god, was this how Shaun was going to die? I thought. Would he die alone in a room? It was such an upsetting idea, you know? Not that Georgia’s death was something to be desired, but it just seemed so sad and lonely that Shaun’s final moments were going to be like this. That being said, I was kind of comforted by this:
I wasn’t going to hurt anyone. That was all I needed to know.
I get why Shaun was relieved during this section. Maybe it was sad that he was going to die alone, but at least that meant he wasn’t going to take down others with him. Plus, he wasn’t truly alone, was he? Even in that room, Georgia was there. Oh god, let’s be real. That moment that George spoke up was the point where I thought that there was no way out of this for Shaun. Her saying, “Get it over with,” had such an air of finality, and it messed me up.
Of course, what would the end of this book be without Grant writing one horrifically tense scene after another? First, the test Shaun is given DOESN’T HAVE ANY LIGHTS TO TELL HIM WHETHER HE PASSED. Oh god, YOU ARE SO EVIL. So he’s left to sit there in silence, not knowing much about his inevitable death, unwilling to argue with the dead sister in his head, and waiting for the next symptom of amplification to arrive. The dryness of throat was there. When would the next one come?
They don’t. I was shocked when Dr. Abbey, completely unprotected, walked into the room, treating Shaun like he was nothing more than a fascinating anomaly, which should have been a clue about what was going on. It wasn’t until Shaun took a drink of Coke AND IT ACTUALLY SATIATED HIS THIRST that I got a hint about the direction this was going. Wouldn’t that be impossible during the amplification process? When Dr. Abbey had Shaun take another test with the same tone as before, I was downright confused. Did Shaun catch a strain of Kellis-Amberlee that manifested differently?
All five of them settled on green.
You are messing with my whole life here. But that isn’t possible! There is a 100% chance he got a live form of the virus in his system, IT IS THE VERY FOUNDATION OF THIS GODDAMN FICTIONAL UNIVERSE WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON .
“You’re not sick, Shaun. You’re not going to amplify.
“I don’t know what your body did, but it encountered the live virus… and it fought it off. You’re going to live.”
Y’all, Mira Grant took our expectations and crushed them with her iron will. Oh my god, DOES SHAUN HAVE A RESERVOIR CONDITION WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT? But even then, don’t most people still get sick and then gradually get better? Has Shaun become a weapon himself??? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!
So now what?
LOOK, I DON’T KNOW DUDE, I AM JUST AS CONFUSED AS YOU.
I am so scared of the last chapter. h e l p.
A note about today’s video! For some terrible reason, YouTube decided to completely destroy the first video. The file is corrupt, I re-downloaded it, encoded it in a million different ways, and the sound/video are both out of sync and entirely jumbled. IT IS SUCK. Fortunately, the second video starts just as Dr. Abbey opens Shaun’s isolation room door, so my reaction to the ending is preserved. I am going to see if I can salvage the original file on my Time Machine later this morning, but in the meantime, I apologize for technology pooping on all my hopes and dreams this one time.
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