Mark Reads ‘Untold’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of Untold, EVERYTHING STILL HURTS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Untold.

Chapter Ten: Past Saving

First and foremost: Poor Kami. She’s at the center of a life that’s falling apart. Seriously, think about it: Her parents just had a brutal argument, Kami is regretting that she severed the link between her and Jared, and Jared’s quest for power has left him nearly suicidal in his foolishness. I couldn’t help but think of Holly’s struggle for certainty and stability, given that we just found out how overwhelmed she was, too. So how is Kami going to gain control of everything? How do you fight a force you can’t identify beyond the leader and a handful of other folks?

In a more immediate sense, though, Kami has to worry that her father believes that his marriage to Claire is past saving. Jon always seemed like a reasonable and empathetic person, so there’s a part of me that’s hoping he’ll be able to look upon Claire with more understanding. But in this very moment? His anger was justified. God, could you even fathom being part of a lie for this long without knowing it? This is more than just betrayal for Jon. Claire inherently dragged her entire family into this mess, you know?

Knowing that Kami cares deeply about her brothers, I was worried about how she’d take this incident. I knew this was the first time Kami’s parents had ever fought, but guess what? This isn’t the only thing she has to worry about. Her dreams are haunted by Jared, both as a possible link to what he was actually doing and by the idea that he was in her head again. Y’all, this passage hit me so damn heard:

Kami had never been like other people. She had never had to cry herself to sleep alone. It was overwhelming to realize that there was not going to be any comfort ever again. She was going to spend the rest of her life living the way other people did, in terrible everyday loneliness, and she did not know how to bear it.

I have a very intimate relation to loneliness because I grew up surrounded by it. It’s still triggered at times when I least expect it. I haven’t ever spoken about it, but touring is very, very lonely. That month-long tour I did in March? It was brutal on my emotional well-being. It’s weird going from being in a room full of kind, attentive people, and then being rushed into a 24 hour silence. Part of that was self-imposed; when you’ve spoken for four hours straight to a room largely full of strangers, you don’t often want to be social after that. It’s exhausting. But on the long stretches of highway or in the airports across the country, I longed for that sort of intimate company that pushes the loneliness away. The best friends, my boyfriend, my cats. And I’ve become so used to loneliness that I’ve learned to deal with it in my own way.

That being said, my heart just shattered once I thought about Kami’s struggle. Loneliness is so ubiquitous in humanity, and yet, here’s someone who has never experienced it. She always had the comfort of Jared’s presence. Despite that she believed that she might begin to have a normal life after severing him from her mind, she now realizes she didn’t know how often she relied on him. It hurts, y’all, to think about how much this must pain Kami.

And it explains why she’s willing to do what she does at the end of this chapter. When she finds out that Jared is out at the Crying Pools, she doesn’t question herself. She knows she has to save him. But it’s more than just saving him.

He had been human enough to do that, then, and she’d had to save him.

It’s such a subtle sentence, but with it, Brennan is able to convey what Kami believes: Jared has completely changed since she severed the link. Perhaps, in some subconscious way, Kami blames herself for what has happened to Jared. Perhaps she feels a responsibility to rescue him here because a part of her believes she put him down in that pool. It’s a very strange form of guilt because this dilemma is deeply complicated. There were so many factors that went into Kami’s decision to end the link, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case.

I love the vivid imagery that exists here; Kami’s plunge into the freezing water is not simply described as cold:

It was like taking a tumble into the night sky. She felt as if she was falling through fathoms of airless darkness, lost beyond recall.

It’s such a visceral experience, and my brain thought about Yeine traveling through worlds in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. (Which I just finished on Mark Reads. GO READ IT, IT’S GREAT.) It’s not just physical; emotionally, Kami is desperate to find a link to Jared again, which is so goddamn haunting when you think about it. Kami realizes she could have just communicated with him the old way if she’d just kept the link. But now its gone.

Oh god, how great is this part?

Then she was drawn up through the water, inch by painful inch. When she surfaced, her lips opened and she breathed in mingled air and water. She choked and held on to both boys’ hands so fiercely her fingers felt as if they might break.

I love the idea that she’s this bridge between Ash and Jared, even if it’s just a visual reference in this scene. She has been instrumental in bringing these two together, even if it was never her intention. Kami’s heart, as broken as it is these days, still has the capacity to care for others. I think that’s incredible. Maybe she’s being foolish in her bizarre pursuit of Jared, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. I admire her spirit.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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