Mark Reads ‘Untold’: Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of Untold, Kami schemes to steal objects from suspected sorcerers, but it ends in terror because NO NO NO. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Untold.

Chapter Thirteen: At The Gate

Oh, now I understand that title. H E L P.

Before we talk about THE UPSETTING THINGS, I really do just want to bask in the brilliance which is Kami’s attempt to distract Mrs. Jeffries so that she can hopefully get a personal item from a newcomer to Sorry-in-the-Vale. It’s entertaining because it’s a great plan in theory, but the execution of it is so bizarre and hilarious. And sloppy. And largely improvised. And there’s no safety net. So mostly, these people are the best detectives and spies mostly by luck, and I kind of love that? Well, wait, that also ignores Kami’s charm, which is how she gets Mrs. Jeffries to agree to let her come behind the counter. And then there’s Jared’s improvisational skills, which come out and shine in this chapter, especially when he’s able to claim that Ruth Sherman’s lipstick is his. (And for the record, the version of Jared in my head would totally look good in summer. I can’t disagree with that.)

Honestly, it’s nice to see these characters have a bit of fun with an absurd (and frightening) situation. Hell, for most of this chapter, Jared and Kami are civil with one another, even when Jared is crushing Kami’s heart by admitting that sometimes, he does hate her. It’s so hard to read this chapter because I can see so much potential for these two just as friends. It doesn’t have to be a romantic thing at all. But clearly, there’s a way for these two people to be in one another’s life in some capacity.

Granted, there’s a lot to work through for these two. I loved that Brennan focused on why Kami hated the fact that she was getting along with Jared:

It was ridiculous how simple it was to talk to him now that they had something to laugh about and an adventure behind them. It was such a relief to have him with her, and not to hurt any longer.

Kami could not help resenting him in the midst of happiness: that he could take it all away.

Here, Brennan recognizes that it’s Jared who has the power. The thing is, we know that Kami is willing to work through her issues, to try and be friends again, and it’s always been Jared who’s unwilling to do any such thing. At least, it appears that moving on is a lot easier for Jared, who never seems as torn up or conflicted about this arrangement as much as Kami is. Plus, this happiness that Kami references is dependent on Jared trying to keep it up. As we’ve seen before, his mood swings can be sudden and rude, so I think it’s fair of her to assume that he’s the one keeping them from sharing something more than they have. Honestly, I support Kami trying to protect herself.

I’ll get back to that again at the end. WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT SERGEANT KENN. Holy shit, I’m already wary around cops in general because I’m brown and I’ve had some particularly traumatizing experiences with the LAPD. (ZERO PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED BECAUSE THE LAPD ARE MOSTLY AWFUL.) So the terror here is very real. Sergeant Kenn is a man of power, and despite that Kami constantly goads him about having the power of the law on his side, it’s obvious that he does pose a threat to her aside from being a sorcerer. Still, I don’t want to make it seem like his abuse of power isn’t largely rooted in what he does do to Kami. His threats to Kami and her family are a poorly executed attempt to get Kami to fall in line. I say “poorly executed” because his logic is so awful. However, I loved that Brennan explored the inherent juxtaposition between Kenn’s outward appearance and what he was talking about. He’s a cop trying to convince Kami to let a bunch of wizards MURDER SOMEONE FOR THEIR PROSPERITY. You aren’t thinking this through.

Except then he abandons logic and brings out magic after Kami BRILLIANTLY flips him over her gate, and IT’S SO AWFUL.

The dead briars of the roses, usually twined around the top of her gate, were now curling around her arms. She tried to jerk away, but some of the suppleness of live branches had returned to them and they fastened tight as ropes.

NO. NOPE! Oh my god, THIS IS SO TERRIFYING, and it’s made even worse when you realize that there isn’t a single person in the Glass household who could do magic. So even if someone did come out of the house, they’d be pretty helpless, no? BUT THEN OH MY GOD:

“Let her go,” said Jared in a measured voice, as the flood of earth moved faster and faster, until Kenn was mostly covered, his scared face framed by dark dirt. “I’ll bury you alive by her garden gate. I’ll enjoy it. Every time she goes out in the morning, every time she comes home, she’ll walk on your grave, and she’ll know she’s safe.”

THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. And it’s so immense precisely because we haven’t seen Jared act this way towards Kami. He’s protective of her in a way that shows us (and her) that he cares, something he hasn’t done that much of this entire book. ALSO: HE MADE THE GROUND OPEN UP AND EAT SOMEONE. So he’s already my hero??? Oh god, Rob Lynburn’s people are going to flip when they find out what Jared did, aren’t they?

While I do think that Jared and Kami end this chapter on a more negative note than I hoped, I can’t ignore how exciting the very last paragraph of chapter thirteen is. I mentioned this week that Brennan is able to faithfully capture the complicated nature of desire and loss and how the two intersect, and that happens here again. Kami has a hard time dealing with Jared’s physical presence, especially when he’s being kind of tender with her. Even when the roles are reversed and Kami is trying to help disinfect Jared’s wound, it’s not exactly a comfortable atmosphere. I mean, Jared does admit that it was foolish of him to go into the Crying Pools, and he promises not to do it again. He even confesses to following Kami home to make sure that she’s okay. And yet, in the end, he messes it up, explaining that he was trying to help Kami to EVEN THE SCORE. As if this is some zero-sum game! God, what a terrible answer, Jared. What are you doing? And I think it’s fair of Kami to point out that yet again, he’s making her feel as if she isn’t special. If this is just a matter of evening the score, then why is he still around? Was his care for her manufactured just to assuage his guilt?

Ugh, they were actually close to a breakthrough! Still, that doesn’t distract from how great this is:

Kami put her hand in her pocket and drew out the two objects she had in there. She looked atht them glitter in the November sunlight: Ruth Sherman’s lipstick and the button she had pulled off Sergeant Kenn’s uniform when she pushed him away. She didn’t need comfort, not from anyone. She had a way to fight.


Please note that the original text and the videos use the words “insane” and “crazy.”

Part 1

Part 2

Today’s bonus reading, courtesy of the lovely Taryn, is of “The Summer Before I Met You,” which takes place prior to Unspoken. The words “crazy” and “madness” appear in the original text.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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