In the seventeenth chapter of Untold, Kami and Jared work towards common ground, and Rusty reveals a family secret. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Untold.
Chapter Seventeen: The Montgomery Secret
SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. LET’S DO IT.
Okay, I am not a fool to think that there’s something more to Holly’s appearance in the beginning of this chapter, am I? Look, I am a veteran queer, and I have done that thing where I make plans to meet up with someone in front of a straight audience in an attempt not to reveal that it’s for Big Gay Things and THAT’S TOTALLY WHAT ANGELA DID HERE, RIGHT? Her whole not-mentioning-naps thing? Am I reading too much into this? Wait, that’s a silly question because I read too much into everything. That’s like my JOB or something.
I do hope that Holly and Kami’s misunderstanding of each other doesn’t last much longer. They’re both so terribly close to discovering the truth about one another and what happened with Jared. However, one of the themes of this chapter is emotional confusion, and that’s represented here, too. Their feelings towards one another, towards Jared, and towards themselves are a giant mess of emotions, and it hasn’t been easy to sort things out. But the important part is that they’re trying.
I am thankful that the scene Sarah Rees Brennan writes in the bathroom between Amber Green and Kami sheds a little more light on why people seem so willing to side with Rob Lynburn. I’m sure it seems absurd to anyone that siding with someone who wants to sacrifice humans for power isn’t perceived as a mistake. But through Kami’s questioning of Amber, we learn how a combination of fear and entitlement help inform why these sorcerers want Sorry-in-the-Vale back as it used to be. Initially, Amber reacts with scorn and garish displays of her own magical power when Kami interrogates her, but once Kami makes it personal – “Is that what you want? To rule?” – Amber’s demeanor changes:
“I’m a sorcerer. I don’t want to live in a city, getting sick every autumn because the year is dying and I don’t have enough magic to thrive. Sorry-in-the-Vale is where I belong, and it’s going to belong to Rob.”
Amber makes it personal this time, and she gives a justifiable reason for wanting this town to stay a sorcerer’s town. It is literally painful not to! But she pushes on further, reminding Kami that for some people, their choices are limited. Some don’t have the option to be protected, some need this place, and some of them could lose people they care about by opposing Rob.
Of course, Amber’s arguments are flawed; not everyone can just up and leave Sorry-in-the-Vale, sorcerer or not. And by not opposing Rob, one family must lose someone they love anyway, so why is that fair to that family? I’m scared, then, because Amber and the other sorcerers do have powers that Kami doesn’t. We’ve already seen one sorcerer demonstrate that on Kami (Sergeant Kenn), and then Amber does the same here, blasting Kami back with a gust of air. Eventually, Rob’s sorcerers are going to get impatient, and one of them is going to do something foolish. How are our heroes going to stop that?
I mentioned at the end of Holly’s section that I thought it was vital that these friends were trying to work out the complications amidst them, and I think that’s also the case with Jared and Kami. This feels like a direct continuation of the conversation they had in chapter sixteen. Their emotions are still raw, but I find it courageous that they’re so willing to discuss things that are most likely incredibly uncomfortable. Plus, it’s fascinating to me as a reader because I have to remember that this conversation would have happened in their heads in the last book. So this is as much about trying to work through their issues as it is them learning how to communicate as independent people. That’s something they’ve never had to do, and it’s hard to have to learn something that a great deal of people already know how to do! Now, the whole conversation is also erotically charged, and I think that’s intentional on Brennan’s part. They’re learning how to communicate with one another physically as well, and without having a link, that manifests in ways like we see here. They’re coping with attraction, with confusion, with desires for acceptance and validation, and then they’re also hormonal teenagers, so I’m not in the least bit surprised how this conversation plays out.
Maybe the link really did mess them up. But it’s really satisfying to watch them try to fix it.
AND YET, IT’S STILL RUSTY WHO STEALS THE SHOW. I am so heavily into platonically shipping these two that it hurts. And everything that Rusty reveals here – in his only serious scene to-date – just makes him that much more of an incredible character. It’s only when Kami calls into question the trust she has for him regarding Amber that he opens up about his own identity. It’s shocking to know just how aware Rusty is of how others perceive him and how that relates to his general behavior.
But it’s not just that. I was spellbound while reading about how Rusty came to understand his sister so intimately while she was just a baby, and I adored that he was devoted to her as soon as he knew that she was going to be “raging at the world.” He chose to pay attention to her, to give her the love and friendship that he knew his parents could never provide. His relationship with Kami is loosely based in the same thing; it’s an unconditional love built on trust and support. And it’s the one thing Rusty takes more seriously than anything else. MY HEART IS EXPLODING BECAUSE RUSTY. I love it. I LOVE IT.
So he’s a thing??? I never really questioned why he was a statue in the center of the town, but I guess I’m about to find out!
Please note that the original text and the videos contain the words “dumb,” “crazy,” and “stupid.”
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