Mark Reads ‘Untold’: Chapter 22

In the twenty-second chapter of Untold, Ash a shocking moment with Jared and his mother. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Untold.

Chapter Twenty-Two: His Legacy

THIS CHAPTER IS HUGE. OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD I CAN’T DO THIS. This is, without a doubt, one of the most relieving and satisfying chapters in this entire book, and that’s largely because I never ever expected that Lillian would ever pull back the curtain on her stone-cold facade. THIS HAPPENED. IT HAPPENED IN A WAY THAT IS GENUINE AND REAL AND SUPER FUCKING SAD.

As Ash realizes near the end of this chapter, this really does belie how desperate Lillian is, how afraid she is of how this is all going to end. In a way, I think Brennan is subtly paralleling Jared and Lillian in this instance. They both realize that the end is fast approaching and that they may not be nearly as prepared as they should be. So Jared returns home, duffel bag slung over his shoulder, willing to be with the only people in his “family” who have ever shown him any regard or respect. Seriously, look at how Lillian and Jared both approach this reunion. Lillian is stand-offish, staring out the window at Sorry-in-the-Vale. Jared relies on humor to tell these people that he’d like to come back home. Until Lillian and Ash speak, no one is actually forthright or straightforward. They use humor or haughty indifference to communicate what they’re feeling. Both these characters have also shown that they find this sort of talk to be awkward, but in this case, it’s necessary, so they mask it in whatever makes them feel safe.

So it was shocking to me when Lillian, upon bidding Jared to return his things to his room, asks Ash one of the most jarring questions I could imagine:

“Are you pleased to have him back?” she asked.

I’m sorry, when has she ever demonstrated a desire to know how Ash was feeling? Ever???? And now she’s asking him what he thinks of Jared coming back to Aurimere, and then he’s asking her how she feels about Jared, and THEN SHE’S TALKING ABOUT BEING BETRAYED BY EDMUND AND THEN BETRAYING ROSALIND IN THE PROCESS AND WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. Truly, if we want to talk about why Sarah Rees Brennan is a fantastic writer, here’s your goddamn evidence. She has crafted a character like Lillian Lynburn, who we might appreciate because she’s so vicious, but for the most part, she’s made to be unlikable. And then, LATE IN THE SECOND BOOK, Brennan pulls back the curtain on Lillian, and HEARTS BREAK AROUND THE GLOBE. This honest, devastating look at a woman who was so desperate to keep her family together, to live up to her own family’s name, is one of the most impressive things I have ever read. For real, y’all:

“I thought it would be for the best, to keep to ourselves. My pride was hurt, and the Lynburns had to carry on. I let your father persuade me to marry him. I broke my sister’s heart. I did worse than that. I knew the man she left with was bad for her, but I didn’t think about where Rosalind had learned to believe that she should punished.”

I CAN’T. I CANNOT DO THIS. Oh my god, it’s seriously too much! This all got dumped in my lap in a SIX PAGE CHAPTER. But y’all, when Lillian starts talking about how she feels about Ash, I realized that I was mere putty in Sarah Rees Brennan’s hands. I have been quite open about how sympathetic I feel towards Ash, especially since I know how hard it is to navigate the expectations your parents have for you. So yeah. YEAH.

“But that doesn’t mean you have to be a coward forever,” his mother said. “You stood up against your father in the end. I do not know how to say soothing words to you, Ash. I had high hopes for you, and you disappointed me. But I let you down too: I left you to Rob, like I left Rosalind. If you had gone to Rob, if you had gone from me too, it would have broken my heart.”

LEAVE ME TO DIE IN THESE PAGES. OH MY GOD, I WAS NOT BUILT TO WITHSTAND THIS CHAPTER. Look, as someone who had an extremely complicated relationship with his parents, it is cathartic as hell to read about a difficult parents saying shit like this. It’s incredible. I’d even say it’s empowering because sometimes, your parents are the hardest people in the world to talk to. Obviously, within the context of the this story, this is a huge moment for Ash, too, since he now knows that his mother does care about him being around, that she hasn’t lost hope in him. Except then Brennan leaves us with a grim ending, since all of this clues Ash in to the fact that while Lillian is relieved that some more sorcerers might be coming from London, she’s also dreading the solstice. Oh god, there’s only one more day left until it happens? But they’re not ready yet, y’all. HOW IS THIS GOING TO END.

With me in a puddle of emotions, I imagine.

Please note that the original text and the video contains the word “lunatic.”

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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