In the thirteenth chapter of Deep Secret, Maree and Nick go on an adventure accidentally, and my brain can’t handle it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.
Trigger Warning: Due to one scene, we’ll have to discuss transphobia and cissexism.
OH MY GOD.
- Well, I didn’t expect any of this. ANY OF IT. Holy shit, EVERYTHING CHANGED.
- I just re-read the first two paragraphs and NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY NICK GOT DRUNK. HE HAD JUST EXPERIENCED ALL THIS. oh my god OH MY GOD.
- I would also like to verify for all of you that if you ever need to find a specific person in a convention and you don’t have their phone number, this is an accurate depiction of what that experience is like. You’ll barely miss them over and over again, and then when you finally find them, it’s going to be a disaster. This always happens.
- I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out that Rupert was interviewing all the Magid candidates. DUH.
- So, okay, the whole interaction with the lovely folks in the stunning dresses is kind of a mess. The pronoun business is grating (don’t do the he/she thing to a person ever, though thankfully Maree didn’t say that out loud), and don’t even think about doing that whole ARE THEY A MAN OR A WOMAN THING. Just… keep shit to yourself. At least Maree admitted that they were both beautiful and Nick said that everyone has weird upbringings, regardless of whether or not one of their parents is transgender. Still, I’m not an expert on this, so don’t take my word on it, but I thought this was too egregious to ignore in the review.
- I really want to see all of Rupert’s interview scenes from his perspective because I’m certain they’re all disastrous. Oh god, Tansy-Ann so relentlessly uncomfortable! Who knew that there was a character full of so hatred as Mervin? I’m certain that Rupert came to despise both of them by the end of his conversation with them.
- I’d be ashamed that it took me so long to figure out what was happening as Nick and Maree chased Rupert down, but let’s be real. It’s me. I rarely figure out things in advance. I mean, Rupert SAID he was going to ask Will to help him at the end of the last chapter, I knew to be suspicious of Rupert saying this was going to be simple, and yet, it wasn’t until Maree looked back over her shoulder that it all clicked. They were following Rupert into a parallel universe.
- And shit, y’all, the writing here is just so good. But that’s the beauty of Jones having two distinctly different styles for each of the main characters. We followed Rupert traveling Naywards before, and it wasn’t nearly as disorienting and scary as it was for Maree. Maree’s experiencing is terrifying, isn’t it? It’s the physical manifestation of a very common nightmare trope, and then the THORNLADY ACTUALLY SHOWS UP, and sweet mother of all that is holy, this is scary as hell. Even worse, Rupert can’t hear them at all, and as they rush down this hillside, it really felt like they weren’t ever going to catch him. I loved how the gaps were described, hinting at the horrible void between worlds. I am still curious if the hill signifies whether someone is traveling Ayewards or Naywards, though!
- So, yeah, this is a shocker, a huge plot twist that absolutely changes the course of this novel. I just can’t fathom that before Maree is even ASKED to be a Magid (if that’s still happening, which it totally should), she’s traveling between worlds. That’s incredible.
- I also love that this is the first chance for us to meet Will and Carina Venables, and the context of it allows Jones to give us some much-needed exposition through Will. As Maree states later in the chapter, there wasn’t a chance in hell that Rupert would have kindly explained the idea of infinite worlds or Magids to them. And really, his fury here is just… misguided? No, maybe that’s the wrong word. I get why he’s angry at these two, and I understand how serious it is that they followed him. But he seems to go straight for cruelty instead of compassion, and it’s grating.
- Of course, it’s totally possible that the next chapter, if it follows Rupert, might shed light on his meanness. WE’LL SEE.
- In the meantime, HOLY SHIT. A PARALLEL WORLD. THAT’S LIKE ENGLAND BUT NOT AT ALL AND IT’S CALLED THULE AND QUACK CHICKS.
- WHERE IS THE FANART
- I DON’T EVEN CARE IF I USUALLY WAIT UNTIL THE END OF A BOOK TO ASK FOR THIS, I REALLY WANT FANART OF ALL THESE CREATURES
- SOLLYHENS, I’M CRYING.
- THIS IS THE BEST.
- No, look, I’m just so into worldbuilding concerning non-human creatures, and Diana Wynne Jones knocks it out of the park here. It’s not just that these animals are all weird combinations of our world’s creatures, it’s the idea that she thought of how they’d be used in Thule, how they’d interact with one another, and how they should look.
- SHOUTING BUTES
- PETRA, THE SILKY-HAIRED FOX-EATHER.
- THOSE GOATS
- THEY ALL FOLLOW THE HUMANS AROUND AND THEY’RE SUPER INTELLIGENT, AND THEY DO EMOTIONALLY MANIPULATIVE THINGS TO PEOPLE JUST TO MANIPULATE THEM.
- I REFUSE TO STOP BEING EXCITED ABOUT THIS.
- And it’s all so meaningful because Maree Mallory wanted to be a vet. She wanted to care for the health and well-being of animals, and she just discovered that there are billions of animals in an infinite number of worlds that she has never seen before.
- MY BRAIN CAN’T HANDLE THIS.
- And then Will’s exposition-heavy talk with Maree and Nick came after this, and I was just so happy. While I’m not exactly certain I know everything about Magids, this chapter helped me so much. Like I mentioned in the video, it’s nice to see how much of what the Magid’s do is purposefully subtle. They work for Them Up There to help shape The World into what it needs to be by gently pushing people, worlds, ideas, time, magic, and other things in the right direction.
- I absolutely adore Maree for almost immediately asking the one question that needed to be asked here: How do you know what Them Up There does is right? In particular, she focuses on the senseless tragedy that is her father’s cancer, a blameless disaster with no hope for relief. How slowly is the World pushed in the right direction? What constitutes right?
- I’m so interested in learning what Them Up There really, truly want. Why hold these deep secrets? Why distill them piece by piece into the worlds in the most subtle, quiet way possible? Are we meant to believe that the World is gradually, painstakingly getting better? Does a Magid get, like, a huge download into their brain of the universe’s “wisdom”?
- Oh my god, Will’s six V-named daughters crack me up. MORE OF THEM PLEASE.
- This whole experience in this chapter is surreal, exciting, and game-changing. This novel is a completely different beast from what it was at the end of chapter twelve. Maree has already traveled between worlds. Not only that, but she’s already started to develop an instinct for this travel in a way that reduces her anxiety as she travels home. Oh my god, Rupert, she’s so perfect for the job. She’s already learning! Have any of the other candidates ever exhibited anything like this before?
- Still, the two have a lot to work through, and at the very least, Rupert seemed very hurt by Maree calling him the “secret ruler of the world.” Even Maree acknowledged that she shouldn’t have said this. But gods, y’all, she’s it. She’s the next Magid. I know it!
The original text contains use of the words “mad,” “crazy,” “lame” (in reference to livestock) and stupid.”
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