Mark Reads ‘Deep Secret’: Chapter 15

In the fifteenth chapter of Deep Secret, Will’s arrival on Earth is a disastrous coincidence, which just made me remember that there are no coincidences. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.

Chapter Fifteen

Just incredible. INCREDIBLE.

  • I just need to type this out, because it’s so amazing to me. Y’all have gotten me to read a book about parallel universes that involves a complex plot to find the next Emperor of one world, a replacement magic-person for all worlds, is largely centered in a science fiction and fantasy convention, and features an extended sequence involving an impromptu emergency stitching of a goddamn centaur.
  • There is no book like this on earth.
  • There will never be a book like this ever again.
  • So, wasn’t there a better place for Will to arrive other then directly outside the doors of the Hotel Babylon? No?
  • Mervin Thurless is disgusting, I’m not quoting what he said, and I hope that he gets caught between worlds and split into 40,000 pieces in the process.
  • I had to look up what Egyptian curls were. Isn’t it kind of a misnomer to say a white dude has Egyptian hair?
  • Anyway, just one page into this chapter, Diana Wynne Jones drops us into chaos, and I’m still impressed at how this came off as both super hilarious and intense at the same time. I think that my videos serve as a good depiction of just how sudden and bewildering this was; there are definite moments where I just had to stop and appreciate the sheer surreal nature of it all because it’s a LAST-MINUTE OPERATION ON A CENTAUR IN A HOTEL ROOM AT A SF/F CON. WHAT THE HELL.
  • What I did want to discuss were all the incredible little character moments and story reveals that were brought out because of this plot twist.
  • The first thing I utterly adored about this chapter was the array of reactions exhibited by the people at this convention. At the beginning, it’s shock and disbelief, which Rupert exploited in order to convince Thurless, Odile, and Gianetti that they hadn’t just seen a centaur.
  • But then – BLESS THEIR HEARTS – the con-goers in a room for a panel CELEBRATE THE CENTAUR’S AMAZING COSTUME.
  • WHICH IS SO ENDLESSLY FUNNY TO ME THAT I CAN’T COPE WITH IT.
  • Oh my god, the attendees outside the lift are just national treasures, y’all. Proof that this book could not have been pulled off so well if it was set anywhere else, as far as I’m concerned.
  • It’s not the most revolutionary thing in the world, but I’m here for Jones having her men admit that Robbios is goddamn beautiful. I’m always bothered by men who stringently refuse to ever comment on other men being good looking, as if that’s a gateway to the hell that is gayness.
  • I also picked up on the fact that Jones makes Maree Mallory the center of all of this, despite that Nick is the narrator. We’ve got a woman who immediately is presented with a nauseating and overwhelming situation, and it’s one she never could have ever trained to cope with. And yet, she’s quickly in charge, ordering the other three men about as they all deal with their own varying levels of disgust and horror. It’s Maree who is the focal point of all the power and organization in this chapter, and I love that this turns gender expectations on its head, you know? I mean, I get that Maree has already experienced enough weirdness from the previous day’s adventure, but she so effortlessly copes with STITCHING UP A CENTAUR that I can’t help but be impressed.
  • I imagine that some folks from the States were probably very confused by the characters plugging kettles into the wall. I am proudly electric kettle since 2010. I can see no other way. IT IS THE RIGHT WAY.
  • I hope there is Robbios fanart, too. Can I imagine that he looks kind of like Dwayne Johnson? I’m so stoked that the very first centaur we meet is a person of color. Er… centaur of color? This is weird.
  • For the record, Rob initially refuses to get drunk to manage the pain because alcohol makes him cry. I find this perpetually adorable.
  • I also liked that Zinka figured out that a bunch of shit had gone down and offered to help. Bless her.
  • HOW DOES ONE TRAVEL WITH TWO LIVING BIRDS IN THEIR POCKETS WITHOUT REMEMBERING THEY’RE THERE?
  • So! Rob, while drunk and being sewed, opens up to everyone present about the absurd (and, frankly speaking, totally disturbing) rating system that Timos IX had in place for his wives and mistresses and children. This asshole RATED HIS CHILDREN, creating an artificial class system in order to determine who deserved his attention or who could live with him, and it’s just SO GROSS! Of course, it sheds light on Timotheo’s execution, since he was of a lower “grade” and typing that kind of makes me sick.
  • I mean, let’s talk about this colony where Knarros and Robbios live and work, more or less. All the children of the “True Wives” have to live there FOREVER, they have no idea why they’re there, and in the end, only one of them will become Emperor, with almost no training or education to help them. Which Maree is extremely quick to criticize because IT’S SUCH A TERRIBLE IDEA. That makes Rupert realize that maybe this is how the Empire was Intended to fall: with Timos IX’s terrible plan for inheritance.
  • One of the most calming, comforting things ever: Robbios realizing he’s okay and going to sleep. Like… it’s so great. SO GREAT.
  • “It never occurred to me, or to Will, that there was any duplicity.”
  • WHAT
  • WHAT THE HELL WHY WOULD YOU STICK THAT AT THE ENDING.
  • YOU’RE SO EVIL OH MY GOD.

The original text contains the words “mad” and “crazy.”

Part 1

Part 2

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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