In the first part of the ninth chapter of The Book of Night With Moon, Rhiow prepares for the worst. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Feline Wizards.
I am bracing myself for the worst, and I donâ€™t think itâ€™s going to work, and I am worried.Â
I am trying to keep track of all the little threads and breadcrumbs that Duane is leaving along the way, and I am not sure this is going to work. Thereâ€™s so much, and guess what? Thereâ€™s a new one at the opening of this chapter, and lord, NO THANKS. Somehow, the mounted skeleton in Grand Central changed position. Look, I donâ€™t doubt Rhiowâ€™s perception here, and even though she does, I believe sheâ€™s on to something. But HOW??? How is this even possible? It canâ€™t be some innocuous thing. Is there something else in Grand Central I donâ€™t know about yet?
The Search for Carl
The building of dread in this book is UNREAL, yâ€™all. I genuinely felt incredibly nervous while reading this, uncertain what had happened to Carl, and then, one-by-one, Duane revealed one damning thing after another. Letâ€™s start with THIS BIT OF FUN.
â€œOh, come on, Saash,â€ Urruah said, â€œyouâ€™re nuts. Have you ever heard of an Advisory dying in the line of duty?â€
Tom looked at Urruah fairly gently. â€œUrruah,â€ he said, â€œall Advisories die in the line of duty. Any exceptions are accidents or misperceptions on the part of the living. Itâ€™s within the job description: we accept it.â€
Now, Iâ€™m going into this with the advantage of having read the Young Wizards books, and that means I know Carl is alive at a future point. Right? Since this appears to take place before certain books in the series, heâ€™s fine, right? (If Iâ€™m wrong about this I will be Very Much Angry. At mostly myself.) Even then, if youâ€™re like me in this regard, donâ€™t worry! Duane has so much more to torment us with. Like immediately having Tom suggest that Carl is being hidden down below specifically to trap any wizard who tries to come find him. Look, I believe that theory wholeheartedly. Given that the felines know how the last journey went, AND that they took out a lot of Wise Ones, too, itâ€™s possible this is retaliation! They want to get as many wizards into the Downside so they can get their revenge.Â
But letâ€™s say that this doesnâ€™t creep you out or concern you. Well, unsurprisingly, thereâ€™s more. Because Tom then tells the feline wizards theyâ€™re gonna have to go back to the Downsides. A DAY AFTER THEY JUST BARELY SURVIVED THEIR TRIP THERE. Not only that, but Rhiow understandably demands that the Powers grant her and her friends an override so they can take more spells with them, and Tom isnâ€™t sure he can get it so Rhiow admits sheâ€™s willing to pay the price for more power by herself. You know what that means?
But for extra services, you paid extraâ€¦ and the coin was usually time off your lifespan. Days, monthsâ€” a dangerous equation, when you didnâ€™t know for sure how much time you might have leftâ€¦ but sometimes necessary.
Time. Off. Her. Life. So she might succeed and still die shortly afterward because she paid in her own life. Yâ€™all, this book is FUCKED UP. Oh, but wait, is Diane Duane done? Is this enough to torment me? No! Of course not! Because then the concept of CONJUNCT COUPLING is introducing, which is when wizards link their power levels together, which has one major, horrifying side affect:Â
Saash sat up and glared at him. â€œIt also means that if we go down there hooked up in conjunct, we all have to come back that wayâ€¦ or none of us can come back up again at all! If any of us die down there, the others will be strandedâ€”!â€
I was worried enough about the very idea of them returning to the Downside and seeing MURDEROUS DINOSAURS again. And with Arhu at their side, and that poor kitten has been traumatized ENOUGH. But now I also have to worry about them all getting stranded if only one of them canâ€™t come back? So itâ€™s all or nothing??? THIS WAS DESIGNED TO RUIN ME, Iâ€™M SO UPSET.
I almost canâ€™t believe the overflowing intensity I have for this fucking kitten, yâ€™all. His attitude has changed so much since we first met after the attack that opened the book. Thereâ€™s a sense to his actions that feels like he is finally beginning to accept who he is and what he can do. Thatâ€™s not to say he isnâ€™t terrified, because he absolutely is. He has a long conversation about the terror of choice with Rhiow, and lord, sheâ€™s so tender and wise with him, and it kills me every time. I know that she doesnâ€™t lie because sheâ€™s a wizard, but I respect the way she talks to him. She tells it like it is, but she doesnâ€™t do so with cruelty on the tongue. She is honest about how the Choice manifested for so many beings, how the Lone One exploited others in various ways, how entropy and destruction still managed to find its way into the world. Thereâ€™s a history of this that exists behind them, yet stretches forward, its tendrils creeping into the very Choices that felines have to make over and over again.Â
And thatâ€™s the history that Arhu has to wrestle with, to be a part of or to reject. Itâ€™s where his visions come in! Iâ€™m getting a better sense of these moments where he almost becomes a conduit for the Whisperer, because as much as heâ€™s learning about the world, heâ€™s also teaching Rhiow. He was able to tell her that their ancestral memory and relatives couldnâ€™t help; they were on their own. He also passes on the message that theyâ€™re taking all the wrong spells, that the gates are about to open (WHAT THE FUCK, HOW), and then, in the most chilling moment of the chapter so far, he says this:
â€œWhich ones should we have, then?â€ Rhiow said.
â€œThe ones the Whispererâ€™s still working onâ€¦â€
Soooooâ€¦. are they new spells??? Ones that even Rhiow isnâ€™t aware of? Oh my god, this whole chapter freaked me out WHAT ARE Yâ€™ALL DOING TO ME.
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