In the second part of the ninth chapter of The Book of Night With Moon, I will get my revenge on all of you. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Feline Wizards.Â
Trigger Warning: For body horror, gore
Why? Why are you doing this to me? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS?
Look, at least there is SOMETHING good in this chapter thatâ€™s not dread and destruction. I have come to really enjoy all the asides with Mike and Sue, so much so that Iâ€™m invested in Sue getting a new job. She is overworked! She is stressed out! She has a chance at happiness! SOMEONE IN THIS BOOK DESERVES THAT, OKAY??? The scene where the two share the maguro sushi that Mike didnâ€™t want to eat is so tender and lovely and I am glad that there are nice things happening amidst all the direness. In a way, itâ€™s a reminder of what these wizards are fighting for: love and companionship, for a world where people care for one another.Â
This book just keeps ramping up the tension, dialing it down but not eliminating it, and then ramping it up even further, and the entire lead up to The Thing is just un-fucking-real. We already knew to brace ourselves because of Thomâ€™s tone when he summoned Rhiow, but once the feline wizards get to Grand Central, Duane uses a new means to create suspense: she puts this scene during the morning rush hour in Manhattan. I know rush hour is, generally speaking, fairly similar around this country, and most people experience it through cars. Thereâ€™s just a time of the day in which freeways and streets turn to parking lots as people all try to make it to work and then, later, to home while thousands upon thousands of others do the same thing. I thought I was more or less ready for rush hour in NYC because I know what itâ€™s like on the Metro in Los Angeles and I dealt with it on BART in the Bay Area. For the most party, itâ€™s not that different. You still get super packed trains that are uncomfortable and generally too warm. The platforms can be so crowded that you have to vie for space before you even get to vie for space on a train car itself.
But in New York City, there are just so many more people, obviously, but there are also way more folks who donâ€™t own cars and who only rely on the train. Itâ€™s one of the things I found appealing about the city long before I moved there. Iâ€™ve never owned a car, never got my driverâ€™s license, and Iâ€™ve only driven a handful of times. I have little interest in ever doing it except for being able to drive on road trips or in emergencies. So, Iâ€™ve long gravitated toward cities that allow me to get around only on transit. Iâ€™m just not used to being somewhere where the majority of the people I know are the same way! Add on top of that the crumbling MTA infrastructure, and you get an unwieldy maelstrom of awful: packed trains, packed platforms, and an ungodly amount of delays. It puts people on edge, many of whom are ALREADY anxious and nervous and stressed out. Can you imagine how volatile a group of people might be without dinosaurs interrupting their morning commute? (I will say that the current MTA disaster has provided me with a beautiful silver lining: I bring a book or my Kindle with me whenever Iâ€™m taking the train. I have read nearly 75 books this year alone that werenâ€™t for Mark Reads. THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME MY CASUAL READING BACK TO ME, MTA.)Â
Knowing what the transit hubs in the city are like in the morning meant that I was UNBEARABLY NERVOUS during the entire sequence in which the wizards all wait around for something to happen. This is a very public space full of tons of people, and if anything went wrong, I knew that there would be some sort of collateral damage. Plus, how the fuck could they hide anything from the general public? How would they prevent this from turning into a bigger disaster? Yâ€™all, something was keeping the gates open from the other side, and the wizards couldnâ€™t close them!!! THIS IS A VERY, VERY BAD THING. Duane pulls together so many of the little clues into this chapter, referencing some of Arhuâ€™s prophetic statements, and then teases us with whatever might come through those gates. I assumed it was the Wise Ones, and yet? Did it help? Was I ready?
â€œYou must claw your way to the heart,â€ he said, â€œto the root. I hear the gnawing. Too long have I heard it, and the Tree tottersâ€¦â€
Yeah, no, Not at all, especially not when Arhu is saying creepy, creepy shit like this!!! The Wise Ones, led by the Lone Power, are probably trying to destroy the Tree itself. Right? Thatâ€™s what this means, right???
Oh, wait, thereâ€™s even more awfulness:
â€œWell, you brought it up, so: how many?â€
â€œAlmost all of them,â€ Saash said.Â
Rhiow stared at her, astounded. â€œEighth?â€ she whispered. â€œNinth?â€Â
See, Duane keeps doing this thing that impresses me because itâ€™s what makes for good conflict and suspense: she has given us multiple things at stake. Itâ€™s not just about saving the world, though thatâ€™s an important one. At this point, weâ€™re dealing with: 1) the general public in the station; 2) Arhuâ€™s abilities and their creepy affect; 3) Sueâ€™s happiness; 4) Carl is missing; 5) the gates were forced open on the other side; 6) Saash is on her final life; 7) if any of the team dies, theyâ€™ll all be trapped in the Downside; and ANY ONE OF THESE THINGS could tip this over into a disaster. So what does Duane do?
PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THEM AT ONCE.
I am still reeling from this sequence. Thereâ€™s a weird sense of catharsis to it. Duane has been leaning heavily on the dread for so long in The Book of Night With Moon, so when the horror finally comes, there was almost this weird relief in me? I was finally discovering what was going to come spilling into the world, which I also feel answers what came through at the opening of the book. (Whichâ€¦ perplexes me. If that was a saurian in the beginning of the chapter, then where the fuck did it go? OH NO.) But that relief was short-lived, because once the tension broke, CHAOS REIGNED. Yâ€™all, how do I even react to this? Itâ€™s so violent and bewildering and one of the wildest things Iâ€™ve read in this entire fictional universe. At this point, I donâ€™t even know how many saurians broke through, whether theyâ€™re below the station, whether the wizards below were able to stop the saurians like the ones aboveground. Did any humans get hurt? Has anyone died? WHAT THE HELL?
I justâ€¦ itâ€™s so much, and itâ€™s such a thrill. I canâ€™t deny how much this scene is one of the coolest things Iâ€™ve read in a long, long time. I love dinosaurs from an intellectual stance, as a way of examining science of history, but guess what? Dinosaurs fucking shit up is also ONE OF THE BEST THINGS, TOO. Isnâ€™t it??? Itâ€™s why Jurassic Park was so fun, too, because thereâ€™s this idea in that film that nature is getting revenge on humans for fucking with it. Here, though, this isâ€”and itâ€™s really the best word I could come up with itâ€”an invasion, the Lone Powerâ€™s way of introducing entropy through violent, horrifying means.Â
And then Arhu BLOWS UP A TYRANNOSAUR. I canâ€™t believe I get to type that sentence, but the gory scene was so unexpected, and I LIVE FOR IT. Hell yeah, Arhu! I have no idea how you did that (or even knew how), but oh my GOD. Dinosaurs. Blowing. UP.
I AM HERE FOR THIS.
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