Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 18: The Chariot (Part One)

Previously on Handbook for Mortals: Dela detailed the meeting between herself and Charles in the 1970’s, and boy did things get sexist! That’s literally it.

And before we start, I am once again splitting this one up into two parts. While it’s not as long as chapter 15, this first half is a slog. EDIT! IT’S ALL A SLOG! By which I mean it’s not laughably bad, for the most part, but it’s still a long way from being outright good.

Now, you might have thought that the end of Dela and Charles’ meeting might have been the natural conclusion to that story. But nope! It turns out that the only reason Dela stopped there was because Mac finished his iced tea (which, we’re told, was served in a mason jar!) and made a loud slurpy sound. This prompts Dela to offer him more, which brings Mac back to reality after being deeply absorbed in the riveting, totally relevant story. After accepting, Mac thinks about how enlightening Dela’s story was–in regards to Charles’ history.

Mac vaguely knew that Charles had toured as a traveling magician when he was young but he hand never known that he was basically really a carnie and a gypsy in a traveling circus.

I know that Lani’s use of the term “gypsy” to refer to free-spirited bohemian types is old hat by this point, and I am positive that she’s simply ignorant of its status as a relatively new no-no word, but it actually does come across as slightly derogatory in this context, especially when coupled with the word “carnie.” I am unsure if this is intentional and meant to show what a shitlord Mac is, or if it’s meant to be a neutral evaluation of Charles’ life pre-fame. I am given to speculate that it is the latter, because Mac goes on to think about how people in that sort of life “have nothing and no one,” and how he never imagined Charles to have come from such humble beginnings.

Mac’s opinion was rapidly changing and he was really starting to see why Charles had achieved all of this fame and greatness.

This makes no sense. Literally nothing about Dela’s story had anything to do with how or why Charles became famous. Unless you read this as Mac thinking that Charles’ hotness and cocky charm played a major role in his ascent to stardom? But Mac already knows that Charles is attractive and charming. This line makes no sense.

Wasn’t the point of the story to somehow help illustrate what was wrong with Zade?

Dela  goes to fetch Mac a refill on his tea, and Charles takes the opportunity to tell him that he wasn’t planning on wearing the bulletproof vest, and thought Dela was doing him a bamboozle. He talks for a moment about how he disliked fortune-teller types, and gets an admittedly good line in:

“I had always believed we were both tricksters, deceiving people in our own ways. The difference–I always thought–was people came to me to be fooled; they wanted me to deceive them, but they came to her for the truth.”

Aside from the wonky punctuation, I think that this would be a really interesting theme for a story about the relationship between a stage magician and a (non-magical) fortune teller. Unfortunately, it’s rendered irrelevant by the fact that Dela actually is psychic and therefore is simply an agent of truth.

Charles says that he soon realized that Dela wasn’t actually a charlatan, and proceeded to try to get a feeling for if her words about Betty were truthful:

“I tried to have conversations with Betty to see if I could tell what she was thinking of it she acted odd. It didn’t take long for me to see that Betty was incredibly hard to read–and reading people was usually something I did easily.”

If it weren’t for the last line, I’d not have a problem with this, but if he’s so good at reading people, don’t you think he would have realized his assistant of over a year was a weirdly difficult case? But apparently Dela gave him some more intel on Betty’s psyche:

Dela insisted that Betty still loved me, and she seemed to go back and forth between wanting to please me and seeming like she might actually want to kill me.

This kind of contradicts the “free will” thing that Zade/Dela keep invoking about the future: if Betty has free will then why does the only way to successfully prevent her from murdering Charles completely bypass her free will? Urgh. This book is so inane.

Charles then basically says that he eventually decided to wear the bulletproof vest because it couldn’t hurt to do so. Then Charles pauses, and we get a moment to appreciate Charles’ storytelling skills.

It wasn’t just the words or the way he spun them but it was the inflection of each word as it rolled off his tongue and the speed and volume of each and every sentence.

I’m pretty sure Lani Sarem wanted us to know that Charles was an engaging speaker but realized that his dialogue wasn’t anything special, so she’s basically handwaving his meh-ness with “you really had to be there, you guys.” On the bright side, I now imagine Charles to speak like William Shatner, with all his signature random inflection and pauses.

Mac is entranced, though, and wants to know what happened next, even though Zade tells us that he’s pretty sure that Dela was right. But Mac also wants to know what happened with Dela and Charles to make them have such a messy break up.

Mac had been drawn completely into the story between the two of them He was more hooked than a housewife watching, Days of Our Lives.

And while I never thought I’d say this, isn’t this like the once exact time that the world should revolve around Zade? Isn’t she upstairs (possibly still bleeding from her mouth) and in critical condition? Didn’t Dela say she needed to prepare for the Zade-healing ritual? Why are they just sitting around telling stories and drinking tea? Argh!!!

Charles says that he wore the vest and hoped to live, but couldn’t believe that Betty would actually try to murder him. But then Betty actually did. Mac is incredulous! Charles tells us that Betty was taken to a mental hospital

“and I lived to see another day.”

Charles added the last bit in for dramatic effect; obviously he had lived to see many more days.

I love that out of all the ambiguously-phrased stuff in this novel, this is the line that gets clarification.

Mac takes a moment to decide if he should ask Dela about what she saw when she looked into Charles’ eyes and got all freaked out in the last chapter. When he does, she tells him that she saw them getting together and having a baby,  it was fuzzy because Charles hand’t yet decided to wear the vest. She explains that it’s difficult to see your own future, because you tend to be biased and interpret it incorrectly. She says that it was shocking to see a future where she and Charles were in love and baby-having because she had hated him so much, etc.

Mac asks what she means by Charles not having decided to wear the vest, and Dela explains that free will is a thing, and explains some stuff about how knowing the future can help you change it with an extended metaphor about driving a car. Mac says he thinks he understands, and, realizing that he’s engaged in the story, asks what happens next. Thankfully, he has the awareness to wonder what this has to do with what’s wrong with Zade (spoiler: nothing).

Charles says that Dela became his new assistant, but Mac says that what he was hoping to find out was what went wrong with Zade. Dela says she was just about to get to that part. She thinks for a moment about how she hopes he’ll be able to handle the truth, and Zade’s random italicized thoughts pop in to tell us that she wishes she could have told him herself.

Dela starts by telling Mac that her powers extend beyond mere fortune telling:

“I, and therefore Zade, come from a very long line of tarot readers, be we are actually more than just that. The one skill actually has nothing to do with the other. They are separate trades. Kind of like welding and carpentry: they are two totally different things but it can be very helpful if you can do both.”

I would like to take this moment to point out that Dela’s story was about being a tarot reader, and Zade’s accident was about being a bad chaos magician. Dela basically says that her story about meeting Charles has nothing to do with what’s wrong with Zade. I think the logic is that easing Mac into with a story about future-telling will be less hard on him, but you’d think that in such a dire situation, zapping a teapot into a cat or something would be the most believable and efficient way of communicating that magic is for real.

Mac expresses confusion, saying that he’s totally lost. Instead of answering the question, Dela reiterates that she and Zade are tarot readers, and launches into a long explanation about tarot that we’ve heard like two or three times by this point ( and which, by her own admission, has nothing to do with the Zade situation!). She goes on for a bit about how tarot helps you learn life lessons, and how learning and growing is the reason we exist, etc. Also, we get a bit of bad history:

“Tarot, if we go far enough back, actually comes from an ancient form of Judaism, which we can trace back to the kings of old–soothsayers are in the bible, and kings would not make moves without consulting one.”

According to HowStuffWorks.com, tarot cards (as in, cards with fancy pictures) originated in the 15th century, and weren’t used for divination until the 18th century. Although Kabbalah (which I assume is what Lani is referring to when she says “ancient form of Judaism”) began to be worked in with tarot reading in the 19th century, calling Kabbalah “ancient” is a bit of a stretch; there’s lots of controversy about its origins, but regardless of that, its connection to divination is basically nonexistent. This isn’t to say that tarot is total bunk and dumb; my sister who’s into it has told me that it’s a fun method of exploring your psych e and intuitions (sorry if I’ve misrepresented it at all, sister who is maybe reading this). But representing it as ancient Jewish magic is simply wrong.

But Dela finally gets to the point, and surprise, it has nothing to do with tarot cards anyway!

“But Zade and I also come from an even longer line of practicing witches, and even beyond that, magical beings. We do magick of all kinds, spells, and things. The real kind–spelled with a ‘k’ at the end–not what Charlie usually does. Not mortal but not immortal either.

There’s a couple things to unpack here, too. First, the obvious: Zade and Dela are not mortal but not immortal? Well then what are they? What does that mean? I’ve said this before, but I get the feeling that Lani is using “mortal” as a synonym for “muggle.” Second, the real kind of magic is spelled with a k? In this video, Lani explains to us that magick-with-a-k is the real spelling, from ye olde English. I don’t know if that’s true, and I can’t find a source despite looking for several whole minutes.

Mac takes a moment to mull this over. He asks if it’s like “that TV show Charmed,” and Dela says no, although she allows that they did get some things right like the “power of three,” but that the show got pretty silly towards the end. I am almost positive that no one under the age of 20 has seen Charmed. Dela then asks if Mac has seen the Sandra Bullock movie Practical Magic, saying that movie is far more accurate. Mac says he has. Again, I am positive the target audience has not.

“Actually, I am almost sure a real practicing witch either wrote that or helped write that, though a real witch probably wrote Charmed, too.”

Charles says that what he does is just deception, but that what Zade and Dela do is real magic-with-a-k.

Mac’s mind is blown:

You know that expression “mind blown?” That is how Mac felt at that very moment.

But then Mac thinks of something that gives him pause:

“So, do you worship the devil?” he speculated. He wasn’t a “go to church on Sunday” kind of guy, but he did believe in God.

Dela explains that magic comes from God, and that prayer is a kind of magic! And that prayer is a skill, like basketball! Mac says that he was never taught that prayer was magic when he went to church as a kid, and Dela brings up some very good points (for the second time in one chapter!):

“You don’t think Jesus turning water into wine sounds like a magick trick? Or Moses’s rod turning into a snake, or parting the Red Sea? What about the kings of old, like David? They had priests that practiced magick and told the future. Once upon a time, people were fine with magick. But people get afraid of what they don’t understand, and start telling people that it’s bad. People who wanted power but couldn’t do magick wanted to stop those who could. This gift, like all others, comes from God.”

I guess that Mac’s question about devil worship is valid, since he’s just been told that magic is real and a religious source of magic is a reasonable enough guess, but any true-believer worth their salt would tell you that Biblical miracles aren’t the same as “magic.”

Anyway, Dela believes that she’s pwned Mac’s religious misgivings, and it seems like she has, because they never come up again. Mac remembers Zade saying something about people hating what they don’t understand, and totally gets it now.

Charles finally gets a word in edgewise:

“When Dela became my assistant, all of a sudden my illusions got better, and then Dela started having me work on bigger illusions. I would do them, even though I didn’t even know completely how they worked. She would tell me they were family secrets.”

Remember when Mac thought he understood why Charles became famous? Even though it’s not quite clear what his line-of-thinking was, it obviously was not this. So basically, Charles probably blew up because of Dela. I guess it worked out OK for him, though.

Charles asks Mac if the bit about “family secrets” sounds familiar. Dela says that she loved Charles so much that she wanted to help him succeed. Charles says they were happy for a long time.

Mac asks when Charles found out. Dela says it was after Zade was born and definitely had powers. While she’s saying this, she looking doe-eyedly at Charles, and it is repeated that they are still so in love!!!

Suddenly, Mac has deeper misgivings, and makes another dated pop-culture reference:

“Why do I feel like I am in some bad episode of Bewitched?” Are you both being serious right now?”

He reels for a bit, and Dela tells him that it’s true! Christ, this chapter is repetitive. Dela fidgets with her neckalce, which looks just like Zade’s necklace that was briefly mentioned in chapter 12, and it’s totally unimportant. Even so, it gets extra description: it has strange writing, and is either silver or platinum.

And that’s where I’m leaving off for today. I promise it picks up in part two!!  hahaha disregard this I suck. Zade finally gets stabbed!  That’s another lie, too. They just talk more. Although it is revealed that Zade will need to get stabbed!

9 thoughts on “Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 18: The Chariot (Part One)

  1. So, I’m actually a fan of a lot of medieval writing (not an expert, but I’ve taken classes on Chaucer and know a bit about Middle English).

    I have no idea what Lani is talking about in that video.

    First, what does she mean by “Old English?”

    Generally English language development is divided up into five separate phases: Old English (think something like Beowulf that is pretty unintelligible to people today), Middle English (this is more medieval writing, and was highly influenced by an influx of French words from the Normans), Early Modern (this would be more Shakespeare), Late Modern (Jane Austen and all those white colonialists) and modern day English. Calling magick “Old English” makes no sense because a cursory Google search on its etymology says the word was popularized in late Middle English from the French word “magique.”

    This is from a Google search so take it with a grain of salt but if the word has a French origin (and if that French origin comes from an even earlier Latin word) it has NOTHING to do with Old English. Old English is Germanic and existed in England BEFORE French and Latin words began to be popularized on the island. To me her explanation is disproven right here since she clearly does not understand what Old English means in an academic sense.

    But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and look at some alternative explanations:

    1) Maybe she meant this was “Old English” in the sense of “medieval.” I tired to see if this particular spelling of magic as magick would have been “correct” in Middle English by looking at an OED article on Middle English spelling. Nothing obvious there, but spelling was not standardized in any sense at that point so maybe “magick” was a common variation. I’d ask an actual medieval English scholar for more information.

    2) Maybe she meant “Old English” in the sense that many people use it these days: Shakespearean. Shakespeare does use the term “magic” in his work, and seems to use the our Modern English spelling of the word. Again, this is from googling quotes online, so perhaps this is not the case for someone with access to the original manuscripts. To double-check this I went to a database called Early English Books Online (EEBO). They have scans from books that generally cover the Early Modern English period (1500s-1700). They have a nifty feature where you can check for variant spellings of a word (again spellings were not standardized at the time so you can get more bang for your buck searching the database if you include variant spellings of key words when searching). Looking up “magic” there some common results are “magick,” “magicke,” “magike,” and “magique.” What do you know; the French word that Google claims our modern “magic” comes from seemed to be in common use in Early Modern English!

    EEBO also allows you to search the database using any of these variants you want, and organize the results by publishing date. I did two searches. First for “magique.” The earliest work that uses this variant is something by Raoul Lefèvre in 1460 (I’m not bothering with titles here because my god are Early Modern English titles long). Then I searched for “magick,” again organizing by earliest published. This turned up first: “The history of Quintus Curcius conteyning the actes of the greate Alexander translated out of Latine into Englishe by Iohn Brende.” This was published *drumroll* 1553! So the “Old English” word for magic appears to be in common use 100 years after the French word turns up in the English publishing world.

    A couple caveats. EEBO does not have every English book ever published. It does have a pretty representative collection, but there could be some lost text from 1200 or something that uses “magick.” That being said, the fact that it shows “magique” being in use long before “magick” indicates to me that the Google etymology is probably correct. Therefore I must conclude:

    3) Lani Sarem has no idea what she is talking about and got her spelling of “magick” from some two-bit Kabbalah website trying to sound fancy and informative. She is an ignorant hack and thus did not realize the stupidity of this being “Old English” and is narcissistic enough to try and sound authoritative by using it in her crappy book.

    Anyway thanks for writing these recaps, they have made this terrible book at least slightly enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I had always believed we were both tricksters, deceiving people in our own ways. The difference–I always thought–was people came to me to be fooled; they wanted me to deceive them, but they came to her for the truth.”

    What’s “wonky” about the punctuation here?

    Enjoying the hell out of this blog, by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like the em dashes could be replaced by commas, and that the comma in the second sentence should have been a full stop to emphasize the perceived contrast between himself and Dela. As it exists, the semicolon and the comma make the sentence run on when it should be punchier.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Commentary from previous chapter:

    Yeah, I hate how LS gives Zade traits that are a little out of the ordinary and completely exaggerates how cool that supposedly makes Zade. So I get the reaction.

    I haven’t seen a whole lot of Mad Men either, that was just the first Betty that popped into my head.

    Also I totally believe that LS is a narcissist of some variety. She also clearly has tons of internalized misogyny.

    (Response to 15b, which I somehow missed)

    Wanda and Pietro were made white in the MCU, this was met with some fan backlash. Other fans confusedly pointed out that at least the MCU had hired a Rroma actor for a different character. These fans were mistakenly referring to Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) who is Romanian, but not Rroma.

    Also I don’t remember who said it now, but the idea of Zade being a Dela clone is a really neat idea, and could be super cool, if yet again, we had a better author.

    This Chapter:

    I “love” how this chapter is accidentally all about how Charles pretty much owes everything he has in his life now to Dela, and yet he still gets all of the credit. LS is a real piece of work. First Dela saves him, then she uses real magic to give him an edge over other magicians, which he eventually uses to get a Vegas show so he can live a comfortable existence.

    ‘Doing him a bamboozle’ is a delightful phrase.

    If I had to sum up handbook for mortals in quipy epigraph, it would be:

    [ “and I lived to see another day.”

    Charles added the last bit in for dramatic effect; obviously he had lived to see many more days.]

    It just so perfectly encapsulates the “charm” of this book.

    Dela states bias can cloud or skew a reading about one’s future. Then why did Zade waste so much time a few chapters back reading her future over and over again? And why didn’t she mention this fact in that chapter instead of having the reader learn it right now?

    It’s really jarring to be reminded that we are watching things after the fact. Also did Zade get permission to go through Dela’s memories, or only Mac and Charles’ memories?

    Zade is double special; she’s from both a prestigious tarot reading line, and a semi-immortal line.

    Also lol for this entirely unnecessary tangent about tarot. Double lol that the author admits it has nothing to do with the story.

    2lol; magick-with-a-k. I’ve seen a lot of people talk about magic, but when it’s spelled with a ‘k’ that’s almost always a warning sign that something cringey is about to be said or done.

    I really wish LS could just figure out this supposed world she’s built. How can you even be kind of not mortal, but also kind of not immortal? Those are your only options.

    3lol; shoehorning in both Charmed and Practical Magic. I assume she did that because she just really likes both properties, and wanted to give her stamp of approval by saying they were created by witches. Although is it just me, or is it super lazy to say ‘yeah our magic works just like this show that ran for several seasons and went through the trouble of actually establishing a world’? Also kind of backfires if your audience is unfamiliar with the work.

    (Also, while I admit I have watched and enjoyed ‘Charmed’ I feel like it’s kind of weird to hold it up like some great show when it was basically a fun, well budgeted soap opera)

    Huh, I’ve never thought of prayer as a skill

    Finally, I have heard some satanists and neo-pagans make the ‘Jesus did magic’ argument. So the entire back half of this starting with Mac asking if they worship the devil feels very much like a thinly veiled ‘this is what it means to be Wiccan’ FAQ.

    Like

  5. I am positive that Robert Schmidt (the alleged editor) is not a real person. Or maybe that’s just what Lani named her spell/grammar check program.

    Like

  6. Hey, Valiere! I’d like to add my thoughts on this bit of dialog.

    “I had always believed we were both tricksters, deceiving people in our own ways. The difference–I always thought–was people came to me to be fooled; they wanted me to deceive them, but they came to her for the truth.”

    Here’s my quick edit:

    “I thought we were tricksters, just doing it our own way. Difference is that people went to me to fool ’em; they want to be bamboozled into awe! And they went to Dela for the truth. That made her a liar, but as it turns out, she’d been honest all along.”

    Having multiple sentences really helps. The original can be said out loud just fine, but the very beginning is a stumbling block that sounds a bit odd to me.

    Actually, if I did a direct edit, I’d go with this, following what Spork Lani suggested:

    “I thought we were both tricksters, deceiving people in our own way. The difference, I believed, was people came to me to be fooled; they wanted me to deceive them! But they went to her for the truth.”

    I’ll respond to more later, and don’t worry Guesto! You didn’t initially miss my comment. Mine sometimes randomly need approval to appear. I’m not sure what triggers that, because within an hour I had two posted on the same chapter. The second one immediately went through, but the first one I’d written was caught waiting for approval. Maybe it’s a swearword censor? Or too many embedded links!

    Also, I responded a few days later to that chapter, so that’s probably the main thing. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 3) Lani Sarem has no idea what she is talking about and got her spelling of “magick” from some two-bit Kabbalah website trying to sound fancy and informative. She is an ignorant hack and thus did not realize the stupidity of this being “Old English” and is narcissistic enough to try and sound authoritative by using it in her crappy book.

    2lol; magick-with-a-k. I’ve seen a lot of people talk about magic, but when it’s spelled with a ‘k’ that’s almost always a warning sign that something cringey is about to be said or done.

    Yeah, if she’d done any research, Sarem’s clairvoyant magique based on the Kabblah could’ve been cool, but she didn’t bother, or she ran with the lightest and most specialized search possible. The worst part is, I don’t know who she’s trying to fool. Urban fantasy doesn’t usually try to convince the reader it’s real with a conversation. They let the magic in their world do the talking. This is also the downside of Zade never fucking using her magic throughout the book too. There’s almost nothing for Mac to latch onto and say, “Ohhh right, that makes so much sense now!” All he’s seen were two different enchantments feigning illusion, and maybe not even the second one.

    Finally, I have heard some satanists and neo-pagans make the ‘Jesus did magic’ argument. So the entire back half of this starting with Mac asking if they worship the devil feels very much like a thinly veiled ‘this is what it means to be Wiccan’ FAQ.

    It really does feel that way and it’s so sloppy. If LS had just SHOWN us what it’s like to be a magic witch, who is possibly immortal (or long-lived), then we wouldn’t need it at all. Then the narration could show that after some coaxing and reflection, Mac agreed to stab Zade.

    Incidentally, if they were both satanists, the book would be more interesting, ’cause from what little I know, satanists are modern day hedonists. Or maybe that’s the problem here… Zade and Dela took it too far! 😀

    The bible miracles are magic argument could’ve been interesting if we knew anything more comprehensive about this system and how the divine work. At least Dela could’ve said that she can command angels or something… Djinn and spirits would be good. Meh. That’s what really gets me. This world is so lacking in magic that it’s like they’re having a drought.

    And yeah, for the record, I don’t think I’ve ever watched Charmed or Practical Magic. As noted by Guesto, the author is essentially asking the readers to do all the work for her! :p

    Wanda and Pietro were made white in the MCU, this was met with some fan backlash. Other fans confusedly pointed out that at least the MCU had hired a Rroma actor for a different character. These fans were mistakenly referring to Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) who is Romanian, but not Rroma.

    Oh dear. I forgot about that. To be slightly fair, the MCU characters aren’t strictly the X-Men characters; they’re sort of an off-shoot, and without Magneto, there’s less of a reason to stick with the Rroma-Jew Holocaust backstory. It does smell of white-washing though. Did they just make them Jewish or what? I forget, because I honestly I don’t think the MCU has done that well with Scarlet Witch. Not awful, but nothing particularly memorable either, which is a shame. I initially confused her for Black Widow, when I first saw the beginning of Civil War. I think she first appeared in Age of Ultor, but they really should’ve tried introducing her and her brother in their own movie, before diving into Civil War at least. Then again, they’re not super well-known characters, so Marvel was less inclined to do that. 😦

    I “love” how this chapter is accidentally all about how Charles pretty much owes everything he has in his life now to Dela, and yet he still gets all of the credit. LS is a real piece of work. First Dela saves him, then she uses real magic to give him an edge over other magicians, which he eventually uses to get a Vegas show so he can live a comfortable existence.

    Yeah, come to think of it, how the hell did Charles stay relevant without Dela? Did he sit on his laurels after that, or did he get over his screw-ups and push harder in his illusions? I think seeing Charles in his daily life and how he coped all this time, as well as his relationship with Sofia and whoever he might’ve been with before her, could’ve also been great with a much better author. If he really did the work after that, maybe it could show how she inspired him to really strive for newer and greater illusions, to truly hone his craft since he knew he’d sort of cheated by letting her help. Or what if he did just let Dela give him enough of a shove and maintained mediocrity, but by then his reputation was doing all the work? Would he feel guilty about that, after leaving her? Would he feel frustration, knowing that he could never achieve true success on his own?

    I think of all the characters, had he been written with some realism and empathy for others, Charles could’ve been the most interesting, especially if we got to see his relationship with Zeb and Sofia. Dela wouldn’t even have to come back into the picture, but I’d frankly like to see a relationship where they were amicable exs, with Zade turning up periodically as they took turns looking after her. Then Zade turning up after a fight with her mother could have dealt with one of the harder aspects of being a father. Hell, it’d be a great reason to keep her a teenager or even just old enough that she finished high school and is trying to decide what to do with her life. Or shit, keep ALL of these details, and keep Zade as the focus. The biggest problem is just how meaningless everything is and how hard it is to relate to these empty husks that masquerade as people.

    All that wasted potential! 😡

    ‘Doing him a bamboozle’ is a delightful phrase.

    Excusez mon français, mais magnifique magie est trés Anglais! Un tel doge. Totalement compris. Beaucoup pensaient. 👌😁

    (Google translate for some fun!)

    It just so perfectly encapsulates the “charm” of this book.

    … OMG! You’re right. Hahaha, one of us needs to write an Amazon review that points this out. It’s… it’s truly majestic in it’s brevity, redundancy, obviousness, and aimlessness. It’s almost a joke about ruining jokes by explaining them. I nominate Lani the Fearless Spork, since she can include the book format, page number, and paragraph locations as citation, in case people refuse to believe her. 😂

    And why didn’t she mention this fact in that chapter instead of having the reader learn it right now?

    Yeah, The most damning error that constantly crops up is how almost nothing is explained until the ass-end of the story. I can’t tell if it’s because LS shoe-horned in the love triangle or if she genuinely doesn’t understand this. LS tried to lie, and say that the dyslexia is explained better later in the book, when someone with dyslexia in the Amazon comments criticized the book’s portrayal. At the time I didn’t have any proof this was BS, but I pointed out the flaw in this logic. Things should be explained properly when they first turn up, even if they’re not immediately relevant. The exception is if it could ruin the pacing, but IMHO that’s a rare excuse. The topic could be brought up even sooner, when there aren’t any pressing issues, and offer foreshadowing that way. Like the whole fucking magic system for example! Also, some things could be left unsaid, but only if they’re a secret. Zade’s dyslexia barely registered as a defining character trait, so it certainly didn’t count in that regard.

    Even the secrets should’ve been explained better than they were, or hinted at! LS didn’t even do that right.

    I really wish LS could just figure out this supposed world she’s built.

    I firmly believe Zade is sitting in a giant cardboard box, playing Solitaire. The inside has crayon scribbles with crappy little houses, skyscrapers, a casino, and a big smiling sun. Surrounding her are crappy little stick figure people made out of craft store pipe cleaners, with giant name tags for faces. Then Dela got mad when she saw the aluminum christmas tree sprawled around the living room and demanded she put it back. Zade threw a fit, stomped around, and eventually dragged it up to the attic, where she fell over after inhaling too much exposed insulation and began to hallucinate about her previous shitty fantasy. The paramedics came, but she died to save us from having a franchise. Hallelujah! 🙌

    Like

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