Save the Pearls: Chapter 6 (or, Attempted Rape is OK when White People Do It.)

Previously, on Save the Pearls: As Eden made her way to the Moon Dance, she contemplated her father’s plan to turn everyone into cat/snake/bird hybrids. Then, she fell into the clutches of some black rapist men! And honestly the whole thing reads like I imagine racist problematic rape-fantasy erotica does.

This chapter begins immediately where the last left off. As the FFP dudes exit the bus/train with Eden held captive, they step into another airlock to make sure they’re not carrying any infectious diseases. Once again, this bit of world-building has no impact on anything at all. Eden prays that she’ll see Jamal once they get into the dance hall.

Basically, the Moon Dance is a rave, with flashing lights and lots of dancing. Unlike a rave, however, there is this:

On the main stage a band of Coals performed in whiteface. Eden’s sensors told her their name: The Lost Caucasian Tribe.

See what Foyt did there? In this world, it’s skin lightening that’s offensive and racist, and skin darkening is part of the beauty standard! My expectations sure are subverted! I totally understand what it’s like to be part of a minority now.

There are some more wacky-dancing people of unspecified race, and there are vendors all over the place. Also, there are white junkie-prostitutes:

A gaunt woman with feverish eyes, un-dotted and well past eighteen, stood at the edge of the fray, making provocative gestures to passers-by. The desperate Pearl probably would do anything for a shot of oxy.

  1. Why hasn’t this unmarried white lady been kicked out? Eden’s been very clear about the fact that unmarried white people get exiled to the toxic surface.
  2. When coupled with the very on-the-nose-racially-inverted Minstrel show, I kind of get the idea that this image of a drug-addicted prostitute is also supposed to be another ‘surprising’ inversion of racial stereotypes. Like Victoria Foyt thinks that drug addiction and prostitution that are exclusive to black people. I would give her the benefit of the doubt, but I’m past that now. Foyt is actually the worst.

OK, so after noting all the thought-provoking racial stereotypes, Eden continues surveying the dance hall for her “Dark Prince.”

If he failed her, she’d end up like that poor woman, begging for a shot. She’d rather be dead.

No, Eden, these guys belong to the FFP. You’ve told us that the FFP abduct and murder white people. If Jamal “fails you,” then you will end up dead. Once again, Victoria Foyt contradicts her own mythology, and accidentally minimizes her own stakes.

An Ethics Officer walks by Eden and her captors (who are referred to as “Giant” and “Squeaky”), and in an attempt to blend in, one of them tells her to dance. She obliges:

She jerked her limbs, trying to imitate the crowd’s erratic movements.

 

white people.gif

But even her pathetic dancing isn’t enough to quell the lust of her swarthy captor. “Giant” eyes her up and down, and seriously, what follows could easily be racist propaganda from, like, the 20’s:

He leaned over her, and Eden felt sick as his wet mouth landed on her neck. He pulled back, smiling again when a crazed look came into his eyes. She knew that look all too well; every Pearl dreaded it. Her hand flew to the spot on her neck where the seam in her dark coating had cracked open. Mother Earth, her white skin showed.

racism!

Yeah. This is not a good look. Can we please get to the furry stuff already? I honestly feel more comfortable with horribly written cat-person erotica, even if it’s equally racist, because at least it’s kind of funny.

Anyway, before Giant can lick off more of Eden’s blackface:

A signal seemed to ring through the frenzied crowd. Hundreds of Coals turned to stare at her; a rabid look in their eyes. She would be lucky to make it out of there alive.

“Hey, it’s 19:30,” Squeaky told his comrade.

“Okay.” Giant yanked her towards the exit. “Let’s go, Pearly.”

Why did this signal go off? Why did it going off make everyone look at Eden? Do you think it gets explained? Of course it doesn’t. It’s just there so that lily-white Eden can face the hungry gaze of hundreds of black people. I feel gross just reading this.

So because they mentioned the time, Eden realizes that they probably have a plan for her and that her capture is not random (is that why the signal went off? Is literally everyone here in on the plot? Who knows? I don’t even care anymore). So before they can drag her off, she bites “Giant’s” wrist, and flees while he’s shocked. But while she’s running, she gets pinned between two white dudes who she thinks look ill. SHe concludes that they must have the Heat and are “celebrating one last Moon Dance”.

And just in case you find yourself thinking “at least Victoria Foyt is  equal-opportunity when it comes to dudes trying to rape Eden,” don’t get your hopes up: it turns out that when a white dude tries to rape you, it’s not really their fault:

“Please, let me go,” Eden shouted. They just smiled.

[. . .]Eden kneed one of the men in the groin and he fell to the ground. The other man broke into desperate sobs.

“Sorry,” Eden said, recalling her mother’s erratic mood swings at the end of her life.

Yep. White guys get sympathy, black guys are equated to terrifying predators. Fuck this book. If you decide to stop reading at this point I won’t feel insulted.

So even though Eden is able to break free from the sad dying white guys, “Giant” and “Squeaky” still manage to catch her. At this point, she is resigned to her fate. The fight has gone out of her.

But fortunately for her, she hears a “commanding” voice yell out, “Let her go!”

She thinks it’s Jamal, of course. The man fires a laser gun at her captors, but she still can’t see his face, for some reason? It’s covered by “dark shadows,” but we all know that’s just so that the reveal can be super surprising.

Giant asks the Mysterious Hero why he cares. Mysterious Hero answers:

“She belongs to me.” Just then a strobe light passed over him, revealing his dark, chiseled features.

Who could it be?

Bramford. Of course, he thought he owned her.

As with much of the other bullshit in this novel, the whole ownership thing is not explained or justified and is pretty clearly only here because Foyt has a kink and wants to write about it no matter what. Normally, I wouldn’t really care, but this is meant to be a YA novel, and it’s also incredibly harmful in a number of ways.

Eden is shocked, and notices that Bramford’s loyal bodyguard Shen is here too. Eventually, Bramford approaches Eden (who is still being held by “Giant.” And then Bramford asks her to dance! After threatening to kill “Giant” if he doesn’t release Eden, “Giant” eventually complies, and drags “Squeaky” off with him, and tells her that he’ll get her next time! I’m not joking. He literally says “I’ll get you later.”

Eden is surprised that Bramford is still holding her (it never tells us that he even had been holding her, so this is an editing failure), and lots of sexy black ladies all are prepared to hop on that D. But, Bramford genuinely does seem to want to dance with Eden specifically. It’s all very romantic, I guess? I think that’s what Foyt is going for? It kind of reads like 50 Shades of Grey, with Bramford being all commanding and sexy, and Eden being conflicted about how much she enjoys her dominant suitor’s creepy advances.

She looks around for Jamal, and this angers Bramford. He says that Jamal’s not coming. Eden realizes that Bramford knows about their secret relationship, and he is incredulous when Eden seems to think that Jamal cares about her. Eden gets offended at this, but then Bramford says that they have “important work to do.”

As Bramford and Shen turn to leave, Eden looks around for her “Dark Prince” one more time, and tries to message him, but she eventually resigns herself to the fact that he’s not showing up, and leaves with Bramford.

And that’s the end of this chapter! I wish I could say that this was the low point, but it’s not. Read on to find out how bad this stuff can get!

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