Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 20: Judgement

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: The time finally came for Mac to perform the resurrection ritual, which consisted of tying Zade to a stone table, anointing her with “dragon’s blood,” chanting in what is either Bosnian or Croatian (and, of course some Latin (?)), and stabbing her through the heart with a magical dagger, all while a lightning storm raged around them. After some more hours, Zade regained consciousness and everyone felt lots of things.

This is the penultimate chapter, everyone! And it’s short!

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Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 19: Death

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Charles continued the story of how he and Dela got together, and eventually told Mac why they broke up. Dela told Mac about her and Zade’s family history of having a bad case of magical ability, and Mac asked if they were devil worshippers! Dela also explained what went wrong with Zade’s act, and told Mac that he would have to stab her in the heart with a magical EpiPen that looks like a dagger!

So, if you recall, Dela said that the stabby ritual would have to take place at three in the morning. It was about noonish when she announced this, which means that we begin chapter 19 fifteenish hours after the last chapter ended. Doesn’t that delta add to the sense of urgency and suspense? The chapter opens with Charles and Mac sitting in Zade’s room, anxiously awaiting Ritual Time:

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

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Dela and Charles continued to story of how they fell in love, which had literally nothing to do with what happened to Zade. Plenty of pop-culture references are made once Dela reveals her (and Zade’s) true abilities.

Also, remember how last time I said that Zade gets stabbed in this chapter? I accidentally lied. She gets stabbed in the next chapter. The rest of chapter 18 is more dialogue, and it too is a bit of a slog.

When we left off, Dela was explaining her magical powers to Mac, who was having a difficult time with the entire thing, as one might if one were told that magic exists.

Charles explains to Mac that the reason that Zade’s illusions were all kept super secret was because she used her actual magic. Mac asks what all of this has to do with Zade’s mysterious illness, and finally we get an explanation from Charles.

Continue reading “Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 18: The Chariot (Part Two)”

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.

Continue reading “Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 18: The Chariot (Part One)”

Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 17: The Lovers

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Charles and Mac made it to Tennessee where they met up with Zade’s mom Dela. Dela and Charles reconnected, but then Dela realized she needed to get prepared to heal Zade. But to explain what’s going on to Mac, she must first tell him the story of how she and Charles first met, for some reason? It’s not made very clear.

And because it’s taking place in Ye Olden Dayes of 1970-something, that means Lani has a license to get super misogynistic!

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Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 16: Justice

Previously, on Handbook for Motals: After Zade’s trick goes catastrophically wrong and she ends up unconscious, she’s hospitalized in the “ICU Unit”. Mac and Charles go with her. There’s tension between the two until it it revealed that Charles is actually Zade’s father! Zade’s mother calls, and tells Charles that the only way to save Zade’s life is by bringing her back to Tennessee. After convincing the doctor to let him sign Zade out, Charles gets Mac on board with the plan and they take off. Also, Zade knows all of this because she “pulls people’s memories”. Yeah.

As Chapter 16 opens, we’re told that Mac is alarmed about Charles’ statement about  needing him in Tennessee. Thankfully, everything that happens between the ending scene of Chapter fifteen and landing in Tennessee is summarized. But as soon as we land in Tennessee (which happens around dawn), the unnecessary level of detail returns.

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Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 15: The Tower (Part Two)

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Zade and Charles did their brand new magic act, using magic that is emphatically “strong and volatile.” Midway through, Zade starts feeling ill. While she’s able to pull through and be perfect (Black Swan style) she collapses as soon as it’s over. Zeb possibly casts a spell, and Riley calls 911. Before losing consciousness, Zade’s only request is that her mother is called.

So, I bet you’re thinking that it’s going to be third-person italics until Zade wakes up, right? Or maybe you’re thinking that we’ll jump straight to her waking up and continue from there. Neither of those happen. Instead, we still get to be narrated to by Zade in first person, although Lani Sarem finds a, um, creative way to get around little inconveniences like an unconscious narrator.

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Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 15: The Tower (Part One)

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Charles took the cast and crew out to dinner to celebrate the final rehearsal for the show’s new project. Before the premiere, Zade goes to Charle’s office to affectionately-yet-platonically celebrate, but Mac sees them hugging and proclaiming their love for one another and assumes that they’re romantically involved. When he confronts Zade just before she goes on, he gets a little bit rough with her, and basically calls her a slutty whore bitch, before angrily foisting his duties onto someone who doesn’t know how to do them.

Before we start, I want to let you know that this chapter is excessively long (because Lani needed to have exactly enough chapters to fill the Major Arcana, and no more), so I’m splitting it up into two parts

OK, so even I know that The Tower is the tarot card that means that shit’s about to hit the fan (because of Harry Potter, obviously), and we are in luck because THIS IS BIG FINALE OF ACT TWO, Y’ALL!  Continue reading “Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 15: The Tower (Part One)”

Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 14: Wheel of Fortune

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Zade and Mac canoodled during rehearsal, and Charles saw, which prompted a discussion between Mac and Charles about if Mac loved Zade. While on a walk with Mac, Zade punished a reckless bicyclist by crashing his bike. Then, she and Mac argued about the merits of tarot cards. Finally, Zade and Jackson went to see Deadpool a funny Ryan Reynolds superhero movie, and it is revealed that Jackson feels more open to tarot cards than Mac does.

Also, I’m going to add a content notice for domestic violence? Mac gets a little bit abusive in this one.

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Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 13: The High Priestess

Previously, on Handbook for Mortals: Zeb cryptically told Zade that she needed to take something more seriously, and Zade didn’t bother to get him to clarify. Zade continued to make friends when she heard Sofia singing. Mac and Zade took a walk through the park, which ended in romantic tickling and a kiss. The next day, Zade literally ran into Jackson, who hit on her, and a random little girl recognized Zade and told her how amazing she was. Jesus Christ, Act Two drags.

Yet again, we open with a statement about multiple weeks having passed since the previous chapter’s end. Life has been going well for Zade, but she hints that things may soon take a turn for the worse:

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