Harlow looks around at the gathered people. Someone comments that Harlow looks just like someone named Ever. Xanthippe says the resemblance is “truly astonishing”, so I’ll file that one under obvious foreshadowing.
One of the new arrivals is a girl about six with a completely blank, apathetic face. Her name is Eos, and tells Harlow “Your dreams are full of sadness, yearning, and conflict. It is most unadvisable to hold the hearts of so many men.” (loc. 3611) I have to agree. Please get rid of Jafar ASAP.
Xanthippe explains that his team are the Apogees, which translates into Angels of Sin. They all have unique gifts, kind’ve like the X-men.
“We are all sealed by an immortal elixir of everlasting life that has given us Angel’s blood. Not everyone needs it but we all have wings; angel wings. But we are no heroes. We are killers and we have failed at our greatest task. We are again faced by this task due to specific circumstances. And your children will play a large role in this I believe. The prophecy notes that is will be a task otherwise undefeatable.” (loc. 3621)
More information that is relevant to the plotline! It’s like Christmas. If I was Harlow, I would ask where they got this elixir; not because I wanted it myself, but it’s the type of question that would logically arise. I’d also ask them why they bother trying to support and save the world, especially since they’re not heroes. Is it moral obligation? Divine command? Adherence to an ancient prophecy? I’d like to understand or at least grasp some basic motivations here.
Harlow points out her kids are just babies, but Xanthippe dismisses this as a technicality. Maybe they’re going to age super-fast kind’ve like Edward and Bella Cullen’s demon-spawn Renesmee.
Another woman introduces herself as Media. There’s a really nice moment:
She chewed continuously on something, then with it, created a grayish-purple bubble that popped and then returned inside her mouth (loc. 3629).
This is a something I would like to see a lot more of in this novel. We’re in Harlow’s POV, she would not have any idea what bubble gum is, and naturally this seems odd. Breeanna, as you’re going through your rewrite work, DO MORE OF THIS. Put yourself in the character’s shoes: what do they know about what is going on? How do they perceive the people around them? When events happen, what questions will they ask? What will confuse them, what will their reactions be? This is essential for decent characterization and realism, and it also does a pretty damn good job at logically adding exposition to the story. If Harlow would just ask Xanthippe “Explain to me exactly why the fuck you’re here?” I think myself and many other people would be a lot less confused about this plotline.
I’ve stressed this point throughout the sporking, so I’ll throw in this caveat: I don’t think that a book has to spoon-feed its audience everything. You don’t have to spell everything out and not have any mystery or confusion or suspense through your novel. But you do have to keep character motivations realistic and you have to keep your audience in mind. Unless they’re reading House of Leaves, they want to know what is happening.
Hippolyte introduces himself and explains that he has water based powers: he can turn water into acid which will burn through anything. This sounds a bit more like he has acid-based powers, but maybe that’s just me.
Another sickly-looking boy introduces himself as Ianthe who is also, ostensibly, inspired from Greek mythology. His speech uses the letter Z instead of W so I presume he a French accent? Harlow wonders why he’s so sickly and it’s because of the Holocaust.
“You’ve relived the Holocaust for seven thousand years. The same bloody six years.” (loc. 3653)
I don’t know why someone would choose to relive the Holocaust more than a thousand times, but I do know that I’d like a better answer than “helping my family”. Also, I’m not sure where the six years calculation comes from, unless it’s intended to be inaccurate. The war ended in 1945. The Nazis started putting people into camps as early as 1933, and the Final Solution was conceived in 1941. Either way, I don’t get six years.
Anyway, he has good eyesight.
We re-meet Kore and Kora who are ninjas and can manipulate someone’s instincts and will. And a black kid named Timo who can reshape his body. And a guy with fluffy clothes named Enyo The Conqueror. Media thinks this is funny and pulls out a small “objet” by which I think the text means “object”.
I couldn’t be a—rifle. A very small rifle, perhaps (loc. 3684).
It’s exceedingly unlikely that Harlow would know what a rifle is and not a pistol. And yes, that’s a typo with I instead of It.
Media pulls the trigger. The noise wakes up the twins and both start crying. Enyo shatters like glass but reforms himself a few moments later. Enyo is not happy about being shot. Media is not apologetic:
“Oh it’s not like I hurt you! Not with a power like yours.”
“You hurt my feelings,” he shouted (loc. 3698).
The fact that you haven’t hurt someone doesn’t give you license to shoot them, and really, Enyo? Your feelings were hurt?
A new man walks up. He’s hot:
He was smooth, precise, and quite handsome (loc. 3701).
His name is Lanio and he specializes in ropin’ and ridin’ and apparently he can trip or tie anyone just by thinking about it. A stereotypical cowboy, except less sweaty and more handsome.
He lifted his finger and both Enyo and Media went flying to the ground (loc. 3709).
Technically, that’s the power to knock people around, as you can only trip someone if they’re already moving.
The last Angel of Sin is an Elf named Sapphira, who knows Harlow’s mom. She also has magical powers, just like Harlow. Wait. Harlow has powers?
“Magic. You can do almost anything, Harlow,” she spoke sweetly (loc. 3727).
Great. So much for any suspense for the rest of the novel.
Xanthippe wraps up the introductions. Avery-Oliver is going to be returning to Yelle Yaxel, wherever the fuck that is, and they need to advance on him. Everyone holds hands and Xanthippe plays with his ring and there’s wind, and a mahogany door appears. They go inside and it’s very pretty.
Inside, the scenery was so beautiful that my eyes watered. The sun was very bright, and the flowers were beautiful (loc. 3750).
This is the extent of the description. If it is truly so beautiful it makes the eyes water you may want to up the description a bit.
Xanthippe says they must wait for the attack. But a voice that sounds awfully like Darian’s fucked-up speech patterns says they’re already there!
Yep, it’s Darian, who smells a bit like a rotting corpse. Harlow hands Roswell the twins and heads towards Darian who’s babbling like a meth addict. Harlow orders Darian to hand over the book on his back, which is the EVIL Fel Nerr Zu San Vech. Instead, Darian pushes her and she goes flying into Jafar but she’s okay.
Xanthippe tells Harlow to run to the “alter” (sic) and tell the priest “Perishnech”. Exactly like that. Yes, apparently there’s a priest and an altar around here. Seriously, if there are things there that your characters will make use of, please point them out in the narration BEFORE the characters start using them. If a character walks into a room and you mention there’s a table with a sandwich on it, we don’t think anything of it when the character starts eating the sandwich, but if you just randomly mention the character eating the sandwich your reader is going to wonder where the fuck a teleporting sandwich came from.
Harlow and Roswell pass by some buildings that look like cathedrals because those are there as well and there are more typos and eventually they get to a priest and Harlow recites the word. I don’t know what Darian is up to right now because the text doesn’t tell us. You’d think that if he was free he would be chasing after his “pretty baby Harly” since he apparently has super-strength and all that but the text just conveniently forgets he exists in this scene. Did the Angels of Sin tackle him? Is he chasing after them? Has he paused to conduct some much-needed exfoliation? We have no idea.
Anyway, the priest puts the babies on the altar and babbles some inane shit and light glows and the babies magically transform into four-year-olds. One of them looks like Harlow and one looks like Jafar. Harlow is horrified, but Aurora explains:
“It’s okay. We learned fast, without really having to learn. It has been inside us since before we were us, but only the spirits to be.” (loc. 3803)
Learning without needing to learn. Like a deus ex machina. Gotcha.
The twins explain that they don’t have to fight much, they just have to tell her how to do it. So they take Harlow’s hands and her face goes blank as apparently the twins telepathically transmit knowledge by the power of touch. Which honestly, I’m willing to accept.