Chapter One – Captain Daybright
It’s worth noting that the dedication itself is amusing:
To Kate Larimore – There are many fine young ladies in this world, but you are very special to me!
Special in the way Monica Lewinsky was to Bill Clinton, perhaps? Oh well.
Token and Reb splash around in the water. They’re at the beach again, having traveled from the mountains where they were in the last book. They’ve also ditched Volka, Happy, and Grumpy, since no mention is made of them. Reb is, for some reason, terrified of water. You’d think that a phobia this great might have reared its ugly head before, such as back when they went to Atlantis? Reb then says he wishes he was back in Texas, which is odd, since I’m reasonably certain we’ve established he comes from Arkansas.
Morris launches into his rehash of their history, includes a reference to Star Wars for good measure, and then goes back into talking about how Reb is terrified of water and Token loves swimming around. Which is great, except for the fact that it flatly contradicts what has been earlier stated.
“Ain’t much I dislike more than water” (Token, Book 2, page 28)
“If [Token], small and young and deathly afraid of water” (Book 2, page 30).
There are also several references to Reb enjoying being underwater, and certainly nothing to explain why he’s suddenly afraid of it. We call this an inconsistency. A blatant, in-your-face inconsistency that any editor (or author, for that matter) worth his salt would have caught.
Reb finally gets into the water and almost immediately steps on a jellyfish, which gives him a mild sting. He immediately screams and jumps out of the water and spends most of the rest of the chapter hobbling around and complaining like a little bitch. Now, I’m all for character development, but not when it makes the character even more insufferable than they already are.
They walk back to where the rest of the Sociopaths are sitting. Token asks Sarah if she has any meat tenderizer, because it’s the best way to treat jellyfish stings. Sarah tells him that there probably isn’t anything like that in all of Nuworld, which is something that Token would obviously know.
Jake makes fun of Reb for a bit, and then the others walk up and they have dinner. The next day Token comes walking up with Captain Ryland Daybright, who’s been taking him fishing for the past month. He’s very handsome and so Abbey immediately begins to preen. This is one thing that’s actually done well in this book – Abbey retains some of her spoiled qualities, but has, in fact, seemed to have changed for the better, which is good.
Dave says that they’re like Mutt and Jeff, comic-strip characters from a strip that started in 1907 and ended in 1982, at the same time any of these characters were being born, and thus something they would have no experience with and not a reference they would ever make.
Daybright is a stud. We get a paragraph describing what a stud he is, and it basically sounds like Morris is describing an Abercrombie and Fitch boxer-brief model. Because of this, and because I hate typing “Daybright”, I’m going to be calling him Abercrombie for the rest of this sporking. Morris also mentions that he’s been teaching Token how to sail.
Abercrombie is sad. They ask him what’s up. He says that he’s had a hard time getting a crew together. Token incorrectly refers to his ship, called the Dolphin, as a boat. Abercrombie yells at him, and then mentions that today he called the deck a floor. And to be honest, if Token hadn’t learned these extremely basic nautical terms after spending a month with this guy, he has to be mentally retarded.
Abercrombie explains that this guy wants to hire him to take his daughter to a place called the Lost Sea, which is basically the Bermuda Triangle, except worse. The king of one of the islands there has paid him lots of money to marry his daughter. He’s borrowed a lot of money to make his ship, and if he doesn’t pay it back, he’ll lose it to his creditors, thus necessitating this suicide run to the Lost Sea. Unfortunately, there isn’t a crew crazy enough to go with him….and we can all see where this is going.
Abercrombie mentions that if they were all five years older, he’d recruit them. His explanation for why they need to be older contradicts itself, so it’s not worth saying. But while you do generally need some strong, capable guys aboard your ship, ships since the beginning of time have had small boys and teenagers on them. But finally Abercrombie says that if they want to go, he’ll train them and take them along as his crew.
They argue for a long time. Reb, because he’s the type of guy who hates adventure and new things, is the last one to give in.
Chapter Two – Hoist Sails!
The Sociopaths learn how to sail a ship. It’s been a week. They’ve learned more or less all the names of everything, further reinforcing how idiotic it was that Token wouldn’t know the difference between a floor and the deck.
We get some more about how Reb is seasick and Token’s a born sailor. It’s still unconvincing. When you spend six books painting a character as someone who is willing to try anything and probably be pretty good at it, turning him into a pussy just doesn’t work.
Some pointless dialogue later, Abercrombie tells Jake that since he’s the cook, he should make some supper. This is surprising. Jake has never shown any aptitude towards cooking. Sarah and Abbey have always done all the cooking, because a girl’s place is in the kitchen and stuff like that (and if you think this notion is sexist, wait until the next book). The first time Jake ever cooked anything was in book 5, where it was mentioned that he wasn’t very good at it. He’s never cooked anything since, and now, for no apparent reason, he’s suddenly Chef Ramsay.
Josh asks Abercrombie how he knows where they are, since everything looks alike. Abercrombie points at the setting sun, and says that the sun doesn’t change. Well, actually, the sun does change. Rises in the east and sets in the west, stuff like that, and it also changes positions in the sky depending on where you are and the time of year. And the stars change as well. Yes, you can still use them to navigate, but saying they don’t change is moronic.
Finally they go downstairs to dinner, where Jake has cooked food that you’ll be sure to find on any shore in a post-apocalyptic land and be stored for sea voyages: steak and baked potatoes. In fact, they always seem to have steak and potatoes, regardless of where they go.
Later, they see an albatross. Abercrombie is concerned, because even though he’s not superstitious, albatrosses are birds of ill omen. If they fly over the ship, the voyage is ill-fated. Even though he doesn’t believe in these things.
So, if Morris wanted to prove that there’s no such thing bad omens, and superstitions aren’t real, all that he’d have to do is make sure their voyage goes off without a hitch. I’m not counting on it.
Any chapter should start with a stupid quote, and here we go:
“Just as the sun rose like a huge red wafer out of the sea” (page 27).
A wafer is a small thin disc. It doesn’t remind me of the sun, at all. And the sun does not rise out of the sea. And it continues:
“The Sleepers were busy on deck, all excited and talking about the journey” (page 27).
I admit, I haven’t spent a lot of time on board sailing vessels, but I have gleaned a small amount of knowledge from Patrick O’Brien and Arthur Ransome, enough to know that when your ship is leaving port, you are very busy and you don’t have time to be talking about your journey.
Later, Abercrombie commends them. Apparently he’s never seen landlubbers take to the sea as fast as them. Because they’re Just That Special.
They head out to sea and sail along for awhile. It’s pretty evident that Morris has no experience on a ship whatsoever and even less experience with nautical terms. But finally Token guides them into a dock and they tie up. They leave Dave and Abbey to watch the ship and head in to find the bride. Arriving at her house, they’re greeted by a snooty butler who makes them wait for awhile before showing them in to Mr. Catalina. He asks them some uninteresting questions and finally agrees to let them take his daughter. Which is odd, because I thought it was already agreed-upon. At any rate, he goes to fetch his daughter, Dawn. She’s gorgeous. Abercrombie immediately thinks that she’s the hottest girl he’s ever seen.
Dawn glares around. She asks Token how old he is. Token says he’s almost fifteen. In the first book, he was twelve and Josh was fourteen. In this book, Josh is fifteen and Token is almost fifteen. So either Token is lying or Morris screwed up. I’m opting for the latter.
They take them down to see the ship. Dawn complains that the ship is too small. Then she complains that her room is too small. Then she yells at Sarah. Then Morris inserts some of his own morals into the book, in Abercrombie’s thoughts:
Maybe if you’d spanked her more when she was smaller, you wouldn’t be trembling with fear before her right now (page 36).
Which, while Morris might have a point, still seems awfully out of place from this character and in this book.
Dawn then says that she expects Sarah and Abbey to be her maids. Abercrombie agrees. Dawn says that she’ll go finish packing her eleven trunks, and saunters off. And since her personality has been pretty firmly established, I’ll be calling her Bitch for the rest of this sporking.
Sarah asks Abercrombie if he doesn’t like the Bitch. And Abercrombie’s reply gives us the final stupid quote of the chapter:
“She’s a spoiled child and needs a paddling – but they’re paying us to take her to her wedding, so ‘Here Comes the Bride!’” (page 37).
Hilarious. Just the thing you’d expect a sailor to say. Although one wonders how he knows about the song ‘Here Comes the Bride’, since virtually nothing whatsoever has survived this nuclear war. Abercrombie doesn’t even know what an engine is, as evidenced earlier in the chapter.