Part Five

Chapter Fourteen – Jake Has a Plan

Jake thinks about how it’s usually someone else who receives messages from Goel – just like everyone who’s received a message thus far. He wonders why Goel didn’t give the message to someone else – just like everyone who’s received a message thus far. And no, I don’t really wonder why I find these books formulaic.

Jake realizes that he has to share Goel’s plan with the others. I’m sorry, Goel’s plan? He never revealed any kind of plan. Unless it happened entirely off-screen, without Morris even bothering to tell us it happened. And…we get a quote:

He hated to be teased or doubted, and he knew that was exactly what he faced (page 113).

Why the hell would the rest of the Sociopaths tease him for telling them he’s been visited by Goel? Practically every other person has, and it always happens when they’re in prison or facing death. There is no possible reason for them to disbelieve him. And, of course, they don’t. Disbelieve him, that is. He tells them and says Goel told them to get an audience with the chief.

Lareen and Sure Flight show up. Jake asks him. Sure Flight says he’ll try and takes off. Later, he returns and says they have an audience. They’re escorted to the chief. Jake asks to speak to the chief alone. White Storm agrees and makes everyone leave. Jake starts talking about Goel and traces through everything that’s happened since they woke up from their coffins. He explains how Goel has bailed them out again and again, and finally finishes by saying that Goel visited him the previous night and told him a plan for beating the Shadow Wings. Jake tells him. White Storm thinks about it. And agrees.

Wow. Jake has oratory skillz.

Chapter Fifteen – The Rescue

Chief Ali angsts. There’s a lot of angst in this book. It’s not very interesting. He sits and talks to Abdul about how screwed they are. It’s not very interesting. And finally we get a stupid quote:

The Raiders never made a direct attack on the camp, for there were armed men there ready to protect the Desert People (page 120).

So you mean…as long as the Desert People have soldiers protecting them, the Raiders won’t attack? Therefore…all they have to do is make sure to have soldiers around, and they don’t have to worry about their enemies? Sounds like they already have a solution to their problem. Unfortunately, if the answer was logical, this book wouldn’t exist.

He’s walking around when suddenly he sees a Raider coming. Ali whips out his sword and prepares to cut off the Raider’s manhood and feed it to the goats…or something like that. Except the Raider turns out to be Jake. Ali is astonished.

Jake explains that there’s a war between the Shadow Wings, who serve the Dark Lord, and the Winged Raiders, who…don’t. There’s no mention of how he knows the Shadow Wings serve the Dark Lord. The plan is to help the Raiders kick the Shadows’ asses and then arrange a peace treaty and everything will be just peachy. After some persuasion, Ali agrees.

We cut to Jalor. Jake has returned and talked to White Storm secretly. White Storm is refusing to divulge the plan to anyone yet. Jalor’s in a pissy mood, as is Darkwind.

Jake talks to the rest of the Sociopaths, who have been let out of prison and are going to be part of the attack. He explains their plan. They’re going to fly over and engage the Shadow Wings, who’ll come out and start to fight. Once they come out, Ali and his men will swoop in from behind and shank them. Reb says it’s just like what Stonewall Jackson did at Chancellorsville. Which is technically true – incredible, I admit, as that would be the first accurate historical reference we’ve seen thus far. Admittedly, it was Robert E. Lee’s plan, and good ol’ Stonewall was mortally wounded by friendly fire at the battle of Chancellorsville, so it’s not exactly the best example.

The next morning Sure Flight explains the battle plan to the warriors. Jalor says that he has an idea where the captives might be kept. Sure Flight agrees and tells him that he’ll lead the Sociopaths to the prison to rescue Swiftwind and Sarah. I’m not exactly sure why you’d just send a chap of questionable loyalty and a bunch of kids to rescue the chief’s son – which is the whole reason for the battle in the first place – oh right, plot contrivance.

They all take off. Lareen flies along with them. Because Sure Flight thinks it’s a good idea to let his teenage daughter come along on an extremely dangerous raid.

The battle starts. People die horribly. The Sociopaths and Jalor head in to the prisons. They kill the guards and we get a….hilarious…quote:

“Come on!” Reb yelled and uttered a wild, screeching cry. “Let’s get them Yankees!”

“They’re not Yankees,” Dave said. “They’re Shadow Wings.”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot.” (page 128)

Words fail me.

They rescue Sarah and Swiftwind. Swiftwind says that now he knows the servants of Goel are faithful, and while he’s chief he and all of his people will serve Goel. And then Jalor leaps from the foliage with four armed Shadow Wings and cackles triumphantly. And we get another stupid quote:

What happened at that moment triggered what would later be called the Battle of the Cave (page 129).

Ooo…dramatic. What actually happens is…Lareen leaps forward and disarms Jalor, Dave and Reb shoot two of the Shadow Wings, and the others leap forward and slaughter the last two Shadow Wings. Just like that. Jalor cries for mercy and Lareen says they’ll let the chief decide. And then they head off to see how the battle goes.

Chapter Sixteen – A Time of Peace

The victory banquet was a tremendous success! (page 131).

So apparently the battle is over. And they slaughtered those filthy Shadow Wings. Which is hilarious, really, since the message of the past two books have really been about peace, love, and understanding. Bringing the Desert People and the Winged Raiders together with diplomacy, understanding, and Goel’s light, rather than violence. Except the Shadow Wings aren’t deserving of this, so they just got butchered. Because they’re Evil. Apparently. They serve the Dark Lord or something.

Chief White Storm and Chief Ali give toasts and use the word “gallant” way too much. I’m not kidding. It seems that the two tribes are just peachy with each other now. And we get another quote:

“The big thing is,” Josh said, a warm smile on his face, “they’ve found how to work together. The Desert People can supply the Winged Raiders with things they need, and the Winged Raiders will agree to live at peace with them” (page 132).

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.???

Seriously? The Desert People can give the Raiders things they need, and in return, the Raiders agree not to kill them? Yeah, that’s going to end well.

Josh is asked to speak. He gets up and says he has a request. White Storm agrees. It’s to show mercy to the Shadow Wings. Which confirms that the Shadow Wings aren’t just mindless drones of the Dark Lord to be slaughtered like Orcs. Which means that the preceding chapter’s butchery was just a means to bring the Desert People and the Shadow Wings together. That’s pretty cold, even for Morris.

The next day the Sociopaths are leaving. For some reason, even though Goel hasn’t told them to leave. They take off and fly to the edge of the desert with an honor guard, who take their wings back with them. Apparently there’s enough wind to fly even at the edge of the desert. Jake sighs. And…

Abigail slipped her arm through his. “Come on, Jake. You can tell me again what a big hero you are.” The others laughed, but Abigail squeezed him (page 134).

Yeah…I bet she did.

They head off down the road. Josh and Sarah walk along. Josh takes her hand. They have a Moment.

Wow. Well. I think I can safely say that the plot for this novel was more or less exactly what the plot was for the previous novel. Boring, formulaic, full of holes you could fly a 747 through, devoid of any logical thought, things of that nature. On the other side of things, it seems that Jake has actually grown a little as a character. However, only time will tell to see if it has any lasting effect. I’m guessing he reverts back to his normal obnoxious self in the next book, but who knows?

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