Last time, Mare conveniently stumbled across someone who is willing to save her and Kilorn. However, it’s at a high price, so Mare goes to Summerton with Gisa to steal from more affluent robbees. This time, we open with Mare talking about how she surveys the crowd “like a wolf does a flock of sheep. Looking for the weak, the slow, the foolish.”
CHRIST ON A BIKE WOULD YOU STOP THAT
Fooling Around: 8
Anyway! Back to the simile: this time Mare knows that she’s really more the prey, since the Silvers have superpowers. She heads back to the square, talking about the oddness of the situation: normally in crowds this congested she’s in her element, stealing with ease.
You all know what I’m thinking of, but I swore that I said it for the last time in the previous chapter, so we’ll just move on.
Mare talks about Summerton and its inhabitants: Silvers never look at one another and “they never smile”; the merchants don’t haggle; only the Reds really seem alive, and “[d]espite the heat, the sun, the bright banners, [Mare] ha[s] never seen a place so cold.” Also, there are video cameras everywhere, unlike in the Stilts, which troubles her. She says that “I can just hear them humming in firm reminder: someone else is watching here.”
Correct use of italics! This book must be a greeny, because flowers are blooming across the planet.
Mare follows the tide of the crowd, going past some Silver-filled open-air bars and cafes. There are video screens playing in all of them, which the Silvers don’t pay much attention to. Mare stares at the Hall of the Sun until “a droning noise” begins, and everyone turns their attention to the video-screens.
There’s a “fluffy blond woman” (I assume her hair moves in the Ghibli puff) reporting that there was a terrorist attack! No one can believe it: “Terrorist attack? On the Silvers?
Is that even possible?”
Italic Abuse: 26
Three buildings have been damaged: the Royal Court, the Treasury Hall, and the Whitefire Palace. The footage shows healers healing and nymphs putting out fires, and the reporter says that there were no casualties and that King Tiberias will make a statement regarding this.
Beside Mare a Silver pounds on the bar, cracking the surface. “A strongarm[,]” Mare tells us.
Italic Abuse: 27
The strongarm says it’s the Lakelanders, that the Lakelanders are losing and so they’re resorting to scare tactics. Another Silver says that Norta should wipe the Lakelanders out and everyone cheers. Mare doesn’t because “[i]t takes all my strength not to snap at these cowards who will never see the front lines or send their children to fight.” See, ‘cowards’ is an appropriate, fitting insult! Good job, book.
Mare watches the footage with some satisfaction because the attack shows that “[t]he Silvers are not invincible. They have enemies, enemies who can hurt them, and for once, they’re not hiding behind a Red shield.” Right, so, correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t the Feats of First Friday — wherein Samson made another Silver man stab himself in his Silver stomach — also show the un-invincibility of the Silvers?
The newscaster’s back, telling us that the Scarlet Guard took responsibility for the attack. The Silvers in the bar are confused — “[n]o one has heard of the Scarlet Guard before.
But I have.”
Italic Abuse: 28
No point for Mare, the Super Rare because it makes sense that no one in the bar would’ve heard of the Scarlet Guard.
A Red woman appears on-screen, “a scarlet bandanna tied around her face so only her golden hair and keen blue eyes shine out.”. She begins a speech about the Scarlet Guard’s objectives and Mare recognizes the voice: “Farley.”
Italic Abuse: 29
Mare wants to leave since the bar is unsafe for Reds at the moment, but she’s mesmerized by Farley and stays put. Farley says the Silvers must recognize the Reds as people, but until they do the Scarlet Guard’s bringing the fight to them. Yeah, tell them! Farley’s in my favour again. She continues, “‘And we will rise up, Red as the dawn.’”
“Red as the dawn[,]” Mare thinks. I read ahead, and this is actually sensibly italicized, so no point!
The footage of Farley ends, the Silvers in the bar start yelling, and Mare bolts. She tries to remove the bracelet/handcuff that identifies her as Red but can’t. However, she still manages to get to relative safety before the Silvers go ballistic in a good example of a dystopic social climate. For example: a nymph Silver picks up a Red man by the neck (…is this even physically possible? I’m honestly unsure.) and demands what he knows about the Scarlet Guard. When the Red declares ignorance and innocence, the nymph begins to drown him.
And there will be no repercussions for this, because Reds are second-class citizens and have no rights. That’s actually terrible.
Next scene opens with Mare trying to find Gisa and escape the city. “If they close the gates…I don’t want to think about being stuck here, trapped behind glass with freedom just out of reach.”
Italic Abuse: 30
Officers are running around, arresting/hurting Reds at random, Reds who Mare presumes are all innocent: “[she’s] willing to bet [she’s] the only one in the entire city who had even heard of the Scarlet Guard before today.” Nonsense. Surely the Scarlet Guard is composed of more than Farley, right? What kind of revolutionaries don’t have agents in such key positions as Summerton? Also nonsense because yesternight Farley was just giving away the organization’s title to a random kid who wanted to be smuggled out and wasn’t even asking about said organization. Surely others have tried to do so, and I have no reason to believe that Farley has only ever mentioned the Scarlet Guard to this one kid in particular, so…
Mare, the Super Rare: 7
But the thought of being someone who does actually know scares Mare because she worries about what the Silvers would do to her family, Kilorn, and her hometown. It’s pretty selfless of her, that her concern doesn’t even encompass what the Silvers might do to her. Knowing the stakes, Mare thinks, “They cannot catch me.”
Italic Abuse: 31
So she sprints. Briefly she’s distracted by a jewelry shop — she still has to pay the two thousand crowns, remember — but a telky attacks her so she continues on. Then a nymph attacks her, trying to drown her with water that “feels like lead.” She remembers the poor Red guy that the other nymph “drown[ed] on his own two feet” (I mention this phrase because I like it a lot), then her head smacks the ground and she sees sparks. Also, every inch of her skin feels electrified, which I’m…pretty sure isn’t what drowning’s about.
The narration’s pretty specific, coherent, and dry (…sorry) for being that of a drowning person. Thanks for remembering your first-person POV, book.
Mare breaks free of the water. The narration gets some life: “[a]ir screams back into my lungs, searing my throat and nose, but I don’t care. I’m alive.”
Italic Abuse: 32
Someone’s trying to pull Mare from the fountain by her collar — “Gisa.”
Italic Abuse: 33
They manage to get Mare to her feet and Mare yells that they have to leave. Gisa replies with tone-deaf, jarring sarcasm: “‘Very perceptive of you!’” Book, this is a serious scene and if you’re going for pathos that’s not really how to do it. Reds are literally getting killed all over the place (presumably Reds that Gisa knows, since she spends a lot of time here), Gisa and Mare are in danger of ALSO being killed (Gisa just dragged her half-drowned sister from a Silver’s onslaught does she not remember this), there’s no one and no law to protect them, the gates are closing…this is no time for sass. (Especially because the person you’re sassing, Gisa, is your recently drowning sister, so…book, why is she so blasé?)
Mare looks back over her shoulder as they run for the gate and describes what she sees: “The Silver mob pours in, searching through the stalls with the voracity of wolves. The few Reds left behind cower on the ground, begging for mercy. And in the fountain I just escaped from, a man with orange hair floats facedown.”
- I like the metaphor throwback — in the beginning of the chapter Mare looked over the Silver-filled crowd “like a wolf does a flock of sheep” but quickly realized that in that situation, she was the sheep; in this line the Silvers take on the role-reversal. It’s cool.
- Did she kill the guy? What’s up with him?
Gisa reminds Mare that it’s ten miles to home, then asks if Mare got what she came for. Mare shakes her head guiltily, thinking, “There was nothing I could do.”
Italic Abuse: 34
Gisa’s visibly upset but tries to reassure Mare. Mare is not reassured, because the gate’s coming up and as soon as they get out, “Kilorn will really be gone.
And I think that’s why she does it.”
Weird pronoun-y things here! Obviously the ‘her’ mentioned is Gisa, but since the last non-personal noun was ‘Kilorn’, it makes it seem like Mare is referring to ‘Kilorn’ as this ‘her.’
Anyway, the ‘it’ that Mare mentioned is Gisa trying to pickpocket. Did Gisa completely miss all the Reds being murdered in cold blood for not doing anything, let alone STEALING? What does she think she’s doing? Why is she not afraid? What is wrong with her? Does she have a death wish? Book, please make a modicum of sense here, just a modicum!
The book mocks my plea, because Gisa chooses the worst possible target — “an escaping Silver.” Ah yes, Gisa, steal from the Silvers who are going around slaughtering people like you, that’s a fine idea, a grand — BOOK! MAKE! SENSE!
Also: why is a Silver trying to escape? It’s not dangerous in Summerton for them, and as the next page will tell us, this Silver enjoys torturing Reds, so why not stay where there are Reds to be tortured? (Not that I want him to do that; it’s just a logic question.)
Apparently the Silver has “shoulders that scream ‘don’t mess with me’” oh book. What made you think this tonal shifting, this…sloppiness…was a good idea? It’s like…like, there are these little pockets of tackiness or slang that don’t fit the scene and more importantly don’t fit Mare’s voice, either — kinda the same as the ‘fool’ thing, but this goes in the other direction, too informal. That took me completely out of the scene and moreover undercut the intensity of it. Also, the phrase kind of dates the book weirdly because Red Queen is supposed to be set in some indeterminate future but the saying ‘*Person* has *body part* that screams *expression*’ is aggressively an early 2000s thing.
Gisa is a terrible pickpocket and the Silver notices her efforts right away. Another identical Silver picks her up. “There are two of them. Twins?”
Italic Abuse: 35
Anyway, the Silver says now’s not the best time to be a Red stealing from Silvers, then he begins to multiply. “Multiplying. He’s a cloner.”
Italic Abuse: 36
They make Mare dizzy but she tries to protest, saying that Gisa’s “‘just a stupid kid[,]’” which Gisa repeats while kicking the one holding her. I feel like this is supposed to be funny, but it’s not. All the clones chuckle, then Mare makes an attempt to save Gisa which is quickly foiled, ending up with Mare helpless on the ground. She starts to beg but no one cares. All the cameras are focused on them (what? Why? Surely there are similar scenes everywhere; shouldn’t the cameras be dividing their attention, so to speak? Also, who’s controlling these cameras’ mobility? Are Silvers elsewhere just swiveling them?)
Mare “feel[s] electrified again, this time by fear for [her] sister.” If they kill Gisa I’m going to scream.
A Security guard — same one who let them in — comes over and asks what’s going on. The Silver gets rid of all his copies but for one: the one pinning Mare to the ground. The original Silver says that Gisa’s a thief, shaking her (how dare you) and the Security officer has a second of hesitation upon recognizing Gisa. But he still ends up saying that Gisa knows the law and thus must be punished. Gisa acquiesces, though it’s not like she has a choice. “[A] nearby screen cracks and flashes, broken by the riot” as Mare struggles to help Gisa, as she screams that pickpocketing wasn’t Gisa’s idea. But the punishment commences: the officer strikes down with the butt of his gun, “shattering the bones in [Gisa’s] sewing hand.”
That’s awful. That’s really awful. Poor Gisa.
Anyway, with that, we end the chapter.
ITALIC ABUSE: 36
MARE, THE SUPER RARE: 7
FOOLING AROUND: 8