So, for the record, this is what my star ratings mean:
5 stars = FREAKING EPIC, gigantic story, everything works well, my mind is blown that a human being thought this up.
4 stars = love this book, it's just not as humongous in scope as a 5. But it's totally awesome and everyone should read it, it's a keeper.
3 stars = mixed feelings (this is where the "I think others might like it, it's just not for me" reviews are likely to go). Not that bad, but has some issues, or it's an okay story but nothing really stands out to me as being memorable. It was a pleasant enough read for a few days, but I'll probably just end up giving the book away rather than rereading it again.
2 stars = generally pretty terrible, but not 100% so. There was at least one thing in this book that made it not totally horrible. This book isn't really recommended to all and sundry, but you might get some value out of the one thing if you try.
1 star (rarely seen here): It's a wallbanger. Nothing is redeemable about this book, it's utter crap, and I probably only finished reading it so I could do an awesome bitchrant about it and I can't justify doing that to books I didn't finish.
It's a nice day for a white wedding funeral. Harry refuses to do the eulogy, so some random sixth year general is doing it off the cuff. Oliver (the random sixth year) thinks that if Quirrell hadn't been sick, he could have licked Voldemort. Everyone is crying. Oliver ponders what could have gone on:
"Maybe he offered Professor Quirrell his life if Professor Quirrell would serve him. Professor Quirrell smiled, and told the Dark Lord it was time for them to play a game called Who's The Most Dangerous Wizard In The World."
If you don't know, don't just make stuff up. But Harry didn't say anything. It was what Lord Voldemort might have tried, it was what Professor Quirrell might have said back.
Oookay then. Oliver continues to guess that Hermione was murdered by Voldemort, Quirrell saved her body, and then she came back to life.
When the Dark Lord tried to seize her, all that was left of him afterward was his burned robes and his hands around Miss Granger's throat. Just as Harry Potter was protected from the Killing Curse by his mother's love and sacrifice, Professor Quirrell willingly going out, to face, the Dark Lord alone, must have called, Hermione Granger's spirit, back from, from wherever, she was -" Oliver's voice was breaking.
"Not just like that," Harry said from the front row of seats, his own voice hoarse. He had to say something at this point, before it got out of control. If it wasn't already out of control. "David Monroe was a powerful wizard, more powerful than anyone knew except him and me. I don't think you can bring someone back from the dead just by sacrificing yourself. No one should try doing it that way."
Such a beautiful story. It should have been true. It should have been true.
Oy. I don't even know what to say to that.
I forgot to mention that everyone "knows" that Quirrell was really Monroe, and Oliver says the guy could never cast a Patronus. Harry is secretly glad that due to horcruxes, "Quirrell" isn't quite all gone. Oliver thinks Quirrell is happy wherever he is now, and Harry looks at the emerald-transfigured corpse on his finger.
Ew, gross, and yes, I did write that.
Not Heaven, not some faraway star, not a different place but a better person, I'll show you, someday I'll show you how to be happy -
Good luck with that, kid.
Oliver continues to sing the praises of Quirrell and comes up with a way to teach in the future:
"We'll teach it to the new students next year, no matter who we have for a professor. The older students will teach the younger ones. That's the solution to the curse on the Defense position. We won't sit around waiting for authority to teach us. And we'll make sure that Professor Quirrell's teachings never die out of Hogwarts."
GOOD FOR YOU! Dumbledore's Army lives, except it's Quirrell's, or something. Oliver says that Quirrell's sacrifice lives on in Hermione and finishes off with three cheers for "the best Slytherin that ever was, what every Slytherin should be!"
.... I don't even know...
Three stars, mostly just because...I dunno, awkwardness? Not that it's bad, just...weird. As it should be, I guess.
Lizzie Medina is from a close knit Mexican family, living in Detroit. Her family has pretty much decided ahead of time that Lizzie is going to become a teacher, never move out of town, and settle down and have babies with a local. Lizzie, however, has always wanted to live in England and manages to get into a one year grad program in London with her friend Callie in order to do it. When they arrive in London, Callie gets them theater tickets to check out big shot movie star Jackson Coles in a show. While Lizzie is unimpressed by Jackson onstage, she does hit it off with her seat neighbor, Thomas Harper. Thomas is also an actor who's been in the same hit franchise* as Jackson, but so far he's been a supporting cast member and hasn't really hit The Big Time yet. He and Lizzie like each other right off the bat and start dating, and have a sweet, kinda innocent, totally perfect romance. She meets his parents, he meets her parents, everything's swell except the whole issue of what'll happen after Lizzie's grad program ends.
* obviously based off the idea of Twilight
And then another movie Thomas made hits the big time, and suddenly he and Lizzie are British tabloid stars. Lizzie already had some reservations about dealing with his fame, but finding out your entire life (and being implied that you're a gold digger) is in the news would add some more. And what happens after Lizzie has to go home--can this romance last when Lizzie feels obligated to go home and drudgingly get a teaching job in Detroit?
This story felt kinda sweet and slight at first, mostly because Lizzie and Thomas are SUCH GOOD PEOPLE. So sweet, so perfect as a couple, and Thomas is literally the perfect boyfriend. (He may out-perfect Jason Vanderholt, even. At the very least, those guys tie.) For the first half of the book I kept thinking this seemed too good to be true, even, and it made things kinda...bland in some ways. The action gets a bit more gripping once Thomas hits the big time and they start having life complications, though. What specifically stood out to me was Lizzie's dilemma about going against her family-- bad enough she went away for a year, bad enough she got a British boyfriend, but NOT GETTING A STABLE JOB?! The horror! I'm not making fun of that even though it sounds that way-- I got that she felt she couldn't break away from her huge, demanding family so easily. In the end, that's why this is Lizzie's story, seeing if she can strike out on her own all the way. I even enjoyed how Thomas, Mr. Perfect, just finally lost his shit at one point. I probably wouldn't normally be that into yelling, but in this case it felt like well earned frustration, and it made him seem a little less bland/perfect. And in the end, Lizzie figures out her priorities.
It's pretty reasonable to compare this book to Someone Else's Fairytale, and I can't help but think that the reason why I was so into SEF was that Chloe was such a distinctive, kinda hardass, not ordinary girl character. While Lizzie is totally sweet and nice, I was reminded of reading Vision in White and how two perfectly nice people could somehow end up not standing out beyond their niceness. Maybe a little less nice would be in order here? I'm not saying get nasty, but I'm thinking that a little less perfection and a little more drive might be in order. Just give them some flaws and some spark!
Overall, I'm giving it three and a half stars. It was a nice read, even if I kind of wished these two would get a little ...I dunno, spicier? I hate to use this phrase when one of the characters involved is Latina and that leads to shitty cliches, but ...I dunno, I guess I just wanted them both to seem a little less perfect, more fired up, something.The book headed in that direction towards the end, which was good. But overall, this is more of a snuggly comfort read than one where people are sparky. If you're in a comfort read mood, give this a try.
A few years ago, Lizzie Skurnick was writing essays on Jezebel.com about the classic teenage books she, and most of the slightly older generations, read while growing up. I read them when they were going up at the time and they were good stuff. So she (and a few other authors) put the essays together into a published book. Checking the archives ofthe Fine Lines column, it looks like not everything there made it into the book or at least some columns were written after publication. I think there's also some essays that didn't make it online. I'd recommend reading the online ones to see if you're interested in this sort of thing.
Anyway, the main author (the other authors did guest essays) wrote some very entertaining, thoughtful, funny articles on teenage classics and why we love them, and why we remember them. While for once I'm not going to quote whore about them all, especially when you can see for yourself, I will mention this one.
"Ah, to be John Austin's kid sister, and get some dolphins and psychic powers to go with all those hormones." --on A Ring Of Endless Light
Anyhoo, a reader of this is going to have three experiences:
(a) "I loved this book! Therefore I love this essay and totally relate to it."
(b) "Whoa, I never heard of this book. I must investigate it."
(c) "Okay, I don't plan on reading this one, but that was interesting, in a disturbing sort of way."
I for one got sold on trying Blossom Culp books, which I'd barely heard of and had no idea what they were about before this. On the other hand, I think I'm skipping The Pigman and I Am The Cheese, because hooooo boy. The essays vary in their spoilery-ness, though sometimes I wished the essays would be a little more spoiler-y, especially if I hadn't read the book and was wondering what the hell they were talking about. But that's me, most people wouldn't agree with that.
Anyway, I'm not sure what else to say other than I enjoyed reading this and think you should check it out. Four stars.
The morning after, everyone's in the Great Hall. Harry is muzzy. The Head Table is pretty empty, especially without Dumbledore. Snape is in the magical equivalent of a wheelchair. Sprout is missing and being examined for remaining compulsions, but probably no charges will be filed. Flitwick is presumably with Hermione (how does Harry know this?) and Harry has no idea where Sinistra is. Harry is super numb right now. Nobody's eating and owls aren't allowed in or out of the school.
McGonagall emerges, with her head bare for the first time. She announces that Dumbledore is trapped outside Time and they do not know if he can ever be brought back. Voldemort is dead, the only thing left are his hands. Quirrell died facing him. "David Monroe" is also dead and will be having a second funeral, along with Quirrell.
(At this point I think it's probably confusing for everyone else who has no idea that Quirrell wasn't Quirrell, and it looks like she doesn't explain it, either. Oops.)
One happy bit of news: Hermione's alive! ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE! I've been waiting for that to be confirmed (as opposed to, I dunno, being in a coma forever or something). "she appears to be doing astonishingly well considering her previous condition."
LOL. Everyone is still too stunned to be happy about it, though. Harry included at this point.
And then McG has to announce to everyone who had Death Eater parents that uh....well... your parents are dead.
And Harry just realized he killed his friend's dad.
The students who lost parents are announced. The Carrows, the Jugsons, other names I don't recall and are probably made up. Nott's, Crabbe's, Goyle's, Malfoy. This concludes the list.
One student sitting at the Gryffindor table let out a single cheer, and was immediately slapped by the Gryffindor witch sitting nearby hard enough that a Muggle would have lost teeth.
"Thirty points from Gryffindor and detention for the first month of next year," Professor McGonagall said, her voice hard enough to break stone.
Give the thirty points back to the kid who slapped that kid, I say.
Robert Jugson jumps up and screams that it's all a lie. Snape confirms it, and Jugson runs out of the room. Draco collapses and Harry can't go over there now. Other kids go over to comfort the orphans and half-orphans. Harry thinks of Moody saying that those people chose the Dark Mark, were guilty, nobody would blame him, etc. Which is true.
Just as it was also true that some part of Harry's mind had calculated that wiping out the blood purist political elite would make it easier and more convenient to rebuild magical Britain afterward. It hadn't been an important consideration, but it had still been calculated in those instants of rapid thought, a check on the long-term consequences to see if they rated as catastrophic, and a decision that they actually rated as pretty much okay. And that check had forgotten that Death Eaters had children at Hogwarts or that one of them wore the face of Draco's father. It wouldn't have changed anything. It wouldn't have changed anything at all. But that was the truth of the calculation Harry's mind had performed, given only seconds to think.
Oops, I was too coldly calculating about the future of magical Britain and eliminating the jerkasses in it.
Honestly, I don't know what to say about this one either. Though Harry thinks he can at least give the orphans money or something. But really, it was kinda self-defense since they were all about to shoot him otherwise.
McG announces that if your guardian is dead, you can end up a ward of Hogwarts and she'll take care of you, manage your vault, treat her like her own kids and protect you, etc.
One last thing to be done: Sinistra emerges with the Sorting Hat and presents it to McG, who puts it on her own head.
There was a long silence.
Is it awful of me to think LOLOLOL at this moment?
"As Albus Dumbledore is not dead," Minerva said, her voice so low that students strained to hear it, "but only taken from us, I accept this position in the capacity of Acting Headmistress only - until Dumbledore's return."
Good luck with that.
Fawkes flies in. He'll wait. He flies around McG a few times as she cries, and then leaves.
Uh-oh, we're gonna have a ton of "part" chapters here, aren't we? (Yes, we do, I peeked ahead.)
Oh hey, did you remember there was still a Quidditch match on? Let's meet Anna, a bored and jaded Gryffindor who's getting fed up with the dubiousness of this particular sport.
What, you thought we'd care about what's up with Harry and Hermione and that Transfigured rock? Come on, folks, it's QUIDDITCH!!!!!1111!!!
Anyway, we're treated to Anna's grumbling about how modern Quidditch games are over too quickly when someone catches the Snitch in ten minutes, and the World Cup was such a bust for the expensiveness of the tickets. (Imagine the rage of say, American football fans if the Super Bowl was over in ten minutes. JKR has no idea on sports stuff.)
"It was a widely-talked problem among aficionados: broomstick enchantments had advanced, while the Snitch stayed the same regulation speed, with the result that Quidditch games had become shorter and shorter. At professional levels the sport of Quidditch had been reduced to a contest of who had the deepest pockets for their Seeker's experimental racing broom, and the rest of the players might as well have been watching from the stands."
Yeah, this sounds highly dubious.
Everyone knew something had to be done, the situation had been getting worse for centuries and now it was intolerable. But the International Confederation of Wizards' Quidditch Committee was mired in all the usual acrimony of the I.C.W., screaming disputes between Germans and Bulgarians, and somehow nobody could agree on exactly how to fix the rules. To Anna the correct course seemed obvious, just make the Snitch fast enough to restore the four-hour or five-hour games of the early nineteenth century and the Golden Age of Quidditch. Except the Belgians thought the duration of a professional game should be two hours like in La Belle Époque when Belgium had dominated Quidditch, and the lunatic Italians wanted to go back to the week-long Quidditch games of the fourteenth century, and Britain's even crazier blood purists kept on talking up the occasional day-long Quidditch match as proof that broomsticks couldn't really have improved since everything was better in the old days which was not how the Interdict of Merlin worked.
Oh lord, people. Take a page from the Americans: keep it down to about three hours or so so you can go to class or work tomorrow. Anyway, while this Anna agrees that Harry has a point, she's not quite down with eliminating the Snitch. That's so eleventh century!
(Why do I feel like I'm reading one of the chapters in which Daphne and Tracey are going on about boys or something?)
It didn't matter if Headmistress Hufflepuff had first introduced the innovation because one of her students had wanted to play the game but not been suited to the usual roles.
HAHAHAHAHAH THAT EXPLAINS A LOT. Thanks for the actual reasonable explanation, Mr. Fanfic Author!
Snitches had caught on internationally because it was more exciting when the game could always end in the next minute.
Okay, that also makes sense. We're told that Anna has been screaming this out for thirty minutes and is no longer paying attention to the game, and she's sitting near Harry.
She was aware, in the back of her mind, that if the Quidditch rules really did change starting here and now, then this was the most important thing she'd ever do.
She could almost feel the pressure of Time twisting around her as though the fate of Quidditch Itself were being settled this very day, and she was standing close to the center of it... though she hadn't gotten high-enough scores in Divination to actually sense anything like that, of course.
Methinks the Time-Turner is having a bystander effect.
She starts to barely notice Harry getting up to go to the bathroom, and looking a bit tired and wobbly (and yet his clothes look new?) later, and he's grabbing his forehead at some point. But she finally does notice when his scar starts bleeding. Takes a lot for an obsessed Quidditch fan to notice something during a game, apparently. Harry is crying and asking for McGonagall, who starts running.
"I think," Harry said, his voice still wavering but louder, "I think he's back. I think I'm seeing - through Voldemort's mind -"
Oooh, nice frameup, buddy! Harry starts screaming that Voldemort has returned and he summoned his servants and he's killing them. Harry starts screaming that Hermione's come back to stop him. Then he falls over, saying Hermione did it and he's gone. She resurrected when Voldemort did and she got him! Over there! McG actvates her Patronus to get Dumbledore and Harry has to break the news that he's gone. The Patronus can't find him. McG demands a broomstick and Harry pulls out a multi-person one from his pouch for her. Flitwick yells at McG that she has to stay because (uh, who's left?) and then she hands the broomstick to him to go check out the scene. Harry also announces that Quirrell is dead, which makes Anna (oh yeah, forgot about her already) feel sad.
Just as McG is about to cancel the match and send everyone back to their dorms, Harry screams at her not to.
Tears were leaking down the Boy-Who-Lived's cheeks, he looked like the interruption had surprised himself as much as it had surprised anyone else. "It was Professor Quirrell's last plot," Harry Potter said, his voice breaking. The Boy-Who-Lived looked at the Quidditch players who had now flown to nearby, as though speaking to them directly. "His last plot."
Ohhhhhhhh, that plot where everyone wins. I forgot about that too.
Kinda makes me want to cry a little bitty bit at that.
Anyway, Harry's floated off to the infirmary, Sinistra and Hooch are left to babysit, the other professors go wherever, all the kids freak out and Anna repeats everything she thought she heard. She stays in the stadium long after everyone else leaves.
The Ravenclaw team put up a valiant fight.
But there was no Quidditch team anywhere that could've defeated the Slytherins that day.
Dawn was tinging the sky when the Slytherins won their final game, the Quidditch Cup, and the House Cup.
So by now I had completely forgotten what the hell the last plot was. I checked. It's chapter 34: Quirrell promised to have both Ravenclaw and Slytherin win the House Cup AND Harry wanted the Snitch ditched as well.
Looks like only one of those has happened... SO FAR. We'll have to see if Slytherin loses the Cup next over cheating with the Snitch, or something.
Anyway, four stars for an excellent frame-up job and acting job on the part of Harry.
This is a double post. If you have not read Ch. 114, go back and read it now.
Harry's mind goes back on and he sees bodies all over. Hermione's still asleep, and it looks like Voldie lost his hands. Ouch.
As soon as the Dark Lord Voldemort awakens, he will destroy everything you love. Dumbledore is no longer there to stop him.
He cannot be imprisoned, for he can abandon his body at any time.
He cannot be killed permanently, not without destroying more than a hundred horcruxes, one of which is the Pioneer plaque.
Materials: One wand, you are allowed to point it and speak this time.
You have five minutes.
Harry gets his pouch and approaches Voldie. We find out that the scar flares are the result of Tom Riddle being burned into Harry's brain--and that's where the apprehension feeling comes. Now that Harry knows why that's happening, he can ignore it easier. He puts tourniquets around Voldemort's wrists and admits that it feels wrong to do that.
What Harry was doing now felt like Batman showing more concern for the Joker than for the Joker's victims; it felt like a comic book where the writers wrung their hands endlessly about the morality of killing the Big Named Villains while innocents went on dying in the background. To show more solicitousness for the head villain than his minions, to pay more attention to his fate than the fates of his lower-status followers, was a flaw in human nature.
So it felt wrong when Harry rose up from beside the body, the tourniquets having tightened upon Voldemort's wrists; it felt like Harry was doing something ethically monstrous.
Yeah, most of us would just do a gloating dance and leave him to bleed.
Even though any sane strategic thinking said that Voldemort's body must not die. The soul he'd created for himself had to be anchored in this brain, it mustn't be allowed to float free.
Okay, good point on why you have to save him, then. Harry starts to pick up his clothes and stuff.
Once you forgot to be scared of how impossible the problem was supposed to be, it wasn't even difficult, not by comparison to the last one.
Sounds like the motto of this entire story.
Okay then, I'll take your word for that because this sort of thing would turn me into a gibbering idiot. Harry ponders casting the Cruciatus Curse on Voldie because it would just make all of his horcruxes insane too. (Though really, insane evil? I think the Cruciatus just makes you useless insane instead of "gonna cause a lot of damage" insane, but still, I don't think I'd risk it.) He still thinks of Voldemort as his Quirrell at the same time--should he take that into account?
What would they want him to do now at this juncture, the children's children's children?
The answer to that also felt obvious, if it wasn't just the part of Harry that still cared about Professor Quirrell doing the real talking.
Harry had needed to do the thing he'd done, it had prevented greater evils, Harry couldn't have stopped Voldemort if the Death Eaters had fired first. But that thing Harry had done wasn't something that could be balanced by a not-necessary tragedy happening to one more sentient being, even if that being was Voldemort. It would just be one more element of the sorrows of ancient Earth so long ago.
The past was past. You did what you had to do, and you didn't do one scrap of harm more than that. Not even to balance things out, and make it all symmetrical.
The children's children's children wouldn't want Voldemort to die, even if his minions had. They wouldn't want Voldemort to hurt, if it didn't accomplish anything compared to him not hurting.
Um...whoever those people are (I don't get this children's children's children thing--does anyone feel like this about say, Hitler, generations after WW2?), they're nicer than me. Though really, I'd just want Voldemort to not be able to hurt anyone any more, and you work out how to do that non-fatally on your own. If death's the only way...okay, we still can't kill him so beats me on that one. Anyway, Harry feels like he should hate Voldemort, but he doesn't, and he gives up on that expectation of himself.
In the end, there was only one option he would take, and since Harry already knew that, there was no point agonizing about it. Whether it was the best option, only time would tell.
Harry breathed deeply, building up the magic inside himself. The spell he was going to cast didn't need to be precise, but it was still one of the most powerful spells he'd mastered.
Harry thought again of how unjust it was that Voldemort could not die with his followers, felt the slight trace of coldness in his blood that came with thoughts of ruthlessness. And then Harry let it go, let it all drain away beneath the starlight, because his dark side had never been anything except an inherited pattern of cognition, just one more bad habit of thinking to break.
Very good point with that one. Harry looks at Hermione and starts crying, wondering what she'll do next. I get the feeling Harry doesn't plan to be around for that?
He hadn't realised how shaky his hope had been, until he'd noticed how surprised he'd been after the hope had come true. Sometimes things did go better than expected.
Aww. Anyway, Harry's building up power for one big whopping spell--
Everything, forget everything, Tom Riddle, Professor Quirrell, forget your whole life, forget your entire episodic memory, forget the disappointment and the bitterness and the wrong decisions, forget Voldemort -
And at the last moment before Harry cast the spell, he had one final thought, a note of grace -
But if you ever had any truly happy memories, not hurting people or laughing at their pain, but the warm feeling of helping someone or being helped, there won't be many, maybe just when you were a child, but if you had any truly happy memories then keep only those -
Something bright in him unfolded at the decision, knowing he'd made the right choice, and Harry pushed that too into his wand -
And it all poured out of Harry into the spell.
Harry keels over from pain, and when he kicks back in, we're told that Professor Quirrell is gone. I guess he means his version of Professor Quirrell.
Professor Quirrell was gone.
Nothing left but a remnant.
And that spirit, what remained of it, wouldn't be so different now from Harry's own.
The Prophecy was complete.
They had each remade the other in their own image.
Harry started sobbing, then, from where he was curled up in the dirt.
He cried for a while.
And then eventually Harry staggered to his feet and picked up his wand again, because this day's work wasn't quite done.
Well, there you go, then.
Harry Transfigures Voldemort, musing that he'll have to maintain the spell at all times, and maybe later when he's more powerful/has help, he can un-Transfigure the guy and heal him with the Stone.
After future-Harry had figured out what to do with an almost-completely-amnesiac wizard who still had some bad habits of thought and some highly negative emotional patterns - a dark side, as 'twere - plus a great deal of declarative and procedural knowledge about powerful magic.
....Yeah, that's what I was wondering about myself. He hopes that the horcruxes won't try to bring Voldemort back because he's only Transfigured and not dead. He transfigures the body into an emerald and puts it back into his ring on his finger. He looks around at Hermione and all of the corpses (including actual Quirrell) and checks the remaining Voldie-hand on the ground. He places the hands around Hermione's neck (ew!) and I gather Harry's trying to do some kind of frame-up job. He makes the amputation look...messier. Poor Hermione, waking up to that (and being all, "What did I do? I didn't DO anything! I was dead!"). He also makes Quirrell look like he had his wand out.
Time to make sure someone finds this mess. He Transfigures a leaf into a weather balloon, attaches dynamite and a fuse to give him a minute of time before it goes off, puts on his cloak and hops on the broom, puts a Quieting Charm on Hermione to mute some of this crap, and...he's outta magic. Harry flies above the forest and sets off the balloon-fuse, and uses his Time Turner for an hour.
Okay then. So he did it. I'm still not entirely sure what's going on (I guess he's framing Hermione to wake up and find a battle around her...?), but that's a good way to dispose of/take care of/stash for safekeeping of Voldemort. Good job, author and/or whoever thought this up as well!
So, how was that cliffhanger for you? Because by the time I've read and published this sucker, it's been like weeks!
I do like that title. Certainly gonna be true, isn't it? Let's see if somebody actually solved this mess.
"I do know ssecretss you would like to know," Harry hissed. He didn't look directly at the Dark Lord as he spoke. "But mosst valuable knowledge to you, I think, would be my ideass ass to how world might be desstroyed. Yet, to tell you ssuch thoughtss might lead to desstruction of world. Do not know prophecy, but if there iss prophecy, that makess it more than ussually probable that any action I take might have that effect. Or to tell you ssuch might prevent desstruction of world, ssince you do sseem motivated to avoid it. Not allowed to make ssuch a decission mysself. Would need to awaken and conssult girl-child friend. Vow requiress."
Good one, Harry/Tom II/whoever thought this idea up!
"Do you know how to desstroy world, then? "
"Cannot deliberately try to imagine method. You might have way for sservant to ssteal my thoughtss. Vow prohibitss. But ssusspect I could devisse method, if girl-child ssaid to try."
So... You'd do it if Hermione said to? What?
Also pretty sure Hermione wouldn't be down with that.
Harry's eyes drifted slowly to another Death Eater, and another.
More snakish laughter. "Clever. You have my complimentss for thinking of ssuch tacticss. But no."
"Know it iss annoying, but with world and your eternity at sstake, would you not -"
"Greater rissk to world in introducing ssuch complicationss, delaying your end. I will sstudy Muggle ssciencess mysself, think of all you might imagine. Now sspeak ssuch ssecretss as you may tell me, or thiss endss."
So much for that idea. Next up.
Slowly Harry's vision tracked across the graveyard in careful arcs, ignoring the Dark Lord except as a floating blackness in his peripheral vision. His mouth went on speaking with only half his attention. "Have thought of idea you might not have conssidered, teacher. Your attempt to kill me might fail in certain sspecific way desspite all your precautionss, perhapss lead into my desstroying world later. Would not ordinarily deem probable, but with prophecy at hand, may well be sso."
Voldemort went still, in the air. "How? "
"Am not obligated to tell you."
A cold anger began to seethe through the snakish reply. "Though I undersstand well your dessperation and attempted clevernesss, thiss beginss to annoy me. I will not withhold from killing you, for that iss sstill greater rissk. To fail to tell me your thought rissks desstroying world. Sspeak! "
"No. Vow doess not obligate me to any possitive action."
"Ssurvive your death, you think you might? No, child, my horcruxess are not linked to you alsso. I would know if they were.
Or iss there other reasson you think you might ssurvive beyond my ways of enssuring your death? "
Harry didn't allow himself to be distracted. The repeated failures didn't matter, they only led into the next action in the chain - but he still needed a next action -
"Now sspeak a ssecret," the Dark Lord hissed, "or I -"
"Life-eaterss will purssue you alwayss, hate you alwayss, sseek you out wherever you go, if what I have jusst done wass ssuccesssful, I have caused them to be set upon you! Guardian Charm ssecret will be beyond you for long time to come, perhapss forever! Besst defense againsst life-eaterss would die with me! "
"Thiss iss sstarting to become ssad..." the Dark Lord's voice trailed off. "Ah. I ssee. Life-eaterss resspond to expectationss. You tell me I will be hunted, I expect to be hunted, they hunt me. Ssuch iss rare, but not unheard-of. Valuable ssecret, yess. Can ssee many ussess." A cruel smile. "I sshall allow you to sselect one persson to be ssaved."
"Would tell you to die with dignity, but knowing mysself, I know it for futility. You have wassted my kindly gift jusst then by annoying me, and I retract it. Any other ssecretss? "
"Yess. Really interessting oness, too. Ssome you are unlikely to figure out on your own, not for very long time if ever. If I ssay I have told you all that do not rissk world, will you not torment any of my friendss or family? All of thiss sspeech sstarted becausse you left me no way at all to ssave everyone."
In the instant when Harry had realized there was no way left to save everyone -
He couldn't speak any incantation in English. But Transfiguration was wordless.
There was no material in contact with his wand's end except air, which couldn't be Transfigured. But Voldemort didn't know about partial Transfiguration, which Harry could use to Transfigure a tiny bit of the material from his wand itself.
Sneaky little booger. Voldemort gets annoyed at Harry's stalling and demands he talk, and Harry claims he does have capabilities the Dark Lord doesn't know about, like causing a huge explosion without an incantation.
I really want to suggest he has a bomb up .... somewhere, but probably not.
At his current level of practice Harry could Transfigure one cubic millimeter as fast as he could apply his will and magic.
One cubic millimeter of antimatter.
It wasn't a world-ending threat.
Well, one hopes, but you never know.
They argue over whether or not Harry is bluffing, Voldie threatens, Harry ignores it and tells him to shut up and offer Harry something he wants to stop him. ("I want my father back, you son of a bitch..." Okay, wrong fiction. Couldn't resist.) Harry keeps working on it as Harry loops Transfigured spider-silk around the necks of Death Eaters. Then he shrinks/tightens it all.
Damn. Seriously, who thought this out? I thought the author might mention a name if someone else nailed it, but I guess not.
Harry wasn't looking there, he didn't see the falling masks, the blood, in the back of his mind he felt some explosions of magic like he'd felt when Hermione died but he ignored them, Harry's eyes only saw the Dark Lord's hands and wand and gun dropping downward, and then Harry's wand was rising, pointing -
Harry screamed, "STUPORFY! "
The red bolt the color of the Stunning Hex winged toward Voldemort, blazing across the graveyard almost faster than the eye could see.
Without any hesitation despite his wounds the Dark Lord jerked down and right through the air.
And the red bolt from Professor Flitwick's secret Swerving Stunner turned in midair and slammed into Voldemort.
The pain that flashed through Harry's scar was searing, it made him cry out and a red haze appear across his vision, despite everything Harry dropped his wand in pain and sheer fatigue.
As Harry let go of his wand, the pain began to clear -
Once again, I fear I'm too stupid to comprehend this chapter, really, but so far, things look good? I think? Hey, he at least took out the Death Eaters. So, four stars for that.
Upon looking at the TV Tropes page regarding the solution, apparently this happened. Huh.
"HAVE YOU BEEN NAUGHTY? One hundred and sixty years ago Kris Kringle walked the earth spreading the message of love and peace between peoples. Then he was kidnapped and given a drug that wiped out his memory, while the goblins hijacked Christmas. OR NICE? Kris has been found. But he’s not what you think. In fact, he’s not what anybody thinks, unless they happen to know he wears Armani, drives a vintage Rolls Royce and dislikes reindeer. Even more he dislikes the fat caricature the goblins stuck him with. He’s the most powerful death fey living, who gave up mortal women because none could complete him. He’s about to reclaim Christmas. That’s why he needs Adora Navarra, a biographer. Only she—along with the help of the fey already fighting the goblin menace—can help take back his image and punish the wicked. And only she can complete him. Santa Claus is about to go to town."
I found this randomly at a library book sale and was all "wtf?" and "this sounds crazy" and "I must read this to see how crazy it really is!" A romance novel about a hot Santa? You know you're wondering. Heck, for several days last week I was carrying this book around and just handing it to people and going, "LOOK AT THAT PLOT." Which was a hoot.
What is less funny is this book, which isn't exactly for the lulz, or all that romantic-ish (sorta?). I'm not sure what the heck it is. What I have been able to deduce is that this book was the sixth and last in a series, obviously I haven't heard of this series or read the rest of them, and thus I kind of had to deduce what the heck was going on in the world. As far as I can tell, fey and goblins (also called "lutins," dunno why) are "out" in human public, and goblins actually run LA, but they're forced to get surgery and like, cut off their extra arms in order to fit in with the humans. Mostly goblins seem to be the villains in here, but I'm not entirely sure about that and I gather there's some kind of impending war about to happen? And there's not a lot of fey left either. There's an "important dates in fey history" page in the front of the book that is probably more helpful regarding the previous books than this one. There's also a lot of Encyclopedia Exposita excerpts about the main character that were...pretty obscure to me.
I don't know if Kris Kringle (a.k.a. Santa Claus, Bishop S. Nicholas, Niklas, The Saint) was covered in previous books or not, but what happened to him gets pretty short shrift. Kris is a "death fey who had completely renounced his magical destiny and gone to do good works among humans." He was everyone's beloved ambassador of goodwill who apparently got forced to drink some sort of goblin poison. It didn't kill him (if he was killed he'd just resurrect anyway, so there's no point), but it made him crazy/gave him amnesia for an unspecified period of time* and nobody knew where he was. Now he's been found and recovered/recovering (not sure which) and wants to reclaim his job/title/reputation/whatever. Especially since he's kind of annoyed that in the public eye, he's fat and wearing a red suit all of the time, because he's much more of an Armani guy. He's also kinda weird on the pop culture references--he can quote Star Wars, but doesn't know what a "bimbo" is and thinks that a guy cheating on a girl is referring to sport. I'm not sure how long the guy has been out to lunch mentally, but that's...odd.
* frankly, I wish the author had specified because man, it's confusing. I'm guessing the poisoning happened sometime in the 1800's because he's mentioned as palling around with Dickens and Clement Moore. According to the front page, he was found in 2006 and the book was published in 2013.
To repair his reputation and clean up those wrong ideas like his wardrobe, Kris hires a historical biographer, Adora Navarra. Adora's a nice enough girl, but she's had a sad childhood and a recent weird illness has wiped her out financially and physically, so she could use the money even if this assignment sounds batshit. She also has some kind of multiple personality issue going on, with some cranky negative voice she calls "Joy" (ironically/deliberately named, NOT like the Inside Out character whatsoever) that is usually yakking in her head, in a protective sort of way. When Adora goes to meet Kris (who's living in LA and NOT the Pole), it's certainly unexpected to get to check out his antique vehicles and aforementioned fancy suits and the fact that he's hot and there's no Mrs. Santa and he hasn't had a girlfriend in like, centuries or whatever. Anyway, I don't think she gets the opportunity to get a lot of writing done because Kris primarily takes her out traveling a lot, including to a fairy hill, and pontificates about his life, and sometimes about the goblin social situation. Kris also deduces that Adora must (of course) be part fey, which explains a lot.
"You know, the legend I can't believe people fell for was that I moved my operations north because I loved the snow. Sheesh! If I loved the cold so much, why were my first American headquarters outside of New Orleans? The only reason I was ever at the North Pole was because the goblins drugged me and left me there to feed the polar bears. Santa's toy factory at the Pole--ha! That'll be the day." (He's shocked, shocked! to hear that this isn't common knowledge among humans.)
"I never wore that red suit but twice--one would be the one time I was seen and reported in the newspapers. And frankly, I don't want to use reindeer any more. Most are mule stubborn and none-too-bright. Horses are much better. Besides, I need to update my image. Just so you know, I don't actually use animals to pull my sleigh--no point in being accused of equine cruelty, is there? It's all public relations these days, I see. And I have other ways to travel when I make my rounds....Maybe manatees would be a good replacement, mascot-wise. Or condors. Or a dragon! Kids would love a dragon, don't you think?"
"But as for the misguided people trying to find Christmas at the mall--don't blame that on me. At no point did I tell the masses to go and worship at the House of Nike or the Gap--though I like their clothes well enough. Damn, I don't want to sound like I'm condemning them." Adora leaned over and wrote down both names and then: possible endorsements?"
"And Goddess be my witness--I never told anyone to make fruitcake, let alone inflict it on their family and friends annually." (Though after he says that, he admits that he likes it if someone makes it right.)
"Very well, it seems we need to make a clear distinction between me and the holiday as people know it. Perhaps the book should include some photographs of me in a Hawaiian shirt. I could play tennis or something."
And I bet you're wondering what happened to his reindeer, right?
"Sadly, some of these reindeer became venison steaks." "You ate Vixen?" "Don't be ridiculous. The goblins ate them, after they fed me their filthy drug and left me to die. They didn't get Vixen, though. Clever girl, she got away."
I'm still wondering how a guy who was on amnesia crazy drugs even knew that Vixen got away.
Anyway, Kris is looking to settle down now. "You know, adventuring often means going short on sleep--and lunches. You meet dangerous people and have your life threatened daily. I have decided that adventures are more fun in theory than in practice. It's time to settle down." Clearly, Kris is a hobbit now. And of course he and Adora get interested in each other, even if she thinks it's warped to have a thing for Santa Claus and that she's believing the weird shit he tells her. He also reads her mind(s) and is pretty much psychically begging her to say the magic love words "Eat my heart. Drink my soul. Love me to death." Hoooooo boy. And the more Adora hangs out with fey types in the hill, the more she figures out things like the traumatic experience she blocked out as a child that also created Joy. She also finds out that the Goddess is fixing them up and wants babies out of them, which she is incredibly freaked out about. This plot, for the record, doesn't really get followed up on. I probably would have been growling had it gone to the usual point that romance novels do. I guess we should assume Adora will get over it, though.
Occasionally, we get a brief chapter giving us the goblin point of view, mentioning the guy who poisoned Kris and his minion Miffith. There's a charming (not) mention of Miffith being a former gang member who got forced to rape a goblin fruit junkie as his initiation--"He'd raped the human fruit-junkie as ordered, but he hadn't been able to pinch and bite her the way he was supposed to. She was just too pathetic. And he'd kind of wanted to see her again." I.... DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO THIS. It's mentioned because there's a comes-outta-nowhere-ish followup to that at the end of the book, but... again, I don't even know what to make of it. The mind boggles.
But overall, this book doesn't have a whole lotta cohesive plot, and there's not so much in the way of romance. It's a whole lot of Kris sharing his thoughts--"Interview with the Santa Claus," if you will--more than anything else. Thoughts on being Santa, on being ten thousand years old, on goblins, on the upcoming war--I'm still not at all sure what the hell went on with the war thing at all. It's...just weird. I found a quote on Goodreads that summed it up: "I was hoping that the book would read more like the incredibly funny and cheesy back cover description. The ending came a bit abruptly as well. It seemed like there was so much build-up of tension in the world and then "Eh, it's okay now."
I think I'm going to give it two and a half stars. The stuff I quoted is what's giving it the half star because it was a bit funny. But mostly, I just finished this book and was all, "wtf did I just read?" It wasn't super bad, but I can't quite say it was good either. Mostly just...very weird and I'm not at all sure what the author intended with this one, but I'm pretty sure the marketing department differed.
Anyhoo: Meg Koranda is the daughter of Hollywood people, and made friends with president's daughter Lucy Jorik in college. Now she's in the small, super jerkass town of Wynette, Texas for Lucy's wedding to town mayor, son of a pro golfer, and general TOTALLY PERFECT GOLDEN BOY Ted Beaudine. Meg hasn't really figured out what to do with her life and has been spending her family's money essentially traveling around the world and picking up cool knicknacks and jewelry--but she's been cut off and at this point is dead broke and hasn't been able to afford to go to see Lucy before the wedding. So when Meg meets Ted, who is literally such a perfect person that trumpets blowing a chorus of hallelujahs happen and the heavens open up and spotlights land on him when he enters a room. "I know. Stuff like this happens to him all the time. He says it's accidental," Lucy says. Oh yeah, and he even has stigmata, which he claims was a marking-pen accident. Can someone please enlighten me as to what the hell kind of marking pen accident leaves stigmata? I'm really curious.
Ted is so perfect that the entire town of Wynette is making Lucy--a president's daughter, mind you-- feel like she is waaaaaaaaaay too inadequate to marry their perfect Ted. Gag me. While that's annoying, Meg is distracted by something else: the fact that Ted doesn't exactly seem to have strong romantic feelings for his bride. Also, Lucy may be a rebel at heart in Meg's opinion, but she's far too used to people pleasing to back out on her own...right? Meg's verdict on Ted to Lucy, said to her privately, is "Luce, he's wonderful. Everything you said. And you absolutely cannot marry him." Lucy knows it but feels she can't back out now. Except the next day, she does, and Meg gets ALL of the blame from everybody on both sides for breaking up the relationship and the wedding.
Things get worse for Meg when Lucy's entire family, who liked her before, blow out of town on fumes of rage, and Meg ends up being too broke to even pay her hotel bill and gets busted for it. She's stuck in Wynette working off her debt for three dollars a hour less pay than anyone else working at the hotel gets--yes, this was deliberately done to fuck her over and everyone in town knew it--and is so broke she's sleeping in her car and going to have a problem when that time of the month comes and she can't afford to buy tampons, because SEP does love a broke-ass heroine. Then she remembers that Lucy showed her an old abandoned church that Ted bought her as a wedding gift and goes to live in there, at least. Ted eventually finds this out and is snippy about it, but lets her live there. Anyway, the entire town haaaaaaaaaaaaates Meg, but she's too broke to even drive to the nearest city to job hunt. After she works off her debt and gets fired for soliciting tips so she can do things like eat and buy tampons, she does finally get a job at the country club because the guy hiring is too new to know she's the town Voldemort. As one review I read of the book said, I would NOT want to live in Wynette, Texas.
Meg gets hired to run the drink cart, but on her first day of work, almost the entire staff is down with food poisoning, forcing her to caddy for Ted, the other bigwig golfers in town, and Spencer Skipjack, the bigwig that might build a giant golf resort in their town. Turns out that Wynette as a town is rather broke and everyone has their hopes on Ted nailing down that deal. While Meg is a terrible caddy at first since she has no effing idea what she's doing, she figures out from listening to Spence (who's a name dropper and starts drooling when he finds out who Meg's parents are) that he's the sort that needs to win the golf game in order to feel like his penis is mighty, something she's well aware of in Hollywood life. Ted and his dad don't exactly get the mental memo about this, so Meg does some manipulations so that Spence wins the game. At which point Spence gets a whopping crush on Meg and suddenly everyone would be quite happy to literally pimp her out to him. Meg tries to get out of this one by claiming she's obsessed with Ted and it's unrequited love. The awkwardness doubles when Spence's daughter Sunny rolls into town and is determined to nail down Ted herself--which is probably the real reason why Spence is considering here rather than the big city for his resort.
This book reminded me of several other ones: Welcome to Temptation ("bad girl" and town golden boy who meets a woman who finally makes him sweat, plus the "his mother hates her" plot. plus "If I had a gun, I've have already used it on you" remark), I'll Take Manhattan (idle rich girl learns that the ultimate fun is working), and Ain't She Sweet (for "the entire town hates you and is out to get you"). Meg ends up liking working, even if it's literally just driving around serving drinks off a golf cart, and Ted points out that learning how to survive on her own in a town where 98% of the residents hate her is a challenge she's enjoying. I did like that about Meg, who's clearly a good-hearted person and also has a talent for making her own jewelry that she starts putting to use as well. A lot of people start offering her money to leave town, which Meg refuses. She will only take money for her hard work, thankyouverymuch. So overall, Meg is cool, and starts getting some grudging respect from the locals after awhile.
On the other hand, there's Ted. For a Mr. Perfect dude, he is not coming off as the best of guys. As Meg notes, he does not seem brokenhearted IN THE SLIGHTEST about his fiancee running off on him, his only feeling about any of it is being ticked at Meg. Ted admits to screwing around on Lucy when Meg sees him with another woman (though it turns out he's lying and that was just his best female friend), claims he was only getting married because at this point in life he needs a wife and a president's daughter fit the bill, and in general is pretty jerky to her even beyond that for awhile. Meg pretty much nails him down in this paragraph: "He was absolutely perfect. Except for that emotional hole inside him. He'd been prepared to marry Lucy and spend the rest of his life with her, but her desertion didn't seem to have even made a ripple in his daily existence. Something to remember if she ever found herself entertaining the vaguest notion of a more permanent future together. The only thing Ted felt deeply was his sense of responsibility." And that's a problem. The two of them eventually have some kind of hate-friend-fuck-type relationship go on, because it's a romance. While Ted is an absolute pro in bed and has probably memorized a lot of sex manuals, Meg feels like there's something missing because of that emotional hole in him. While they keep the nookie secret at first, you know how small towns go, and then Meg finds herself being SUPER harassed--i.e. vandalism, robbery, terribly forged note about how she has an STD, etc. Whee!
So when Meg finally falls for Ted--he said he didn't ask her about the terribly forged STD letter because he said if there was a problem, she would have mentioned it--I was all um...that's it? That's what did it to you? I know people fall in love in mysterious ways and all, but that was the kicker? Sure, he respects you more as a person and starts wanting to take you out in public and proclaims it to the entire gossip mill, but...I dunno, I guess I'm just not that sold on Ted from reading about him. Or maybe I just don't like those coldish remote dudes.
Oh yeah, and at one point they seriously have sex NEXT TO A LANDFILL. I AM NOT KIDDING. "There, on the perimeter of the landfill, with decades of garbage decomposing in compacted cells, with methane meters sniffing the air and toxic leachate trickling through underground pipes, Ted Beaudine pulled out all the stops." Yeah, who would have ever thought that "garbage decomposing" and "toxic leachate" would have ever made it into a sex scene? Not I. Should it have? I say no, because seriously, LANDFILL SEX. TWICE.
I did enjoy the comeuppance of the Skipjacks, otherwise known as "The Scene Where Ted Finally Loses It." And sure, everyone loves a good "dude pines for a lady" mope or three towards the end of the book. And everyone loves a good grovel that explains why he was fond of Lucy but wasn't nearly as messed up over her as he was over Meg. That's not bad.
So....I guess I'm gonna go with three and a half stars, overall.
"The one romance of her life foiled by a spinach salad."
(I don't know what the author was thinking having a line like that in here. For the record, it's a commentary on twins liking the same things to eat...or date.)
I don't know why I do these things. My mom is a big ol' Debbie Macomber fan, and I've occasionally read books of hers over the years and found them to be kinda...odd. I'm not sure why the heck I picked up this 80's special my mom had lying around the house when I was over for the weekend, but it was interesting.
Carrie and Camille Lockett are fraternal twins. Camille is a sultry brunette with big blue eyes that all the guys go for. Carrie is a hazel-eyed redhead with freckles who has always felt like the ugly duckling in comparison to her twin. Carrie's also been "the brains" and "the mom" in the family to boot, as she's a professional artist. When Carrie paints a portrait of her sister (I'm assuming she really needed the money), she expects it to go fast because everyone loses their shit over Camille, and pretty much any dude Carrie's dated that she introduced to Camille has dumped Carrie for her twin. For the record, Camille does come off as a bit shallow/not super filled with depth, but she doesn't sound like a bad person who deliberately tries to steal men from her sister. Camille does genuinely care for her sister and her happiness, but Carrie seems so utterly blinded by I'M A LOSER NEXT TO MY TWIN that hoo boy, she can't see it. Anyway, when Carrie's dealer wants to introduce her to a gorgeous fellow who's bought several of her paintings, Carrie has a hard time trusting it. But after he turns down buying the Camille painting, Carrie thinks well of him enough to want to meet the guy. And when she sees Shane at a party her dealer throws, things look promising.... until Carrie finds out that Shane bought the painting after all and she flips the hell out and backs out on the match. Shane wonders what the heck went wrong and makes darned sure he actually talks to her a few times until she calms down, and even manipulates her a bit into painting him so that they can hang out.
Shane has secretly had a crush on Carrie for quite awhile, apparently (both because he loves her work and because he thinks she's a fox), but she's been completely oblivious at best--and frankly, whenever she sees that painting around his home or office again, she gets very cold and abrupt and rude to him. "You're hot and you're cold" totally fits her. But Shane presses on and eventually Carrie lets herself get involved with him, and happily. But she's constantly afraid that once he meets Camille, it'll be over in a flash, and she freaks out at the idea of Camille running into them in a restaurant due to her twin sense/liking of the same restaurants/liking of the same dudes. Even though Camille is involved with a fellow named Bob and seems to be kinda hot and cold on him herself. It must be a twin thing because both of them get the idea to "test" their guys to see if they're really loved and it doesn't go well when either of them pull shenanigans like that. (Take note, ladies, don't do it. It's not working even in a romance novel.) Sometimes Carrie is all "okay, FINE, let's just get this over with and I"ll have you meet her and run off with her" and then chickens out, and both Shane and Camille are trying to figure out on their ends why the hell she's acting so weird about her sister/about this guy she likes. Heck, at times Carrie acts like she's going to fix Shane up with Camille and Camille is kinda like "I'd never deliberately steal a guy from you but if you're not interested, I'd go..." That doesn't help any.
Anyway, this book is far more about Carrie's whopping insecurities than anything else. I give the author credit for making Shane a decent fellow--I'm not overly thrilled with Alpha Male 80's Stalking Technique stuff in romance novels, and Shane's doing that at the start, but I think in this case it was kind of needed given how often she kinda snaps and flips out--a push to get past her defense is clearly needed when she is also obviously interested back but chickening out. I felt sorry for him because he is clearly doing his damndest to figure out what the hell is going on, but at the same time the author's had to hand him the Idiot Ball so that he's kinda "close but no cigar" as to figuring out what the hell is making Carrie suddenly snap and run so many times. You want to yell DUDE, SHE FLIPS OUT EVERY TIME SHE SEES THAT PAINTING, TAKE A HINT a lot, but Shane never quite gets (until page 131 after he's actually finally met Camille) that Carrie has issues about her sister. Hell, at one point he figures out that the painting has something to do with it, but that's because it must be some kind of secret self-portrait of Carrie herself in which she was fudging her own looks. Uh...what? The author tries to make this make sense, but it doesn't really.
Camille does get a little brattier toward the end, which seemed like she got the Brat Ball or something. For a girl who seemed genuinely not interested in stealing Carrie's man, she seems to appear as if she'd be interested, and there's a crack she makes about Carrie's "minor deficiencies" that is such an OW that Shane gets really ticked on Carrie's behalf, but he restrains himself from saying anything about Camille's "sensitivity of corn husks" in public. I wasn't thrilled with that, but she does rebound back into decency later.
The book makes it clear that Shane is so besotted with Carrie and her talent that you pretty much know he's not going to stray even when he meets Camille. And after The Worst Happens and they do meet, it gets a little amusing when Camille's dude Bob finally goes to see Carrie and talk about his romantic angst with her sister. After both of them find out that Shane asked to see Camille privately and are stewing about it, then it occurs to them that it could be perfectly innocent--like Bob and Carrie's own conversation is at the moment. They both like the idea of stirring a little jealousy up and being seen together by Shane and Camille, but then they get over it pretty quickly and Carrie vouches to Camille that Bob really was interested in commitment after all, etc. And both sisters admit to being jealous of the other one--Camille's always been envious of Carrie's brains and talent.
Though when Camille suggests a double wedding, Carrie still kinda has an obvious flip out about it. Sigh. Well, I'd like to think that someday they could get over it. At least enough to be maids of honor for each other without thoughts of "stealing the show."
Overall I enjoyed this for some reason, but it did make me think that Debbie Macomber sure does write heroines who are really easily insecure and overwrought in about three seconds every time they feel threatened by another woman. (I still remember vividly a book of hers I read once, Love By Degree, in which a heroine literally up and moved out of her place within a day because her boyfriend took the "wrong" car to work.) I think I'm giving this three and a half stars overall because the Idiot and Brat Balls annoyed me, but somehow I was touched reading it, so go figure.
(Oh, and for the record, check out this pink manga cover update of the book, because DAMN. Shane is drawn accurately, but why is Carrie now a blonde? As a review of it I saw pointed out, it makes a lot less sense for a blonde to be angsty about her looks compared to a redhead. Also, why is his named spelled with a Y? Oy.)
Wow, this one is really good. For the record, it's another sequel/takes place in the same universe as a few other books--notably Natural Born Charmer and Glitter Baby (which I haven't read). I say it's a sequel because a few characters from those books make some cameo appearances as Georgie's friends, but they're not super crucial to the plot.
Anyway, this book is clearly another version of the Brangelina/Jennifer Aniston drama that we all know well. Our heroine, Georgie York, is America's Sweetheart primarily for a sitcom she was in for 8 years, "Skip and Scooter," in which she played a spunky teen orphan living with a rich family. Everyone loved her Scooter Brown, until the show ended when her costar Bramwell Shepard (playing the sweet preppy Skip Scofield) got caught with a sex tape. In adult life she's made a few shitty romantic comedies she's not proud of, and she's recently divorced from Lance Marks the action star, who very notably threw her over for Jade Gentry, gorgeous sultry humanitarian. The book starts out with the sonogram of their baby being thrown in Georgie's face by paparazzi-- especially painful for Georgie since she wants kids and Lance didn't and he's been lying that they broke up over her not wanting any. Her old costar Bram sees this and is all, "Fuck it, I'm not coming to her rescue," which Georgie notes. However, after Georgie runs for it and heads to their former costar/mutual friend Trevor's house, Bram follows along and overhears Georgie proposing marriage to Trevor (who's of course gay) so as to get the paparazzi of her back. To which he is pretty much all LOL in her face about...but then he starts following Georgie around to various places and forcing her to interact with him in public.
Let me tell you about Bram: he was pretty much an asshole for the entire run of the show. He came from a bad family/neighborhood and spent eight years of the show partying it up with his asshole friends and doing every substance he could get a hold of. Georgie had a crush on him for his good looks (and I think the personality of Skip that he showed on camera), which he deliberately decided to ruin by taking her virginity without so much as a thank you ma'am after the wham and bam. Pretty much everyone (except Trevor, for some reason) that knew him hates him, and for excellent reasons, and his career has boiled down to playing some skeezy dude once in awhile. However, Bram's been secretly rehabilitating himself--quitting the jerky friends and the substance abuse, not being as broke as you'd think, and he's secretly working on a movie deal he really cares about. On the other hand, he's still quite the public asshole and enjoys that. But overall, he needs to rehab his business image in Hollywood and hanging around with Georgie and fueling "Skip and Scooter" reunion movie rumors could help. So he follows her on a trip to Vegas, and they get wasted to the point where they admit they don't hate each other any more, and then Bram realizes something--
Next thing they remember, they wake up naked in bed together with a marriage certificate on the floor. What the fuck. They don't remember if they had sex or not, much less the wedding, but Bram does remember his last thought being that their drinks were roofied. At first they're ready to call lawyers, but Georgie quickly talks Bram into having a sham marriage for at least a few months for the aforementioned publicity reasons (plus bribery), and they quickly have her move into his nicer-than-expected place and go all over town to get their photos taken. And married life is weird and rocky even beyond pretending to suddenly love a guy that you think is a jerk. Bram loves to say jerky things to Georgie that aren't true ("you're going to have to tell my girlfriend I'm married," "I got your ring on eBay," etc.) and it takes her awhile to figure out what's true and what's not with him. And then there's his housekeeper Chaz, a punk 20-year-old who Georgie likens to Mrs. Danvers in personality. However, Chaz turns out to be like Bram--both of them come from bad backgrounds, both of them like to be assholes in public, but privately have their own fierce loyalties that they show in abrasive ways. This is especially evident when Chaz has to associate with Aaron, Georgie's sweet and nerdy PA, and starts naggingly rehabbing his look and diet.
This is probably one of the best "rehabbing a bad boy" books I've ever read. It points out that yes, the guy has to decide on his own to clean up his act--which indeed, Bram is doing all on his own, thankyouverymuch. But associating with Georgie--a goodhearted lass and team player-- starts to mess with Bram's perception of himself as a sly lone wolf who's not interested in anyone but himself. He's quite protective of her around Lance, or her pushy stage dad Paul, neither of whom he approves of very much. He totally supports Georgie in dealing with people, especially when Lance and Jade show up at their dinner party unexpectedly and bring their recent possible exposure of SARS along with them, forcing the entire party into a bottle episode house arrest. Likewise, she supports him as he's trying to convince their neighbor/former PA turned studio bigwig Rory into getting involved in the movie he wants to make. While the movie plotline doesn't quite end like I thought it was leading up to, it overall seemed to work for the people involved in the way that they wanted it to, I suppose.
"The sex part of this phony marriage had turned out to be a lot more fun than he could have imagined. So much fun that he'd started to feel a little uneasy. He only had room for one person in his life, and that was himself. Chaz had been an accident."
I have to admit that the two of them taking pot shots at each other is fun, even in the phase where they hate each other. The evolution is well done, and I agreed with a line in this review about how the context of their dialogue changes. And when they finally get around to having sex, the scenes are really fun (particularly one where they're in a sex toy shop).
The other potential romances in this are also very sweet--the slow burning interest between Chaz and Aaron and the surprise interest between Georgie's dad and her agent. The agent story is particularly interesting because Paul picked Laura out as someone he could easily control--and so far she's been that and is kind of ashamed of that--but during their house arrest she stands up to him and comments that he needs to be more of a dad and less of a dictator, which he slowly realizes and starts doing, and starts getting his own life as well. As for Georgie getting her own life, she takes up recording people around the house when she realizes that some of them (which is to say, Chaz) open up more when they're being filmed, and this leads her into a new direction careerwise and otherwise standing up for herself in a reasonable manner.
Anyway, I'm giving this four and a half stars because it was near epic. I suspect I'll reread this one as often as I do Natural Born Charmer.
"Guess what, Mama! I"m now declaring the year 2001 to be "The year of the grown-up!" At thirty-seven, I think it's about friggin' time! I'll always be a rock and roll girl, a recovering addict with a bird-of-paradise tattoo on my shoulder, but in spite of all that (!) I feel myself becoming more of a woman, no longer a girl. I was driving today thinking that I've been working at what I love (acting, singing, writing, directing) for eighteen years. I've built this cabin, been married, and divorced. I've had a life!" --Carrie Hamilton
I read this one on my mother's recommendation. This will probably not surprise you.
This is a short memoir-ish thing about Carol's oldest daughter Carrie, who was a writer/singer/musician/actress/dancer and died of cancer at age 38. The book is very short and brief, skimming Carrie's birth, her issues with drugs in her teen years, her recovery, her career, and her eventual death. I felt like it was too short, because Carrie does sound like a fun, interesting person and the e-mails and faxes Carol reprints of hers are very lively. (Also, more photos, please.)
Sample quote from Carrie: "I accidentally smacked myself in the face with the mudroom door, leaving a big upside-down V-shaped welt on my cheek, like some sort of gang-related ceremonial mark. I shall adorn it somehow tonight (maybe with surgical glue and a few sequins), cause a fuss in Gunnison, and next week, perhaps, everyone I see shall have big red sequined Vs on their cheeks. I think wearing one of my boas will cap the whole thing off!" See what I mean about wanting more photos, especially ones in crazy outfits?
The last section of the book is Carrie's sorta-unfiinished (which is to say, it actually has an ending, but probably could have used more work) short story "Sunrise in Memphis," about a 23-year-old girl traveling with a random cowboy to Graceland. Both Carrie and Carol seem enamored of the story, but I was...not so much. Maybe because I'm biased about cowboys and don't find them terribly interesting since I grew up with them, or that I couldn't really get past why anyone would totally end up randomly traveling with a complete stranger like that, or whatever. Or maybe it's just not my thing.
This was a fun, entertaining, quick yet comprehensive read, covering exactly what it says on the cover. After giving coverage of sitcom history and techniques of writing for one and acting techniques (I wasn't as into those things, but then again, that wasn't so much what I came here for), he gets to the delightful descriptions and thoughts about the main core characters in sitcoms.
For the record, they are:
The Logical Smart One
The Lovable Loser
The Dumb One
The Materialistic One
In Their Own Universe
You probably already know what I'm referring to just by seeing those, but the author gave insights into them (not to mention illustrating character references and quotes) that hadn't occurred to me before. Like for example, why would a Logical Smart One get together with the Lovable Loser or The Dumb One? The author says it's because that person has lots of self-esteem and really doesn't mind being around people without it--they prefer it because they like being the smart/responsible/maternal one in control, and like caregiving. "And yes, that makes them kind of co-dependent." They also enjoy being around someone more impulsive. Good point, I hadn't thought of that before, I just figured it was...sitcom writing.
Likewise, the Lovable Loser is focused on their dreams and making them happen and picking themselves up and trying again and again. "Where The Lovable Loser's motto is "I hope, I hope, I hope," The Neurotic's motto is "I must, I must, I must!" They have their own set of rules they follow and expect everyone else to as well--and are afraid of losing control. They're also constantly thinking--yeah, I guess I'm a Neurotic!
I also enjoyed the chapter on "In Their Own Universe," where he said that those people are either thinking one step ahead, or one step behind, or one step removed. It REALLY reminded me of "A to C" thinking mentioned in the Upright Citizens Brigade Manual. The example in the book is that thinking of a baby leads to thinking of a baby shower, which leads to babies reminding them of monkeys, which reminds them of swinging from trees, what's that tree that has those long leaves.... Good explanation!
Anyway, I thought this was a great resource for acting and writing on this topic. Four stars.
And this concludes my library reading...for now, anyway.
Voldemort gives an opening speech (while yelling at everyone to look at Harry and not him). He is annoyed at some dude who's...faking his outfit? He didn't bother to maintain the costume, but he always had faith in you, Master! Luckily for him, Voldemort will go pick on someone else.
"Yet I return to find - what? A country conquered in my name?" The high voice climbed higher. "No! I find you playing ordinary politics in the Wizengamot! I find your brothers still abandoned in Azkaban!"
Yeah, we know he super doesn't approve of that. Crucio!!!!! Voldemort wonders if anyone knows why Harry's at the party and someone's all "to kill him!" Uh.
"That," whispered Voldemort in a voice chill as death, "is a little too much folly for me to credit, Mr. Sallow. You heard that theory of how I died, and tried to provoke me into repeating a mistake?"
Oops. This dumbass actually casts Avada Kedavra at Voldemort, so guess how well that goes. What's the girl for, a Dark Revel? (Oh god.) That smartass gets Crucio'd as well. He tells everyone to leave Hermione alone, even if she escapes. Another guy starts begging to go home.
"I have not yet decided if you will survive your punishment. I have less need of you than I once did, Mr. White. In two days' time the Death Eaters shall walk openly. My powers have increased, and I have just this day disposed of Dumbledore." More gasps of shock arose from the Death Eaters, Voldemort paid them no heed. "Tomorrow I shall slay Bones, Crouch, Moody, and Scrimgeour, if they have not fled. The rest of you shall go into the Ministry and the Wizengamot, and cast Imperius Curses as I direct you. We are finished waiting. By tomorrow's nightfall I shall have declared myself Lord Ruler of Britain!"
Ta-daaaaaaaaaaah! *does a little tap dance of evil* One guy, "Mr. Grim," finds this amusing and straight up says he fled English in fear of Dumbledore and lost faith in Voldemort's return. Points for honesty and showing up, Mr. Grim! You are more competent than I suspected! Now, if Harry Potter swore an oath to you, might you trust him? Uh...what? Voldemort pressures the crap out of him until he agrees.
"Good," Voldemort said coldly. "The potential for trust must exist, to be sacrificed. And for the bonder of the Unbreakable Vow... which of you shall sacrifice their magic? It shall be quite the long Vow... much longer than usual... much magic shall be required for that..." Voldemort smiled his awful smile. "Mr. White shall do."
"No, please! Master, I beg you! I served you better than any - as best I could -"
"Crucio," said Voldemort, and Mr. White screamed through his mask's distortion for what seemed like a full minute. "Be grateful if I leave you your life! Now approach the boy, Mr. Grim, Mr. White. From behind him, idiot! You must not block the others' wands! And the rest of you, you must fire if Harry Potter tries to run, even if it means striking at your fellow Death Eaters."
Ohhhhhhh no. What's the vow?
"Before us stands a great danger, who in his blundering folly has been prophesied to wreak destruction such as even I can scarcely imagine. The Boy-Who-Lived! The boy who frightens Dementors! The cattle who believe they own this world should have been more worried when they saw that. Useless, all of them!"
"Forgive me -" said one black robe in a halting voice. "Master - surely, if that is so - Master, why don't we just kill him right away?"
Voldemort laughed, a strange bitter laugh. When he spoke on his high voice was precise. "Here is the oath's intent, Mr. Grim, Mr. White, Harry Potter. Listen well and comprehend the Vow that must be sworn, for its intent is also binding, and you three must share an understanding of its meaning. You will swear, Harry Potter, not to destroy the world, to take no risks when it comes to not destroying the world. This Vow may not force you into any positive action, on account of that, this Vow does not force your hand to any stupidity. Do you understand that, Mr. Grim, Mr. White? We are dealing with a prophecy of destruction. A prophecy! They can fulfill themselves in twisted ways. We must be cautious that this Vow itself does not bring that prophecy about. We dare not let this Vow force Harry Potter to stand idly after some disaster is already set in motion by his hand, because he must take some lesser risk if he tries to stop it. Nor must the Vow force him to choose a risk of truly vast destruction, over a certainty of lesser destruction. But all Harry Potter's foolishness," Voldemort's voice climbed, "all his recklessness, all his grandiose schemes and good intentions - he shall not risk them leading to disaster! He shall not gamble with the Earth's fate! No researches that might lead to catastrophe! No unbinding of seals, no opening of gates!" Voldemort's voice lowered again. "Unless this very Vow itself is somehow leading into the destruction of the world, in which case, Harry Potter, you must ignore it in that particular regard. You will not trust yourself alone in making such a determination, you must confide honestly and fully in your trusted friend, and see if that one agrees."
Ohhhhhh, so that's where all this Hermione stuff is going. Okay, points to Voldemort for that safeguard.
"Such is this Vow's meaning and intent. It forces only such acts as Harry Potter might choose himself, having learned that he is a prophesied instrument of destruction. For the capacity for choice must also exist, to be sacrificed. Do you understand, Mr. White?"
Well, someone liked Reservoir Dogs, I think.
I'm not sure how you manage to get around the whole "road to hell is paved with good intentions" thing with this one, though. Hell, who knows with Harry, he could trip on a log and destroy something.
He didn't understand why Voldemort was not just killing him. There seemed to be only a single line leading into the future, and it was Voldemort's chosen line, and Harry did not know what came after this.
I dunno, but probably nothing good. Then again, I'm guessing he's not going to try to kill you as a way to stop the prophecy, so...there's that? Voldemort forces all these dudes to swear, and one of them is losing his magic for it.
And then it was Harry Potter's turn to repeat Lord Voldemort's words, and Harry did so.
"I vow..." Harry said. His voice shook, but he spoke. "That I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world... if my hand is forced... I may take the course... of lesser destruction over greater destruction... unless it seems to me that this Vow itself... leads to the world's end... and the friend... in whom I have confided honestly... agrees that this is so. By my own free will..." Harry could feel it, as the rite was invoked, the shining cords of power wrapping around his wand and Mr. Grim's wand, wrapping around his hand where Mr. White's wand touched it, wrapping around his self on some disturbingly abstract level. Harry could feel himself invoking his power of free choice, and he knew that his next words would sacrifice it, that this was absolutely the last chance to turn back.
"...so shall it be," said the coldly precise voice of Lord Voldemort.
"...so shall it be," Harry repeated, and he knew in that moment that the content of the Vow was no longer something he could decide whether or not to do, it was simply the way in which his body and mind would move. It was not a vow he could break even by sacrificing his life in the process. Like water flowing downhill or a calculator summing numbers, it was just a thing-Harry-Potter-would-do.
Well, that's hardcore.
Hope it works? Or else the sequel to this tome will be a lot shorter?
Okay, NOW WE'RE GONNA SHOOT HIM. No, seriously.
"I did not do that to be funny," Voldemort said coldly. "We are dealing with a prophecy, fools. We are snipping the threads of destiny one by one; carefully, carefully, not knowing when we may first encounter resistance. This is the order in which the next acts shall be done. First Harry Potter shall be stunned, then his limbs severed and the wounds cauterized. Mr. Friendly and Mr. Honor will examine him for any trace of unusual magics. One of you shall shoot the boy many times with my Muggle weapon, and then as many of you as can shall strike him with the Killing Curse. Only then will Mr. Grim crush his skull and brains with the mundane substance of a tombstone. I shall verify his corpse, then his corpse shall be burned with Fiendfyre, then we will exorcise the surrounding area in case he has left a ghost. I myself will guard this place until six hours have passed, for I do not fully trust the wards I have set against Time's looping; and four of you shall search the surroundings for signs of anything noteworthy. Even after that we must remain vigilant for any sign of Harry Potter's renewed presence, in case Dumbledore has left some unimagined trick in play. If you can think of any trick that I have missed in being sure that Harry Potter's threat is ended, speak now and I shall reward you handsomely... speak now, in Merlin's name!"
Damn. Uh, never mind what I said previously.
On the other hand, someone's gonna get his taken magic back pretty quickly, I guess.
"Now I shall ask Harry Potter one final question, and he is to answer that question for my ears alone, in Parseltongue. Strike the boy down at once if he answers with anything but hisses, if he tries to speak one word of human speech." Then Voldemort hissed, "Power I know not, it wass ssaid that you would have. The Muggle Artss I have now learned of from you, and I am already sstudying them. Your power over life-eaterss musst be comprehended for onesself, or sso you ssay. If there iss any other power you posssesss, that I may come to have, tell me of it now. Elsse, I intend to torment certain of thosse you care for. Ssome livess I have already promissed you, but otherss I did not. Your mudblood sservantss in your little army. Your preciouss parentss. All sshall ssuffer for what will sseem to them like eternitiess; and then I sshall ssend them, broken, into the life-eater prisson to remember it, until they wasste and die. For each unknown power you tell me how to masster, or other ssecret you tell me that I desire to know, you may name one more of thosse to insstead be protected and honored under my reign. Thiss alsso I promisse and intend to keep." Voldemort's smiling expression now came through as if it were a snake's gaping fangs, and the meaning that expression bore among snakes, a promise that whoever beheld the teeth was to be consumed by them. "Wasste not time in thoughtss of esscape, if you care for thosse oness. You have ssixty ssecondss to begin telling me ssomething I wissh to know, and then your death beginss."
As you know (Bob), I haven't been reading along with everyone else when they were finishing this, so it's a little late for me to do the final exam the author provides at the end of this. (Not that I would have tried, mind you, because I am dumber than a box of hair.) He gave everyone 60 hours to come up with a solution that at least allows Harry to evade immediate death, despite being naked with nothing but his wand (har), facing 36 Death Eaters and Voldemort. If someone else came up with a solution to this in time, “the story will continue to Ch. 121. Otherwise you will get a shorter and sadder ending.”
(*looks at index* It hit Chapter 22. Whew?.)
Anyway, OUCH. It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t reading along in real time at this point because I probably would have been flipping that the author hadn’t bothered to think how to write Harry out of this one. (Seriously?! Seriously?!)
“Within these constraints, Harry is allowed to attain his full potential as a rationalist, now in this moment or never, regardless of his previous flaws.
Of course 'the rational solution', if you are using the word 'rational' correctly, is just a needlessly fancy way of saying 'the best solution' or 'the solution I like' or 'the solution I think we should use', and you should usually say one of the latter instead. (We only need the word 'rational' to talk about ways of thinking, considered apart from any particular solutions.)
And by Vinge's Principle, if you know exactly what a smart mind would do, you must be at least that smart yourself. Asking someone "What would an optimal player think is the best move?" should produce answers no better than "What do you think is best?"
So what I mean in practice, when I say Harry is allowed to attain his full potential as a rationalist, is that Harry is allowed to solve this problem the way YOU would solve it.”
Hah. I never solve problems and would just end up dead. Like I said, dumber than a box of hair. So fuck if I know what everyone else would be doing...and right now I'm ending on a cliffhanger about this myself by stopping here! Grr!
So what do I give this chapter? Three stars for "hey, it's cheating to ask the readers to supply your ending!"
Well, don't get your hopes up about Harry's shooting: Voldemort threw up a dirt wall to intercept the bullets, and he gets everything but his wand and glasses (clothes included) taken away from him.
"That," said the voice of Voldemort from behind the dirt wall, "was absolutely predictable. Do you really think I would shout it aloud for you to hear, if my immortality were disrupted? Really, stupid child? Lower your wand, do not raise it up again at any time, or you die upon the spot."
Harry swallowed, and pointed his wand downward. "You would have been disappointed in me," Harry said, his own voice now unusually high, "if I'd missed an opportunity like that, I mean." There was no time to think, and Harry's mouth was operating on autopilot for trying to placate evil overlords that might have paternal feelings for you and whom you'd just failed to assassinate.
But yeah, that was both predictable for Voldie and disappointing if Harry was just a good lamb and didn't try anything.
Also, he didn't shoot Hermione by mistake, right?
Voldemort stepped around from behind the dirt wall, smiling that horrible smile that seemed to contain too many teeth. "I promised not to raise my hand or wand against you, child, if you did not raise your hand or wand against me."
"I used bullets," Harry said, his voice still high. "That's not a fist or a spell."
"My curse thinks differently. That is the puzzle piece that you missed."
"Did you think I would leave the peace between us to mere fortune? Before I created you, I invoked a curse upon myself and all other Tom Riddles who would descend from me. A curse to enforce that none of us would threaten the others' immortality, so long as the other made no attempt upon our own. Typical of that ridiculous fiasco, the curse seems to have ended up binding me, but taking no hold upon the infant with his self so lost." A low, lethal chuckle. "But you tried to end my true life jusst then, sstupid child. Now cursse iss lifted, and I may kill you any time I wissh."
Oh, crap. Are you going to kill Harry now?
"Still a fool. If no further matters remained between us, I would already have killed you."
Anyway, Voldemort announces that the Roger Bacon diary is a horcrux of Hermione. HOOOOOOLY COW. How'd he do that? Did Hermione know? Harry doesn't get it and wants explanation.
Look, I loooove exposition so much I'd practically marry Basil if he was my type, but sometimes even I'm all, "seems like too much talking" while reading this. But that said, explanation is required.
The Dark Lord was now regarding Harry with a grim look. "When girl-child died, wass in company of sschool'ss Sseer, heard prophecy sspoken that you would become force of vasst desstruction. You would become threat beyond imagination, beyond apocalypsse. That iss why I went to ssuch lengthss to undo my killing of girl-child, keep it undone."
Also, "Beyond Imagination, Beyond Apocalypse" would make a good name for a wizard rock band!
"Dare not ssay sspecificss to you. Prophecy I heard of mysself led me to fulfill it. Have not forgotten that disssaster."
Glad you learned something!
Voldemort backed further away from Harry, red slitted eyes fixed upon the Boy-Who-Lived, gun unwavering in the left hand. "All thiss, all I have done, iss to ssmassh that desstiny at every point of intervention. If ssome fate makess me fail in what comess next, idiot-child of foretold desstruction, then you musst kill yoursself to ssave girl-child. Elsse all you claim to value diess by your own hand."
"I," Harry's voice went up an octave, "I," another octave, "I really really wouldn't do that, seriously!"
Voldemort tells him to shut up or else he dies, in Parseltongue. Voldemort pulls out a detached human arm with a Dark Mark on it, and here come some Death Eaters to babysit Harry.
Some of them voiced exclamations of joy, many of those sounding rather forced; others moved forwards as though to greet their Master. Voldemort gave them all the same instruction, except that some were commanded to Cruciate Harry Potter if he moved, others to restrain the Boy-Who-Lived if he moved, others told to fire hexes and curses, others told to cancel his magic.
Thirty-seven pops, Harry counted before the black robes and skull masks seemed to stop arriving.
You know, said the last voice within Harry, the voice of hope, I think this is getting pretty bad even by my standards.
Yup. So...three stars for this chapter bumming me out with loserdom.