Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Conflict, Chapter 27-28

Chapter 27

After Maeti’s brush with death, she and Dionysus decide to jump ship.

That seems…rude.

Okay, so Maeti got mauled, whatever. There’s nothing saying she’s still grievously injured, just that Dionysus got “spooked” and needs to Protect His Woman, Y’all.

“Maeti wanted to stay with Gillian, but realized that she needed Dionysus as much as he needed her. She couldn’t bear to see the fear in the eyes of her mate.”

Whatever, I guess I could buy such lameness if it weren’t, you know, this dire rescue mission that the entire “plot” hinges on. Why bring these two along in the first place? It’s not like they’ve actually done anything of significance except Dionysus set people on fire, which Kimber could apparently also do with her flamethrower.

totally pointless

Here’s a telling quote for you.

“She had known that Dionysus was reporting back to the Romanian Count, and didn’t relish the thought of either Aleksei’s worry or his anger.”

So Maeti can’t stand Dionysus’s upset, and Gillian is scared of Aleksei’s. Seriously and sincerely, what kind of backward bullshit is this?

Their human pilot is black HOLY FUCK IT’S A BLACK PERSON IN THIS MONOCHROMATIC BOOK oh wait just like every other brown person (which is like two), he’s acceptably light-skinned.

There’s some needless description of their trip to England aboard the cargo plane, and when they get there, Trocar has to tell her what to do to locate Tanis. She claims she’s “not thinking clearly,” but given her behavior so far, all I can think of is this:

derpina

Kimber says, “Whatever it is, Cap’n, you need to snap out of it and get your shit together before we walk into something we can’t handle.”

audrey hepbern smile

Oh, Kimber! For the moment, I sure do like you.

We’re given a review of Gillian’s accomplishments again with a mishmash of information that would have been more relevant at the beginning (like the fact that she’s retired–up until now I thought she was active duty). She essentially does a Google search to look for “any establishments in London and the surrounding areas that might be Vampire-owned or at least affiliated.” How does one know if a place is vampire-owned? Is there some kind of hint or registration system? This might actually be interesting to know, so of course it’s not explained.

And then we’re told over the course of a full page how this paranormal war could be bad because reasons.

Chapter…ends? wat?

Okay, so I guess I’ll be doing two chapters today.

Chapter 28

Blah blah blah, she checks the news and finds out there are more vampire attacks, and the human media is starting to pick up on the fact that some paranormal shit is going on. They think it’s werebeasts and blandly assure the perpetrators will be caught and dealt with. Meanwhile, Dracula is creeping up on people still. See, this I like. It creates tension (actual real tension, for once!) when the protagonist knows or realizes something that most people don’t.

The plan is for the group of faceless side characters to split up. Apparently they’re going somewhere with a dress code, so Gillian and Kimber have to dress up “as something from Dial-a-Slut and Tawdry Togs for Tasty Trollops.” They’re wearing shit I don’t think I’d associate with sluts OR trollops, including marabou feathers, sequins, and leopard print, and they’re both packing more gear than a fully-outfitted soldier in a combat zone. Between them, they have an uzi, a sawed-off shotgun, two crossbows, grenades, a dartgun, and three handguns. Jesus Christ, they must have Mary Poppins bags. Who needs all this shit, and exactly how does this make them s00p3r s3kr1t operatives? I’m sure this is some kind of show of badass sexiness that they can dress up like “sluts” and still be awesome because they can handle all these weapons, y’all.

The guys show up dressed as Jean-Claude from Anita Blake, someone’s goth-convention idea of a bondage outfit, and an extra from a porn set in Ancient Rome.

Trocar and Pavel (goth bondage and porn extra) are apparently going to a bondage club, and Jean-Claude Luis is going to a nicer part of town. Let me just pause and wonder what the fuck kind of party in a “classier neighborhood” would welcome someone wearing “a black silk shirt laced at his chest and wrists, very tight black linen pants, boots and a black cape lined with emerald green silk.”

sale at hot topic

Here’s more thrilling description of what’s happening:

Trocar promised to make arrangements at the Park International Hotel near Knightsbridge for the next few days . If they found Tanis they could always check out early; if not, they’d have to adjust their strategy. They’d all meet there at dawn. All except Luis. He’d find a place to rest in one of the many parks around the city. Vampires didn’t need coffins to sleep if earth itself was available.

how interesting

Aren’t you glad to know they could check out early? And what a shame they’d apparently have to make other arrangements if their hotel reservation ran out. I HAVE SUCH EXCITE

Gillian and Kimber go to the Tower of London, and mysteriously Gillian’s empathy, which was apparently unfazed by watching vampires get torched earlier, is now making her hesitate because of the Tower’s violent history. She acts as a tourist and asks one of the guards to explain the whole fucking place to her, just in case you were wondering. One wonders what the guards think of two women dressed like they’re going to an anime convention showing up with giant lumpy bags that couldn’t possibly contain weapons.

ShootSelf

They go into a chapel to summon a ghost. Gillian, for some reason, isn’t particular about which one. Given the Tower’s history, I’m just certain that’s a wonderful idea. As much as I would dearly love for, say, an enraged Anne Boleyn to sweep in and kill them both, the best we get is Margaret Pole and Walter Raleigh, who give them no useful information. Christ, now I’m convinced Gryphon is just dumping words into the word bucket to make it weigh heavier.

bucket

They go to Highgate Cemetery blah blah. “The cabbie’s accent was of the lower class but he’d been friendly and polite.” Because why not a little classism while we’re at it?

why the fuck not

And now they’re in the cemetery, because heaven forbid there’s a modicum of originality in this gigantic pile of horseshit. They come across a gang of vampires who are tormenting a human, one of whom is wearing some kind of faux-Satanic outfit. Because of course he is. Gillian informs us of who/what the Horned God actually is and then proceeds to talk about religion and supernatural people for four paragraphs before returning to the action. Remember the vampire who was tormenting the human? Every time this happens, I always picture everyone stopping completely and staring at each other while the protagonist monologues in her own head.

The vampire is a combination of 21st century goth and Victorian here:

“Bitch.” The Vampire hissed again. “I shall feast on your sweet blood, then tear out your throat.”

Aren’t you glad he’s informing her what he’s going to do? God, this shit is getting so I don’t even have to make fun of it anymore.

So Gillian and Kimber beat the shit out of the vampire and Gillian utters these sparkling lines:

“Let me tell you something, asshole. I am your worst fucking nightmare. I have contacts all over the city and I will be all over your ass like the black plague if you abuse another Human.”

 

“You tell your master to tell his master , that I am gunning for all of you.”

Seriously! I don’t even have to try!

 you're making this too easy

Gillian continues torturing the vampire in a way that I’m sure is supposed to seem badass but does absolutely nothing but halfway convince me she actually is a sociopath.

They don’t get anything from Vampire Lackey either. Suddenly “there was an immense whirring overhead as though a plague of locusts was descending upon them.” Ooohh, I wonder who’s going to show up to the Pop Culture Supernatural Party next.

There’s like two paragraphs of some halfway decent action where she’s running from this locust cloud, which, as you can probably guess by now, falls utterly flat when she realizes they’re pixies.

PS, where the fuck did Kimber go?

Action stops again so she can tell us about pixies. They’re “the cannon fodder of the Fey world,” which means we’re going to have yet another talky scene that will be pointless.

filler

Oh, well, maybe not. One pixie bites her–apparently they’re poisonous–and they carry her off like a crowd of lavender Ewoks.

Takeaways

Well, I wanted something to happen, but now that it’s happening, it’s even more stupid and boring holy fuck. This is like an endless pod racing scene.

We jump from pointless descriptions of travel to pointless descriptions of London to pointless encounters with throwaway characters that show off some basic knowledge of British history to motherfucking pixies, which are only half a hair more palatable than the fucking mummy. I don’t even know why Gillian and Kimber are here or what the fuck they’re trying to do other than poking around trying to see what shit they can stir up. Instead of pixies, I sincerely wish she actually had been mobbed by locusts, or, even better, by wasps. The poor stunted plot has wandered off to find someplace dark and cool to die a lonely, agonizing death.

Chapter 26 here. Chapter 29 here.

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