Are we finally going to get some action and real conflict? Are we really?? Brings a tear to my eye, it does.
Gillian tells everyone there’s another body nearby. What? How the fuck does she know this? I flipped back several pages to try to figure it out, but I can’t. Is this a publishing error or has Gillian randomly developed prescient powers?
Gillian asks Aleksei to summon someone who can track “blood spoor,” by which I assume she means just…the smell of blood? Aleksei says he’ll do it and they argue pointlessly because she wants him to look after Perrin and presumably keep him away from, you know, the dead body. Aleksei ignores her and he and Perrin show up. Aleksei is worried because she’s clearly freaked out. He doesn’t know why, and she won’t tell him.
She won’t fucking tell him. She sidesteps the question. Are you serious?
Remember when she was a liar liar pants on fire for no goddamned reason? Well, no, let’s be fair. She often lied because she was afraid of the reaction of the abusive motherfuckers that surrounded her. Other times she lied just because she fucking wanted to, like when she lied in the first book about…I don’t even remember what it was at this point, but it was a lot of shit. I do remember that when she lied about it, she put people in danger. She’s doing the exact fucking thing now.
In the midst of people randomly moving around, arriving and leaving, it occurs to Gillian to wonder where Jenna is. Tanis goes, “Dio caro!” because he can’t even exclaim in Romanian. He “mist[s] out, streaking back toward the castle.” Uh…does anyone remember whether any of the vampires have turned into mist before? I don’t, but then…
Ivan, who’s apparently a coroner or crime scene tech or something, shows up, and there’s some crime scene chatter that belongs in a much better book. Gillian asks if this woman’s uterus has been removed. I guess this is a Jack the Ripper thing. Ivan trundles over, lifts the cloth she’s under, and says yes immediately. Okay…admittedly I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, but can you tell if a uterus has been removed just by looking at a body? Even if it was torn open, you’d think…
Oh, god, whatever. I know, I’m asking way too much.
Gillian quizzes Ivan on the series of bodies that have been found recently. Why doesn’t Aleksei know about this already? He’s the worst majordomo ever. Also, we still don’t know how the fuck Gillian knows there’s going to be another body or what the fuck this has to do with Jenna being missing.
She takes off, Aleksei tells her to stop, she doesn’t, and Perrin fucking grabs her. Because OF COURSE HE DOES. She considers breaking away from him but doesn’t want to hurt him because “he’d been abused enough” oh god here comes the heartburn.
“He’s physically restraining me, but I COULDN’T POSSIBLY tell him to stop because he’s been ABUSED and I don’t want to hurt him!”
Perrin even orders her to tell her what they know–orders her–“in a voice that said he expected compliance.
I am no longer surprised, but still horrified, at the continuous abuse she receives from every fucking cock-wielding motherfucker in these books. It is seriously like these books were written just to abuse her. I sincerely wish I could believe these books were written as a satirical commentary on systematic, institutional sexism, but it’s more like the Simarillion poster child of said same.
Anyway, Gillian complies (ugh) and tells them she thinks it’s Jack the Ripper. Aleksei and Perrin have no clue who she’s talking about. I can’t decide whether this is plausible given reality or worldbuilding, since yes, Jack the Ripper was an English serial murderer, but it’s been, you know, a few minutes since then, and the name has made its way into the wider Western culture. I could buy that Perrin would be ignorant, but presumably Aleksei could be aware of a) a serial murderer and b) a fucking dangerous vampire.
Wait, though. Jack was in the same house as Tanis. Presumably he tortured Tanis. Why doesn’t Aleksei know about him???
At least Tanis recognizes the name. That’s…something.
Gillian gives a little treatise about Jack the Ripper’s kills, which she studied in college. Okay, I’ll bite, given that I have a partner who studied serial murder as part of a degree in psychology. I guess we’re meant to figure out that Jack is re-enacting his original kills for Gillian.
She tells them this is the Catherine Eddowes kill and that she’s worried Jenna is going to become the Elizabeth Stride kill, which was done on the same night. This is some advanced Mentalist logical leap shit, but okay. I’m just going to be a smug asshole here and note that Stride was found before Eddowes, so if Jenna was Stride, she’s already dead. Just saying.
She immediately comes to the conclusion that she needs to “[use] herself as bait and [take] a major potshot at his ego.” This is bog standard “hero offers themselves as sacrifice” plot and I have no problem with it, but I don’t get the potshot at his ego thing. Is she just going to annoy him to death? She’d be good at that.
Tanis is freaking out that they won’t have time to save her and sweats blood (gross). There’s some argument about who’s going to go with Gillian because what you do when you’re worried you won’t have time to save your friend is dicker over who’s going to go save her. Send ALL THE PEOPLE, for fuck’s sake, if he’s so dangerous.
Perrin also freaks out, and there’s a genuine moment where he grasps the reality of what’s actually a sincerely awful situation. If this were consistent with what I knew about the character, who is by turns shy and sheltered and abused and streetwise, I’d appreciate it more.
Gillian says, “Jenna is going to be dead soon, hell, she may already be dead while we’re standing around discussing.” Comma splice aside, YOU ARE INDEED CORRECT STOP FUCKING TALKING OKAY
I’m skimming at this point because they are still fucking talking. Is this finally over?
Perrin: “What I ought to do is spank you until you promise that you will not do this insane thing, but I will pray for your safety and support you instead.”
What a guy. Isn’t he the greatest guy? So great. Terrific. Believe me.
But oh, Aleksei means it; he’s going to spank her as a “disciplinary measure, not foreplay.” I ask again, what is with the spanking?
During her goodbye to Aleksei, it should be noted that they get handsy and flirty with each other, then she “flipped her hair, then sashayed away for his viewing pleasure, waving backward as if she hadn’t a care in the world.” Have I mentioned her best friend is presumably in danger?
As the chapter shambles to a close, we find out Perrin doesn’t know Aleksei is a vampire. Whut?
Like…there are a few moments of potential in this chapter, as if the author’s interest in the plot was rekindled for about 30 seconds before the flock of thought pigeons started shitting again. But it feels like I’ve seen the rest of it before, many times: lying for no reason other than to create more conflict, casual physical manipulation by men, casual references to physical abuse that she blows past without seeing a problem, everyone dragging their feet instead of actually doing things, inappropriate moments of humor in what is actually a dire situation. This chapter is really just a microcosm for this entire series.
56% of the way through the book. Fuck, really?