So Max tells us there’s no time to think. Oh, there’s not? But there’s time to tell us there’s not time to think, huh. Maybe instead of wasting your mental power telling us that you should think instead and give yourself a little advantage.
And how the hell did these guy sneak up on Max and the rest? I thought Angel could read minds? Wouldn’t she have noticed there was a lot more mental noise getting closer? Maybe she would have noticed they were thinking about capturing Max and the rest and given warning. I guess she was just a little too distracted by the thought of strawberry shortcakes. Think about that while they vivisect your friends, little girl.
So the whole not thinking thing is a non sequitur because Jeb taught them not to think. Ok, that’s good. That’s why Max does a roundhouse kick at one of the werewolves and winds him. Also they apparently have bad breath for some unknown reason.
Then again, that’s just what Max says and I don’t trust her for a moment. I’d be willing to bet if you gave her a soapbox and a few minutes, Max would just stand there and rail on the wolfmen. What did they do to inspire such hate? Maybe one of them ate her homework and Professor Scientist McEvil gave her detention.
Max tells us that things start happening really, really fast. Almost too fast for us to follow which is awfully convenient for Jimmy. Then he doesn’t have to bother writing out an action scene or anything. They fight but get restrained pretty easily. So then Max starts bragging about how strong and awesome she is.
As weird mutant kids, we’re much, much stronger than regular grown-up humans. But Erasers aren’t regular grown-up humans, and they outnumbered us as well. We were dog meat. I struggled to my hands and knees, trying not to retch.
So Max, you like to piss and moan about the evil scientists that made or modified, or whatever Jimmy decides on, you but you don’t mind boasting about what they gave you. That’s nice and inconsistent and would probably make for an interesting character if I didn’t know that Jimmy wants us to agree with Max on everything.
The fight is pretty short and there’s a twist where one of the wolves starts talking to Max. He says Max always acted like she was better than everyone and I can believe it. Is it too late to switch sides? Can we just pretend that Max’s narration was part of a false start and go along with the wolfmen?
Anyway, it turns out that the werewolf talking to her is Jeb’s son, Ari. I guess Jeb just wanted to continue the family tradition or giving stupid names to their children. Max tells us they made him an Eraser but he’s only seven years old. I suppose the wolf transformation ages them until they’re old and big enough to be mean. Then he kicks Max and she passes out and that ends the chapter. Oh, nice Otis transition Jimmy.
Now here’s more proof that Max is a liar. In the prologue, not more than a few pages before this, Max tells us that the “Erasers” are bloodthirsty monsters. She depicts them as petty and vicious, the kind of guys that shoot you in the back and then use the hole in creative ways. You know, to store Pixy Stix and stuff.
But then when they surprise Max and the others they didn’t bring any guns along. They clearly want to capture everyone alive. Sure they’re fighting with the protagonists but that’s because they know Max isn’t going to come quietly. Yeah there are going to be a few bruises and sore heads but they’ll only knock them around until they can carry them back. And these are supposed to be barely controllable murderers?
It’s okay Jimmy, I get it. You’re going to reveal at the end that Max was a bad guy all along, right? You wouldn’t have just crapped out a manuscript that wasn’t very good and then peddled it as a “Young Adult” novel. Nah, you’re a writer who’s all about the craft.
“Max?” The Gasman’s voice was very young and very scared.
Yes, even Jimmy goes with the knockout/wake up transition between chapters. Now, to be fair, this isn’t the worst device ever. It can make for some good scene swapping because the characters often lose consciousness in a place they’re comfortable in and wake up in an unfamiliar location or undesirable situation. It’s a natural tension builder and in the right hands it can be pretty powerful. But you can’t use it too often or it starts to lose its impact and I’m worried this won’t be the last time we see it in this book.
The kids are alright, if a little beat up. But Angel’s not there. Max remembers how the “whitecoats” let chimps out to wander and sent the wolves out to kill them. Somehow this taught them how to hunt. Max then gets mad that those same scientists are the ones that have Angel.
Yes Max, because it’s clear they want to kill you all. What with the way they sent in the wolfmen with automatic weapons and had them shoot the place up and then set it on fire. Those same vicious jackasses that gave you superpowers that you take for granted.
Now, something interesting to note is that the wolfmen left the kids behind. They’re apparently still in the woods near the house they’re squatting in and they only took Angel.
Which begs the question of why? Why did they leave the others alive? ‘Okay guys, we’re going to after the kids with wings today.’ ‘Does this mean I get to bring along my favorite weapon?’ ‘No, the boss says no guns.’ ‘Okay, how about a shotgun loaded with beanbag rounds or how about that paintball gun that fires the pepper spray filled paintballs. Ohhh, how about those Tazer rounds that you can fire from a shotgun?’ ‘Uh, I asked the boss and she nixed it because that would be cheating.’ ‘Alright. Can we…’ ‘And no, she said no evisceration.’ ‘Damn it! What’s the point of having elite, killer soldiers if you don’t let them kill?’
So Max asks if anyone is up for a chase. They hear a motor and run in that direction. Unfortunately it’s the Swansons coming up the drive to spend a weekend at their cabin. Max and the rest jump the loving family of four and reenact scenes from Hostel before realizing that they know nothing about a genetic engineering project.
Then they stumble upon a black humvee, because if you’re going to kidnap someone it might as well be in style, and they assume that Angel is in there. Oh man, however will they keep up with the bad guys? Oh wait, Max and the rest open their wings and go flap flap flap after them. So if they can fly fast enough to keep up with a Hummer then why didn’t they try to fly away rather than fight? It must be because Jeb taught them not to think.