Now that Max and the rest are running along, and we’re slowly approaching the end of the book, how likely is it that they’ll stumble upon the “institute”? I’m guessing the odds are better than finding rock in a quarry.
We headed south and east, out of the park, hoping to get lost among the ever-present crowds of people jamming the streets.
See, that’s why you’re in charge Max. I would have said to duck into a nearby office or store and act casual as the cops will be looking for a bunch of kids running away from them. But this way, Jimmy can pretend that it’s an action novel because “exciting” things are happening.
I’ve seriously begun to wonder if Jimmy realizes that a fast paced pursuit means nothing if we don’t feel for the characters. That’s what makes chase scenes work in novels. In a movie, you can at least count on a few people being wowed by the visuals and an occasional explosion. In a book though, which has to be mentally engaging versus visually, you can’t run your characters through the motions and expect it to work. The reader has to care what happens to the characters or else it’s just a sequence that acts as an intermission in the story.
Fang put Angel down and she dutifully ran, her small face white and streaked with tears. I felt really, really bad about Celeste. Iggy ran next to me, his hand out to barely brush against me. He was so good at keeping up, following us, that it was easy to forget sometimes that he was blind. We passed Fifty-fourth Street—the police were still behind us.
That paragraph contains a hidden message. Allow me to translate. ‘Oh crap! I forgot that Iggy shouldn’t be able to run around like everyone else, blind as he is. Wait, I know what to do! I’ll mention that Iggy is amazing at keeping up in spite of his handicap. That way no one will notice I spaced it. I am so clever!’
If you didn’t want to write someone as handicapped, Jimmy, you shouldn’t have bothered. At this point Iffy is a token disabled character which really grates on me. I know it’s hard to write a character who’s crippled in someway but pretending it doesn’t affect them is an insult to everybody.
Max gripes about how they can’t takeoff and get airborne or else they’d leave the cops behind. Wait, why not? Again, this is one of those moments where the characters are carrying the idiot ball because the author forced it on them. Oh no, people will spot them. I guess it’s better to be captured by the police and then returned to the “school” for a “fate worse that death”. So Max’s refusal to fly devalues the threat of the “whitecoats”, Max’s intelligence and Jimmy’s ability to write.
There are perfectly legitimate reasons to have the kids avoid flying. I would have them unable to fly very far because their muscles were never properly exercised. That would have changed the entire first half of the book but only for the better in my opinion. Of course the real reason Jimmy doesn’t want Max to fly is so she makes it to the next scene he had on his outline.
They spot a church and run inside. Max figures that they won’t be able to claim sanctuary, this not being the Hunchback of Notre Dame and all, but they might be able to hide in the crowd.
The next chapter has them go inside where they decide to join the people praying. And so each character prays for something specific to them.
“Dear God,” said Nudge under her breath, “I want real parents. But I want them to want me too. I want them to love me. I already love them. Please see what you can do. Thanks very much. Love, Nudge.”
Really, Nudge? You love the parents that signed up for genetic testing on their unborn child? I bet they love the paycheck you brought them and they probably love the replacement children they had afterwards.
“Please get Celeste back to me,” Angel whispered, her eyes squeezed tightly shut. “And help me grow up to be like Max. And keep everyone safe. And do something bad to the bad guys. They should not be able to hurt us anymore.”
Yes, bring her back the toy that she had for less than a day and do something to the bad guys. That is to say, the kids. Especially Angel for forcing that old woman to buy her the toy which she dropped the first chance she got. Probably because she loves the attention. Oh, and Max can’t hear what Fang is muttering about.
“I want to be able to see stuff,” Iggy said. “Like I used to, when I was little. And I want to be able to totally kick Jeb’s butt. Thank you.”
Hmm, what does the blind kid want? Ok, at least Jimmy went with the obvious with Iggy. If he’d said something ridiculous like ‘please let us have world peace’ or ‘I want Angel to grow up safe’ I would have strangled him myself.
“God, I want to be big and strong,” the Gasman whispered, and I felt my throat close up, looking at his flyaway pale hair, his eyes shut in concentration. He was only eight, but who knew when his expiration date was? “So I can help Max, and other people too.”
Right. Who do you think you’re fooling, Gasman? We all know you just want to be bigger so you can kill with impunity. You just don’t want to have to rely on Iggy making you bombs as he’s starting to ask what you need all the explosives for anyway.
Max has a multi-paragraph request asking to help Angel with her teddy and to make her a better leader and blah blah blah. They continue to hide in the church and wait. Max says they feel safe and they don’t want to leave. Please let there be an angry mob waiting for them when they do, next chapter.