Keeping It Real Chapter 19

So I know now that Robson hates consistency. Maybe a member of the tribe of Order once pillaged her village and now she’s on a quest to stamp it out. I say this because we rejoin Zal for the second time in the book just when I was expecting to stay with Lila. Hell, Robson, why not switch over to Dar? Is it because he’s a dark elf and only Lila and Zal are special enough to get a POV?

Anywho, Zal is, of course, waking up in his cell. This time though he’s been moved to a cell back in Otopia in a magical place called Guantanamo. The bars are iron and burns Zal to the touch if he so much as considers escaping. They’re holding him there as a sacrifice for the next Olympics which they pray the blood of a tainted elf will cleanse the stink of shame at letting elves participate in the same weight classes as humans.

Or we’re not so lucky. He is sure that Lila is there though he only has a feeling about it. Apparently feelings are to be trusted more in the palace because Zal says so. He then gets depressed because she’s not going to get a warm reception as soon as they find her. You mean the high and mighty elves might be dick heads to Lila? That’s a shock. Usually they’re so nice and levelheaded and offer all passerby warm cookies to brighten their day. Then he starts thinking about music.

He thought about the songs he had been going to write and the hope that the charm in the music and the words could effect some kind of shift in awareness among a wider population towards a new kind of openness between the races … it seemed very silly to him now. Trying it in Otopia of all places where the humans had so little use for other ways of seeing the world was manifestly dumb. He should have stayed in Demonia where they were open to ideas – too open, but open nonetheless . . .

I like how Zal had been thinking about writing songs. Was this before or after he made a fortune off of cover songs? And how the hell are the demons “too open” to ideas? Maybe they’re extremely gullible and infomercials work surprisingly well on them. That would explain why my TV is still trying to sell me rotisseries late at night in spite of the internet and why the national uniform for demonland is the Snuggie.

Zal then realizes he’s singing ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ because he’s thinking of Lila. Again, it makes perfect sense that an elf who came over, at the earliest, six years ago would know a Beatles song from the mid sixties. Yes, he wants to be a rock star but Robson writes Zal like he’s a human who knows all the things she does. I mean, aren’t there other songs that might come to mind when Zal’s thinking of a woman he’s after? There’s got to be some elvish songs or even a demonic one that sums up his feelings. I’d have him humming a demonic one to himself. Especially being as he’s supposed to have so deep undercover he thinks ‘The Exorcist’ is a drama about a young demon being driven from her home.

Then Zal notices there’s something in the lake watching him. He then tells us most elves carry some charms against ghosts but even these don’t work all the time. He got rid of his long ago because he’s a free spirit and ain’t afraid of no ghosts. Especially since he got a cell phone and knows who to call in the event of localized paranormal phenomenon. Or he doesn’t care because he’s badass or something.

Then he comments that it’s not a ghost and he knows ghosts. So why did he just talk about them? Because Robson wanted to puke detail at us. It keeps looking at him whenever he sings anything and he surmises that it’s a dragon and that there was a time elves talked to them and they were seen as good luck. Of course there was a time when demons and elves were one race.

Wait, what was that Robson? Demons and elves were the same race? Is this going to be one of those things where it turns out all the humanoid races are related? Or is it just going to be one of those things where they split as a race because of ideals? Because I could see, and would be interested, if it turned out humans were a lower caste that either escaped or were confined to earth to protect the ‘purity’ of the elvish race. But I’m going to groan if demons became the way they are because they choose to, never mind that magic is/was involved.

Zal says there are tales of dragons making spinning worlds like spiders and blah blah blah. Yet another story where dragons aren’t just mystical creatures or large beasts but basically the glue that holds all of existence together. It’s bad enough when authors throw them in there as flying taxis but this is worse. Now I feel like I’m trapped in an elevator with Paolini and I can hear his thoughts as he remembers all the things he’s ever read or watched.

‘Gee, dragons are awesome. They can fly and I bet they’d have magic. If I had a dragon, no one would ever laugh at my writing ever again. Robots are cool too, I’m glad they brought back Toonami so I can watch Ghost in the Shell. Cyborgs are so cool though not as cool as dragons but almost as cool as elves. Man I can’t wait to write a science fiction story!’

Zal says that Otopians once tried to tag a dragon and follow it. Somehow this caused them to nevwer find anything but a “rather nice handbag containing some fortune cookies“. Oh and the fortunes were all classified but I bet they were all commentary on the people it ate. ‘Could have used hot sauce’ or ‘needs butter’ or even ‘okay, now send me a mint.’

Zal figures Arie will take the dragon’s presence as an omen that her plan is blessed. Apparently attracting a dragon is the mark of ultimate innocence or sorcery and Zal doesn’t figure it’s his innocence. That’s right, it’s probably attracted to Lila’s innocence because she’s just so special that it burns to be in her presence if we’re not kneeling.

Then Zal wonders if Lila has some weapon he hasn’t seen yet and the chapter ends. Well that was a pleasant diversion, Robson. How about next time you don’t bother wasting our time and just get on with the story? Better yet, start telling us the story that doesn’t suck and make it snappy. We’re burning through the pages like Barry Allen cramming before finals.

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