Previously on Reawakened, the prologue gave us a bit of backstory (through info-dumping) and we learned that the antagonist in this book will be Seth, egyptian god of chaos, and that our soon-to-be-beloved mummy prince is very galant.
Time to meet our protagonist (well one of them at least)!
The first thing that’s different from the prologue is a switch from a 3rd person omniscient narration to a 1st person narrator, which immediately put me on the defensive because they inevitably carry a higher degree of unreliability, especially when the protagonists are 15/16/17 and want to believe the entire world is against them.
(Oh god, I sound like my parents. This is it, the beginning of the end…)
So the scene opens up with our protagonist being annoyed at a taxi driver for wanting her to hurry up so he can, you know, get the most out of his job. I’ve never been to New York so I’m not really qualified to comment on ‘attitude of the taxi drivers‘ but they’re paid by the amount of fares they make in a day, so I can’t fault them for being in a hurry.
AND THEN this happens:
‘Still, it was either that [the taxis] or our family’s personal driver, who would shadow me around, reporting every move I made to my parents. All things considered, I much preferred independence.‘
So she’s rich. I mean, there are more subtle ways to introduce this element, but whatever works for you, I guess? Also, to my knowledge, New York has an extensive subway system so there really are more options than a personal shadow or annoying taxi drivers. Basically, suck it up my dear.
“Jerk,” I mumbled as I smoothed my cropped trousers and then bent down to adjust a strap on my Italian leather sandals.
Well so much for subtle, I wonder how many times the fact that she’s rich will be shoved in our faces? (Spoiler alert: it’s A LOT). And with being rich comes being attractive since this guy immediately hits on her, but, worry not, he’s not her type so ‘any further dialogue would be a waste of time‘, even though the girls at her school would be absolutely appalled she turned down a cute boy. Because, as a woman, it’s her duty to date everyone, right?
Leaving Pretty Tourist Boy behind, she enters The Met, informing us that, despite being very rich, she was ‘by no means a snob‘ (which the book just expects me to believe despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary), because it’s one of her favourite hideouts where she can observe and take notes on people she finds fascinating. I don’t know about this, but I find this mildly off-putting, I don’t think I’d like someone taking notes on me without my knowledge. This expands into an inner monologue on the fact that she has to choose a major for uni by the end of the week (I will never understand the American system where you can just start??? uni??? and??? be??? undecided??? Y’all are so weird) sprinkled with some backstory where we learn that her father’s a succesful finance lawyer and her mother works in a large media company, before we finally get a name! Well, a last name, at least (Young), through her interaction with one of the security guards, whom she calls by his first name.
After letting us know that she is so very cultured through a Shakespeare quote here, and an analysis (I guess?) of a work of art there, she asks another guard whether there was somewhere she could go that was a bit more quiet because the people were terribly distracting (it’s not like The Met doesn’t have several libraries and study rooms or anything), and he promptly points her towards the Egyptian wing, which is currently closed to visitors. This guy’s really just looking for an excuse to be fired; donnor parents or not, her benefits cannot possibly include this. But, hey, at least we now finally have her full name: Lilliana Young.
(This only took 22 pages)
Once in the Egyptian Wing, she complains a bit about the dust off the artifacts, and this is where we get into my domain of specialisation (somewhat). Museum artifacts aren’t dusty because they’re been washed at least 4 times (if not more) before even being sent to the museum, and probably a few more once they’re there before they’re deemed fit to be exposed. The ones that can’t be washed are very often not exposed because they’re usually too fragile to do much with. I understand that the dust was supposed to segway into some foreshadowing about ‘old things being stirred to life‘ but that doesn’t mean I’ll let it slide.
Anyway, Lilliana’s decision-making is interrupted by a sudden noice and (after a bit more foreshadowing) she decides to investigate instead of, you know, getting her guard buddy to explain why ‘eerie moans‘ are coming from a supposedly empty part of the museum. The first thing she notices is an ornate sarcophagus, which she takes the time to study before it hits her that sarcophagi aren’t supposed to be empty, and they certainly aren’t supposed to have footprints leading away from them. Now, any sensible character would, at this point, probably back away slowly, but not our Lilliana! Instead she chooses to investigate further at which point a hand grabds her, and the chapter ends. On a cliffhanger. Because fuck you, that’s why.