Bookish musings · Chapter by Chapter

Reawakened: Chapter 4 | A Series of Snark

Previously on Reawakened, We got a bit of backstory which only messed up our timeline even more, and Christian Grey: Mummy Edition, aka Amon, controlled Lily’s mind and body into helping him somewhat navigate New York until the poor girl just had enough and snapped for the third (or fourth time?) in the chapter and was surprisingly succesful in dumping his ass.

Shame it doesn’t stay that way…

With the opening to chapter 4 comes more foreshadowing as we follow Lily home to Hotel Helios (that’s the greek word for ‘sun’, btw, and Ra, later Amun-Ra, is the Sun God), because this book just seems to be competing with The Mortal Instruments to determine which one can shove the most foreshadowing in your face. All the while she’s complaining about the fact that her penthouse isn’t an actual house (with a garden, and a white picket fence, and a big dog, and basically the very embodiment of American Suburbia) but rather an apartment in a city with no grass, which doesn’t make it feel like home, unlike her grandmother’s farm.

Let’s count the stereotypes shall we?

  • Special Snowflake MC doesn’t feel at home in her own house
  • she doesn’t think the city can be a home (I’d say fuck off for that Lily, but everyone’s entitled to their own preference here)
  • her grandmother’s house, however, is a home
  • her grandmother owns a farm
  • her grandmother lives in a small town

And to think these are only the opening pages of the chapter!
On another note, why is there this obsession with romaticising small towns in YA, and media in general? They’re never this idyllic and marvelous little bubble where everyone is nice to each other and you’re all friends. Mostly they’re xenophobic, a whole other bunch of -phobics, and all up in your business. I could not breathe the wrong way this summer without someone going to my mother and telling on me as if I were a child.

Moving right along, she gets to the hotel where Herb, the hotel doorman, reassures Lily that she isn’t ‘one of those dramatic young women always vying for attention’ after she tells him he wouldn’t believe the day she’s had. Fucking spare me your shaming Herb, the last two chapters of it were enough. And then there’s a description of her actual apartment, which is only to remind us of how totally rich but completely impersonal her family/life is because everything about it is cold to her except the Chihuly chandelier:

I pause on this because of this phrase:

The softly lit golden balls, drawn curlicue ribbons, and twirled shells had a wild kind of beauty that beckoned me to stretch beyond myself, to use the heat of experience to shape the grains of sand in the emotional desert that was my life into something as rich and precious as the Chihuly’s spun glass.

I had to read this second a couple times before it started making sense and then I ran it by my best friend who promptly asked me whether or not I was reading fanfiction because this kind of sentence shouldn’t be in this kind of published book. Not only is it confusing on a syntactic level (hello bad editing), it sounds so beyond pretentious I had to put down my phone, take a deep breath, and just calm my urge to physically throttle something (or someone, preferably Lily).

And then we finally get to Lily’s room, which is supposed to be her sanctuary from the cold and impersonal penthouse except it’s decorated with Victorian Era furniture. If you wanted freedom, you couldn’t have picked a style further from that since the Victorians suppressed everything. It’s almost as if no thought or research went into creating this book. What a surprise. Then there’s more descriptions of how rich she is, which brings me back to an earlier point of mine: how completely juvenile the writing is. The first time I ever wrote something longer than 2 pages, I too spent about 10 pages describing my ideal house but I was 12 at the time, not a published and best-selling author. There is literally no need to tell me her feet ‘sunk into the thick carpet’ or that she had a ‘huge gilt mirror’, not to mention this constant display of wealth isn’t attractive, or dreamy, or anything other than irritating, specially considering the fact that it in no way contributes to the narrative.

When she finally gets moving again, she decides it’s time to relax in a bath after having taken 4 ibuprofen pills (is this a subtle way of saying she want to kill herself by ODing? Because 4 pills seems excessive). I’ll spare you the description of bathroom because, you guessed it, it’s also over the top rich, and skip right to the part where she falls asleep and, upon waking, hallucinates that she’s in a sarcophagus before ««rationalising»» the whole thing by blaming:

  • low blood sugar (correct me if I’m wrong but I’m fairly sure you don’t hallucinate with low blood sugar)
  • her migraines
  • her own paranoia (because, after a day like that, she’s not entitled to be a bit paranoid. Okay.)

I’ve spoken to people who have serious conversations with trees and the sun all while being more rational than Lily.

Once Lily’s safely away from the risk of drowning, the book just has to dote on her a bit more by telling us how tidy she normally is:

Unplugging the drain and deciding to let our housemaid, Marcella, clean up— something very abnormal for me, and something I knew she would devise a secret punishment for later.

Because apparently showing is too mainstream. Also, why would Marcella, whose job it is to tidy up the penthouse, punish Lily? I’m not saying Lily should make her job harder by leaving a mess but it’s not like she wrecked the bathroom, from the sounds of it she splashed a bit of water on the floor which isn’t??? The end??? Of the world???? I don’t understand the logic behind this sentence, then again what else is new?

Then, in a burst of clarity, there’s a moment of self-awareness, where Lily recognises that she’s not so different from her parents, in that she wants her life to be somewhat organised rather than chaotic (so I guess the chandelier thing from earlier is out? Good), but she still hates herself for it because reasons??? She’s interrupted by the arrival of her mother who, honestly speaking, doesn’t sound like so much of a bitch at first. From Lily’s POV, so far her mother’s been described as this completely frigid and controlling person but I was more than willing to chalk that up to unreliable characterisation until this line:

“You know how tolerant I am of your little hobbies.”

and

I experienced a brief moment of panic as she hesitated over my sketchbook. If she decided to confiscate it, I didn’t know what I’d do.

Was it really necessary to make her a bitch? Really though? Keep in mind, Lily is a senior, close to being an adult, and she legitimately believes there’s little wrong with her mother confiscating things from her as if she were a child. I mean, I’m surprised her mother’s not a step-mother instead to complete the trope.

After this awkward exchange, it’s time for us to take a drip down to Dream Land. Because those are always fun and useful (not). Surprise, surprise there’s more not-at-all-subtle foreshadowing with beetles, crocodiles, and Lily losing something that is ‘precious and perfect’ (let me guess? Her love for Amon/just Amon?) to an evil/dark entity. THE WHOLE POINT OF FORESHADOWING IS ITS SUBTLETY WHY IS THIS NEWS??????????????

*deep breath*

Okay, I’m better now. Lily wakes up and, after rationalising that she must’ve left the door to her balcony open last night and forgotten about because (because she’s so rational) there’s this:

I rubbed the head of the large stone falcon […]. I believed, though I’d never admit it, that the gesture brought me luck.

For those not in the know, Horus is very closely associated with falcons in Egyptian Mythology. Following this book’s mythology (and questionable logic), Lily staying at Hotel Helios and being attracted to falcons means it’s her destiny to be The Chosen One who saves the world. I am holding back actual tears at the lack of subtlety here because it’s blown so far past ‘irritating’ that it’s now in the ‘painful’ category.

The chapter ends with Lily discovering she’s now solar-powered (or at least the sun ‘siphons away some of the pain’) and Amon just popping out of fucking nowhere to let her know that:

“The sun makes us feel strong, Young Lily. As I am bound to it, you are bound to me.”

I was wondering when we’d see him again.

Tallies:

Darwin Awards: 1 (2? Would you consider taking 4 pills recklessly idiotic?)
Lily Is Rational™: 3
Lack of subtlety in symbolism/foreshadowing: 4
Stereotypes: 5
Lily Is Not Like Other Girls™: 2

Excuse me while I drown myself in [insert comfort food/substance of your choice here].

 

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10 thoughts on “Reawakened: Chapter 4 | A Series of Snark

  1. That whole chandelier thing is *ridiculous.* How did it get through editing? (And how did that chandelier get into their penthouse in the first place, if it’s exactly the opposite of what her parents would’ve wanted?)

    Regarding Lily’s furniture: I think perhaps you forgot that she’s SUPER CLASSY (capslock to emphasize the classy), and not like those other girls–the ones who have, like, IKEA furniture and hammocks and lofted beds and beanbags. Those other girls and their common taste are sooo beneath Lily, remember.

    (Siiiigh.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, of course, I’d forgotten Lily is on an entirely different level than us plebs. Thank you for reminding me of this absolutely crucial fact. It’s not like she doesn’t mention it Every. Other. Paragraph.
      The editing is a mess, which is fitting if you consider that the book is also a mess.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hey now, if she doesn’t tell every other paragraph, HOW WILL YOU REMEMBER HER AWESOMENESS? It’s not like the book could reasonably expect its readers to make their own judgement of her character (etc).

        (Maybe the book actually does know how awful Lily is, and is hoping to drown out the reader’s condemnation by constantly yelling “LILY’S AWESOME SHUT UP”?)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. ooh you just mentioned this!! Love this post- gosh can she really cram *that many* cliches into one book let alone a chapter?!? And gah that sentence- i’m dying from pretentiousness overload!!hahahaha I don’t know why she’s blaming the hallucinations on low blood sugar when she just od’d on ibuprofen (although that number would probably just make your head a little fuzzy and give you stomach upset) Great post!! I like your snark!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The amount of clichés in these chapters amaze me, let alone the book itself, it’s often too much. Glad you like it! I figured it was about time I did one of thses, if only to rant about how *bad* the series itself is (spoiler alert: if you think this is bad, the second book is even worse. Yeah I didn’t think that was possible either)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think examples from this book need to be used in teaching writers everywhere HOW NOT TO DO A SIMILE OR METAPHOR. PLEASE. It stings like a swarm of yellow jackets angered by an unwary lawn-care specialist named Carl who ran over them with a lawnmower in the suburbs on a gloriously temperate midsummer’s day … and I happen to be allergic to yellow jackets.

    “The first time I ever wrote something longer than 2 pages, I too spent about 10 pages describing my ideal house but I was 12 at the time, not a published and best-selling author.” Hah! You and me both. I still have it, too, for when I need to be reminded that I actually HAVE improved over the years. It hurts to read it, now… but I think it might still be better than this. By the time I was 12 my mother (she of the Bloody Pen) had managed train me away from this level of bad-writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This book in its entirety should be used as an example of ‘HOW NOT TO WRITE A BOOK’ if you ask me. The cringe is so srtong when I read my old pieces of writing, oh my god, where do I even begin? But you’re absolutely right, it makes me realise just how much better I’ve become so I guess it’s worth it. I’m guessing Houck did not, actually, do this which is why we’ve ended up with this published travesty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Every writer and artist starts by producing crap. It’s all about working to improve. Though it’s no great encouragement when one sees crap in print. 😛

        Like

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