Back in our world, Nolan is reeling from the fact that he managed to move Amara’s body.
Amara’s magic was shifting. She’d gone from letting him witness her world from the backseat to offering him the wheel and gas pedal, and that meant— Nolan couldn’t begin to understand what that meant.
Amara’s blackouts meant Nolan’s control.
It’s obviously kind of skeevy that Nolan is getting so excited about the idea of taking over someone’s body, but you couldn’t really blame him considering he’s spent his whole life being forced to passively watch Amara’s crappy existence and share in her frequent agony.
Nolan’s dad comes into his room and starts speaking English, which apparently means that Serious Shit is going down. He comments on Nolan doing laundry.
“I figured. It’s a good thing.” Dad pulled up an old chair that mainly served as a mannequin for his business jacket. “An odd thing for a teenage boy, but a good thing.”
“I’m glad you’re showing initiative. But if I had to choose, I wish you’d take the initiative to do homework or sneak out for a date. Wouldn’t you like that better than laundry?”
Shut the fuck up Nolan’s Dad, stop pushing gender norms.
Nolan found it hard to care about what a teenage boy was supposed to do. He spent half his life as a girl. As Amara, he’d done laundry a hundred times.
Hell yeah Nolan, high-five. Totally sweg.
Serious talk for a moment, I do like that this book is tackling a lot of Stuff but I think I said previously that it does kind of read like the author went down a checklist of the sorts of Stuff that YA books don’t normally feature and decided to include it on a chapter-by-chapter basis. So this is clearly the Gender chapter, whereas previously we had Sexuality chapters and Disability chapters and some Race chapters. I’m not by any means complaining about this, but it does feel just a bit artificial at times.
Anyway Nolan’s dad stops reinforcing the gender binary and they briefly argue about his expensive pills, Nolan obviously trying to convince his parents to stop paying for them but unable to actually tell them why he’s so sure they’re never going to work. Afterward he sees his sister rehearsing for a school play and agrees to help to try and distract himself from Amara and her adventures.
Amara and co have arrived at a different island and found a place to hunker down and hide. There’s a slightly confusing bit where Jorn is wizarding and Amara comments that she can’t really see the spells as much as she used to, and states that backlash from Jorn’s spells is a big enough worry for her to want to stay out of his way (any magic interacts with her healing enchantment, remember). I am betting this will be relevant again later.
This time, instead of a temple, she drew three lines. Three blackouts. They had one thing in common. She’d been in danger each time. She might’ve called on the spirits without realizing it, like a defense mechanism, instinct.
Amara, I know our boy Nolan is pretty cool but I don’t think I’d describe him as a “spirit”.
Amara sees Jorn skulk off somewhere with a mirror and realizes he’s contacting the network of support agents they use to get money and recruit servants to replace the ones that get killed. She speculated that if there are mages among them they might be able to explain her blackout.
Following Jorn was stupid under normal circumstances. Jorn’s mood lately made it even stupider.
Amara did it, anyway.
omg Amara no D:
A breeze carried his voice with it. “. . . I can track Cilla if she runs. No, I’m worried about Amara. I can handle her, but these blackouts . . .”
“Blackouts? Plural?” The other man swore.
“According to Cilla, yes. She told me out of concern. But it’s not just that the blackouts might put Cilla in danger—”
If it continues, bring her to Drudo palace. In the meantime, I’ll send one of us to help. I’d go myself, but I don’t know how much Amara remembers.
EVEN MORE INTRIIIIokay.
Basically the gist of this is that Jorn is contacting people in high places. Like, city ministers. Specifically the minister from the palace Amara served in way back as a kid, eg Minister Ruude- the guy who usurped the throne and (supposedly) sent Cilla on the run in the first place.
Can I just say that on top of all the other reasons I love this book so far, we now have this sudden turn into MAGIC JAMES BOND FUCK YEAH.