Well, at least this book wasn't quite as tiresome as the previous book in the series, but that doesn't mean it was actually good. I mean, yes, if you're a fan of Mira Grant, then, no, wait, not even if you're a fan of Mira Grant. I'm a fan of Mira Grant's books from the Feed trilogy, and I found these books so incredibly sloooooooow.
Yes, we know that all life wants to live. We get that.
Yes, we know you're a worm who is in a human body and there are ethical issues surrounding that takeover. We get that.
Yes, we know that you love Nathan, tolerate Cale, and can't stand Sherman. We get that.
But say it all in fewer words.
Again, this book feels like each chapter was written as a short story, with Grant (not her real name) needing to explain (again) each part of the story's history in order to give some action. No, it wasn't needed. A small saving grace is that at least there's more action in this book than the last one.
Both of these books needed an editor who was willing to actually use her powers of editing to cut down on the repetitions. If I said this about Rowling, I can say it about Grant: Too. Many. Words.
The point of no return is a philosophical construct, an idea that looks beautiful on paper or in a computer model, but which cannot hold up under the bearing strain of reality. The point of no return is reached in a thousand places at the same time, a thousand little fractal iterations all coming together and collapsing until the center cannot hold.
"I had lived the first six years of my life going along the path of least resistance and letting other people make my decisions for me."
Welcome to most people's first 18 years of life.
The human tendency to focus on the inconsequential to avoid focusing on the traumas at hand could be completely ridiculous at times.
"Breaking things is human. It’s stupid and dangerous and irresponsible, but it’s human."
That was human nature rearing its ugly head again: Break what you can’t control; destroy what you can’t understand.
I wanted to live. I wanted to make it home. I wanted to see how this was going to end.
YAWN. Yes. We know. We f'ing know this already. This is, by the way, the only reason I kept reading this book, even though I did so at lightning speed. In retrospect, I should have just read the summary from some website.
"Being a monster is not the same as being a bad person. It just means you’re willing to eat the world if that’s what you have to do to keep yourself alive. You really want to tell me that you wouldn’t eat the world if that was what you had to do?"
“I hate that word. All it means is ‘you don’t think like I do,’ and by that standard, everyone is insane."
While the book is slow going, it does have a few zingers, bits of truth in it.
People would always be telling her who and what she had to be. At least this way, she could choose one of the things that would define her to the rest of the world.
I wanted to ask why it was our good luck, and not the bad luck of the original owner — who had clearly either become a sleepwalker or been devoured by them—that mattered here.
“Knowing the direction doesn’t mean you have to go.”
"This is not what I intended. This is all her fault."
STAGE I: GENETIC DRIFT
Unsurprisingly, this completely fits with the Sherman character: arrogant and impulsive, and completely unable to accept responsibility for his own actions. Grant got this part right.
"What if I did something wrong, and messed up Juniper the way the Mitchells had damaged me?"
Blah blah blah, no, the Sal character isn't special. ALL parents feel this way. Every. Fucking. One.
Science is a powerful tool, but like any tool, it doesn’t care whether it hurts you. Fire warms us, cooks our food, protects us from predators, but it will burn us if we let it. Fire is more than happy to eat us all alive. Science is fire writ large.
Humanity has always been disturbingly happy to sacrifice its future on the altar of right now.
Hello, block of chocolate, meet my hips.
I had said it before.
Yes, and sadly, we heard it. Over and over and over and over and over again.
It was nothing compared to what came next.
JEEZ, this was another annoying part of this book. It was full of "and you won't believe what happens next." Ooooooo, foreshadowing. Editor, cut out all of these, except maybe (MAYBE) one.
“So… I’m doing this?”
The drums had stopped.
Everything was silence.
“This is me, somehow?”
You know what? I have no idea what I was thinking when I highlighted this passage. I could go back and find it, but I don't care enough about this book to do so.
"When he came to USAMRIID to break me out, I could have screamed. I could have refused to go."
Ah. This part. This is where Sal tries to argue that despite making the best decision should possibly could at the time she made it, no, it wasn't the best decision in retrospect.
Except, YOU CAN'T KNOW THAT. Looking back like this is complete bullshit. No, you couldn't have done better. No, you couldn't have made a better choice. No, you couldn't have screamed or refused to go, because youre priorities were different at that moment and those were the choices you made.
I can't stand this historical rewriting that everyone does.
So I went with him willingly,
No, you didn't. You went under duress. There's a difference. There's a huge f'ing difference.
Who writes this crap?
Oddly, she was perfectly happy to have Beverly accompany me while she stayed behind. As long as there was a dog with me, she believed I would come back.
Dogs are like that.
Haven’t you ever noticed how when a man says one thing, and the woman says another thing, people will almost always believe the man is the one who’s telling the truth? Even if she has more proof than he does.
Yep. Same in the real world. Grant nailed that one.
“It’s interesting, isn’t it, how facts fall down in the face of appearances?
All about marketing. Thought for another post, I'm sure.
“Amateurs. Evil amateurs, which is the worst kind. Couldn’t we have had the villains we deserved?”
dead. How much time were we going to spend arguing about the dead before we started to understand how unimportant they were compared to the living?
But still, I should have found a way to stop him.
More annoying history rewriting. You know what? Sometimes you CAN'T. Especially when the author just wants to write a whiny character.
“She’s a spitfire and a half,” he said. “Always running for the hills and shouting when they don’t come to meet her.”
“It’s weird when you say things that make sense,” I said.
Fishy beamed. “I am the living incarnation of the Konami Code.”
This cracked me up.
I had asked once whether amnesia was a form of dying, and I had been assured that no, no, it was just a second chance at figuring out who you really were.
Putting yourself in harm’s way over and over again is not the most effective means of committing suicide.
Survival is the main drive of any living organism.
If we didn't know this fact before reading this book, WE F'ING KNOW IT NOW.
I considered telling him what Fishy had said, about not blaming babies for the things they did before they were born. Babies didn’t ask to exist, but once they did, they wanted to keep going.
We walk on the graves of our unborn selves, the futures we never got to live, and some of those people wouldn’t get along very well with the ones we actually decided to be.
The thought was sobering. How many people’s motives didn’t match up with what I’d taken for their actions? How many villains were the heroes of their own stories?
Every. F'ing. One. Of. Them.