With a rumble that shook all the oceans of the world, the nightmarish spectacle roared towards them.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: So it was Rowena who invented Whitby Goth Weekend! I knew it!
This chapter sees a few answers dredged from the depths. As we all no doubt suspected, it was Mrs Cooper who was behind the grisly murders of the Ladies’ Circle, and with the help of her dark powers, no less. What’s great about this reveal is that we saw it coming, and yet it doesn’t feel like a let-down at all. Mrs Cooper is not just a murderess, she has other, grander plans up her billowing black sleeve, and they are beyond our wildest nightmares.
Then we have the down and dirty business with Silas Gull. Unlike the Mrs Cooper Mystery I actually didn’t see that one coming the first time around, and while it was a shock, it was also slightly comforting to know that Nelda’s father was not, in fact, a double-crossing backstabber who murders people’s relatives on the sly and threatens small children with knives.
While Silas does not quite inspire the vitriol of Esau, to call him unpleasant would be a grave understatement. He is a ghastly specimen, worthy of any Deptford rat, and his vileness only becomes more pronounced as we witness him taunt Sister Bridget and assault Nelda. When the Lords of the Deep and Dark finally turn up to claim the half-child, our sorrow at her passing is mingled with relief that Silas is no more.
What about the Lords of the Deep and Dark? They are a revelation, and the ghost of Lovecraft arises with them. Too vast for human (or aufwader) minds to perceive, manifesting before our heroes as terrible tentacled abominations of the deep, one gets the urge to cry ‘Cthulhu fhtagn’ and abase oneself in despair. If it wasn’t H.P.L. who inspired these cataclysmic nightmares, I’d love to know what, if anything, Mr Jarvis was drawing on to bring them to awe-inspiring life.
Matt’s Thoughts: So here we are. Whether you took a bit longer to warm up to the world of Whitby after the blood and thunder of the Deptford Mice, or whether you took to it straight away, it doesn’t matter.
We are on the Jarvis home stretch. We know these passages instantly now. The natural elements will be in full force. (Storms! Waves! Thunder! Lightning!) Supernatural light crackles and fizzes. Eerie things glow. Villains gloat. The stakes are high.
And then we get the Oh no! Moment when Ben utters the wrong incantation. I think I mentioned in The Final Reckoning read-through that there is a moment where all the options get cut off and you can’t see where it’s going. That sort of happened in Book 3 of the Mice, but here we are, second last chapter of the first Whitby book and we have no idea how this is going to be sorted out. It looks like absolutely everything is ruined.