Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘Is there anything out there?’ her cracked voice rasped in hollow desperation. ‘Is there? Anything? Anyone? Up there?’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: What disturbs me the most about this chapter is the horrible fact that the Jockey’s story that he tricked Martin with a few chapters earlier turned out to be completely true. Those who read Fighting Pax before the release date (oof, I can feel the publishing industry collectively frown, unsure whether to be offended or not) do, in fact, exit Mooncaster stage left and return to their own selves.
In any other YA series, this would turn out as the Jockey surmised. But this is not any other YA series, and instead of returning to fight the good fight, Queenie is consumed with what can only be the boundless rage and hatred of the Dawn Prince, Himself, and compelled to beat Manda, her erstwhile friend, half to death with a ladle before drowning her in porridge. The hope would be that this ghastly turn of events was a malfunction, the result of her premature reading, and not what awful Austerly plans to roll out to the entire world on Christmas Day. One look at the Ismus’ smug face, however, might tell us otherwise.
Matt’s Thoughts: I’ve always found this to be the most bleak of all chapters – certainly in this book and quite possibly in the whole Jarvis canon. I think it’s because Queenie’s question: Is there anything out there? has echoed through this whole trilogy.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the things I find slightly disconcerting about horror novels that deal with anything Satanic or Devilish is that they seem to take place in a world where there is no higher Good Power. Or at least not a Power that is doing anything to stand up against evil.
And so Queenie’s question becomes the question of the whole trilogy: Who’s out there? And why are they letting all this happen? And so when Queenie hears nothing but a howling silence from the top of the CN Tower, it breaks my heart.
Also fascinating is the idea that what she most wants from God is forgiveness. To find that in a book that has come from a secular publishing house is most unusual in my experience. I would say more on this topic, but there will be opportunity for that further down the track in this book.