Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘That’s some serious megaton magic.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: The second I saw that ‘a colour a day‘ rhyme while rereading this I muttered ‘nope, nope nope!’ into my keyboard. (Yes, Matt, I ended up getting this one on ebook.) Then I saw ‘Scourge Yellow’ and my ‘nopes’ got louder.
Most of the time, Robin’s books make evil and enjoyable reading. I love me a good peeling, a grisly mother’s curse or werewitch coven, a necromancer apothecary being dragged shrieking into the fires of hell. There have only been a clawful of things that have truly scared me in Robiny canon so far, and they are, in order: a certain malevolent mechanical from Deathscent, a certain magically animated something-or-other from The Fatal Strand, the Punchinello guards from Freax and Rejex, and Scourge Yellow. (Actually I think the Punchinellos deserve to be first in that list as all the others aren’t fully sentient, but frankly, I don’t want to give them that level of influence.)
Please, readers all, do list your True Robiny Fears in the comments. Keep me company in my abject, unfounded terror. Mine all work on me because, like all good scares, they feed on my specific fears and phobias. (Lordy do I hate Punch and Judy!) In the case of Scourge Yellow, it’s more of an ‘adult fear’ thing – I have a horror of substances throughout history which seemed harmless but turned out to be the opposite. To use an example from this chapter, the idea that paints once contained arsenic and lead is just. So horrifying. To me. And people used them. With no idea.
And now Lil has used the yellow block with no idea of the plague that’s about to sweep across her beloved home town! I hate it! Thanks for the nightmares, Mr Jarvis!
Matt’s Thoughts: One of the things that I loved about the original Whitby trilogy was the combination of ‘small village’ humour with the supernatural darkness, and this chapter is a nice nod to that. The difference this time is that the local officials and police aren’t ignorant about the existence of magic in Whitby, they just have no idea how it all works.
One thing I should also mention that I don’t think quite happened in the first Witching Legacy book is the usage of actual pop songs. I noticed this first in the Dancing Jax series, where Mr Jarvis threw in an extraordinary amount of pop culture references. (Many used to stunning effect, but I’ll get to that next year!) We’ve amused ourselves on here with our own playlists and musical imaginings for the past nine books, but it’s always interesting when we get something specific – in this case, T. Rex singing ‘Hot Love’. It immediately adds a new layer to Cherry when we know what sort of music she listens to.
And when you see this live video, it does look like T. Rex shared Cherry’s love of colour. In fact, she was probably at the gig …
But the fun is short-lived because that yellow paint seems to be making people sick …
P.S. To respond to Aufwader’s call for Real-Life Robiny horrors – the ideas of his that actually disturb me – is a concept in Dancing Jax, but I’ll save that for next year. But of the books that we’ve read so far, I think the concept that gets to me most is the Black Plague of The Alchymist’s Cat and just how comprehensive that particular disease was. (Scourge yellow I find I can distance myself a bit from, but I can understand Aufwader’s distress!)