All right, the first chapter proper begins with everyone's FAVORITE trope...
...THE SYMBOLIK DREAM.
Yep, after the prologue of major whining, we get thrown into a symbolic dream. Thankfully, it's fairly short. Just the narrator falling into the blackest pit of blackness with a mysterious girl nearby falling alongside and yelling "Help me!". As he tries to grab her, all the narrator clutches is air and there is a flash of green sparks.
Then she slips through his fingers, he smells lemon and rosemary and there are these two lines:
But I couldn’t catch her.
And I couldn’t live without her.
*sigh* Just HAD to add in that second line. Where does this come from? This is just a girl in a recurring dream. She might not even exist. I'm not going to believe you simply CANNOT live without her. Suthors, this is such a cheap and lazy way to have the main love interests (Come on, who ELSE would the dream girl be?) all ready in twu luv with each other. I understand that dreams aren't exactly lucid, but can we stick to Freudian or other dream symbolisms, instead of using it as a crutch?
I may be stupid enough to buy this book and read it, but I'm not stupid enough too simply brush this aside. I know what you are trying to do.
Anyways, Ethan, our intrepid hero, wakes up with the classical jerking into a sitting position. Personally, I've never done this because of a dream. I've jerked awake because of a lightning storm but never because of a dream or nightmare.
Amma, the housekeeper, calls Ethan to get ready for school. He looks around his room and hears rain pouring outside and says this:
It must be raining. It must be morning. I must be in my room.
Um, of course it's raining, you just said you could hear the rain against your shutters. Unless you took an afternoon nap you didn't mention, I would presume it's morning since you JUST woke up. And, where ELSE do you expect to be, other than your own room? Unless Ethan sleepwalks and hasn't bothered mentioning it.
So, his room is warm and damp and he wonders why his window is open. Well, I can already guess why but let's play along and say it's because you opened it probably because you were hot? You DID say your room was warm and it's early September, which is still technically summer, thus very warm.
Ethan says his head is throbbing (so is mine from all the whining) and the dream disappears. From reading ahead, I call bull. God, this dream becomes beyond annoying.
Ethan says he wakes up in his generations-owned planation style house, in his nice mahogany bed where plenty of other Wates, his ancestors, slept and woke up in without incident.
As someone who doesn't have a nice mahogany bed but simply a box spring and mattress and lives in a rented, overpriced duplex?
Suthors, if you are going to have your narrator do this much bitching, actually give him something shitty to BITCH ABOUT. I'm sorry, living in a small town just doesn't cut it. He lives in a cushy house, with a nice mahogany bed, with a HOUSEKEEPER, and no financial issues to speak of. There are even more nice things Ethan has (which I'll point out when they come up) in the future. I never had an insta-owned house nor ever will. I actually moved around a lot, which is actually shittier than it sounds. Hell, my childhood home burned down a year after my family was kicked out.
Serious, I'm not even a few pages in and I want to punch his snotty face.
He stares at the ceiling, which is painted a sky color to keep Carpenter bees from nesting. By the way the sentence is structured, it seems like the fact that the ceiling is a sky color (So, blue? Purple? Orange? Red? Black?) is what is keeping the bees away. Although, I did research and all I can come up with is that the wood needs to be varnished or painted. Not a specific color, just painted.
Guess we can't have any SHOWING of Ethan's personality. The world might blow up or something.
So, Ethan says that he actually can't remember the entire dream just the falling bit. Which makes sense since people tend to only remember that last 10-20 minutes of their dreams. But, here is the part that pissed me off:
I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t lose her. It was like I was in love with her, even though I didn’t know her. Kind of like love before first sight.
Look, I'm a skeptic of love at first sight. That said, I'm willing to give authors the benefit of the doubt because of the popularity of the trope. But...love before first sight? Ethan, dude, this is a DREAM. A reoccurring one, yes, but why are you putting so much stock into this? There is no mention of you believing in spiritual side of things, hell, you mock your housekeeper for her silly superstitions. Serious, on my kobo, he talks about this dream for about six pages in one way or another (and since I'm reading my notes off the app on my iPad, the actual pages may be less). I have been dropped into this weird obsession over some dream that I, the reader, have no stalk nor care in. This is the first introduction I have to Mr. Ethan Wates and all I have is this stupid dream.
If this didn't happen right at the beginning, I wouldn't care. But, since I'm stumbling over a dream that, for all intents and purposes, is actually a VERY COMMON DREAM, and right after the whiniest prologue in existence, I'm left bored and annoyed.
Whatever. Ethan throws me a bone and says it's weird that he, a sixteen year old boy, is in love with a girl in his dreams. To which I say, technically, you aren't in love with a girl, but in love with a figment of your imagination. Which isn't anything wrong with, so long as you admit that it's a figment.
He gets out of bed to find that his iPod headphones are still around his neck. He checks his iPod to find a mysterious song on it called Sixteen Moons.
I did a little digging and the only song I could find was the one relating back to this book. Apparently it's original and sung by Michele McGongile. The lyrics were apparently written by the authors and there is a melody version and a rock version.
I'm just going to say here but I don't like this song. In the book it's suppose to be haunting, moody, and hypnotic, but I am not getting that vibe. The singer isn't projecting any emotion and the instrumentals sound repetitive and scratchy. That is just my opinion.
After showering, he starts to smell lemon and rosemary. I know what this means, but why lemon and rosemary? All I'm thinking about is delicious chicken. Mmm, chicken.
Our hero runs downstairs to find Amma, the housekeeper, has served breakfast on old blue and china plate the family calls 'Dragonware'.
First off, *flips off the Suthors' You already have Witches, don't you dare drag my precious dragons, even in name, into this.
Second, you know, I don't have nice china, or even old china. I have cheap bowls and plates that come from god knows where. We are lucky they even match. I know, they could be that cheap, crappy china but I refuse to give this snot the benefit of the doubt.
So, breakfast consists of eggs, bacon, toast, and grits. Apparently Amma force feeds Ethan to grow another foot even though he is 6'2. And, congrats everyone! You got your ONE physical description of Ethan! Please, fill in the rest of your questionnaire as you wish.
Which reminds me of the movie tie in cover...
Yeah, either Lena is a very tall girl or casting really fucked that up.
Ethan tells Amma he wants more food, this being the first day of school and all, and she slams a glass of OJ and milk on the counter. Ethan asks if they ran out of chocolate milk, since he drinks that like how other people drink coffee or pop. D'aww, look at how wonderfully healthy you are!
Amma apparently is a major fan of crosswords and spells out "A.C.C.L.I.M.A.T.E" and that he better drink his milk. They have some back and forth bickering about his clothes and hair cut which leads to this:
“When did I say that?”
“Don’t you know the eyes are the windows to the soul?”
“Maybe I don’t want anyone to have a window into mine.”
Um, I think the authors were going for the idea that his hair was covering his purdyful eyes, but I don't now what eyes being the window to the soul have to do with a haircut...
So, she tells him he is not to go outside because there is a storm a-brewin' and she can feel in her rickety old bones that there is something wrong with the storm, something BAD has been kicked up and "has a will a its own." Well, I would hope a storm would have a will of—I mean 'a'—it's own, unless people of South Carolina figured out how to control weather. You bastards.
Ethan rolls his eyes and mocks Amma for her superstitions. Apparently she likes to keep charms on the windowsills and dolls in the drawers...
Wait, dolls in the drawers? Are you trying to give me nightmare fuel?!
Ethan then stuffs the rest of his breakfast into mouth and looks down at the study where his dad basically lives, especially since mom died. Sleeps on the couch and writes all night, only coming out to get food.
I'm sure there is a medicine for that.
Wait. Dead Mom. Absentee Dad. Kooky, superstitious grandmother type. Yep, YA PNR this is!
Ethan hears a honk, which means his friend Link has arrived to pick him up.
Sadly, not that Link.
Apparently, it's SO DARK outside, it's hard to tell if it's seven in the morning or seven in the evening. Keep in mind that time.
Between the two, Link is the only one with a car but alas, it's a shitty little beater of a car. So, of course, that means we get this from our ever thankful and supportive hero!
"Link was the one with the car, if you could call it that."
Well, Ethan, where is your super nice car? You know, the one you drive all the time? Obviously, you must have a nicer car than Link or else why would you feel the desire to look down on him for owning such a beater?
Wait? What was that? YOU don't own a car?
Amma comes out and tells Link to turn down that racket or else she is going to tell his momma what he did when he was nine years old.
Seeing how Link's friend is stick in the mud Ethan here, I'm going to say it didn't involve anything actually illicit.
Link turns down the music which apparently is a demo from his band, Who Shot Lincoln (Hur dur). According to our wonderful narrator, his band has a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. Because THEY SUCK.
Well, someone hasn't seen the state of the music industry lately.
Ethan rags on how no one in the band can sing or play an instrument yet Link still lives in the delusional idea that they are moving to New York after graduation and getting a bunch of record deals.
Just, wait one second.
Ethan throws me another bone and says well yeah Link has one up on him, even if his idea isn't college. But, you know, he does have boxes of college brochures! It's just he's waiting for his dad to show them. You see he "[doesn't] want to end up like [his] dad, living in the same house, in the same small town [he grew] up in, with the same people who had never dreamed their way out of here."
*pinches bridge of nose* Look, then why all these excuses? Let's say I'm willing to accept the idea that Link actually is a sucky musician. At least he has a plan. He has ambition! He has a timeframe! He even already has ready made demo tapes he can give to record companies! Sure, there is still way more work to do, but he is still on his way to his goal UNLIKE YOU, ASSHOLE.
Gah, I really can't stand his fucking attitude.
After a little lost scene break, the boys are driving down Ethan's street that is lined with 100 year old Victorian houses. Which leads me to assume than Ethan also lives in a Victorian style house.
I don't know about anyone else, but I think these types of houses are gorgeous. Really, this is not the way to make me feel sympathy. *groan* Will the whining ever end? (No, no it doesn't.)
Ethan asks Link if he put a song on his iPod but Link continues to fiddle with his demo tapes. Our hero tries to find the song but OH THE NOES, it's not there.
Look, this book was published in December 2009 and the first iPod came out in October 2001. So, I'm going to extrapolate that this book takes place somewhere between 2002 and 2007 (since I don't have a specific iPod generation and I'm being speedy about the publishing timetable). Guess what I'm going to ask?
Ethan, dearie, I am 99.99% sure that you have some form of a computer in your house somewhere. Why didn't/don't you LOOK UP THE SONG. Just because the song doesn't exist in my lala land doesn't instantly mean it can't exist in your lala land. Maybe you can get a hint of it's origins, or lack thereof, from other than your tone deaf friend. I know this is the early to mid 2000's, but even then people looked stuff up!
Internet, it's going to be big, peeps.
Anyways, Link attempts to show him another demo when Ethan sees a car out of the corner of his eye. Then, dun dun dun, the world slows down and become quiet, only the mysterious car in focus.
Ethan stares at the car, which slides past them and turns away. The apparently strange part? He doesn't recognize the car. All the tourists have left, so there should be NO REASON he doesn't recognize the car.
*ponders* Maybe someone in town got a new car? And Mr. Know it all has not been made aware of it? Even hicks from Hickville, USA can get a brand new car and spring it on the unsuspecting citizens.
Or, or! Maybe someone just moved into town! Recently enough that they haven't been caught by the radar of the great Ethan Wates. Which actually seems quite the easy feat since he just sits on his pedestal and ignores us simpletons.
Hell, maybe Sasquatch and Ogopogo decided BC was getting crowded and are checking out South Carolina. They were getting insulted by the shiny fairies vampires.
The mysterious car of mysteries is long and black *immature snickers* and looks kind of like a hearse.
Wait, no, it might actually be a hearse.
*pauses* Do...do even funeral directors or morticians even drive hearses as their leisure cars? Might just be me, but I may find that impractical. I know there are weird people out there but...
...Nah, the authors are just trying to hit me over the head with the creepy and goffik-ness of this book. So, that was what that banging was!
Ethan watches the hearse drive away and wonders if it is suppose to be a omen for the upcoming year. Dearie, the only omen around here is for me trying to warn me of the stupidity I have trapped myself to.
Link mentions something about a new demo song and by the time he looks up, the car is gone, and so is the chapter.
*rubs face* I have one thing to say. I'm going to repeat something I said earlier:
If you want your protagonist to bitch and moan about something, that something better be something actually worth bitching and moaning about.
*salutes* See you all next time.
- Beautiful Creatures: 9:02 -- Dream on.