If a Minor Character Falls in a Forest and No One is Around to Hear It, Does It Make a Sound? Reflected In You Chapter 16

Remember those Uncle Jeb’s Cave Tours mugs that we were all coyly going all, “Oh, how silly it would be to make such mugs! What a delightful hypothetical, haha!”, and then you guys were all, “But Matthew! But Ariel! Why, if those mugs were real objects which we might hold in our very own hands, why with our very own lips we would drink coffee or tea or perhaps even hot chocolate from such wonderful creations!” Or something like that? Anyway my point is they are real now.

It’s the original Uncle Jeb’s Cave Tours mug we teased you with when we finished The Host, and because you guys are so awesome/we have too much power, it also comes in a TRAVEL MUG VERSION for when you really want to feel like you’re going on a tour of the cave. This store is hosted through Spreadshirt, which actually means we can sell these things with alarming regularity now, because, again, we have too much power.

Casual reminder, if drinking hot beverages isn’t your thing, but reading eBooks is, Bared To You: The Bad Books, Good Times Reading Companion is still new and awesome, should you desire something new and awesome that isn’t a mug. FIRST PERSON TO SEND US A PICTURE OF THEMSELVES READING OUR EBOOK WHILE DRINKING FROM OUR MUG GETS AN ENTIRE POST ABOUT WHAT AN AWESOME PERSON THEY ARE.

In other exciting news, we’d like to congratulate blog reader E.H. Taylor for winning the first Bad Books Good Times contest, and as a result, my annotated copy of Reflected In You, when we finish reading it. Speaking of which…

Chapter 16

So the last chapter gave us the rather shocking and daring plot twist of killing off Nathan, who was basically the novel’s only plot device. So now, with four chapters to go, how exactly is this gonna play out?

“How about you, Mr. Cross?” [The detective] moved to Gideon. “Would you mind telling us where you were yesterday?” […]
“Why would Gideon have anything to do with him?” [Eva’s dad asked.]
“That’s a really good question.” As I gripped the edge of the sink, I bowed my head and closed my eyes. That was what had driven the wedge between me and Gideon – Nathan. I knew it.

Okay, just so we’re clear on this, this is actually the entire narrative arc of Reflected in You by this point:

  1. Eva and Gideon are in a relationship, but things aren’t great!
  2. Subtle clues that an evil man from Eva’s past, Nathan, will return
  3. Nope, Nathan’s dead
  4. Oh, also things with Eva and Gideon still aren’t great

So… what’s the point of any of this? Did Nathan actually create any tangible plot (remember “two characters continue to have the same problem they did in the previous book” does not count as plot)? We find out in the next scene, where Eva’s mother shows up to talk to Eva about Nathan’s death, but also importantly to talk about calorie-counting.

“Eva. My God. You have no idea-”
“Nathan’s dead.” […] I put the carafe back and opened the fridge.
“Dear God, Eva,” my mother muttered, watching me. “Do you realize how many calories are in half-and-half?”

I like how both of these things merit a “My God” or “Dear God”. Apparently the suspicious death of a previous sexual assailant is a development as shocking as how unhealthy half-and-half is. Also note that this is the second chapter in a row where two female characters talk to each other about counting calories, because Sylvia Day is going to pass the Bechdel Test kicking and screaming.

Eva and Eva’s mom go into the sitting room (because apparently Eva’s NYC apartment is so big it has a fucking sitting room now) and discuss the plot.

“Nathan showed up in Richard’s [Eva’s step dad] office last week. He wanted two and a half million dollars.”
There was a sudden roaring in my ears. “What?
“He wanted money,” she said stiffly. “A lot of it.”
“Why the hell would he think he’d get any?”
“He has – had – photos, Eva.” Her lower lip began to quiver. “And video. Of you.”

In last week’s post, I criticized this book for setting up a story involving Nathan and not following through on it, but I also acknowledged that it would have been an awful story anyway because the story is just “the worst thing that can happen to a female character is more rape”, which is kind of super awful storytelling. In this chapter, Reflected In You addresses this Catch-22 by somehow combining the two awful options into one awful super-option?

And Gideon had seen Nathan – he’d confessed as much when he answered the detectives’ questions. If he’d seen the pictures… been disgusted by them… it would explain why he cut me off.

So now the conflict is still just “Eva and Gideon have a bad relationship” and “the worst thing that can happen to Eva is her boyfriend realizes she’s damaged goods”. Now, granted, this is how Eva views the scene and can not only not be a problem but actually be good if she overcomes this negative view of herself. Of course, we’ve read enough of Sylvia Day’s writing to know this totally isn’t going to happen.

Anyway, none of this is funny, so let’s move on to the part where Eva describes the sexual tension between her divorced parents.

[My dad] was dressed in running shorts and athletic shoes, his sweat-soaked shirt tossed carelessly over his shoulder. Still breathing a little quickly and glistening with sweat over tanned skin and rippling muscles, Victor Reyes was one hot hunk of a man.
And he was staring at my mom in a way that was totally indecent.

No, wait, it gets even better.

Tearing my gaze away from my seriously smokin’ dad (actual words written in this book) to look at my glamorous mother, I was shocked to see her looking at my father the same way he was looking at her.

Although then it gets kind of sad because Eva realizes maybe they actually do love each other, and this kind of legitimately heartbreaking dialogue happens.

I shut the door. “How is it that I didn’t know you two are crazy in love with each other?”
The look in his eyes was painful to witness. The raw agony was an open wound. “Because it doesn’t mean anything.”
“I don’t believe that. Love means everything.”
“It doesn’t conquer all like they say.” He snorted. “Can you see your mother being a cop’s wife?”

I have no idea why this strikes me as actually sad where Eva and Gideon’s story doesn’t. Probably because neither of them are Gideon.

I moved closer, my eyes on the article my dad had found on Page Six. The picture was of Gideon and Corinne at some sort of cocktail party. He had his arm around her waist […] I went numb when I saw the mixer had been Thursday, from six to nine, at one of Gideon’s properties […]
Gideon had stood me up for our appointment with Dr. Petersen to take Corinne to his fuck-pad hotel.

Eva calls Gideon to call him out on this secret.

Even if he is doing some (as yet unknown) good, Gideon is still only capable of speaking with Eva through his displeasure with her. I’ll take sixteen chapters of Eva describing her hot parents staring lustfully at each other over this emotional abuse parading as erotic romance any day. It’s not like the book would be sexy either way.

Approximately this sexy.
Approximately this sexy.
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12 comments

  1. Bellomy Reply

    This sitcom season is just one giant lesson on why “The Big Bang Theory” is a billion times better than “HIMYM”. So far, every single episode of this season of “The Big Bang Theory” has had me laughing my ass off. The most I’ve managed with “HIMYM” is some chuckling. The episode today was funny, though no Mother? Really? I’m fucking tired of Barney and Robin. They’re both extremely unlikeable. They KILLED A FUCKING PRIEST, and this was played purely for laughs and worked out to their advantage. The fuck?

    “The Big Bang Theory”, meanwhile, is still amazing, 8 (I believe) seasons in. Hell, there’s even been character development for Sheldon, which tends to be glacial.

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    • Lauren Reply

      But Big Bang theory is basically a complete mockery of stereotypes with no plot or characters to care about and canned laughter. While some of it is funny, much of it is playing off symptoms akin to aspergers or other mild forms of autism as humour. All the characters are purely unlike-able (especially the main character – kind of a bad move for a tv show).

      How I Met Your Mother, on the other hand, has realistic characters (though of course blown completely out of proportion because it’s television) who have flaws, but who you also care about (most of the time). And they did not kill a priest, no matter how talented you are, you can’t kill someone by talking.

      Barney and Robin, while flawed, are still much more likeable than Leonard or Howard (also Amy to a lesser degree) – all of whom are just as pathetic as the rest of the group but act like they’re better.

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      • Bellomy Reply

        I think you’re nitpicking with the Priest thing, but whatever.

        See, with a response like that…not much I can say than, “I completely disagree with basically everything you’ve written.” So yeah. I completely disagree with basically everything you’ve written.

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        • Lauren Reply

          The same could be said for your comment, though I did manage to come up with points rather than a basic disagreement, but nonetheless, to each their own.
          I personally watch both, so I’m not stating that one is categorically better, I just find that one is much more of a comedy and the other – a drama I guess?

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      • Bellomy Reply

        Go ahead and disagree. I’m just not interested in getting into a debate, since you’ve clearly have much stronger feelings about this than I do. Which is fine. It’s not a bad thing.

        In any event, I think “HIMYM” is overrated but funny and decent, and I think this final season is fairly lame, but I know a lot of people who are really enjoying it, so mazel tov.

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  2. E.H.Taylor Reply

    Contests and mugs? You two are just spoiling us now.

    The more I think about it, the more I actually like the twist that he’s dead. It was something I didn’t expect and better than what I thought would happen. My problem is this; Day isn’t going to take this surprising turn of events and make a better book. Instead, she’ll get Eva’s parents back together, continue with the ‘sex solves all’ mind frame, and possibly decide that she doesn’t like the fact that Nathan is dead and have it all be one big ruse so that Eva lets her guard down.

    We’ll then be back at square one and still trying to find something that indicates this is a sequel and not just the extension of the first book.

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  3. 22aer22 Reply

    Oh my God I just realized something…”Eva and Eva’s mom go into the sitting room (because apparently Eva’s NYC apartment is so big it has a fucking sitting room now) and discuss the plot.” I BET EVA’S APARTMENT HAS A CLOSET THAT LEADS DIRECTLY TO UNCLE JEB’S CAVE!!!!! Or maybe it’s *part* of the cave itself??!

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  4. Quinn Reply

    I actually find Eva’s parents’ tragic love sad too. The way Day has Eva describe what they look like is borderline incestuous, though. And Eva’s dad totally has a point about love not conquering all–I find thinking that it does annoying. Can I vote for Eva’s mom getting a good divorce settlement and remarrying her dad in the next book? At least I might care about that subplot.

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  5. milli Reply

    it is really quite awful but worth the note that eva’s worst fear is that gideon will eventually realize she is damaged goods DESPITE the fact he himself has gone through the same trauma and she suspects it and he has not denied it. so basically she is so worthless that she will not clue this two and two together and make it all about her own paranoia! ..sylvia conveniently makes us wait till captivated by you to address this issue ( all about gideon-eva even then) with Dr. travis even when he was with eva from somewhere around 16 to 24 and “conveniently” never gets addressed because plot convenience and fillers people!

    this books is so awful, i pray no abuse victim gets lured into reading this. all it ever does is makes us believe that the abuse victim will face shame and so does their family and being sexually abused makes you feel damaged even when they belong to the educated and upper crust of society not a pitch-fork backward stone age village.

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