In case you’re interested in sports, I wrote up a piece on Sunday about the March Madness bracket my friend and I are sharing for our respective office pools, even though I know nothing about sports. If you did enjoy it, you may be dismayed that our brackets have since gotten even worse, so there may not be much point in writing, say, Worse Brackets, Good Times. Just assume it got worse. Much worse.
Cary and Eva are in Gideon’s private jet (which, oh, I will be getting into later), which means that Cary has finally shown up, and with six words reminds me why I hate him.
“What’s got you frowning, baby girl?” Cary asked
It’s probably a bit late – four chapters into the fourth book – to make this complaint specifically (have we been reading these books?), but could we not have every single character constantly coding Eva as a tiny, delicate womanthing?
But I digress. What is making Eva – who is constantly referred to as a literal infant by a character to whom she looks for emotional support – upset?
Staring at the choices in the dropdown menu my cursor hovered over, I debated which to pick. Engaged or It’s complicated?
Heavens, the indecision! We agreed to tell the world that we’re engaged for the sake of an appearance we’re both comfortable with, but how to put it on my Facebook page??
To its credit, the book does do something interesting here – especially in comparison to Fifty Shades’ “I’ve never had my own email address before!” – even though it looks about as stupid at first glance:
“I’m trying to set up some social media accounts,” I answered.
“Whoa.” He sat up with effortless grace, his posture surprisingly and instantly alert. “Big step.”
But then Eva reminds us she has a pretty legit reason for this…
Nathan had kept me hiding, afraid to put myself out there and risk making it easy for him to find me.
There’s also a whole thing about how now she doesn’t know how much information to put out there, since Gideon is a public figure under constant scrutiny, which seems like it could be an interesting theme to explore. It would seem, except it’s just yet another way to explore Eva getting jealous of other women again.
All the pictures posted by his social media admin were business-related, but the unofficial pictures he’d been tagged in weren’t. There, in living color, were images of him with beautiful women. And they hit me hard. Jealousy clawed and twisted my stomach.
Also, Eva tells Cary she’s married, because this airplane ride is nothing if not a roller coaster of emotion.
“I’m married,” I blurted out, tearing my gaze away from the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. “To Gideon, of course. Who else would I be married to?”
You have just as much context as I do for who asked her to clarify with those last two sentences. It really does read like Eva suddenly felt the need to clarify who she’s married to, to herself.
Cary reacts so exactly like you’d expect that it’s almost a waste of time trying to summarize it. Except I can’t actually disagree with a single point he makes…
- “What’s the damned rush?” Cary snapped.
- “You two are whack jobs separately. Together, you’re a goddamn nut house.”
- “What incentive has he got to fix anything? He’s bagged and tagged the prize. You’re stuck with his psychotic dreams and Grand Canyon– sized mood swings.”
PRO WRITING TIP: If a character is explaining why the central plot is awful, maybe don’t have them make way more sense than the person defending said plot. Except when he starts talking about his own life.
“I’m having a baby and I’m not getting married. You know why? Because I’m too fucked up and I know it. I’ve got no business hitching a passenger on this wild ride.”
Glossing over Cary’s actually much more interesting plot – again – Eva texts Gideon that she misses him.
He texted back almost instantly. “Turn the plane around.”
That made me smile. It was so like him. And so unlike me. Wasting the pilots’ time, the fuel… it seemed to frivolous to me.
Girl, you are already in a private jet. You are not on a super high horse with this not wasting fuel angle.
When the plane lands, Eva’s dad picks up Eva and Cary. As has become a bizarre calling card for this series, Eva continues to describe her dad in a weirdly sensual way.
He was my father, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating the fact that he was ridiculously attractive.
Eva also takes a moment to – rather more appropriately – consider her father’s appearance for any signs that 1) he’s having trouble adjusting to her new multibillionaire lifestyle (as opposed to her previous merely multimillionaire one), and if 2) he’s feeling any pain over having had an affair with his remarried ex-wife. She also gets a text from Brett saying, “Call me when you get into town”, which she ignores, which would have been a great approach for this book to take with this subplot as a whole.
The next morning, Eva and Gideon talk on the phone. Gideon briefly discusses his night out with his friends, which is – say it all together now! – a way to bring up Eva’s jealousy again.
“The usual. Drink. Give each other a hard time.”
“Did you go out?”
“For a couple of hours.”
My grip tightened on the phone as I pictured a pack of hot guys out on the prowl.
Casual reminder that Gideon is – despite his absurd success – in his twenties, as are his friends, presumably. This “hot guys on the prowl” was basically a bunch of drunk twentysomething Wall Street dudes out and about in Manhattan. So don’t worry, Eva. Nobody else liked them either.
They also talk about Eva’s plan to deal with Brett.
“What I have to say won’t take very long, so either I’ll see Brett tomorrow before I leave or we can chat on the phone. […] I’m gonna keep it simple. With ‘Golden’ and my engagement, I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to see each other socially. I hope we’ll be friends and keep in touch, but e-mail and texts are better, unless you’re with me.”
Wow! That sounds like a surprisingly mature and rational approach to a complicated issue for this book! Naturally, it’s shot down immediately.
“So your solution is to avoid him.”
I still don’t understand how this is an issue. What exactly is the problem with simply avoiding someone who brings up too many painful emotions to deal with? I don’t understand why Eva isn’t avoiding Brett more. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I have to stay friends with my ex!” is the “The murderer is somewhere in this abandoned warehouse. Let’s split up.” of the romance genre.
This results in another conversation where Eva and Gideon pour out their heart and soul for each other about how much they need and love each other. It’s the sort of thing that almost everybody does at some point, but nobody wants to actually overhear, especially between two characters that absolutely cannot sell their likeability. Or have any particular talent for prose.
“Because I have it so bad for you. I get—well, hot.”
Now, sure, not everyone is good with words. And there’s no reason why a story shouldn’t be able to portray a character trying to express the depths of their emotions while struggling with their shallow linguistic talents.
This is not one of those books.
“I heard you talking,” [My dad] said without looking at me. […] “I think I understand what you’re feeling. […] You express it far better than I ever could”
Somehow I was not similarly moved by “I get hot”, but to each their own.
I know I’m not being totally fair because I do cherry-pick my quotes sometimes, but keep in mind this is Eva’s dad. Who has been moved to “understand[ing] what [she’s] feeling” by statements such as “I get hot”. Good thing she didn’t have Gideon’s side of the conversation on speakerphone!
“You shouldn’t be settling at all. You deserve so much better. You could have anyone—”
I jumped at the lash of his voice.
“You will not ever say anything like that to me again,” he snapped. “Or I swear to God, angel, I will punish you.”
Somehow I doubt that would have given him the warm fuzzies. Although this actually did in Fifty Shades, so I guess we can’t be sure (which is terrifying).
Anyway, Eva and her dad talk about her relationship, which covers how Gideon wants her to work for him, but she wants her own achievements. This includes some frank, but potentially constructive, discussion:
“It could cause problems. He isn’t used to not getting what he wants.”
“Then you’re good for him.”
And some horrifyingly unaware inner dialogue:
“He’s a good man, with a beautiful heart. He’d do anything for me, Dad.” Even kill for me.
I would like to draw your attention to how in this single paragraph, Gideon is described as someone who would commit murder, but also as someone with a beautiful heart, because who’s to say those two things aren’t mutually exclusive?
Because this chapter won’t just end already, Eva and Cary go to their old therapist, where they run into a previously unmentioned character, whom we know in a single page will eventually end up with Cary. Because Eva all but tells us.
“Oh my God.” Kyle stood in a rush, her pretty red mouth falling open and a cloud of vapor billowing out. “I didn’t know you two were back!” She launched herself at Cary […] I had my suspicions that Cary had slept with the pretty blonde at some point, and that she hadn’t brushed it off as easily as he had.
Of course, there’s that little matter of how Cary is having a child out of wedlock with a fuckbuddy he doesn’t like as a person.
Cary jerked his thumb at me. “She’s getting married. I’m having a baby.”
I think Cary just summed up the entirety of Entwined With You in seven words. Thank God I didn’t read it!
Eva catches up with Kyle while Cary and their therapist… play basketball. Kyle is surprised that Eva and Cary didn’t end up together, and Eva explains their relationship was never like that. And that’s it for Kyle so far.
During Eva’s session with he therapist, Dr. Travis,
Sylvia Day tries desperately to explain why the plot is important Eva tries to explain her problems concerning Brett Kline.
“I don’t understand why Brett has any effect on me at all. It’s not that I want him. I can’t imagine being with anyone else but Gideon. Sexually or otherwise. But I’m not indifferent to Brett.”
“Why should you be?” he asked simply.
THAT’S WHAT WE’VE BEEN SAYING. FOR LIKE TWO AND A HALF BOOKS NOW.
“The other [possibility] is that you might not feel you deserve what you’ve found with [Gideon].”
A rock settled in my gut. “And I deserve Brett?”
“Eva.” He gave me a kind smile. “The fact you’re even asking that question . . . that’s your problem right there.”
This is a generous count of Eva’s problems.
Question of the day: I hate reading this book (you might have guessed). Let’s spice things up a bit! Give me a word to swap out with another word while I read the next chapter (like the “wand for a wang” reading of Harry Potter), and I’ll report back with the most hilarious findings! Doesn’t have to be suggestive – the surreal works nicely too: