Sunday, October 26, 2014

Danger Stared me in the Face and I Ran Away

Lionel is thrilled to discover that not only is the pilot named Lionel like him, he's also Black as well. His last name is Whalum and he asks to be called Mr. Whalum to avoid confusion.

So Mr. Whalum is flying them out of Petra and taking Lionel and Judd to South Carolina. While in the air, he decides to tell us his conversion story. :whimpers: Really, Ellanjay? Again with that over-used plot device. Especially since all the conversion stories can be summed up as "I was a good person, but I didn't have Jesus in my heart, so when God slaughtered my family in the Rapture, I immediately decided it was time to start kissing God's ass." That is seriously how it always goes.

So they land in South Carolina. Lionel complains that his throat feels all scratchy and he and Judd walk around complaining about the fishy smell. They wander around looking for their contacts in South Carolina, Tom and Luke, whom I've almost completely forgotten about because I only have so much room in my memory and like I've said, no one has any distinguishing traits. As they walk, they talk about Petra and about Vicki. Judd's like "I'm not sure she'll even want me back," not an unreasonable assumption to make given how he's behaved towards her in the past.

Lionel cleared his throat and unzipped his backpack, looking for a water bottle. He found it and took a long drink. “You don’t think I’ve noticed? Not your looks.” Lionel tapped Judd’s chest. “In there. Something’s been going on. You’re treating people differently. I mean, you’re not perfect, but you’ve improved.”

:raises eyebrow: Yeah, just look how much Judd has changed. Before he was a posturing Alpha Male, a mini-Rayford really, now...we'll he's a complete nonentity who just goes from point A to point B without developing any distinguishing traits whatsoever. I seriously know nothing about Judd. Name one thing he likes besides God. Okay so he likes Vicki. Why? And don't say because he's contractually obligated to by the series' authors. What exactly does he like about Vicki? Judd might as well be played by a wooden stump or a rock with a face painted on it.

They see some guys that at first cause them to think, "hmm...they might be Tom and Luke, but as they get closer, they realize they aren't. I'm sure the guys will eventually be given names but for now, I'm going to call them the same thing the book calls them: Scarface and One Arm, because one guy has a scar on his face and the other has one arm. Scarface and One Arm both have the Mark, but those of you hoping that something, anything would happen to Judd and Lionel...hello, and welcome to the blog, is all I have to say.

The chapter ends with Lionel coughing and revealing their position to the two guys.

Next chapter begins with Judd and Lionel running like hell from Scarface and One Arm. For those of you confused, Scarface and One Arm are bounty hunters who make their living turning the unmarked over to the GC. Forgive me, but this whole chapter is one long action scene with brief interludes with Vicki. It's really impossible to snark. In an attempt to liven things up a little, I will provide some apropos music

I had planned on skipping the Vicki sections because all that happens is that she prays for Judd and Lionel, but it does mention this head-scratcher of a statement:

Cheryl Tifanne had gained weight with her pregnancy, and the girl sought Vicki out. She told Vicki that Marshall Jameson was a trained paramedic and would help deliver her child. Becky estimated that Cheryl was about six months away from giving birth.

The hell?! I say this because I peeked ahead (thank you, Wikipedia) and apparently Cheryl gives birth in the next set of books, even though this one says she's six months away from giving birth meaning that she's only three months pregnant. Either there's another time skip or Cheryl's baby is ridiculously premature or maybe gestation takes less time in the LB-verse or maybe Ellanjay are just hacks who can't be bothered to keep track of pertinent details because they have the Checklist to follow.

But back to Judd and Lionel. They run and run until they find the Bounty Hunters' truck. In the back of the truck is another believer all bound and gagged. Ellanjay don't immediately tell us who the hell this guy is, in a futile effort to build suspense, but I'll spoil it for you: it's Tom. His brother Luke got away and apparently this BoHu program that the GC is funding refers to Bounty Hunters. Also, rather than giving them actual guns that shoot actual bullets, the GC has chosen to give their Bounty Hunters, guns that shoot lasers and can be set on either stun or kill. They free Tom and continue running but the chapter ends with Judd hearing the sound of dogs on their trail.

The next chapter...more exciting!running!'s another song in an attempt to keep you from lapsing into a coma Be grateful: I briefly considered linking to A Flock of Seagulls.

Well, Scarface and One Arm actually manage to shoot Judd, Lionel, and Tom. As they're lying stunned on the ground, the Bounty Hunters banter as another one of their buddies, Dog Man shows up.

Another man Lionel hadn’t seen before ran up, panting and sweating. He patted the dogs and inspected the prisoners. “I get a piece of this action?” Dog Man said.
“I stopped them before the dogs ever got here,” Scarface said.
“Now hold on. I chased them toward you just like you asked. If I’d have known you wouldn’t give me a cut—”
“Stop your bellyachin’. I’ll give you half of one of them.”
The man looked at the ground, then squinted at Scarface. “That’s less than 20 percent! You know, this is going to seriously hurt our relationship—”
“I mean it. I got dogs to feed. You cut me out like this and next time you call I might not show up.”

This is pretty much the only amusing part of this entire chapter and gives me once again, an excuse to use the "Ho Yay" tag.

The three are thrown into the back of the truck which is piled with a bunch of dead bodies. Now in a well-written novel, this would be a great scene of horror but the detail is mentioned in passing and Lionel's is pretty much "Meh" about it.

Tom then offers to take the bounty hunters to the rest of the Believers in the area if they let Judd and Lionel go. Before you get too worked up about this, Tom later reveals to Judd and Lionel that he's lying and doing this on purpose to buy more time for Luke to come and save them.

And I know I've already covered three chapters, but nothing's happened and there's only one chapter left in the book, so let's finish this sucker off. The sooner we get to the end of this series, the better.

Now they're at the Bounty Hunters' pad. One Arm rouses Judd and makes him eat. I have to say, Judd's being awfully whiny given that he's been kidnapped. Also since it's mentioned later on in the chapter that the GC pays a good bounty for the Unmarked, regardless whether they're brought in dead or alive, WHY ARE THE BOUNTY HUNTERS BEING SO DAMN NICE TO THEM?!

Judd, in a rare show of intelligence, tries to establish a bond with his captor. He manages to get One Arm to give him his name, which I'm not going to bother to learn because once the inevitable escape happens, we'll never see or hear from these guys again. One Arm reveals that he lost his arm to an alligator, not to one of Zod's myriad disasters which was what I thought. Judd asks One Arm if it bothers him killing people or taking people to be killed by the GC, to which One Arm just laughs and says the LB-verse equivalent of "Hell no!"

After they all have eaten, Judd, Lionel and Tom get together and pray that the writers God spares them.

The book ends with the Bounty Hunters taunting them and saying they have an appointment with the blade. But Ellanjay can't fool me. I've read over thirty of these books and I know, nothing will happen no matter how hard Ellanjay try to convince me that the characters are totally in danger and stuff will really happen this time! You can only fool someone so many times!


Firedrake said...

Given all the horrible things that have happened to the world, I'd think a smell of fish would be the least of their problems.

Yeah, 'cause burning a hole in someone is a great way to stun them. (Yes, all right, electrolasers/arcthrowers, but even so.) Where did all this sudden high tech come from anyway?

aunursa said...

Okay so he likes Vicki. Why? And don't say because he's contractually obligated to by the series' authors. What exactly does he like about Vicki? Judd might as well be played by a wooden stump or a rock with a face painted on it.

Hi, I'm Vicki Byrne. I'll be your love interest for this spin-off series.

Mouse said...

Firedrake, we're dealing with a series that firmly believes that at some point in the future, the leader of the world will ride a giant pig and it's laser weapons you have trouble accepting?!

aunursa said...

While in the air, he decides to tell us his conversion story. :whimpers: Really, Ellanjay? Again with that over-used plot device.

One of the hallmarks of the Left Behind series would become the inclusion in each book of at least one event described by LaHaye as "a believable conversion that's reproducible in the heart of the reader."

Firedrake said...

Mouse, I know, I know, but a giant pig is the sort of thing you find in a fantasy story where stuff happens just because it's appropriate for it to happen; laser stunners are science fiction things. (Actually this is a lot of my problem with the current Doctor Who, which is telling fantasy/mythic stories but dressing them up as science fiction.)

spiritplumber said...

I wonder how well the LBverse would lend itself to a UFO:AI / XCom type scenario.