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Night World: Secret Vampire Part 3

April 20, 2009

Alana: I have nearly no notes for these three chapters. Why? Because they’re great.
Alana: If I had taken more notes, they’d be like “This was great, and that was great. Great great great.”
Liss: They are! Things happen, people react realistically, it’s amazing.
Alana: I do have a note that says “World set-up so clean.”
Alana: Which I THINK I know what I meant, but this was from when I kept going the first time and then changed my mind, as there were SO MANY things going on here that I knew we had to take a break after chapter three.
Alana: I THINK it means that she did a fantastic job with creating the characters and making them seem like they have a history, connections, etc.
Alana: I had one minor complaint, but we’ll get to that.
Liss: I agree about the characters’ relationships. I believe that these people are a family (plus James), not just characters that are written into the same house.
Alana: We begin with Poppy having been through some seriously gross tests. Poor Poppy.
Liss: The doctor keeps making small talk and avoiding the discussion of her test results.
Alana: I kind of dislike him, despite his name being Owen.
Alana: I’m sure his behavior would be okay for a ten-year-old, but Poppy’s sixteen.
Liss: She’s old enough to hear things for herself.
Alana: When my kid’s sixteen, I’m going to be treating her like an adult as it pertains to her health. Or else you beat me up, k?
Liss: K
Liss: Then he does that “Hey, about a we step outside” thing to Poppy’s mom and Poppy knows that something is wrong.
Alana: I also want to point out how pro-active Poppy is, especially compared to Elena. It’d be so easy for Smith to copy the character over here, or fall into her old traps of flat, unrealistic writing, but Poppy’s reactions to everything are so different from Elena’s. I REALLY vote “writer’s workshop” here.
Alana: Because Poppy actually gets off her butt and does some detectin’.
Alana: She doesn’t wait for some big, dramatic reveal.
Alana: Like certain irritating blondes.
Liss: Which would be an easy way out.
Alana: I’m so impressed.
Alana: I shouldn’t be so impressed, but I am.
Alana: They’re completely different books. I wouldn’t have even thought the same person was writing them. She’s made leaps and bounds from TVD and I’m…in awe.
Liss: It’s refreshing to see. I’ve read books by certain authors (cough, Jodi Picoult, cough) where the characters are interchangable from book to book.
Alana: I really thought when we were going to do this that I’d come back to these books and say “Self, what were you thinking?” But I’m having a wonderful, if somewhat sad, time with Poppy and co.
Alana: Oh God, Picoult. You read your first Picoult and you’re so impressed. And from then on, it’s…like the book versions of After School Specials, only with more adult topics.
Alana: Everyone says “If you like Alice Hoffman, you’ll like Jodi Picoult.” LIARS.
Liss: Ugh, yeah. I’ve never heard that, luckily.
Alana: I am narrowing my eyes at Picoult as we speak.
Alana: You can’t see it, but I am.
Alana: Why? Because I read her Wonder Woman run.
Alana: Athena bless her with the wisdom to realize she should never, never do that again.
Liss: I love that she got that gig because she wrote a book in which a character was a comic book writer.
Liss: That means she knows what to do! Wait…no it doesn’t.
Alana: No, it’s actually because she went to school with Jim Lee or something.
Alana: If I went to school with Jim Lee, I’d lock him in a closet and make him draw me pictures of Batman and Catwoman all day.

hush-heroesSo would you.

Liss: Gah, Jodi Picoult.
Liss: But.
Alana: But we digress.
Liss: As ever!
Alana: Our talent!
Liss: Poppy follows her mother and Dr. Franklin down the hall to the family sitting area.
Alana: And her cool, Hitchcockian mother is SOBBING.
Liss: And her put-together stepfather has mussed hair and is visibly working his jaw.
Alana: I love Cliff.
Alana: Smith is so good at writing so little about him but giving us a completely picture.
Alana: My ex-husband’s stepdad was a Cliff. (Fortunately, Poppy and Phil are way nicer to Cliff than my ex was to his stepdad.) Straight-laced, reliable, maybe even a little strict, but he means so well.
Liss: I like stepparent characters in books that aren’t villians. Poppy and Cliff might not always see eye-to-eye, but she thinks he’s a good guy anyway.
Alana: Cliff is the kind of character where you don’t need to be told the backstory. You know Cliffs. They have really nice parents and grew up without any real problems and they feel they can recreate that in their new family. Cliff probably patted himself on the back for making it work with a single mom, but it doesn’t make him a jerk.
Alana: There’s a lot of jargon here that we can easily skip over, except to say that Poppy doesn’t have a lot of time left.
Alana: Cliff says that Poppy had been “dancing all night two days ago.”
Alana: End of the year school dance?
Liss: Probably in front of her mirror with a hairbrush, because she is adorable.
Alana: Awww.
Alana: Poppy is feeling a little wobbly as she sneaks back to her hospital room. Her body’s working correctly, but everything’s skewed.
Alana: Her head’s spun, is what I mean.
Alana: And we learn everything we need to know about Cliff from two lines (I mentioned this last time): “Cliff said ‘damn’ for me […] I didn’t know he liked me enough to swear.”
Liss: Oh Poppy.
Alana: Cliff loves her.
Alana: And my eyes are all teary now. I’m such a sucker.
Liss: Poppy goes back to her room and Cliff and her mother come in shortly thereafter. They don’t tell her the results, just that some of her friends are there.
Alana: Here’s where my complaint is!
Alana: Poppy’s friends have no names, no personalities.
Alana: In a book that rounds everyone out, this surprised me.
Liss: I can understand it, though. I don’t really need to know that Lisa and Maggie and Joan and Kayla came to visit.
Alana: I guess.
Liss: I can see what you mean, though.
Alana: It seemed strange that even the werewolf gets a name, but Poppy’s friends–who admittedly aren’t her BFFs like James is–don’t.
Liss: True.
Alana: The point, though, is that James isn’t there.
Alana: Also that Poppy doesn’t have time to dwell on what’s going on. Or even ask.
Alana: Uncool, Mom.
Liss: She has the right to know!
Alana: Oh, then we hit the morbid part, which gets me in all the bad places because I’m terrified of not existing, which is pretty much what Poppy’s trying to come to terms with.
Alana: Or contemplate in any way, as she probably never has had to before, unless she’s read Bridge to Terabithia. [Note: I never have, but I went to grab the link and–holy crap, the real kid was STRUCK BY LIGHTNING?  No wonder the author’s kid needed something to get through it.  All I knew about it is that “a kid died” and my daughter thought that was the most horrible thing ever ever ever ever ever.]
Liss: She’s alone, and in pain, and having to realize that something very bad is inside of her.
Alana: Her mother, by the way, is conveniently at home for this scene, preparing to spend the night in the hospital in a mom-cot.
Liss: I can’t imagine what her mother must be going through.
Alana: I refuse to imagine what her mother must be going through. Although I once asked a friend of mine if, before falling asleep, she rescued her children in various ways in her head. This is something I thought I was kind of crazy for doing, but it turns out to be a normal mom thing. I think…even though the reality is probably completely devastating, as a parent there’s little you haven’t already obsessed over happening. Being a parent makes you totally paranoid.
Liss: I’m sure.
Liss: Just as Poppy is really starting to panic, she sees someone in the room.
Alana: She thinks it’s Death.
Alana: Remember this, readers.
Liss: It’s James.
Alana: In a robe with a scythe.
Alana: Kidding.
Liss: “I thought it’d be funny!”
Liss: “Poppy?”
Alana: Then she stakes him.
Alana: And we LOL all the way home!
Liss: Wait wait wait.
Alana: Yeah yeah, no. He’s in the shadows and there’s something different about him.
Liss: He doesn’t want her to turn on the lights since he had to sneak past the nurses to get in. Poppy starts to tell him about the test results.
Alana: And he pulls this cold persona out of his back pocket and pisses her the hell off, because he starts going on about how she’s going to die and it’s her last summer, and she might end up with all these gross chemicals in her that would only prolong her life a short time…
Alana: Oh wait, she isn’t pissed yet. She’s freaking out at this point.
Liss: And how much pain she’s going to be in.
Alana: I feel bad for Poppy, but I feel bad for James too, because you KNOW this is difficult for him. Everything that came before tells us how difficult this is for him. We don’t need it spoon-fed to us, bless Smith’s heart.
Liss: Poppy demands to know why James is doing this to her, and he says that he wants her to understand that the doctors can’t help her. He’s trying tough love, sort of.
Alana: More like Preparation Love.
Alana: It’s like Preparation H, only Love-ier.
Liss: Hahahahaha

preparation3It’s probably the stupidest joke I’ve ever made, but I did it cuz I knew Jake would Photoshop this picture for me.

Liss: James tells Poppy that he wants to save her.
Alana: And she’s all “Well, too fucking bad.” [Note to the readers: When I say “all,” that means “totally paraphrased with what the character would’ve REALLY said, if the book weren’t PG-rated.”]
Liss: Poppy realizes that James really does care about her, and she would be flattered if everything else wasn’t so crazy.
Alana: Well, she thinks he’s totally lost his marbles over her. “I can save you, baby!” “Uh…”
Alana: Anyway, he’s all “I don’t mean to get all Stefan on you, but I’m a vampire.”
Liss: And Poppy. Flips. Out.
Alana: She doesn’t fall into his arms!
Alana: She doesn’t say “Make me a creature of the night so that I don’t age a second more or else I’ma bitch about it every single day for the next 3 1/2 books.”
Liss: She’s pissed! She’s really, really pissed!
Liss: She’s DYING and he’s talking about VAMPIRES.
Alana: The chapter actually ends on her going to throw something at him. (One of her mystery books, we find out at the start of the next.) Between this and Mary-Lyn kicking Ash, I am so in love with these books.
Liss: “What the FUCK is wrong with you???”
Alana: Did I ever tell you–I promise to make this brief–that I dated this guy who had VERY real-looking fangs and people always asked me if they were real and I felt it was impolite to ask?
Liss: Hahahaha
Alana: Took me like two months to realize they weren’t. They were pretty expensive, I guess.
Liss: Yikes, I bet.
Alana: Well, he commits. Well, he committed to that anyway.
Alana: So Poppy throws a paperback at him.
Alana: ❤ Poppy.
Alana: I know we would consider this sexist now, but at the time, it was totally cool.
Alana: Plus, he deserved it, pulling out this vampire shit when she’s got like three months, tops.
Liss: And James is trying to get her to hush up, since the nurse is coming, and Poppy is glad of it, since she wants the nurse to throw James out.
Liss: Yesssss, Poppy.
Alana: I picture the nurse as the nurse from Gilmore Girls who was arguing with Emily about Richard’s insurance. And then she was the gay lawyer of choice on The L Word. I always think she’s Lindsay Crouse from her 4th-season Buffy days, but she’s not.
Liss: The nurse tells James that only family can stay overnight and Poppy is pretty clear about the fact that James is not family, but then things get weird.
Alana: AWESOMELY weird.
Alana: James whammies the nurse to prove his vampness.
Liss: Girl with the Silver Eyes weird.
Alana: Best book ever.
Alana: You’re wrong. You have to be wrong. We’ll see if anyone comments to tell you how wrong you are.
Alana: Cuz you’re wrong.
Liss: I really do hope so!
Alana: I love two things in this scene: that the mojo ends with him and the nurse finishing a psychic conversation aloud, or something, and also that James calls it a cliche.
Alana: I think the first because it’s easy to visualize and the second because it’s true but effective. And way less irritating than breaking some tree.
Liss: Poor tree.
Alana: Oh, he really does have silver eyes here.
Liss: James tells Poppy that his people arrange humans’ disbelief.
Alana: Poppy reassesses the crazy: It’s not James, it’s her. She’s obviously gone mental, because she was sure James said he was a vampire and then put the whammy on the nurse.
Liss: So James shows her his fangs.
Liss: How shocking, James!
Alana: I like that Poppy sort of recognizes it as “[a] different species of human being.”
Alana: It takes away the “I’m doomed, I’m damned” whiny Louis bullshit.
Liss: James points out all of the times that he seemed to read Poppy’s mind, or moved super fast, or did something just a little off.
Alana: And Poppy’s still losing it.
Liss: Poppy wants to know why James has been growing up just like her if he’s a vampire; I love that she’s freaking out, but still curious and asking questions.
Alana: He does do the “see how strong I am” thing but he doesn’t hurt a poor tree to do it.
Alana: That’s because she’s Poppy.
Alana: Elena didn’t ask anything except “Tell me things you’ve never told any other girl, so I can tell myself again how special I am!”
Liss: Ugh, Elena.
Alana: James explains the whole “Night World is a secret society” thing and I am quite, quite bitter that I can’t find a clip on YouTube of Selma Blair doing the “secret society” line in Cruel Intentions.
Liss: Se-cret so-ci-ety!
Alana: God, I love that movie.
Alana: I saw it like three times in the theater, and this guy Dave made fun of me, and I was like “It’s based off CLASSIC LITERATURE.”
Liss: I love that book.
Liss: It’s sooo filthy.
Liss: It’s like the Decameron, almost.
Alana: I wrote a paper on it at community college. It was originally called “True Intentions: Why Ronald’s Black, Pacey’s Gay, and Sarah Michelle Geller Wants to Take it Up the Ass.”
Alana: I had to change the title though.
Liss: I love epistolary novels
Alana: Uh…where were we?
Alana: Oh, lamia.
Liss: See, the lamia are born vampires.
Alana: I was pretty sure it told you somewhere how to pronounce “lamia.” Maybe in the second book?
Alana: They can eat and stuff, but they still need to drink blood.
Alana: They’re very people-ish.
Liss: They can freeze their aging, but I don’t think we know that in this book?
Alana: No, it says it at the bottom of the page.
Alana: 54
Liss: Aw, there it is.
Liss: Poppy can’t get over the fact that James’ parents are vampires.
Alana: He’s right, though, that ‘lamia’ is an old word for vampire. I looked it up–it’s from the 14th century.
Alana: It’s because his dad’s not a lawyer. ZING!
Liss: You’re here all week!
Alana: It’s a female term, though.
Alana: So James is actually a female vampire. Er, except not.
Liss: He reminds Poppy that he had a reason for telling her all of this, and it’s that he’s planning to save her.
Liss: Poppy’s still in shock, so James spells it out for her: He’s going to turn her into a vampire.
Alana: She says “freaking”!
Alana: I love it.
Alana: “You’re…freaking…crazy.”
Liss: That’s how I would feel.
Alana: If not for Strange Fate, I’d be moaning over how they should’ve turned THIS into a show.
Liss: Poppy doesn’t think that she can be a vampire.
Alana: Except she can, because there are TWO kinds here.
Alana: I love that too.
Alana: It’s complicated and unique.
Liss: She also doesn’t think that she could live like that.
Alana: What does she know? I bet she eats meat. It’s the SAME DAMN THING, people, except your victims in the Night World don’t die.
Alana: There’s even a law against it.
Liss: Eh, I would find it weird to drink blood, and I eat meat. I don’t eat it raw.
Alana: I’m a crazy vegan. It all seems the same after you haven’t done it a couple of years.
Alana: Actually, if Poppy consents, it’s vegan.
Alana: Like the breastmilk thing. SO THERE.
Liss: She’s still unsure, though. [You like how she ignored me there?]
Alana: Heh, he says there aren’t a lot of “made” vampires going around because “there’s a law against just making any jerk off the street into one.”
Alana: Funny.
Alana: James is funny.
Alana: He asks her if she wants to live.
Alana: It’s a simple question, really.
Liss: It is.
Alana: “Until today she’d assumed it was her unconditional right to live. She hadn’t even been grateful for the privilege.”
Alana: I want to hug you AND your unicorn.
Liss: Yaaay!
Liss: She asks James what it’s like and what will happen to her, and then she thinks about her family.
Alana: Nooo, you skipped over my other favorite line! “He may be some godawful undead fiend, but he still cares about you.”
Liss: Awwwwwwwwww
Alana: There are a lot of interesting references here.
Alana: I mean, the Romeo & Juliet was a given, but she also goes to wondering if she’ll continue to age, and then not die. “Immortal crone.”
Alana: It’s the cricket story from Greek mythology, I think.
Liss: Will she shrivel up?
Liss: It is.
Alana: Poppy’s so smart and clever.
Alana: I want to wear a T-shirt that says “I ❤ Poppy” on the front and “FUCK TVD” on the back.
Liss: It’s the Cumaean Sybil.
Alana: I’m so glad I took this break to do this with you, although I may go back to The Struggle wanting to kill myself, or my copy of the book.
Liss: It’s an understandable reaction.
Alana: Oh! And he tells her the reason there are no OLD made vampires is because she might not make it through the change.
Alana: Which…is very Tribe of them.
Alana: If I were older lamia, I wouldn’t make a bunch of teenage vamps, either.
Alana: Ugh.
Liss: “Oh god, shut up, shut up all of you!”
Alana: “If you’re going to live forever, we’re going to have to set some ground rules. Panic! at the Disco is okay, but none of that Nickelback shit.”
Alana: I seriously had to look up a Top 40s website to find someone relevant. I am so out of touch. Is Nickelback still relevant? Sales-wise, I mean, since they never were otherwise.
Liss: As joke fodder, sure.
Alana: Ha, true.
Liss: So Poppy agrees.
Alana: And she assumes it will be like witness protection afterward, and he tells her that “it’s a lonely world, full of secrets.” It sounds overdramatic, but it’s true. What’s natural to him–being lamia–is something he has to hide all his life.
Alana: From people he’s loved since he was little, like Poppy. It’s horribly unfair, and pretty much the basis of this entire series.
Liss: Unless you live in an enclave, you have to hide your very nature, which is a terrible burden for anyone, even if you are told that you’re better than others.
Alana: Or especially BECAUSE you’ve been told you’re better than the others, because then it’s hard to understand why you have to live by THEIR rules.
Alana: I also love, so much so that I’m switching to caps, THAT THIS IS NOT A SEX METAPHOR.
Liss: 🙂
Alana: Poppy’s all braced and eyes shut and not looking forward to it at all.
Alana: And he’s all psychically saying “Stop that, relax” and she’s like “No, YOU relax you big vampy jerk–whoa, that didn’t hurt at all.” And then they merge, “like two drops of water moving together.”
Alana: In TVD I find lines like that cheesy, but this one is kind of beautiful.
Liss: In TVD, it’s all about how much more special Elena can feel or convince herself that she is.
Alana: In a way, there’s a mystery element to this book–because of the big reveal at the end–and there’s all sorts of stuff going on here in subtle ways, trying to trick us.
Alana: One is the closeness that suddenly occurs between Poppy and James.
Alana: I need to finish the book before I decide whether she meant to trip all over herself with this stuff, because it all crosses over: Poppy’s sense of “knowing” things, Poppy and James being soulmates, the big reveal.
Alana: We’ll get to all that, though. For now, they’re pretty much sharing everything–thoughts, memories, perceptions of one another.
Alana: And Poppy realizes that James finds her absolutely beautiful.
Liss: Which I love.
Alana: I love it too!
Alana: It’s because we know that, deep down, the person who loves you sees you in a way you’ll never, ever see yourself.
Alana: And that’s AMAZING.
Liss: And she’s seeing it in his very own mind, and it’s not her SPECIAL POWER
Alana: Ha, true.
Alana: Oh, but the line about “singing a song something something,” THAT is flat-out cheesy.
Liss: “Sings a song only you can hear”
Liss: Well, James, that’s a little cheesy.
Alana: I did a brief search to see if it was a quote, because the book says it might be, but nothing came up except a girl who didn’t use apostrophes, so I’m assuming she read the book.
Liss: Then they snuggle!
Alana: And she starts delving into his head like whoa, and he tells her that’s “bad manners.” Hee.
Alana: I love that she isn’t all “GIMME THE BLOOD.”
Alana: She’s still pretty squicked by the whole thing.
Liss: And rightly so. That’s a big new thing.
Alana: It tastes like a “magic elixir.” Sigh.
Liss: And then!
Alana: Then!
Alana: Phillip.
Liss: Awwwwwkward.
Alana: I think I was spelling it “Philip” before, because that’s my cousin’s name.
Alana: Yeah, I hate when I’m sucking on a guy and my cousin Phil walks in.
Alana: Er, brother.
Liss: Eweweewewewew
Alana: Hee.
Alana: And that’s my one sex joke of the day. Perhaps month.

And that brings us up to Chapter 6, which we did, but this is hitting the 4K mark, so: more later?  See you next time!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. trappedintheattic permalink
    April 20, 2009 12:31 pm

    Ha! Yes, I ignored it! I wasn’t about to get into a breastfeeding/bloodsucking/vegan/carnivore/vampire digression! It would have been pages and pages long!

    • bookslide permalink*
      April 20, 2009 12:35 pm

      Plus I totally went over it at least once when I was snarking The Awakening. It’s been covered. MOVING ON. 😀

  2. April 20, 2009 12:37 pm

    Also love the Secret Society line from Cruel Intentions. I also like defending it by being all, “No, it’s Dangerous Liaisons. Only…not.”

  3. bookslide permalink*
    April 20, 2009 12:41 pm

    I’ll defend that movie to my death. It’s absolutely brilliant. They HAD to “de-age” the characters to have them move in modern times, because who has that sort of structured society anymore besides teenagers? Where else do rumors and affairs really matter? Plus, you had the teens thinking they were acting like adults when really they were acting like petty children–layers and layers of awesomeness.

    Maybe one day I’ll start posting all my silly papers from undergrad, including a paper on Christopher Lambert’s pseudo-futuristic version of Beowulf, called “There Can Be Only One Arm.”

  4. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 12:54 pm

    There are so many things I want to comment on that I might have to recap your recap later. I will say, though, that the hospital scene was my favorite one in the story. It was so very real feeling, even though it was 50% about vampires.

    I also enjoy this new comment box. It feels more… official?

  5. bookslide permalink*
    April 20, 2009 1:27 pm

    Srs comment box is srs.

  6. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 1:28 pm

    srsly srs srsnss.

  7. bookslide permalink*
    April 20, 2009 1:38 pm

    You gotta stop reloading, Jakey; you’re throwing off my stats! 😛

  8. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 1:41 pm


  9. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 1:41 pm

    Hey you called me Jakey!

  10. Sam permalink
    April 20, 2009 2:22 pm

    I must, again, profess my internet love for BOTH of you!

    I planned on reading along with you as you recapped each of the chapters, but this weekend I flew through the entire book in a 2-hour sitting. I then proceeded to fly through DoD and SB. Eep.

    I don’t know how you have the willpower to stop …

  11. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 3:09 pm

    Soooo… nothing I guess. I simply wasn’t expecting it.

    • bookslide permalink*
      April 20, 2009 3:27 pm

      Sidekicks get cutesy names. Live with it. 😛

  12. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 3:34 pm

    Bah! And I was on such a good streak of not being called that. =P AT LEAST YOU’RE NOT MAKING FUN OF MY NAME ANYMORE. ❤

  13. bookslide permalink*
    April 20, 2009 4:03 pm

    It ate my comment! What a biznitch.

    Er, my comment where I was making fun of your name, of course.

  14. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:16 pm

    See? Even wordpress is sad when you mock me!

  15. djr permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:16 pm

    +1 false unique page view, btw

    • bookslide permalink*
      April 20, 2009 6:27 pm

      I guess it doesn’t do unique. Sucks. That would like me happier.

  16. April 21, 2009 11:26 am

    I think I’ve actually read the Girl with the Silver Eyes. Was it by Willo somebody?

    • bookslide permalink*
      April 21, 2009 11:57 am

      Yup! Willo Davis Roberts.

  17. yui permalink
    July 18, 2010 9:04 am

    Thanks for all this.. I have just ‘discovered’ this and I am really fascinated.. I love NW too and despise TVD. I hope there is a lot more.. I want to search if you’ve actually finished the book before reading so I won’t be disappointed if it’s unfinished but I got hooked up instantly I can’t stop reading:)

    • July 18, 2010 9:09 am

      Because the two of us had to meet up online to do this, we never got through the book. I’d like to, but I had grad school (I finished last month) and parenting (I finish in five years) and she works, plays roller derby, and has an adorable boyfriend. I think we hit the halfway point. I should get on her case to finish up the first book, but we’re both so far behind where we wanted to be in our own recaps (me with Vampire Diaries, her with V.C. Andrews), it would almost make me feel guilty to resume. Almost.

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