The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes Review

p.txtI actually really loved this book. It is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year and yet for some reason when I tried to write about it, I came up blank. But I loved this book too much to not at least make another effort. So here goes. Also, it has been sometime since I read it, so I might be a little hazy on some of the details.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was an amazing read. There are a few rare books that after you finish them, you find yourself unwilling to pick up another book because you still want to savour what you just read. This is one of those rare books. It stayed with me long after I finished it.

The book is about Minnow Bly, whose parents leave civilization and move to join a cult when she is very young. They call themselves the Kevinians and cut off all contact with the outside world. Education (especially that of women) is not encouraged. It is a brutal world, one that hides that brutality behind the flimsy facade of a twisted faith and asks for complete and utter obedience of its believers. Questions and any deviance from the norms is frowned upon and strongly discouraged.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was a beautifully written novel. You don’t often find this kind of character complexity and depth in YA novels. The writing was gripping and grim. Yet another book I’ve read this year that didn’t have many (if any) light moments in it. The story itself was grim but it unfolded beautifully. you learn more as one layer after another peeled away. Which also gave the brutality that Minnow suffered more weight. In terms of its treatment and the way it unfolded, it reminded me of All the Truth that’s in Me by Julie Berry. It wasn’t pulled down by unnecessary embellishments. The beauty of the language contrasted nicely with the events it narrated.

When we first meet Minnow, she’s in a serious predicament, she’s covered in blood and almost beat a man to death. She’s immediately hauled off to a detention centre after a trial she had no hope of winning. Suddenly thrust in a world she understands nothing about, she’s disoriented. Add to that, an FBI agent has a sudden and an inexplicable interest in her.

Minnow Bly was a tough girl. She was also smart. She asked questions when everyone around her chose to behave like sheep. She wanted to see the world beyond her immediate surroundings. She had dreams, dreams that differed drastically from what her father and those around her had planned. She wanted to rescue someone who didn’t want to be rescued. She wanted to be free but she underestimated the Prophet and she suffered for it. I liked Minnow as much for her flaws as I did for her strengths.

She was someone who didn’t want to be a victim and yet she was hopelessly unprepared for the challenges of living in this new and confounding world. As a result, her attachment to Angel makes complete sense. Angel runs things in the detention centre and is someone even the guards steer clear of.

In the book, my favourite character is actually Angel. She is the reason why Minnow survives and is a stronger person for it. Angel protects and guides her in the labyrinth that is human interaction. She doesn’t make her feel inadequate or dumb. Angel is the lone person who helps Minnow expecting nothing in return. Her final act of kindness was extremely touching because it was absolutely unexpected. Angel was also an example of the fact that the law often doesn’t protect those who need to be protected. She was forced to protect herself and instead of providing her with counseling and help, she was sent off to a detention centre and would be moved to a prison once she turned 18. As much as I was rooting for Minnow, I think by the end of the book, I was rooting for Angel just as much, if not more.

Even Doctor Wilson, the FBI agent was a surprise. He didn’t turn out the way I expected and you find out more about him as well as the novel progresses. One gets the sense that Minnow’s mother may not have been happy with the Kevinians but no one ever asked her for her opinion and she wasn’t strong enough to leave on her own. Minnow’s relationship with her mother (or lack there off) is incredibly well depicted. Her father, on the other hand I had little sympathy for. I could understand why he would have wanted to leave the city. The Prophet gave him hope, gave him a reason for his misfortune, one that he could understand, something to blame. I could understand why he would want to cling to the cult. But what I can’t understand is why he didn’t protect his daughter. When the Prophet told him to carry out the sentence, you could sense his indecision, but he is ultimately swayed by the Prophet and instead of protecting his daughter, he does her irreparable harm instead.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was a beautiful book and I loved every minute of it. In a book about brutality, the instances of unexpected kindness stood out and made the book uplifting when it so easily could just been depressing. Very highly recommended.

Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh Review

Shards of HopeThis was way better than the previous Psy-Changeling book (the name escapes me) and I liked the two principle characters, they were better developed.

Shards of Hope also introduces us to the new antagonist, The Consortium which was a welcome relief, Pure Psy ran out of steam far too quickly and seemed too disorganised to have ever been lethal. We also meet a new changeling pack and more changelings. This was the other thing I liked about Shards of Hope, it gave us new characters as well as subtly moving the old ones to the side. Not a bad move considering that their stories have already unfolded. Which is not to say that I don’t still want to see them pop up occasionally (and when it Mercy having her pupcubs? She’s been pregnant for what feels like forever.)

Singh had already established that Aden held the reins when it came to the Arrows and in this one, she only expands on that. We learn more about him and what led him to make the decisions he made. I don’t think he was ever fully Silent. As a character, though, he fell a little short because there was no inner conflict. He was always too in control. What I did like was that he was fully committed to Zaira and did not question her importance in his life. He also gave her space when she needed it and stayed by her side, always supporting her. He was also good with the other Arrows, making them feel like they mattered and were important to him.

I liked Zaira a whole lot more. She was kickass, ruthless and fiercely protective of those she cared about. I also liked that she didn’t take crap from anyone, even Aden. What I wish these heroines didn’t do though, was all the self-doubt. She spent so much time torturing herself for actions that she was clearly not accountable for. She was a child and she was mercilessly tortured by her parents.

As for the other characters, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Remy and Miane in the next few books as well as their packs. But I’m curious, will we only look at predatory changelings? I don’t know if I’ll be able to take a rabbit (or a fish) changeling seriously. I’m curious what marine changelings we’ll see with regard to BlackSea.

The other thing I was very grateful for was that the Psy, Changelings and Humans communicated with each other. When the Consortium started trying to create trouble, things could have escalated into utter chaos if not for people being willing to clarify and check facts before they got trigger happy, Such a welcome relief.

Also, I want to see more of the bear changelings we’ve read about but haven’t yet seen. And let’s have more female alphas. I’m always happy to see strong women, the more the merrier

Recent Rediscoveries

LastsupperSo, I’ve been a little remiss in my reading of late and that’s because I rediscovered Lost. I got the season 1 and 2 bonus feature DVDs from a friend and since then all I’ve been doing is binging on that. I started season 4 yesterday. That and because I couldn’t decide what to read and when I did decide, I couldn’t tear myself away from Lost long enough to read something. This happens to me sometimes. That too will have to take a break since I started a new project which means that I won’t have time to watch anything till it’s over (which will probably be the 5th of July)

I remember watching Lost back when it used to air on the television and really enjoying the first two seasons but I didn’t watch the other seasons (turns out I didn’t remember a bulk of season 2 either) But having watched the season back to back, I’m really enjoying myself. I won’t lie, I don’t like everyone and therefore I am not interested in episodes that involve them but for the most part, I can watch the entire episode without feeling like skipping their parts or the entire episode. It has its problematic areas. For instance, the Island and its strange powers are still largely unexplained and it’s starting to feel like the writers don’t really know what to do with the story. Season 3 finale sees them contact the outside world for the first time and you can just tell that getting rescued is not going to be as easy or as simple as they think.

Of the characters, the ones that I really like are Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Charlie and Lock. There are times when I like Juliette as well but not all the time. I initially didn’t like Sawyer all that much, mostly because he was a male chauvinist pig (and he probably still is) but he’s kind of grown on me. Jack, on the other hand, seems to have gone a shade darker. When he was living with the Others, he had to make some tough choices and they seem to have marked him. Already that’s having an impact on the group dynamics and his relationship with those who were his second-in-command. I’ve always liked Kate, she doesn’t always make the best decisions and she’s not completely honest all the time but she’s still one of the few who’s willing to make the tough decisions sometimes even at the cost of alienating Jack. She’s also one the few people who wants to save Jack from himself. Her relationships are a little more messy. It is obvious that she loves Jack but she also cares deeply about Sawyer. She was one of the first few people who saw beyond Sawyer’s mean and hard-assed exterior.

Personally, as far as the shipping goes, I am a little conflicted. Jack is the nicer guy (I think) but Sawyer makes her laugh and both of them care about her. I don’t know who she ends up with finally and for now, I want to stay away from the spoilers but as for right now, I’d be happy with either.

But I did just start reading a book, Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen. I literally just started it so I have no idea how it would turn out, but I’m optimistic.

P.S. – I realised that I don’t like Lock. He’s had moments where he could be sweet but those are offset by those when he’s sabotaging those who do want to get off the Island. He’s creepy.

Guild Hunter Fan-Fiction: Attack!

This is another original story and as far as where it fits in the wider narrative of the book, I’m not sure. It takes place on a quiet day when things suddenly go from bad to worse. So far, Gwendolyn has been more passive, this story sees her take a more active role.

P.S. – It is fairly long, unlike the earlier ones.

Gwendolyn was a little concerned. For one, Jeffery seemed even more on edge of late and second, there was more security around the house. But when he didn’t say anything to her, she decided to ask him. He was dismissive saying only that he was just taking precaution since Elena was back in town and she still had enemies, people who would not hesitate to hurt their family to get back at her. Gwendolyn felt that he wasn’t telling her the whole truth but decided not to press the issue, he was leaving for a business trip for a few days and they could have this conversation after he came back.

After he left, Gwendolyn decided to call Elena home so she could have a chat with Eve. The last few times they met, Elena had insisted on meeting Eve at the Academy and Gwendolyn suspected that Jeffrey had something to do with that development. She had seen a side of Jeffrey that she suspected existed but had never seen before. A side that didn’t hesitate from manipulating his children. A side, she suspected Elena was more adept at handling.

She made the call to Elena and invited her to come over, and while there was some hesitation, Gwendolyn eventually persuaded her to visit Eve. Having fixed a time, she then went about her daily work, since it was a weekend, the girls were still in bed and she wanted to give this little piece of good news to Eve. Elena would come later in the afternoon, so they had some time to themselves…

They had just finished their lunch when Gwendolyn looked out at the grounds and frowned. There should have been two men there but she couldn’t see either one of them. Then she felt Eve stiffen.

“Mama, I think there are vampires here. They are close, I can smell them.”

Gwendolyn did not waste time questioning her daughter further, she simply gathered Amy and Eve and rushed them to the master bedroom on the floor above. It wasn’t very secure but it was better than being sitting ducks in the living room. On her way, she grabbed the biggest and sharpest knives from the kitchen. She knew that it wouldn’t be effective against the vampires but it would buy them precious time. As soon as they were inside, she locked the door behind them and placed a call to Elena. She picked up immediately.

“Hi Gwendolyn, I’m almost there-“

“Elena, there are vampires here, I think they are already inside the house.”

There was a short silence.

“Where are you and the girls?”

“I’ve got them with me, we are in the master bedroom on the first floor. I don’t know how long it’ll keep them out.”

“Don’t worry, I’m almost there, I’ll take care of it. Don’t come out of the room for anything.”

They waited in the room; they could hear the vampires in the house, there seemed to be quite a few of them and they didn’t bother trying to keep the noise down. The vampires didn’t yet know where they were and that was the only advantage they had. She held Amy and Eve close to her and sat as far back from the door as possible while still keeping her body between the door and the girls.

It was only a few minutes later, though it felt like hours that she heard something crash against the door. She knew that the vampires had found them and it was only a matter of time before they broke down the door. Gwendolyn pushed the girls behind her and picked up the knives she had taken. Just as the first vampire came through the doorway, something crashed in through the bedroom window. Elena immediately rolled to her feet, a knife in each hand. She took down the vampire closest to her and spun to tackle the one who was racing towards her.

Watching Elena fight was like watching a very intricate dance. She didn’t waste energy on useless movement. Every move was designed to cut and disable the enemy. With five vampires dead at her feet, there was a moment of respite. Elena looked the Gwendolyn first, her eyes flicked to the knives and Gwendolyn thought she saw what looked like respect shine in her eyes, but it was so fleeting that she couldn’t be sure. She looked at Amy and Eve and her eyes lingered almost as if Elena was committing them to memory.

“They’re ok, we’re fine. You reached just as the vampires broke down the door.”

She didn’t know what made her say it, except she knew it was very important. It made more sense, when Elena’s shoulders relaxed a little. Before she could reply, another vampire came to the doorway, he was tall and very muscular and there were more vampires standing behind him. He smirked at Elena.

“Guild Hunter, you should know that even you can’t take all of us. You will die and then we will take our time with girls and the woman.”

Gwendolyn sensed a change in Elena’s body language, she couldn’t say what it was, but she had a feeling that the vampire had just made a very serious mistake. Elena glanced at the three of them and what Gwendolyn saw in her eyes, made her press her back more firmly against the wall. Her eyes were feral and full of rage and a thin ring of silver around her pupils seemed to become more pronounced.

She turned back, her body perfectly still, not a single movement wasted. She was coiled and ready. She waited a beat and then launched into the attack. The vampires never stood a chance. The ones in front didn’t even have enough time to react; the ones at the back, always seemed to reach the space where Elena had been, always just missing her. But that was enough to give her the time to neutralize them. She was efficient, very efficient. When there was only one vampire left alive, Elena simply walked to his cowering form and knocked him out. Just as he slumped against the door, the remaining bedroom window blew inward, but the shards never hit any of them and Raphael stepped inside.

Elena was still standing perfectly still. When Eve went to go forward, Raphael motioned to Gwendolyn to hold her back. They could see that while Elena had managed to kill all the vampires, she had sustained injuries as well. There was blood running down her arm and there was also some damage to her wings though Gwendolyn couldn’t say how serious they were.

She finally turned, as if she sensed Raphael standing close to her and Gwendolyn was glad that she had Eve pressed firmly to her side. Her eyes looked empty but she motioned to a vampire slumped against the wall and said in a hollow voice, “He’s still alive, I need you to find out how they knew and why they attacked.”

Raphael seemed to see something in her that Gwendolyn couldn’t. He didn’t even look at the unconscious vampire, but he jerked and Raphael hit him with a ball of energy leaving only ash where the vampire had been.

He walked to where Elena stood, stiff and covered in blood and drew her in his arms. Gwendolyn knew that they were a couple but in that moment, she saw the depth of Raphael’s love in the way that he held her, he was gentle, as if he was holding the most precious treasure in the world. And she went into his arms as if she belonged there all along. Gwendolyn could see as she gradually relaxed and leaned her head against his chest. His wings came around her, shielding her from view.

“You’re safe for now but the house is compromised. Those who sent these vampires will not be easily deterred. I want you moved to my estate.”

Gwendolyn finally found her voice. “No, that’s ok, we can move to a hotel-“

“A hotel won’t be safe enough. It seems that Jeffery has angered some rather dangerous people with a recent deal and they won’t give up easily. They need to be dealt with. I insist.”

Gwendolyn could only nod; she knew that Raphael was only giving her the illusion of a choice. She didn’t miss that his eyes seemed to burn when he mentioned Jeffery; it was perhaps for the best that the two hadn’t come face to face yet. She also noticed that throughout the entire exchange, Elena hadn’t uttered a word, in fact she hadn’t even moved.

“I’ll get us packed up.”

“Illium and Janvier will escort you to the estate, Janvier knows the way. Jeffery will need to informed, I will have someone handle it.”

He lifted Elena into his arms and stepped out of the balcony and flew off. He had said all he needed to and his immediate concern was Elena. Gwendolyn wondered what it would feel like to be so cherished, to be loved so much. She shook herself; she didn’t have time for this. She ushered the girls to get their packing done.

Having packed up all they needed, they had just entered the living room when a tall and muscled vampire entered the house. He smiled at Gwendolyn and made sure to keep a safe distance from them, as if giving them time to get used to him.

“I’ll be your chauffer for the day, ladies. And how you are you, little Eve?”

He flashed a full smile at Eve and hugged her when she stepped forward. Eve knew him from the Academy where he sometimes trained the younger hunters. He looked at Gwendolyn.

“Shall we go, are you ready?”

“Yes, we can leave. Will we be taking our car?”

“No, we’ll take mine, it’s faster.”

He smiled at her and stood aside, motioning her to walk before him. She put her arms around and Amy and walked past him, he followed, holding Eve’s hand in his. Once they were all seated, he started the car and they were on their way.

“Will Elena be okay?”

Eve sounded worried but Janvier looked at her in the rear-view mirror and smiled.

“Elena’s tough, she’ll be fine. Don’t you worry cher. She had a few injuries, nothing a little rest won’t heal.”

Eve still looked unconvinced.

“I don’t want her to be hurt because of me Mama. I’ve never seen her like that, ever.”

“Shhh honey, she’ll be fine, you’ll see. Besides she’s with Raphael and he’ll keep her safe. You weren’t scared of her, were you?”

“She protected us, she made sure that none of the vampires got close to us. I’ve never seen anyone fight like that.”

All of it was true but what made it even more surprising was that it was Amy who said that, Amy who neither spoke to Elena nor about her. But Eve visibly calmed hearing her words.

“We’re nearly there and you can see her for yourself cher, she’ll be glad to see you.”

Eve nodded.

“Raphael said that he’d have someone inform Jeffery about what happened, but I doubt his plane has landed yet.”

“Don’t worry Mrs. Devereaux, we’ll have someone meet him as soon as he lands.”

Gwendolyn settled back in her seat and pulled both Amy and Eve tighter against her. She shivered at how close she had come to losing them today.

When they pulled over in front of Raphael’s beautiful house, a meticulously dressed vampire met them at the door.

“Very good to finally meet you Mrs. Devereaux, I have had rooms prepared for you and the girls. Come, you must be hungry. I will have someone take your bags to your rooms. If you’ll follow me.”

Gwendolyn and the girls fell in line behind him with Janvier bringing up the rear. The inside of the house was even more beautiful than its exterior. It was warm, lived-in; it was a home, not simply a house. Montgomery escorted them to the beautiful dining room; the full windows bathed the room in light, heightening its beauty. The table was laden with simple yet delicious food. Gwendolyn wasn’t hungry and suspected she wouldn’t be for some time but the girls needed to eat so she sat with them and ate a little. She was still too unsettled but tried to present a calm face. After eating, Montgomery led them to their rooms.

“Is Elena all right, will I be able to meet her soon?”

Montgomery looked at Eve.

“I will you let you as soon as she wakes and then you can see her.”

Gwendolyn stayed with the girls in their room. She wasn’t sure she was ready to leave them alone. Feeling a little claustrophobic, they decided to go for a short walk, Eve offered to show them Elena’s greenhouse. They were just rounding the curve that led back to the house when they saw Raphael speaking to another angel. This one she had seen numerous times in news. He was very popular especially with his beautiful blue wings, blue-black hair and his easy smiles. She tried to recall his name but couldn’t remember. They stopped speaking when they saw Gwendolyn and the girls.

“Illium!”

Eve ran towards the blue-winged angel and he scooped her up in a hug, spinning her around, making her squeal.

“Hey there Evie, I think you’ve grown taller.”

Raphael nodded at Gwendolyn when she was close enough.

“Jeffery was informed and he is on his way, he will be here by tonight but he’ll come by tomorrow to pick you up.”

Gwendolyn read between the lines, he had been told to come the next day and even he knew not to try the patience of an Archangel. Eve and Amy stood next to her, silently watching the exchange.

“How is Elena feeling?”

Raphael looked at Eve.

“I know you were hoping to see her but she’s resting to recover from her injuries. I don’t think you will be able to see her. But you can come when she wakes up. She’d like that.”

“Was she very seriously hurt?”

Eve looked scared and Illium took over, answering her. Raphael was intimidating at the best of times but right now, with Elena hurt, he wasn’t very concerned about making an effort to seem approachable.

“Some of her injuries were serious but nothing too bad, Evie. I’ll fly you here when she’s up, I promise.”

Eve nodded and relaxed. Montgomery informed them that dinner was ready and she led the girls inside even though she could see that Eve clearly wanted to spend more time outside. The events of the day were catching up with her and she needed time to regroup. They had a quiet dinner. It was just the three of them since Raphael didn’t join them.

Gwendolyn decided she would stay with her daughters, so they stayed in her room. She doubted that she’d be able to sleep at all but sleep came and though it was short, she felt better the next morning. Things seemed calmer and she felt more in control unlike the previous day. She was informed that Jeffery would be coming to pick them while the girls were still asleep. So she woke them up and went down for breakfast. Montgomery was perhaps the most genteel person she had ever met, she hadn’t encountered his perfect manners before which made her very curious as to how old he was, but she refrained from voicing her question.

Soon, it was time to go, Jeffery was almost there but instead of letting him come inside, his car was stopped at the gate. Montgomery informed her that they would be driven to the main gate. She didn’t question why he wasn’t permitted here. This was Elena’s home as much as Raphael’s and he wouldn’t permit Jeffery to be anywhere near it unless Elena decided differently. Raphael would not let Jeffery get close to Elena’s refuge and taint it. That he was allowed at the gate was all the concession that Raphael was prepared to give.

As they left, she was once again struck at the similarities and differences between this house and her own. They were both old and beautiful buildings but here she could feel the love that bound Elena and Raphael together, there was an ease inside, a comfort that was sorely missing from her own. Her home was fraught with tension, there was love but there was also a tense undercurrent. As she got into the car with the girls in tow, she wondered, not the first time in the recent months, just who had lost out when Jeffery cast out Elena.

Guild Hunter Fan-Fiction: Fundraiser

This is an original story (well, it’s less a story more a scene) The Devereaux family is attending a fundraiser organised by the Guild after the events of Book 6, Archangel’s Legion. It is told from Gwendolyn’s perspective. It is held in honour of those who fell in the battle against Lijuan and Charisemnon.

 

Gwendolyn, Jeffery and the girls were attending a fundraiser for the Guild. Though, in the past, Jeffery wouldn’t be caught dead near anything associated with the Guild, things had changed. He still hated it but considering that at present both his daughters were enrolled at the Academy, he couldn’t afford to be quite that rigid.

The ballroom was full of hunters and their families, although, one could almost say that they behaved like they were one big family. They clearly seemed to know one another and there was an ease in the room, she couldn’t say how she knew, except that she could sense it. It was in the faces of these people with their easy smiles and carefree laughter. It was especially jarring in the face of the recent attack against New York but there was also a sense of celebration in the room. Many of the people assembled here had fought for their freedom, fought alongside the angels and vampires, she knew also, that many had died in the battle. This seemed like the hunters’ way of paying their respects to those who had fallen. It shamed her to realise that these were the people that her family and those like them had spoken of with much disdain and derision.

She looked across the room and saw Elena standing with a short beautiful woman. Both were dressed in gowns and with her striking wings, Elena was hard to miss in any room. It was not hard to recognise the other woman as Sara Haziz, the Guild Director. But that’s not what caught her attention; Elena had a little girl in her arms and the girl was clearly at-ease with her, love and affection for her clear on Elena’s face. Gwendolyn saw Elena throw girl up into the air to her delight and then caught the squealing girl.

She looked away from them and studied her own family, except Eve and to a very limited extent Amy, they were not comfortable in this room. She saw Eve survey the room and knew the moment she spotted Elena. The two of them had become quite close ever since she started attending the Academy. She also knew that with Jeffery present, Elena would not join them and Eve clearly wanted to meet her but would not since she knew that her father disapproved.

She looked at Eve, “Why don’t you go say hi to Elena, I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you.”

Jeffery stiffened next to her. Eve looked at her mother but her eyes flicked to her father, when he didn’t say anything; she walked across to Elena dragging a very unwilling Amy with her. Amy had yet to warm up to Elena, probably because she sensed the tension at home more acutely than Eve, who was very much the baby of the family.

Gwendolyn and Jeffery moved to a table reserved for them, not speaking. They were both observing those around them, lost in thought. She could see Eve talking animatedly with Elena, the little girl now snuggled on her mother’s shoulder, while one of their teachers spoke to Amy. Gwendolyn could see that while Eve was clearly getting attached to Elena, Amy still wasn’t entirely comfortable around her.

Gwendolyn wondered about what her daughters’ life would be like had Elena been a part of their family. If there wasn’t always an undercurrent of tension, looming over them.

“Do you realise that both Amy and Eve lost something very important when you cast out Elena?” She couldn’t help but ask Jeffery.

He continued to look straight ahead till Gwendolyn thought he wouldn’t answer her, but he turned to her, “That is irrelevant. Elena disobeyed me and ran the family’s name through the mud. Had she stayed with us, it would have rubbed off on Amy and Eve as well.”

“And yet Eve is hunter-born and now she needs Elena. If your plan was to keep them apart then it seems to have backfired. Don’t you care about her?”

“Don’t talk about things you know nothing of, Gwendolyn. My relationship with Elena is not your concern.” He snapped.

“It is if it impacts her relationship with Eve. What if you push her too far one day and she decides to cut us off.”

“Rest assured Gwendolyn, she would never do that to Eve.”

Suddenly she didn’t want to have this conversation with Jeffery, she didn’t even know why she brought it up. It was always exhausting. She could see Amy glance in their direction and gave her a reassuring smile, but she didn’t think it fooled her. Amy always saw too much and didn’t talk about it. She worried about her.

Soon both the girls walked back to their table, Eve pausing to speak to one of her instructors. When they were all seated, Gwendolyn asked Eve, “Did you and Elena have a nice chat?”

Eve’s face lit up, “We did. I told her about my classes and how I’m doing, she was proud…” She trailed off catching Jeffery’s expression.

Silent again, they waited for their food to arrive. Meanwhile, she saw Elena sitting and talking with a group of hunters. They looked so comfortable around each other, like a family. The contrast was so stark between them that it hurt Gwendolyn to see it. Looking at the other table, she couldn’t help but mourn what her daughters had lost. She couldn’t wait for this night to get over; staying in this room somehow, seemed to highlight her feeling of loss.

They were almost finished eating when Sara, the Director of the Guild, suddenly approached them.

“I hope I’m not bothering you but I just wanted to let you know how well the girls are doing in all their classes. They are really quite exceptional.”

She said the last with an affectionate glance towards Eve, who beamed back. Gwendolyn noticed that though she didn’t address either of them, the words were directed towards Gwendolyn. There was nothing overtly hostile in Sara’s demeanour but Gwendolyn could sense that Sara didn’t like Jeffery very much. There was a certain hardness in her eyes when she regarded Jeffery; no doubt she knew what had happened between him and Elena.

“I am very pleased to hear that. I was a little worried about whether they were adjusting well or not.” Gwendolyn said, before Jeffery could say something rude. She was hoping that Sara didn’t say anything to Jeffery that might set him off. She was relieved when Sara looked back at her.

“Rest assured, you have nothing to worry about. They are both exceptional students. It was wonderful to meet you again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I better find my daughter”

With that, giving both the girls and Gwendolyn a warm smile, she turned and walked away. Once she was out if earshot, Gwendolyn breathed a sigh of relief; Jeffery seemed to be behaving himself, at least for now. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Eve stiffen slightly and turn around in her chair.

“What’s wrong Eve, are you all right?”

“I think there are vampires here. Elena said there might be but that they are friends. I can sense them in the room.”

“You couldn’t before?”

“I could Mama, but it was muted, not very clear. It feels a little clearer now.”

Before Gwendolyn could say more, Jeffery snapped, “Enough with the questions Gwendolyn! I will not have you speak of this in front of me, if you insist on dragging our name through the mud, that is your decision but we are not having this conversation. We’re going home now.”

With that, he got up, waiting for them to join him. Gwendolyn wished she was strong enough to defy him, to stay here. But she wasn’t, not yet. She looked at Eve’s crestfallen face and Amy’s, though it was closed off. And she felt like she had failed them somehow. She was supposed to protect them and she couldn’t. She shouldn’t have to protect them from their own father.

As they started to follow Jeffery out of the room, she saw Elena looking at them. Her expression was a mixture of grief and anger. She knew what had happened. Gwendolyn suddenly knew if she wanted to make sure that her daughters were happy, she would have to stand up to Jeffery or risk losing her daughters, the way Jeffery had lost Elena.

Guild Hunter Fan-Fiction: Guild Academy Registration

This too is from Archangel’s Consort when Elena takes Gwendolyn, Eve and Amy to the Guild Academy to register. In the book, we see it through Elena’s eyes but I wanted to explore what Gwendolyn must have been thinking. So here it is:

 

Gwendolyn and Amethyst followed behind Elena as she led Evelyn for her registration. She could sense the discomfort in Amy’s stiff body; only her love and concern for Eve had brought her here. It had been a battle of wills to even reach this far. She knew that if she had been even a little unsure, Jeffery would have convinced her to let it be, to pretend that Eve wasn’t Hunter-born.

 

The past few days had been fraught with tension but she wasn’t going to back down. She would do whatever it took to make sure that Eve had all the tools she needed to survive. Even now, while he had driven them here, he had stubbornly refused to come inside. She couldn’t understand why he had agreed to drive them, she had decided to drive them herself but she was stunned when he announced that he would do it. She remembered him sitting next to her, his white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel and the heavy and stifling silence within the car. Never had it felt to oppressive. But he had still come.

 

As they walked through the entrance, she could hear Elena telling Eve about the Academy. She saw Eve look over her shoulder to Amy.

 

“Amy can come with me?”

 

“Yes, if you want.”

 

Gwendolyn was still struck at how supportive Elena was of Eve and Amy, she didn’t seem to be offended at Amy’s behaviour. She had every reason to be resentful of them but she wasn’t. In fact, she seemed to be going out of her way to make things easy for Eve. Gwendolyn couldn’t help but admire and respect that. Any concerns she might have had regarding Elena’s behaviour towards Eve had evaporated when she saw how protective she was of her.

 

They walked into the waiting room and were greeted by a thin man in a high-tech wheelchair. He was classically handsome with dark skin and rich dark eyes. Gwendolyn saw the way his face lit up when he saw Elena and her response to him. She was so happy to see him that Gwendolyn could hear it in her voice; she could hear the smile in her voice.

 

She bent to him and kissed him on both cheeks making him blush. His gaze shifted to her wings as he ignored the three of them but Elena brought his attention to Eve who had moved behind her. She put her hand on Eve’s back and gently pushed her forward.

 

“Later, I’ve brought the Guild a new student.”

 

His attention immediately shifted to Eve, sizing her up.

 

“Hunter-born. Nowhere near as strong as you, but strong enough to get herself in trouble if she’s not careful.”

 

Gwendolyn sucked in her breath to hear that cold assessment spoken so casually, making her even more worried. Next to her Amy stiffened even more. She could also see that Eve had sidled closer to Elena, she went to go forward but Elena beat her to it, playfully tugging Eve’s ponytail.

 

“Don’t mind him. Vivek talks to computers most of the time- humans are too much trouble as far as he’s concerned.”

 

Eve relaxed against Elena and Gwendolyn appreciated Elena’s attempt to make Eve feel more at ease. She was still reeling from just how serious this was, how much danger her baby was in and this wasn’t something that she could deal with alone.

 

Grumbling, Vivek directed them to the office area beyond the waiting room for their registration. Elena accompanied them but this was something that Gwendolyn wanted to do herself. She took over from Elena and after sometime Elena excused herself and left her to it.

 

Almost done with the paperwork, she looked towards Elena and saw her standing with Vivek on the porch. Her eyes had a far away look, looking bruised, as if she was lost in her own painful world. Suddenly her eyes focused and she looked at Vivek. She felt they were intruding here. This was Elena’s home; these people had taken care of her when her own father had abandoned her. There would be no love lost between them and the Guild, even now; she knew it was Elena’s involvement that made things so smooth for them. She didn’t know how to thank Elena for all she had done and continued doing. She wished that she had done more when Elena had lived with them.

 

After a few minutes she joined Elena and Vivek on the porch while the girls waited in the waiting room. Vivek said something about work and left, leaving them alone. For a few minutes neither said anything.

 

“Your father is waiting in the car. Maybe you’d like to speak with him.”

 

Judging from Elena’s lack of a reaction, she knew that she knew he was here. Giving her a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes, “I know but perhaps some other time. Right now I have to run.”

 

She thought that Elena would take off from the porch but she walked back inside and went to Eve.

 

“If you want to speak to me, just give me a call. Anytime, ok?”

 

Eve nodded solemnly, still a little scared of what all the changes meant. Gwendolyn looked on and Elena gave Eve a gentle hug, loose enough that if Eve wanted to step away, she could. But Eve hugged her harder. The sight made something inside Gwendolyn tighten.

 

Saying her farewell to her and Amy, she walked back to the porch and took off. It was still a sight that amazed her and she could see that even Amy wasn’t immune to it. There was a flash of a look of wonder before she tamped down on it. But Gwendolyn had seen it and she wished that she gave Elena a chance and could move beyond the wall that Jeffery had built to keep them apart.

Guild Hunter Fan-Fiction: School Attack (Eve’s Perspective)

From Archangel’s Consort, this is the scene where the school get attacked by a vampire who also kills Eve’s friend and a classmate. This is from Eve’s point of view and marks the first time Eve and Amy meet Elena after her transformation into an angel.

 

The past few days at home had scared Eve a little. She could sense that her mother wasn’t always happy and that her father was very angry. She did not know what had made him so angry so she made sure that she did all her chores and her homework and did not give them any trouble.

She had noticed that her father had seemed angrier after that attack everyone at school kept talking about. They were not allowed to talk about it at home. The first time, she had asked her mother about it, Father had gotten very angry and yelled at her. He had never done that before and scared Eve so much that she never spoke of it again. She was glad Amy was with her, she seemed to make everything all right. She let Eve stay with her and she never got mad at her. Eve loved her mother but she didn’t want to worry her, she looked so sad sometimes. She thought that Eve and Amy didn’t notice anything, but they did. They tried to make her feel better but they didn’t always know how.

The other escape for Eve was the school. She loved the school and she was very good at her studies, something even Father was proud of. She was on her way to her room in the school when it happened. She suddenly felt that something was in her room. She almost felt compelled to go to her room. The first thing she saw when she opened the door was the blood. There was so much so much blood and it was everywhere. She screamed.

A teacher, Mrs.Hill, ran to where she stood and as soon as she saw what was inside the room, she immediately pulled her outside.

“Evelyn, are you all right?”

For a moment all Eve could think about was the blood. She couldn’t speak so she forced herself to nod.

“Is Amy with you today, is she at the school?”

Again, Eve nodded.

“Okay, I’ll take you to her but you have to stay with her. All right Evelyn?”

“Okay.” Eve said in a small voice. She was glad that she was going to be with Amy, she always knew what to do. She would know what was wrong.

As Mrs. Hill led her to her sister’s class, other people had come to her room and the security quickly closed the room. When they reached her sister, the other teachers were starting to evacuate the school.

Mrs. Hill told her wait while she spoke to Amy. She saw the two of them talking, she knew that she would tell her sister about what had happened. After a short wait, both Mrs. Hill and Amy walked to where she was waiting.

“I will speak to your parents and have them pick you up but I want you to stay with Amy, don’t wander off, it’s not safe.”

Mrs. Hill left them on the school porch where other students were also assembled. They were standing in clusters, discussing though they clearly didn’t know what had happened.

“There was so much blood in my room Amy.” She said in a small voice to her sister. Standing close to her. Amy put her arm around her and hugged her tight.

“It’s all right. They’ll figure what happened. Don’t worry Eve.”

Amy was always so calm but today even she looked a little scared. They stood together, waiting for the car to come pick them up.

After a short wait, the police arrived. Not long after them, they saw a few angels fly above them with vampires right on their heels. She knew they were vampires. They smelled strange to her and she couldn’t say exactly what they smelled like but she could pick them out.

“Amy, do you smell that?” She said softly when the vampires went inside.

Amy looked down at her. “What do you mean Eve, what smell?”

“This strange smell, I can’t describe it exactly. You can’t smell it?”

“I don’t smell anything Eve, are you sure you’re okay?” Amy looked worried now.

“Nothing, it’s nothing. I’m just a little scared Amy.”

“Don’t worry, I’m here now.”

They were still standing there when some of the girls suddenly pointed towards the sky. As they looked in that direction, they saw two angels in the sky. One flew away while another started to descend. She had the most beautiful wings Eve had ever seen. They looked like when the night started turning to dawn. She had pale, almost white hair but her skin was dark. She recognized her instantly and judging from the way Amy stiffened next to her, she recognised her as well. It was their sister, Elieanora.

She had disappeared after the fight in Manhattan. She had thought that maybe she had become a vampire. Eve didn’t know her at all except that father didn’t like her. He got very mad every time there was anything about her in the paper or in the news. They knew that the fights that mother and father some times had were because of her. They were not allowed to talk about her and she was not allowed to visit them.

Elieanora saw them instantly and nodded at her, Eve started to raise her hand to say hello but Amy immediately pulled her hand down. As she landed, she looked away from them and climbed the front steps heading for the school entrance.

Eve shook off Amy’s arm and ran down to meet her. Seeing her, Elieanora stopped and waited.

“You’re not a vampire.”

Eve was so sure that that was why she had stayed away for so long and made father so angry. She thought that Elieanora would be rude and mean to her and braced herself for her words but she just said, “No.”

Eve looked up at her, she didn’t know Elieanora was thinking but she didn’t look mean or nasty. Eve thought that she must be with the angels and vampires that had come earlier.

“Do you want to know what happened?”

She saw Elieanora glance towards the teachers standing behind them but then looked back at her. She waited a second before asking, “Is there anything you want to tell me?”

“It was awful.”

For a moment, she was back in that room covered with blood. She felt scared all over again.

“I went into the dorm and there was blood everywhere and Celia wasn’t there even though we were supposed to meet. And I can’t find Bets—”

“You discovered this?”

Elieanora asked before Eve could finish what she was saying. For the first time since landing, she looked scared.

“What did you see?”

“Nothing after that. Mrs. Hil heard me scream, and she dragged me out the door almost straightaway. Then they made us all stand out here, and I heard wings … but I didn’t see your archangel.”

She waited to see what Elieanora would say to that. Yes, she knew that her sister and the archangel were together. She had seen them fall together after that battle in Manhattan. Strangely, she looked a little sad, Eve didn’t understand why she looked sad all of a sudden.

I’ll take care of things, but I need you to go back up and stay with Amethyst until I figure out what’s going on.”

Eve looked at her a moment, then nodded and ran back to Amy and stood close to her sister who still looked shocked. Elieanora waited till she was with Amy and then walked through the entrance. She hugged Amy’ stiff form.

“It’s ok Amy, she said she’ll take care of it, she promised.”

When they were finally picked up, Eve was still thinking about her half-sister.

Eve didn’t know Elieanora but for some reason she believed her when she said that she’ll take care of things. She also thought about why she wasn’t allowed to visit them, especially when she didn’t seem mean or nasty.