Friday, August 23, 2013

The Quest for Skye: Chapter 7

Recap: Nothing really happened in the last chapter, except Morgan and Tammy hung out with Skye and then Morgan tried to witness to Doctor L. L. Today's schedule is apparently Skye, Skye, and more Skye. Gee, I can't wait. I haven't been told enough by the author yet how amazing and witty and compassionate and profound she is.

Morgan and Tammy are awakened from their morning shaving and coffee (respectively) by Skye pounding on their door, insisting that they go explore the ship NOW.

Yup, super polite child.

Turns out she got up at 5 to go work out with Gym Kim and her fiance Zack.
“You know Kim and Zack?” Morgan made a strange face.
“I sure do. Zack’s a hunk.” She patted her heart. 
Morgan rolled his eyes, grinning. “Zack’s a hunk, huh?” 
“I’m a hunk, too!” Morgan said flexing his muscles and realizing his face was still lathered with shaving crème.

"Your parents put me in charge of you for the day. Notice how hot I am!" Seriously, even as a joke, that's a weird thing to say to a child. Especially a child you met yesterday.

Also, what is this "strange face"? I choose to think it was this one:

Fortunately, Skye ignores his creepy attempt to draw attention to his attractiveness by explaining that doctors can't be hunks.
Skye hollered, “Come on, let’s go!”
She's hollering? Right now all I can hear is Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, who was one of the most annoying movie children ever because all she did was yell. Her parents need to teach her to use her inside voice.

Morgan and Tammy do the worst awkward flirting in the world, and then they all go around the ship, exploring it (though why? Skye and Morgan did all that yesterday). They eventually run into Doctor Layland Leontiou:
“I’m surprised to see you. What are the chances we would run into each other on this huge ship?” Morgan sounded surprised.
“Actually, the chances are very good. Skye has a GPS tracking device on her. See her bracelet? It tells me where she is at all times.”
And this is why he lets his daughter go off with random men. Because at least he can track her. Although it was pretty dumb of him to just cheerfully admit this to the man who's going to take his daughter off the boat to another country the next day. That's how kidnappings happen and you don't even realize they're gone for hours, possibly days.

Doctor L. L. asks Tammy to come meet some of the other speakers, and Skye wants to go play checkers with Morgan. Then this bizarre exchange happens.
“Before you get too excited, Dr. Hamilton, let me tell you, Skye has rarely lost a game of checkers,” her father boasted.
“You’re kidding, right?” Morgan crossed his arms.
“No, you’ll see.” Layland glared.
The heck?

That got really hostile out of nowhere. Though actually I suspect this means that J. L. Rothdiener simply doesn't know what "glared" means.

Instead of playing checkers, Skye wanders into a "crew only" section because she wants to get a picture on the deck of the ship. But before we get to that, I have to address this weird bit of writing:
In broken English, someone greeted them from the deck above, “Good morning, Skye.”
...That's not broken English. That's perfectly acceptable English. I looked ahead to see if the character was going to speak in broken English later, but nope, every single sentence is pretty much spot-on. I suspect what was meant was that the character had an accent of some kind, but... COME ON, DUDE. SOMETIMES KNOWING WORDS IS HELPFUL FOR WRITING BOOKS.

Anyway, Skye wants to take a Titanic "king of the world" picture. And the book then devotes like four entire pages to this endeavor.

I do want to complain about something minor, not because it's a ridiculous thing that could never happen in this story, but because it hasn't been done successfully.

This book was released in 2013 and doesn't indicate that it's set in the past. Therefore, Skye was not born when Titanic came out. In an earlier scene, she referenced "Beam me up, Scotty" from the original Star Trek. While it is obviously not unthinkable that she would have watched these things years after they were released, it is unlikely that she would have caught on to iconic moments from these two. When kids watch things, they tend to latch on to what they like best, not what the culture remembers (certainly not if the pop culture memory of it was years before they were born).

The author is writing things that he remembers without even bothering to point out that Skye's viewing material is somewhat... unlikely for her age, and that she's somehow pulled out culturally-remembered parts of them at age nine. (Especially one that was never actually said in the original. Kirk never said, "Beam me up, Scotty," so clearly that came from a cultural memory, rather than an actual viewing.) Heck, this is even a great Mary Sue opportunity ("She's such an old soul! She loves movies and TV so much older than she is! She's so deep!") and the fact that it was missed indicates that it wasn't really thought about.

Skye and Morgan walk to the very end of the boat, where apparently they can fall into the water if they're not careful, and then Skye tells Morgan she's going to get on his shoulders at the edge of the boat, because that's super safe, and apparently Captain Broken English is all super cool with this as he's taking the picture for them. Finally the picture is taken. FOUR PAGES LATER.

Morgan reveals he's afraid of water, they go get Tammy, and Morgan plays checkers with Skye. He loses.
“I believe Dr. Leontiou warned you not to play checkers with her,” Tammy teased, trying not to laugh.
He did. He even got weirdly angry about it.

After spending FOUR FREAKING PAGES on the saga of Getting a Titanic Picture, we then zoom through the rest of their afternoon:
The three of them rock climbed, which still didn’t tire the child. 
Mid-afternoon they played shuffleboard with two elderly couples and then a game of miniature golf. 
They must have walked around the outside of the ship at least four times[.]
Those three sentences are all right next to each other. We get no more information than that. I guess that's not nearly as important as duplicating famous scenes from Titanic.

Then they go to the onboard water slide, which I was going to ridicule, but no, they totally have those, which is awesome. Morgan is freaking out about the water slide because of not liking water. Tammy offers to hold Skye's bracelet for her, but Skye says it doesn't come off.
“That’s some bracelet. I guess your father really doesn’t want to lose you,” Tammy stated.
“No. He says he’s going to keep me.”
 "I made him promise me that the last time he dropped me off at some random person's house for a couple days."

Skye tells Morgan he has to go down the water slide and goes down herself. Morgan freaks out at the top of the slide for awhile. Not only has he never gone down a water slide himself, he's apparently never seen anyone else go on any sort of amusement ride, because:
“Why was she screaming?” he asked, taking a step back.
She's screaming because that's what one does when one goes down a giant slide or rides a rollercoaster or anything like that. Or well, enough people do that that it shouldn't be a huge shock to him. Anyway, the girl at the top of the ride finally gets him to go down the slide and he does, screaming all the way. When he gets to the bottom, there's an official ship photographer taking a picture of him, and Skye and Tammy taunt him for screaming like a girl.

Because that is how you get people to embrace their fears, right? Yelling at them until they do it and then humiliate them immediately afterward for doing it wrong?

Morgan and Tammy take Skye back to her room, where she recounts her day to Maya, the housekeeper:
“It was great! Tammy and Morgan took me to the big pool, Splash Mountain, and we even took a king of the world picture at the bow of the ship.”
“Did you? I thought that area was off limits,” she glanced at the girl over her glasses. 
“Evidently, not if you know the captain of the ship,” Morgan murmured.
It's not about knowing the captain of the ship, silly. It's about having AMAZING MARY SUE POWERS. That is how you not only get into forbidden areas, but get the captain himself to cheerfully take a picture of you in a precarious pose in the most dangerous part of those forbidden areas.
Turning back to the child, Maya added, “Oh, that’s right, you know him well.”
What? Why does she know him well? She has been on the ship two days. If she knows anyone well in those two days, it's Morgan, seeing as how they've been attached at the hip the whole time. Does she know him from beforehand? Did the captain also kidnap her to another country to kiss dolphins? Did her parents leave her at his house for awhile?
Maya smiled, and continued folding the clothes. “Skye is only nine, but she seems much older.”
“Is she always that polite?” Tammy asked.
“Always! She never argues about anything. She... Well to put it bluntly, she’s too good to be true. I sometimes wonder if one day she’ll rebel. However, I don’t think she will. She’s the real deal. I’ve never heard or seen her do anything wrong. She lives to help people and make them happy.”



Tammy says Skye's been raised well, and Maya quickly explains that, actually, she believes Skye is "divinely gifted." What makes her think this?
“She hardly ever walks past someone without paying them a compliment, or finding something positive to say to them.”
Because apparently you can't be a frequent compliment giver without being mystically inspired by God. Who knew?

(Incidentally, I don't know that she's actually paid Morgan a compliment this entire time. She's mostly just pushy and bossy with him. And she makes fun of his fear of water.)

Morgan and Tammy go back to their room, talk more about how amazing and special and energetic and sweet and perfect Skye is, and fall asleep.

I am 18% of the way through this book. We have so much Skye left. UGGGGGH.

(Chapter 8.)

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