March 6, 2015
Terri has saved the day once again with this glorious recap!
what went down
- It’s been 3 days since the dissenting survivors left them and 157 people remain. Logan announces that they’re leaving Baalboden. People argue but Logan explains that an army is coming. Rowansmark will stop at nothing to get the Cursed One controller back and punish the thief; it’s part of their city-state’s guiding principles of honor and atonement. The Commander is also after the controller and he’ll be back.
- Logan has built a machine to tunnel out of the city far enough away that the trackers won’t be able to find them when they resurface. (I remain skeptical about a 1000 yard tunnel being quite that effective but okay.)
- Logan wants to go to Lankenshire, a neighboring city-state unallied with the Commander or James Rowan. He hopes to negotiate for sanctuary in exchange for duplicating the stolen controller so Lankenshire can defend themselves against the Cursed One.
- Rachel, Willow and Quinn are training some of the survivors, including girls, how to fight, use weapons, and survive in the Wasteland. The men are still working through their “women are precious flowers, let’s not really fight them” mentality and so Rachel yells at them until they cooperate and spar properly.
- A guy named Adam doesn’t like Logan, thinks he’s too young, his plans are bad, blah blah blah. Rachel gives a him verbal smackdown and Quinn has to stop her from hurting Adam. Rachel has been having nightmares and she’s hallucinating a little bit. Quinn tries to get her to talk about them but she’s stubborn.
- Some of the girls are being catty toward Willow, who gives zero craps. The boys are all half in love with her, but because she’s Willow, she also gives zero craps about that.
- Some prankster vandal keeps messing up the tunnel digger and leaving snarky notes for Logan about paying his debts, being judged, committing crimes, blah blah blah. Logan is more annoyed than worried.
- A guy named Ian is a really good fighter with obvious training. He confides to Logan that his father was loyal to the Commander and was on the Brute Squad; Ian was apprenticed to take his place. Ian knows a lot about Rowansmark because his father died there at the hands of a Rowansmark tracker. The necklace he wears came from his father. He hates the Commander for letting his father be killed and doesn’t want Logan to tell Rachel or anyone about his past.
- Logan and Rachel are hunting/taking a kissing break in the Wasteland when they see the army approaching. Logan had told Drake to blow the gate if the army started charging, but that means they’ll be trapped outside the Wall. Rachel and Logan run for it, but a group comes outside the Wall to fight off the army until they can get back to the gate. The group gets mostly back inside when the Commander shouts for Rachel.
- The Commander has an army of reinforcements and Dragonskin armor from Carrington. (Dragonskin can’t be pierced by metal.) Rachel fights to get to the Commander and kill him but Quinn gets her back inside the city. They blow the gate.
- Logan realizes that Rachel purposefully stayed behind to try and kill the Commander. Rachel argues that it would have been worth her death. Logan begs her to wait until he has a plan that doesn’t involve them dying.
- The army is outside with a battering ram trying to bust in. Logan gets everyone into the Commander’s former compound.
- Rachel is wracked with guilt every time she sees pregnant Eloise. She can’t stop seeing the deaths of Oliver and Melkin and everyone else. She tries to suppress her feelings by training and planning revenge.
- Logan doesn’t understand why he’s the leader. Thom says that Logan was the only person brave enough to defy the Commander. Many other men saw their loved ones killed, but they only planned. Logan acted to save Rachel. They need Logan because he’s the only one brave enough to fight back.
- The army breaks into the city and it’s time to escape into the tunnel. Once everyone is in, they’ll blow up the entrance so they can’t be followed. Rachel sees Jeremiah lagging behind. He was making the map to Lankenshire and has knowledge they need, so she goes to save him. She and Quinn fight them off, Willow gets Jeremiah, and they blow the entrance.
- Quinn is injured from the fight because he refuses to carry weapons. Willow is angry at Rachel for putting herself in danger because Rachel should know that Quinn will put himself in harms way for her even if it gets him killed. The protective little sister role reversal pleases me.
- Logan asks Quinn to keep an eye on Rachel because she’s not herself and she’ll stop at nothing to kill the Commander. Quinn wants to stop her from doing that because he knows what kind of effect it will have on her psychologically.
- Ian accuses Logan of not trusting him with “the real plan.” Logan tells him the plan hasn’t changed: they’re going to Lankenshire and Logan is going to duplicate the controller so the Lankenshire leaders have one too.
- Rachel has a nightmare and almost stabs Logan. She won’t tell him what’s wrong.
- Rachel tries to get Quinn to carry a weapon and he gets angry. His father forced him to become a weapon to protect their village and he doesn’t want to forget what he’s capable of.
- The prankster is still leaving self-righteous notes.
- They make a stop at a road sign and find a railroad track and a ferris wheel. Jeremiah explains trains and highways because he’s old and remembers them, and the apocalypse children are appropriately awed or skeptical according to their personalities. LOL.
- Logan doesn’t have materials to duplicate the controller so he has to wait until Lankenshire to finish it. He’s also working on a device to kill the Commander using the unique marker in the Commander’s wrist mark.
- Adam and Ian get into a fight because Adam badmouths Logan’s leadership and Ian defends him. They break it up but the Cursed One attacks.
- Logan tries to use the controller to drive it away but it doesn’t seem to work at first, but then it does.
- Ian convinces Rachel to make a pact with him to sneak off and kill the Commander if they get the chance.
- Logan can’t sleep so he checks the perimeter and finds all the sentries have had their throats cut. Another note is written in blood. The way the sentries were killed indicates the killer is experienced or that the sentries knew him and didn’t think he was a threat. It was either someone outside who was able to hide his tracks from Quinn and Willow, or it’s a traitor inside.
- Rachel thinks it’s someone from Rowansmark and the notes are part of their pain atonement tradition. If a Rowansmark citizen dishonors their city, leader, or family, instead of being thrown in jail, they get a pain sentence. If they survive, their honor is restored. If they don’t, their debt is paid by their death. The notes fit with that mentality. Quinn and Willow volunteer to search the Wasteland for the tracker.
- Carrington army on their tail. They find a city and decide to stay in the ruins for the night.
- Quinn and Willow find Rowansmark tracker boot prints, kill some army scouts, and tell Logan the army is getting too close. They decide to create a fire barrier to give them some extra time to get away the next morning.
- Rachel is out collecting kindling, considering if she can sneak away and shoot the Commander. Ian wants her to go with him to kill the Commander because they’re very close and suggests that she should steal the device from Logan.
- Logan was worried about Rachel sneaking off on a solo murder mission and explains his plan to use sound waves to overwhelm the receiver in the Commander’s wrist mark to explode it (right next to his artery) and kill him.
- They have a heart to heart about Logan feeling guilty because the Rowansmark tracker is after him and killing others because of him. Rachel admits she’s dreaming of her father Jared and Oliver’s deaths and being covered in blood. Someone sneaks up on them and cracks Logan over the head with a rock but Rachel and Quinn get him back to camp.
- Logan wakes up and finds a dart in his room with the message “the marked will die to pay your debt.” The tracker was in their room. They go into the hall and find lots of doors marked with bloody Xs. Sylph’s door is one of them but none of the marked people are dead and the sentries are fine. Now they’re sure it was an inside job.
- The crowd is scared because of the doors being marked. Rachel gets up and tells them the truth: there’s a traitor in their group and when she finds him, she will kill him and it won’t be pretty.
- They light the barrier fire and get out of the city.
- Logan explains to Rachel about the dart. They think the marked door people have been poisoned. They’re rechecking everyone’s wrist marks to make sure they’re from Baalboden and notice Sylph has a bruise.
- They get attacked by highwaymen. Their newly trained fighters manage to kill the attackers but several people die. They realize the poison causes the marked ones to bleed out faster if they’re injured, and several uninjured people get sick and bleed out more slowly. Sylph gets sick.
- Quinn recognizes their symptoms and says that the poison has no antidote.
- They bury their dead and Willow tells Logan she’s found a bridge. If he can blow it after they cross, they can put some distance between themselves and the army.
- The army catches up to them again. Yes, this is becoming a theme. The group starts crossing the bridge while Logan preps the jars of explosives. Rachel goes with the sick and injured including Sylph. Ian says this is their chance to go kill the Commander but Rachel refuses to leave her dying friend.
- Jodi and Logan start throwing explosive at the soldiers. They’re going across the bridge and the soldiers are gaining. Logan stops to make a last stand with the explosives. Thom takes Logan’s place on the bridge. He’s got the bruises and doesn’t want to die horrifically. Logan escapes and Thom blows the bridge and plunges into the river. Rachel picks off some surviving soldiers with her bow and arrows.
- Across the river, the Commander shouts that if they give up the controller, he’ll leave them alone. Rachel’s arrows can’t reach that far.
- Sylph dies and Rachel loses her cool and runs through the forest. Quinn chases her and prevents her from falling into the river. Rachel is feeling progressively more dead inside.
- They’re making camp when the tracker is spotted, but before they can catch him, some of his traps explode all over the camp. If they get burned by the smoke, they could die.
- Rachel takes a group and tries to get them out of the smoke but it overwhelms her. Someone grabs her and she gets burned; the person’s eyes look like Logan’s. Logan goes looking for her and sees Quinn dragging her out of the smoke.
- They make it to Lankenshire. The city leaders agree to take in the refugees and give them medical care.
- Rachel wakes up after 3 days. Logan explains where they are and what happened. She’s okay so he leaves her, but Rachel doesn’t think she can feel anything anymore and at least pain is real, so she starts picking at her burn just to feel the pain of it.
- Logan finds Willow and gives her the controller to hide outside the city in case he’s attacked. Willow mentions that the townspeople are acting scared, like there’s someone watching them.
- Logan finds a mural of the downfall of civilization and Commander Chase’s mission. The mural insinuates that maybe the Commander’s mission failed because he was a coward.
- Logan finds Jeremiah with Darius, Lankenshire’s mapmaker. Darius recognizes Logan and says Logan is from Rowansmark. He says that during one of the Commander’s visits to Rowansmark, Marcus McEntire’s baby son disappeared; Marcus claimed he died but couldn’t produce the body. Everyone suspected that the Commander took the baby so that Marcus, who was in charge of the Technological Advancement team, would help him. Nothing ever happened and they figured maybe Marcus wasn’t lying.
- Jeremiah says when the Commander got home from that trip, he killed everyone who’d accompanied him on the trip. He probably gave Logan to his (fake) mother because she’d just been widowed and it would be feasible that she’d been pregnant and no one knew. This explains why the Commander hated Logan and treated him like an outsider.
- Quinn finds Rachel self-harming and stops her, helps her work through her grief. Logan finds them hugging.
- Logan accuses Quinn of taking advantage and being in love with Rachel. Quinn protests that he’s definitely not because do you KNOW how stubborn and bossy she is? He’s just trying to protect Jared’s daughter to repay Jared for saving him and Willow. Quinn tells Logan that Rachel was hurting herself and Logan realizes he didn’t realize Rachel was grieving so badly.
- Eloise goes into labor because we’re near the end of the book and that’s how fictional pregnancy works. Rachel is the only one around so she has to hold Eloise’s hand, finally confesses that she killed in Melkin in possible self-defense but Eloise isn’t mad, Eloise has a baby girl and names her Melli for her father. Rachel holds the baby and lets go of that last piece of guilt and decides she’s ready to kick some butt.
- Logan has to explain his newfound identity to everyone. Then he explains that he kept the controller so the Commander wouldn’t have it and so that he could help the other city-states defend themselves. They debate whether to throw the Baalboden people out but decide not to if Logan will build them a replica to protect them.
- Lankenshire leaders reveal that is blackmailing them. They built a powerful version of the controller and if Lankenshire doesn’t pay up, the trackers in the city will set the “tanniyn” on them. (Yes, it has a better name than Cursed One.) Logan agrees to build a device to overpower the trackers’ device.
- Willow kills a Rowansmark tracker outside the city and retrieves the traitor’s last note. The words are familiar. Logan realizes that Ian told him something similar back in Baalboden and that it was something his father used to say.
how did it end?
- They confront Ian who fills in the details of this story:
- 19 years ago, Marcus was working on a device to control the Cursed One. The Commander couldn’t allow James Rowan to have that much power, but realized he couldn’t bribe Marcus into helping him because of Rowansmark honor, so he found his weakness: Marcus’ newborn son. If Marcus had gone to James Rowan, the honor thing would’ve meant the end of Marcus’ career and Logan’s probable death, so Marcus had to agree to the deal.
- Marcus gave the device to Jared Adams for the Commander, but then James Rowan learned it was missing, compromising Marcus’ honor. He has to return the controller and suffer a pain atonement.
- Ian is Logan’s brother. He believes that Logan has known his own identity the entire time and chosen to betray his family to gain power for himself. Ian blames Logan for both of their parents’ deaths and reveals that he administered Marcus’ pain atonement in order to be accepted onto the military council in his father’s place. (He killed his father and went bonkers, hence the vendetta against Logan.)
- Ian followed Rachel and Logan back to Baalboden and he’s the reason the controller didn’t work and the tanniyn surfaced inside of Baalboden and killed nearly everyone. He also summoned it at the ferris wheel to see if Logan still had the controller.
- Ian says if they kill him, the Rowansmark trackers will summon the tanniyns to destroy the city. Apparently there’s more than one still alive in the world so that’s probably not good.
- Ian also says that ared Adams brought Marcus progress reports on Logan’s well-being. Did Jared know all along and protect Logan out of loyalty to the Commander?
- Ian creates a diversion, knocks out Quinn and kidnaps Rachel. Rachel fights back but he knocks her out too. Willow and Logan try to follow him outside the city, but the gate is locked because the Commander’s army is outside waiting.
- The Commander demands the Baalboden refugees and the Rowansmark trackers refuse to give up Logan. They give him one last note from Ian, who wants Logan to bring the controller to Rowansmark or else he’ll give Logan’s punishment to Rachel and kill her. Logan is thrown into Lankenshire jail while the leaders decide what to do.
- Rachel wakes up and Ian begins to torture her. Quinn finds them and Ian stabs Quinn in the chest. Rachel thinks he’s dying but realizes that Quinn is wearing Dragonskin armor. He knew he couldn’t beat Ian, but he wanted to give Rachel a chance to get some weapons. He’s gripping the knife that’s not actually lodged in this chest and his hands are bleeding.
- Rachel hides a couple of blades on her person and pretends to cry about Quinn’s “death.” Ian grabs her again and carries her away.
- Rachel resolves to kill Ian, dismantle the tech, kill the Commander, save the day, etc.
Tanniyn: what the Commander called “The Cursed One” – the firebreathing monsters that destroyed the world and killed most of the population
Baalboden: the city where the Commander ruled and Rachel and Logan lived
Lankenshire: the city they escape to
Rowansmark: the city ruled by the Commander’s primary rival, James Rowan. Source of the controller and also most of the trouble not caused by the Commander himself.