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FATHER’S DAY SNIPPET

unmade

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

It seemed an appropriate time for a snippet. Kami’s parents are designedly very present-and-not-evil in the Lynburn Legacy, and in Unmade Jon Glass gets plenty to do, so here’s…


Kami could intuit where her father was going: down the road by the woods and up the hill to Aurimere, but she didn’t know what his plan was. To see her mother—to beg her to come home? What if she didn’t? What if she did, and Rob Lynburn didn’t like it?

She did not know what her father intended, or what she should do. She didn’t try to stop him, but she did follow him so she could try to protect him.

It was a clear spring morning, bright as if the sun was a lamp whose brilliance had been turned up a few notches, white rays stretching out across a sky lucent as glass. Kami’d had to stop to find her shoes and her coat, and she was trying to be subtle as she hurried, so her father was well ahead of her on the path. No matter how clear the morning, she could barely keep him in sight.

There was no way her father could pass through the flames around Aurimere.

But she was only a little way up the hill when she saw her father reach Aurimere, a small dark figure outlined against the fire, and the living leaping walls of fire flickered and parted like a red sea. Jon passed through the flame. The sorcerers at Aurimere had let him in, and Kami did not know why, and she could not see him at all.

Kami charged up the hill, racing as if she could stop him though he was already gone. She mentally apologized to Angela and did not stop as she ran straight into the fire. She felt tears roll down from her smarting eyes to her scorched cheeks and smelled the smoky scent that was the ends of her hair burning.

Maybe you should wait, Ash told her, and she could feel the wash of his nervousness against her walls.

Maybe you should shut up, Kami suggested. That’s my dad.

Lillian had told Kami about the magical ways to hide yourself, how to wrap yourself in shadows and fade into stone. There were not many shadows on a morning like this, but as Kami pushed open the door and walked into the vast hall she found a few. She took the darkness lurking in the alcoves where marble busts stood, the shadows in the corners of the high ceiling and the dark stairs, and wound them around herself.

She did not think it would stand up long to a sorcerer’s scrutiny, but she went running through the hall toward the sound of voices anyway. If they were distracted, they might not notice, and her father had no magical protection at all.

The voices were not her mother’s and father’s. This was no private meeting between them.

Rob Lynburn had been redecorating Aurimere, Kami saw, to be more appropriate for his evil masterminding needs. In the parlor there was only one of the red sofas left, pushed up against the farthest wall, where the windows were tall, curved at the top like church windows. There was stained glass, too, like a church, but instead of saints and angels the windows showed a blue glass river, a girl’s face, and vivid green leaves in the drowned girl’s sun-yellow hair.

Rob was sitting on the red sofa, talking to other sorcerers who were standing. Kami recognized Hugh Prescott, Holly’s father, who was laughing at something Rob was saying.

They all stopped laughing when they noticed Ruth Sherman at the door, holding Jon Glass’s arm.

“He came to the house and asked to be let in,” said Ruth. “He asked to serve you.”

Rob leaned forward in the same instant Kami hurried forward, through the door, hardly caring if she shoved into a sorcerer or if they all saw through her cloak of shadows.

Nobody did. They were all focused on her father, who was standing in a puffy black jacket, his black hair ruffled by the wind outside, and giving Rob Lynburn a little crooked smile.

“Did you?” Rob asked.

Jon nodded.

“How interesting,” Rob said. “Tell me more.”

Rob did not even bother to climb to his feet. He was a big guy, bigger than either of his sons and a lot bigger than Kami’s dad. His shoulders strained against the material of his checked shirt, his smile was genial, and he looked like a perfect down-to-earth example of English manhood. All except for the cold gleam of contempt in his blue eyes.

“I’m not an idiot. There’s no point fighting you,” Jon said. “I want my wife back, and my kids to live happy and safe. You seem a reasonable man. Your family looked after mine once, didn’t they? I’m willing to offer my services as a source. I’m willing to do whatever you want.”

Kami didn’t know what her father thought he was doing. Lillian had already examined him: it might run in the Glass bloodline, but he wasn’t a potential source for any sorcerer. Kami and her brothers were.

Of course, Lillian and Rob were not exactly on speaking terms right now, and maybe Ruth Sherman did not know how to read the signs that identified a source.

“Come here,” said Rob, which meant Kami was right but also that Jon’s bluff was being instantly called.

Dad did not look dismayed. He kept smiling—like a small black terrier stepping up to face a golden retriever confident that he could handle the situation—and walked over to the very edge of the sofa. Rob leaned back farther into the sofa cushions, hair gilded in the light of the stained glass windows, looking up at Jon. For a long moment, blue eyes focused on black, and held.

At last, Rob said softly: “You’re no source. Did you think you could trick me? What were you hoping to do?”

Jon Glass’s smile spread into a grin.

“I was hoping to get close enough to do this,” he said, and Kami’s father—the graphic designer with funny t-shirts, the man who always laughed at farmers and their guns and made jokes about getting one that nobody took seriously—produced a gun from under his puffy jacket. He took aim in one smooth expert motion, moving quicker than anyone in the room, and shot Rob Lynburn.

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
elvenjaneite
Jun. 16th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
Whaaaaaaat.
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 12:54 am (UTC)
No Lillian, I'm afraid. But just think of how into it she would be. ;)
elvenjaneite
Jun. 16th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
Wonderfully, horrifyingly into it.
raidswindmills
Jun. 16th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
Holy goodness! Go Jon Glass!

And thank you for sharing! :D
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
I figure that in these situations, a parent tries to DO SOMETHING.

Something that goes well? Well...
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
Ah! Ah! Ah! WHOA! HOLD THE FREAKING PHONE! Sarah, why?! I can't wait any longer for this book!!!!
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC)
Only a little while now. ;)

Because. ;)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
Jon Glass is the man.
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
He is my favourite parent, I admit. ;)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:14 am (UTC)
Whoa, man. Not that I didn't think Jon had the guts to do something like that, but whoa. Now I need this book. Well, I needed it before, but now my conviction has been renewed.
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
He is a brave guy!

Of course, he's also young for the parent of a teenager--Kami talks about how she did a lot of parenting for herself and her grandmother co-parented her, and he and Claire both made a lot of important life decisions when young, and Jon lived with his mother until her death, which was less than a year ago--so he can also be reckless...
sam-gardener.dreamwidth.org
Jun. 16th, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
!!! (can't wait ;)

sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
Not long now. ;)
foxglove_chant
Jun. 16th, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh my god. I do not normally hold with guns, but oh my god, Jon.

Why am I so convinced that Rob will survive this? I don't WANT him to. Die, Rob, die! Shoot, Jon, shoot! I just ... oh dear. I do not see this going well. WHAT IS KAMI GOING TO DO. Oh I hope Jon will be okay.

(Fairly confident that Kami will survive, since, um, she has to narrate the rest of the book? Oh wait ...)

*scared*
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
Being scared seems like a wise option. ;)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2014 05:52 am (UTC)
Oh. Oh, dear, sweet, for the love of all that is holy.


That was not good. Not good at all. Go Jon Glass, but this is going to end badly isn't it, ahhhhh.....Oh I cannot wait for this book please I need it!
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
Everyone's intense suspicion of my evil ways makes me sure I am doing something right. ;)
evelynlela
Jun. 16th, 2014 07:11 am (UTC)
So while that's all really awesome of Jon and all... very cool and smooth and action excellence I don't trust you and am partially convinced the evil dude doesn't die and that this goes so terribly for the Glass family.

Which is all to say: Thank you for the crazy snippet!
I hope all your children have warm noses or something.
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 01:08 pm (UTC)
I think it's always wise not to trust me. ;)
anna_wing
Jun. 16th, 2014 07:24 am (UTC)
Where on earth did he find a handgun in the UK?
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
There is a gun on the mantelpiece, by which I mean seeded in earlier books. ;)

Though I also have wide knowledge of the black market for handguns in the UK thanks to Demon's Lexicon research. Oh life.
millysdaughter
Jun. 16th, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
Seems like any loving father would do that to protect his children - but I am not so sure you can kill a witch with ordinary mortal bullets.
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, I don't know about any loving parent... I think quite a few loving parents in Sorry-in-the-Vale are colluding with evil in order to protect their children. But Jon wasn't raised with the secret knowledge of magic reinforcing the old concepts of feudalism like the rest of the town.

Unfortunately, as you say, the fact that he wasn't raised knowing about magic means he is also fairly likely to underestimate sorcerers...
blackoakdreams
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
"I think quite a few loving parents in Sorry-in-the-Vale are colluding with evil in order to protect their children" I have my SUSPICIONS about the Prescotts.
BardofSomerset
Jun. 16th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
I thought you'd already made me love Jon Glass as much as it was possible for me to love him. How can you make me love him even more?

Also, I suppose it's too much to hope that Rob is going to be dead now?
sarahtales
Jun. 16th, 2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
Hope is a beautiful thing!

I am always happy when people love Jon. Readers of YA often (naturally) don't care about parents, because the protagonists are their children, but with Jon as with Kami I tried to write people who I at least found as likable as could be (flawed, of course, since where's the fun in flawless, but super appealing in all the ways I like best). And Unmade is I hope a good book for him because he's not clued in in Unspoken, and he's in shock with his marriage collapsing in Untold, but in Unmade he takes the chance to step up. Which is why most YA narratives have uninvolved parents, because boy will involved parents change the shape of the story...
BardofSomerset
Jun. 16th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
Parent/child dynamics (particularly mother/daughter, but all possible combinations) are one of my favourite things in literature, whether YA or not. They show up in everything I write, so it's always a delight to find some having an active role in a story I'm reading and enjoying. There are so many different relationship dynamics they can have with their children that impact the children in so many ways and whilst it can complicate the narrative having those extra characters and relationships, I think it's nearly always worth it.

Any book that features Jon Glass prominently in a not-dead role (we will have words if he dies) is good for him. And for me, reading about him.

(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Parents (or grandparents or other parental figures) are super important in people's lives, and sometimes in ways that are only fully realized when we get a bit older. Maybe that's why, as an adult, I enjoy reading your parental characters so much.

About parents changing the narrative - I loved how we got to see both the typical teens-fight-evil-under-the-noses-of-oblivious-parents thing and then the parent trying to understand and support her daughter's evil-fighting in the Buffy series. I loved how that strengthened their relationship and shifted Joyce from being in danger due to ignorance to being in danger and having some agency in dealing with it, and even in helping her daughter deal with it. I won't even get into how much I loved certain parental realizations and involvement in a certain demon book, because I was so crushed by how that turned out. I was really glad for the moment of family connection, though.

- Lenore
tsubaki_ny
Jun. 16th, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC)
GO, DADDY!

Not that GoDaddy. You know what I mean.

<3 the Glasses.
sarahtales
Jun. 17th, 2014 02:49 am (UTC)
I have written one kinda functional family and from now on all fathers will be undead creatures on thrones of skulls!

... Maybe. ;)
tsubaki_ny
Jun. 17th, 2014 04:00 am (UTC)
FIEND!

Wait -- they could be complex sympathetic undead creatures on bone thrones who raise their children well, provide healthy emotional support, give them sage advice and go "whoooooo" only on special occasions, and that would be acceptable.
anna_wing
Jun. 17th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
OH I had forgotten! Thanks!

Though I also have wide knowledge of the black market for handguns in the UK thanks to Demon's Lexicon research.

Indeed. I remember noticing that. It was a nice clue right at the start about how marginal Alan's status actually was, notwithstanding his self-presentation as a nice, middle-class boy.
sarahtales
Jun. 17th, 2014 02:48 am (UTC)
Class stuff: another thing I am irresistibly drawn to! I am happy you noted. ;) The difference between urban and rural classism was something that was fun to transition to between TDL and TLL!

Also known as, The Intersection of Writers and Criminals. 'Where to get handguns' 'how to dispose of a body' and other dreadful things I have dreadful knowledge of...
anna_wing
Jun. 17th, 2014 03:49 am (UTC)
It's something that Americans, particularly, trying to write novels set in the UK usually miss. I'm glad that you include it, it's such a vital social element, more so than race in many ways.

Though I find it very odd that people on-line keep calling Kami a "person of colour", when she's just a middle-class English girl with one Japanese grandparent.

Edited at 2014-06-17 03:49 am (UTC)
sarahtales
Jun. 17th, 2014 04:44 am (UTC)
Well, hey, I'm not American, their ways are strange to me. ;) I'm glad you like how I handle class, it is important to me.

I confess I don't find it odd that Kami is called a person of colour. I call her a person of colour myself: I may be wrong to do so, but I know people who identify as people of colour who have one great-great-grandparent who is black, so a grandparent doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility.

She isn't from another culture, true, but Kami is visibly Asian: someone who has just met her (Jared, who is from an area of San Francisco which is mainly not white) instantly says she's Asian. She can't pass as white, and neither can her father or her little brother Tomo. (Ten can.) She lives in a very closed, very white community (not 100%, but very nearly). She's never allowed to forget her descent. People in the hospital in a nearby town look surprised her father has an English accent. She thinks longingly of moving to London while looking at people of colour on the London streets, and musing about not being constantly remarked upon. The fact she can't pass has a lot to do with how she thinks of her looks, among other things, and her strongest relationship was with her dead grandmother, so it's something that means a lot to her on an emotional level.

It's an important element of her character to me, so important that I have had about seven brutal fights with publishers--which did me no good at allll career-wise, I'm sure, but which were worth it--about having covers that didn't portray her as a white girl. If there were ever a movie or a TV show of the Lynburn Legacy (and the chances for that went way down when I made Kami look and identify the way she does) I'd want her to be played by someone who was of Asian descent, and if she wasn't I would protest publicly and not watch. Ireland is not a very diverse country (though it's growing more so) and most of the friends I grew up with who identify as people of colour are multiracial and Kami's life experiences are influenced by several of them (with their knowledge and permission). (Obviously not the... evil magic stuff.)

Kami's middle class, and Holly's not (Jared is lower class and American, and an uneasy transplant into a British aristocratic setting, which is a complicated kettle of classism fish all by itself), so Kami has privilege there, but Holly has white privilege she doesn't. (And Angela is upper class born and bred, and white, but faces problems due to her sexual orientation.) Class is important and something I wanted to talk about, but so's race, and Kami is part of that discussion.

In TDL Cynthia was biracial whereas her father and grandmother were not but they were in different class brackets: in TDL and Team Human Matthias, Mel and Ty were not multiracial but Asian in Matthias and Mel's case and African-American in Ty's.

I'm certain I don't do it perfectly, but the various problems of our really tangled and mixed-up society are really important to me in all my work, and I appreciate it a lot when people notice that I am trying to do things with them. I'm sorry if this was overly long or in any way seemed self-congratulatory: it truly is not intended that way.
anna_wing
Jun. 17th, 2014 06:50 am (UTC)
No, not at all, I very much appreciate your courtesy in taking the time to explain your thinking on this. I am not from either the UK or the US, and don't live in either country, though I was educated in the UK for some years, nearly thirty years ago now. In that particular milieu (boarding school in southern England), class very definitely trumped race, perhaps because the only non-white people were foreigners of varying degrees of poshness.

Edited at 2014-06-17 06:50 am (UTC)
sarahtales
Jun. 17th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
I can see why that would be! I was a day boarder for a while... boarding school is so its own ecosystem in a way. I'd love to do a SCHOOL BOOK, one of these days, and the intricate powerplays thereof.
anna_wing
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
That would be brilliant! Your "Turn Of The Story" is already a bit like that.

I recall the incident where an English pupil was telling us abot their descent from Guy de Lusignan and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and a Chinese from Malaysia remarked that their ancestors were documented peasants all the way back to the Sung Dynasty. Honours even, was the general view.

An English school has quite different dynamics from US high schools, which are the ones that tend to turn up in fantasy. And the subtle differences among schools is interesting too - the posh-Society places, the brainy-future technocrat places, the aspirational-middle-class places, the created-to-train-colonial-administrators-and-their-wives places (I went to one of those - very big on Good Works and Service To The Community).
blackoakdreams
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:25 am (UTC)
A couple thought in reply to this reply
One, I find your forays into classism, race identification, and how they intersect in a school setting, as they play out in *The Turn of the Story* to be very interesting, so I really hope that opportunity to write another school book comes your way. Something I've appreciated in that story is how the three protagonists perceive themselves inside those racial and class hierarchies.

Two, I also appreciate how you handle Kami's multiracial identification. I am multiracial myself, and that line about Jon in the hospital rang quite true to me. What also rang true was Jon talking in Japanese, and how that made Kami feel excluded from Jon despite no one ever meaning for that to happen. It was a deeply meaningful seen for me, and for my mother when she came across it.

Also, I'm not sure if I ever said this or not, but Matthias instantly became the most interesting character in all of TDL when you introduced his parents. Before that moment, his backstory was tragic, the accident to his parent's voices an example of the price someone can pay trying to control their magic. But introduce that couple, who clearly did not give birth to Matthias but instead chose to adopt him, and who reconfirmed him as their son when someone like Gerard's parents did the exact opposite, and all the complicated actions and reactions that had to have occurred along the way to make all that happen, had me riveted. Of course, I don't know for sure how it all played out, but my wild guesses are surprisingly detailed.
kannnichtfranz
Jun. 22nd, 2014 03:44 am (UTC)
Wah! Beloved characters, please try working together sometimes! Not going off all kamikaze on your own! Bullheaded boys, making us worry about them. And probably making Kami have to save them. Oh, how it makes us love them though.

Thank you for the snippet!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
Nooo!
Wow! I don't think it's going to work in killing Rob Lynburn, and that makes it even worse to have to wait to see what happens! I wonder how Kami's dad came to be able to take aim "in one smooth expert motion." I do hope there will be backstory!

I love the line about the redecorating, and the creepy stained glass.

Also, your explanation of the intersections of race and class was really interesting. I very much appreciate Kami's biracial identity and how you've fought to keep that as a visible part of the books! On behalf of any of my future children, thank you!

- Lenore
( 41 comments — Leave a comment )

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