But now… well, let's just say that for someone who has no friends going to school is like dangling a piece of bacon in front of a dog's face—pure and utter torture. I hated watching everyone walk around in their little cliques while I stood on the sidelines alone. (2.15)
When she feels no emotions, going to school without friends is no big deal to Gemma. But as soon as she starts to actually feel like a normal teenager, her self-imposed isolation becomes painful.
Since then, our already strained relationship has worsened. We barely talk to each other, which I guess isn't that big of a change since we barely talked before. (2.22)
Marco and Sophia have always put a roof over Gemma's head, but they've pretty much abandoned her emotionally. They don't even ask her what's wrong when she starts to cry and stuff—they just get mad at her for showing emotion.
Her eyes widened. "I don't." She pushed past me and marched up the stairs, calling over her shoulder, "In fact, I don't care what you do at all."
Her words hurt me like a knife to the heart. I mean, I always assumed she never liked me very much, but now that she put it out there… I felt like I might cry. They didn't care about me. (7.185-186)
Wow, Sophia really isn't the kind of grandmother who makes Gemma cookies and tucks her in at night. She basically tells her that she's on her own emotionally, and that she doesn't care what happens to her.
Growing up with Marco and Sophia—the two most unaffectionate people ever—I never came close to even getting a pat on the back. So Alex touching me like that felt very strange. Yet somehow, at the same time, it felt very familiar. (13.75)
Gemma is so starved for affection and physical contact that she totally reacts in a positive way when Alex touches her, even though she finds him infuriating. After all, she's spent her entire life without being touched by other people—even her supposed grandparents.
"Yeah, but I haven't seen them in a really long time." He stared off in the distance, looking like he was lost in a painful memory. "I haven't seen any of the Keepers since…" He trailed off and looked at me. "Alex told you what I was, didn't he?" (15.81)
Poor Laylen. He's a good guy and has tried to help out the Keepers his whole life, but since he's become a vampire they've pretty much all turned their backs on him. Aislin is the only exception—and that's just because she's in love with him.
"Go ahead, honey," her mother urged in a soothing voice. "It's alright. I'll be okay."
It took the girl a second, but she finally walked away, casting one last glance back at her mother before starting up the hill toward the castle. (21.64-65)
Gemma's mom may leave her behind when she follows Stephan into the lake, but she certainly doesn't want to. She'd rather stay around and take care of her little girl forever, especially because Gemma is so special.
My heart broke for the little girl and the mother. Somehow—and I don't know how—I knew it would be the last time they would see each other. She would grow up motherless, perhaps even hating the people who would be chosen to raise her. There would forever be an empty hole resting in her heart. (21.66)
As Gemma watches the vision, she feels for the little girl and her loneliness even without knowing that the girl is her younger self. She can so relate to the feeling of being left alone in the world with no one to love her.
"[…] So what is it? What's your big backup plan? Are you going to put me up in some super-secret chamber and lock me away from everyone and everything until the only emotion I can feel is loneliness?" (22.73)
Gemma thinks it's pretty messed up that the Keepers all want her to be this emotionless zombie, and she's not afraid to voice her opinions on the matter. They can't just leave her alone without human contact—that's so wrong.
"I didn't realize how bad things were for you," Laylen continued. "You know, what I find strange is that Stephan made this big plan to seclude you from everyone to keep you from feeling, but I never thought the plan would actually work. I mean, how can you force a person to become emotionally detached?" (23.100)
Laylen is the only person who tells Gemma that he feels sorry for her and that he wishes he could've stopped the Keepers from taking away her emotions. He knows what it's like to feel alone in the world, after all.
Vomit burned at the back of my throat. And even though I didn't want to, I started to cry hysterically. My tears had no effect on Stephan whatsoever, which I assumed as much. But I caught a glimpse of guilt on Alex's face. (36.48)
Alex feels pretty badly about letting Stephan take away Gemma's soul and all of her thoughts, but that doesn't mean he's going to stop it. He's turning his back on her here because he believes it's the "right" thing to do.
A secret? Secrets were rarely good. And since it was Alex… let's just say I wasn't feeling too optimistic, especially since he was being nice. Well, nice for him, anyway. It made me even edgier than I already was, and I couldn't help but wonder if he had some kind of hidden agenda for bringing me out here. (7.8)
Gemma doesn't exactly trust Alex, even though he's being uncharacteristically nice to her right now. Now that they're driving into the mountains, she's starting to suspect that he might try to kill her or something. Who knows what he has up his sleeve?
"How did they do it?" I tried to wiggle my hand free from his, but he wouldn't let go. "Make me unemotional."
He fixed his gaze on the floor and shrugged. "I don't know. I guess by shutting you off from any kind of emotional contact. If someone doesn't ever know happiness, sadness, or love, then how can they ever feel it?" (14.27-28)
It's super difficult for Gemma to hear that her grandparents weren't indifferent to her because that's just the way they are as people—instead they ignored her on purpose so that she wouldn't know any emotions. How messed up is that? Then again, given the stakes, is it messed up?
Laylen slid the keys out of the ignition and kept his voice calm. "Before you start freaking out, hear me out first. Trust me, you'll want what I stopped for."
"Trust you?" Alex let out a cynical laugh. "Are you kidding me?" He made a gesture at the window. "I already trusted you and look where it got us." (17.51-52)
Alex seems to take everything that Laylen does personally. He doesn't even acknowledge that Laylen has good intentions and wants to help them out by leading them to the Sword of Immortality. He just focuses on the fact that he's been lied to.
Balancing the little girl in one arm, he dangled the bag in front of the woman. "Now, like I said, we can do this the easy way or the hard way."
"You wouldn't dare," whispered the woman.
"Wouldn't I?" He looked down at the little girl in his arms. "Hey, sweetie, how would you like to go for a swim in the lake?" (21.49-51)
Gemma's mom is a Keeper and relies on Stephan to lead them with kindness and compassion, so when he threatens to send Gemma into the lake, she is horrified. He's definitely turning out to be a sketchy character.
"I can't say for sure because I don't have any proof, but…" He twisted his lip ring back and forth. "Okay, this is what I know about Stephan. First, he is very power hungry, and he likes to be in control of things at all times. If anyone gets in the path of what he wants, he'll do whatever it takes to get rid of them. And because he's the leader of the Keepers, no one questions the decisions he makes." (23.114)
Laylen's not trying to be a snitch, but he can't let Gemma go into this blind to Stephan's faults like Alex is. He has to warn her and let her know that Stephan might be the person who betrayed her mother and sent her to a watery grave.
He swallowed hard, looking… well, really vulnerable. I had to admit, I didn't like how it looked on him. It made me feel anxious and had me questioning whether he was going to fall apart. He couldn't fall apart. Not if his father was secretly working with Demetrius and was the one who had gotten rid of my mother, and was heading here right now. (32.25)
Poor Alex doesn't know who to believe. He's grown up unquestioningly following his father's orders, and now Gemma is telling him that Stephan is evil and working with the Death Walkers. What's a guy to do?
I felt a tiny rush of relief when I saw that Alex was in the living room. At least he believed me now—about his father being bad—and was on my side. At least I wasn't in this alone. That's what I thought, anyway, until I realized that he was just sitting on the couch, complete unguarded. There was no reason for him to be here. Why hadn't he run out into the forest to save me? (26.18)
Hold up… why is Alex just hanging out in the cabin by himself instead of chasing after Gemma to save her? He's obviously switched sides, which means that he believes everything that Stephan says. Dun dun dun…
And then… he turned his head away from me.
My heart broke. How could I have kissed him? As beautiful as he was, and as wonderful as his kisses felt, a part of me had always wondered if everything he did was a ruse.
And now I knew. That part of me had been right. (36.53-55)
Talk about a brutal moment. Gemma is hoping until the very last second that Alex will come through and save her from Stephan's diabolical plan, but instead he just turns away and lets it happen.
The prickle traced up the back of my neck, releasing an overwhelming sense of pain. And I'm not talking about the pain I felt when my leg was cut. This was a whole new level of pain; the kind that grips at your heart and rips it apart; the pain that comes when someone betrays you. (36.56)
Watching Alex simply deliver her into Stephan's hands is just too much for Gemma. It's physically painful for her to realize that he's not going to help her at all, and that he's on Stephan's side in all of this.
The humming in my head rang louder and louder until I couldn't think anymore—couldn't feel. The last thing I saw was Alex's horrified expression before my eyes slipped shut. He had no right to be horrified. He let this happen. (36.64)
Gemma feels like Alex has no right to look like he's horrified by what his father is doing. After all, he's an accomplice in all of this, so he is as guilty as Stephan is of betraying Gemma.
You know that feeling you get when you walk into a room and the air feels thick and heavy and you know you were just being talked about? Well, that's what happened when I found Marco and Sophia, huddled together at the kitchen table, talking quietly. I instantly got the impression they were talking about me. And by the horrified expressions on their faces when they saw me, I assumed my impression was right. (6.8)
So Gemma's really gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to grandparents. Not only do her grandparents ignore her, they also talk about her behind her back. What kind of secrets are they hiding from her?
"Look, I don't know what you think you heard," Sophia said, her tone tolerant. "But we weren't talking about you. I know Alex's father, and I was just telling him to pass along a message for me."
My anger simmered. She was such a liar. "That's such bull. You were talking about me. I heard you." (9.105)
From all her eavesdropping, Gemma knows that Alex and Sophia know each other and have been talking about her—and she knows Alex is not supposed to get close to her. Why are they pretending like this isn't the case?
The inability to make eye contact was the first sign someone was lying.
"You're lying," I accused.
"No, I'm not," he said, his eyes still locked on the floor.
"Yes, you are," I insisted. "You can't even look at me." (14.29-32)
Gemma gets the feeling that Alex is hiding something from her when he tells her about how she has a star inside of her—like maybe he's keeping some important information back. What is he omitting… and why?
I searched for a sign that he was buying my lie. At first, he looked completely lost. Then his expression shifted to anger. Moments later, worry washed over his face. I felt his grip loosen on my hand, and I seized the opportunity. I yanked my hand as hard as I could, and his hand fell off mine. I was on my feet in a heartbeat, bolting for the door, ignoring the pain tearing up my side. (14.39)
Gemma believes everything that Alex is telling her, but that doesn't mean that she wants to stick around so he can continue to boss her around and tell her where she can't go. She tries to fake him out and make a run for it… but he's too fast for her.
"Nineteen." She tossed a skirt onto the bed. "Alex is actually twenty. We lied about our ages so we could enroll in school."
"Oh." The saying liar, liar, pants on fire ran through my head. Even something as simple as their age was a lie. It made me question how many more lies I was in store for. (16.102-103)
The fact that Alex and Aislin lied about their ages to get into high school doesn't seem like such a big deal to the sibling duo, but to Gemma, it's a sign that they're good liars. If they're lying about this, what else have they lied to her about?
"I mean it's none of them." Laylen dropped his fingers from his lip ring. "I needed to make an extra stop."
Oh boy. Here we go. Alex had been very specific about going straight there and straight back. And here we were, taking a detour. I squeezed my eyes shut and massaged the sides of my temples, waiting for all hell to break loose. (17.48-49)
Oh geez, Alex is totally going to fly off the handle. He can't deal with someone lying to him, especially when that person happens to be Laylen, who Alex obviously already has a thing against.
I tried to brush off the fact that Alex seemed disappointed that I showed emotion. Who cared what he thought. I could feel and that was all that mattered. Okay, well, that was a lie. But I was going to try my best not to focus on how Alex felt about me because, if I did, it would probably eat away at my insides. (20.29)
Gemma has to totally lie to herself in order to function around Alex. If she pretends that she finds him horrible and annoying, maybe she won't be so attracted to him.
I sat there for a second, confused about why I had to keep the necklace hidden. Then it hit me. Because I probably wasn't supposed to have the necklace to begin with and Alex didn't want to get in trouble for giving it to me. (34.8)
Alex is a very by-the-rules guy, especially when it comes to what his father tells him to do. But he can't help but give Gemma a little piece of something from her past—after all, she has no mementos of her mother at all.
Well, look at him. Pretending like he had never met me before. What a jerk. Now I’d love to be able to tell you that I spat every foul word that was running through my mind right in his face. But I didn’t. Just being there in the same room with him, I felt like I was suffocating, and my voice was getting strangled inside my throat. (34.12)
Ugh, Stephan is such a total liar: Of course he's met Gemma before. He's just pretending like they're meeting for the first time ever because he doesn't know that she sees right through his lies.
So not true, but I couldn't tell him that. "If the world's fate depends on that, then why are you working with the Death Walkers? I just don't see them being in on a plan that has anything to do with saving the world."
"What I do is really none of your business," he snapped. "But if you must know—they are working with me to protect the world." (36.36)
Um, would the Death Walkers really be interested in protecting the world? Gemma thinks that it's pretty obvious that Stephan is lying, but somehow Alex seems to believe in his explanations.
The interior lights blinked off, and all I could see were the yellow eyes fire-flying around outside. Then a purple glow swallowed up my surroundings, and I let my eyes close as the windows shattered. I felt Alex's arm come up over my head protectively. A sharp pain ripped up my side, and I let out a scream. (12.96)
Poor Gemma. All of her worst nightmares are coming true… literally. The ice demons that she dreams about every single night are finally here to kill her. Thank goodness she has Alex and Aislin around to protect her.
"But anyway, back to the portal. See, if it opens up, it will let out a ton of Death Walkers. So I'm sure you can imagine how the end of the world is supposed to happen."
I stared down at my hand, remembering the bluish-purple color. "By ice." (13.205-206)
Talk about a grim prophecy. According to Alex, the world is going to end when a portal opens and lets out a bunch of Death Walkers who freeze over the entire planet. That's going to be a painful and chilly death for everyone.
Feeling as though I might burst from the drawn-out silence, I asked, "What's the Sword of Immortality?"
"Exactly what it sounds like—a sword that can kill the immortal," Alex said, still aggravated. "And it would have been real handy to have while we were on the bus being attacked by Death Walkers." (17.64-65)
The Death Walkers aren't the only ones who can wreak some serious havoc. The Keepers apparently have this sword that can tear through the demons like butter—they just need to get it back from the creepy vampire club.
A loud bang, followed by a shriek, and then something fell, hitting the floor with a heavy thud.
Buzzing filled my head as I cracked open my eyelids. I let out a gasp. Sprawled on the floor, just in front of my feet, was the Death Walker, either unconscious or dead—I couldn't tell since it looked dead even when it was alive. (19.19)
Wow, Alex can totally kick butt when he needs to. With the Sword of Immortality in his hand, he charges in and kills the Death Walker before it freezes Gemma to death. What a hero!
"There were only two." He pulled me toward the door. "And this—" he lifted the sword into the air— "makes killing them easy." (19.35)
Thank goodness Alex and his group have the Sword of Immortality now. With this, they at least stand a fighting chance against the Death Walkers so they can fight back instead of just waiting to freeze to death.
The next thing I knew, Alex's fist was slamming into Stephan's face. After that, everything moved by in a blur. Stephan staggered back. Alex yelled at me to run. Suddenly, I found myself running inside the house and out the back door into the forest. (34.25)
It's got to take a lot for Alex to punch Stephan in the face since dude's his hero and father, but he can tell that something seems off, and he's not going to let the Death Walkers just kill them both.
My breathing was heavy. My hand trembled. And, I swear, everything moved in slow motion as Stephan trampled up to me, and I swung the blade at him. He flicked it out of my hands effortlessly, and it fell to the icy ground with a clank. Then he bent down, scooped it up, and tucked it into the pocket of his jacket. (36.6)
Gemma tries to fight Stephan off with her little knife, but she's not exactly trained in hand-to-hand combat, so he easily overpowers her and takes the knife away. Aw, shucks. Now what?
Dragging me behind him like a ragdoll, Stephen trampled through the snow back toward the cabin. The Death Walkers' chill nipped at my heels, and my breathing had slowed due to the cold. I wasn't going to lie and say I wasn't scared. I was downright terrified. But on a positive note, unlike my nightmares, he hadn't commanded the Death Walkers to finish me off. (36.1)
Stephan isn't treating Gemma like the precious, special savior of the world that she supposedly is. Instead he is pushing her around and being rough with her, which isn't very nice at all.
"Just to make sure you don't run away again." He lifted the sword, and I screamed as he sliced the blade across the upper part of my leg. It slashed through my jeans and stabbed into my skin. Tears stung at my eyes as blood seeped out. (36.14)
There has to be easier ways to teach someone a lesson than stabbing them in the leg. Stephan is definitely the kind of leader who leads with an iron fist, though, and here Gemma is on the receiving end of it.
"You're going to let him detach my soul," I said, flabbergasted. Sparks were pouring through my body, and I suddenly despised them more than I ever had. "After all of this, after he sent my mom to The Underworld, after he showed up with them." I pointed to the window, where the glowing eyes of the Death Walkers were peeking in. (36.31)
Stephan is not the kind of guy who chooses the nicest method of getting what he wants. Instead he is the kind of guy who will banish someone to the bottom of a lake for talking back… and who will remove Gemma's soul forever.
I let out an uncontrollable whimper and opened my mouth to scream, but only a whisper escaped. I flung my weight forward, squirming and kicking and fighting to break free with every ounce of strength I had in me. But it was useless. My arms and legs moved in slow motion. My blood rushed cold, my veins darkening, mapping my skin with bluish-purple lines. (1.6)
Talk about a nightmare. The dreams that Gemma has every night are completely terrifying, even if she knows how they end. No matter how much she tries to escape, those icy demons always get her. What a bummer.
These unsolved mysteries left me with a massive sense of dread. I wasn't excited to go to astronomy on Monday. I even went to the extent of trying to fake sick so I could skip out on going to school. But that plan went to crap because Sophia hadn't bought my lame acting attempt at having the flu. (5.9)
All of this uncertainty and change in her life is starting to freak Gemma out. It's not enough that she feels emotions and develops a crush on a boy who clearly hates her—she has to contend with the fact that her "grandparents" are hiding some information from her as well.
I ran, but not very fast since the ground was one big accident waiting to happen. I kept telling myself nightmares didn't come true. Glowing, yellow-eyed monsters that kill people with their death chill aren't real. But as I felt the air abruptly descend to a bone chilling temperature, I freaked out. (5.90)
As much as Gemma tries to convince herself that her fears are unfounded, she can't help but feel intuitively that she should be scared. The idea of ice demons may be ridiculous, but Gemma can't shake the feeling that they're real and that they're coming to get her.
I heard a loud shriek, and through the icy windows I thought I saw a flicker of yellow. I could hear Alex and Aislin talking… something about getting out of here and transporting—whatever that was—but I couldn't seem to take my eyes off the frozen window to see what they were doing. I think I was frozen in terror—literally. (12.67)
Looks like Gemma wasn't silly to be afraid of the monsters from her nightmares after all, because they're real and they've invaded her field trip. The poor girl's so terrified she can't even move or run away.
"I can also sense when a person's afraid," Laylen remarked.
"I'm not afraid," I told him.
"I know." He stood up and dusted off his jeans. "Which makes you kind of weird." (15.105-107)
So Gemma is afraid of ice demons and cute boys (like Alex), but she's not afraid of being alone with a bloodsucking vampire. That seems perfectly logical… right? No wonder her peers think she's so weird.
We couldn't have just stopped back in the land of the living, where the lights shined brightly and it didn't feel like as soon as I stepped out of the car someone was going to jump out and stab me with a knife. Or jump out and freeze me to death. (17.32)
Gemma is enamored with all of the glitz of Las Vegas, but when Laylen pulls into a sketchy side street, she starts to get nervous. After all, they're not on vacation here; they're on the run from scary Death Walkers who want to bring on the apocalypse.
I hadn't realized how bad my palms were sweating. I wiped them on the front of my skirt as Alex jerked the door open. Behind it was a man lying on a bed. His eyes were shut, and a woman wearing an old fashion corset dress was kneeling over him. Her blond hair curled down her back and tracing her neck was a tattoo—the mark of immortality.
Noticing us, the woman rose up and bared her fangs. (18.20-21)
Oh geez, as if being chased by Death Walkers isn't scary enough, Gemma has to accidentally walk into a room where a vampire is busy sucking on some guy's neck. Creepy.
Trembling with fear, I sank to the floor, catching one last glimpse of those haunting yellow eyes before I closed my own. I hugged my knees to my chest and waited for the cold to suck the life out of me. This was the end of me. (19.16)
Gemma is so terrified of the Death Walkers that she can't imagine escaping from them, so she might as well just sit down and close her eyes while waiting for death. Maybe it will be quick and painless.
But I didn't, and it was too late now. A bony hand had already grabbed me by the ankle and was trying to jerk me beneath the water. I kicked and screamed and fought with every ounce of strength I had, but whoever the hand belonged to was strong. It pulled me under the ice-cold water and kept dragging me deeper and deeper underneath the water. (21.82)
Gemma should know better than to just go splashing into the lake in a vision when she doesn't know what's going on. Of course creepy things from the bottom of the lake are going to grab onto her ankle and pull her under.
Stephan walked up to me, the rock smoking madly in the palm of his hand. "It's time."
With tears streaming down my cheeks, blood dripping down my leg, and my heart breaking, I shook my head. This was it. This was the end of my life. As sad and short-lived as it was, I didn't want it to come to an end. (36.57-58)
Death Walkers are pretty scary, but Gemma is even more afraid of not being able to function or feel anymore. She doesn't want to die, but she also doesn't want to be a shell of a human being.
I wasn't always the girl that I am now. Terrified—the word meant absolutely nothing to me. In fact, almost everything meant absolutely nothing to me. My mind was as blank as a sheet of paper—there was zero going on inside. I could still walk, talk, breathe, and function; I just couldn't feel any emotions. (2.7)
Now that Gemma's started feeling emotions, she doesn't even recognize herself anymore. Before this, she was basically a robot going through the motions of normal human life, but suddenly she has to sit with all her feelings. How uncomfortable and exciting.
Never in my life had I ever had a crush before. Although I wasn't even sure if what I was feeling toward the new guy qualified as a crush. If a crush was something that could cause a strange mix of emotions to bubble up inside me and leave me incapable to stop thinking about the new guy then yep, I had a crush. (3.1)
Who is this girl who's crushing hard on a boy she's just met? This isn't the girl that Gemma is used to being at all, so obviously she starts freaking out while trying to hide her attraction from Alex, the aforementioned cute boy.
The book told a story of a girl who had a superpower. It got me wondering what it would be like to have a superpower of my own. What if I could have been some extraordinary person with the ability to help the world, instead of a loner/freak girl? (4.82)
Talk about a bit of foreshadowing. Gemma thinks that she's nothing special, but doesn't know the truth yet: She is someone who is destined to help the world. She just has to discover how special she really is.
"Oh." I wasn't sure if he was telling the truth or not. He sounded like he was though. "Well, I like music, especially the soul speaking kind."
His expression fell into a look of horror. (7.156-157)
Because Alex knows Gemma's whole back story (even more than she knows about herself), he's surprised and horrified to learn that she actually likes music. After all, unemotional people aren't supposed to enjoy "soul speaking" tunes.
"I was out with… a friend," I told her, knowing how unnatural the word "friend" sounded coming out of my mouth.
She narrowed her eyes. "You don't have any friends." (7.178-179)
Sophia obviously doesn't have much faith in Gemma's social skills. When Gemma says that she's been out with a friend, her grandmother immediately acts like she's lying. It's too out of character for Gemma to just be hanging out with other teenagers.
What was happening to me? Was I heading towards an emotional breakdown? Was I going to end up locked away in a padded cell somewhere, screaming at the top of my lungs that everything I said was true—that I wasn't crazy? (12.2)
Everything that's going on has Gemma suspecting that she might be going insane. After all, seeing ice demons, suddenly feeling emotions, and being transported to Las Vegas by magic in the space of a few months? That's pretty crazy.
Yeah, I understood what it meant. He was saying that for the last eighteen years, I had been harboring a fallen star's energy inside of me. Some piece of a freaking solar system's sun. But as crazy as it sounded, it kind of made sense. I mean, I had been hollow and emotionally numb until an invisible prickle had released my emotions. (14.7)
Okay, so Alex's story about the fallen star changes everything for Gemma. She's always known that she was different from her peers, but this makes her a total anomaly—she has a freaking star hanging out inside of her.
My head snapped up. "No." I sat up straight. I was going to have to tough it out. "I need to hear the rest; otherwise, it will drive me crazy." (14.18)
All of this information that Alex is dropping on Gemma overwhelms her, but she's not going to run away from the truth. She has to learn everything about herself—even if it's scary.
"Then it's not a tattoo?"
"Not exactly. It appeared on my skin when I turned into a vampire." He paused, his Adam's apple noticeably bubbling up and down as he swallowed hard. "It happens to everyone that turns immortal." (17.161-162)
Everyone that Gemma meets in the magical world seems to have no choice about what kind of being they are. These marks appear on their skin showing they're a vampire, witch, Keeper, or Foreseer—and when the marks appear, they just have to go with it. Resistance, as they say, is futile.
I thought I heard a loud crash, but my eyelids were too heavy to open. Everything shifted black, and then…
I was gone. (36.65-66)
What will become of Gemma at the very end? If Stephan succeeds in taking away her thoughts and her soul, she'll no longer be the same person. Heck, she won't really be anybody at all.
"I told you there was no point." A tall, husky man appeared in front of me. The black-hooded monster's bony fingers dug deep into my skin. "Like I said, you won't escape." He grinned, the kind of grin that would have sent chills down my spine if I hadn't already been freezing to death. (1.7)
Gemma is determined to escape her dreams unscathed, but no matter how many times the same nightmare repeats, she just can't break the cycle and evade capture. It's almost like she's destined to be caught by the Death Walkers and this creepy man…
"[…] The prophecy said that if your emotions weren't controlled, then the power of the star would weaken and eventually die, which would make it useless to stop the portal from opening." He placed his hand on top of mine, which I thought was kind of weird. He sure seemed determined to touch me. "So to keep that from happening, and to keep Demetrius from ever finding out, Stephan made the decision for you to go and live with Marco and Sophia in the real world." (14.19)
Even though it's technically pretty impossible to change a prophecy, the Keepers are very invested in the idea of keeping Gemma alive and unemotional so that she can stop the portal from opening up. They're going to try to thwart fate.
"The Death Walkers will find you," he said. I could hear him moving toward me, his footsteps scuffing lazily against the hardwood floor like he was so sure I wasn't going to run away. "Now that they know the star's in you, they'll always be searching for you." (14.42)
Gemma thinks that maybe she can just walk away and go back to her regularly scheduled life, but Alex reminds her that it's her fate—and her responsibility—to try to save the world. And even if she doesn't want to do it, the Death Walkers will still be after her.
"In this world—" he motioned around us— "a lot of things do. Take me, for instance. A Keeper turned vampire. A complete contradiction. One stands for evil, the other for good." (17.171)
Many people believe that vampires are fated to be evil and bloodthirsty, but Laylen's proved them wrong. He's not a representation of evil; he's been able to overcome his vampire side and maintain his human compassion and logic.
But I wondered if there would ever be a time where I could just freely enjoy the feeling. Or freely enjoy my life. Would I ever be just normal? Maybe after I stopped this end-of-the-world thing from happening, I might be able to live freely.
But what was even going to happen to me after I stopped the end of the world from happening? (20.100-101)
Gemma just hopes that she's not fated to live this scary, complicated life forever—she wants to experience a normal life like other teenagers and young adults. It would be nice to live like other people for a change.
And that's when I knew it. I was never going to be normal. I was never going to be able to enjoy things, be happy, and do whatever I wanted with my life. I choked. (20.112)
When Alex won't answer her questions, Gemma realizes that a part of the prophecy must state that she has to die. That's a real bummer. She hates that she's just fated to live out this life and die without having any say in it.
I swallowed hard. "So if the vision I saw really ends up happening, then the woman's going to end up being tortured down there." (22.43)
It's super hard for Gemma to swallow the fact that the terrible vision she just saw—of the nice woman being forced into a lake—is something that cannot be changed.
"Prophecies are very hard to change, and I don't have a clue as to how we would be able to find out if it was a past or future vision. That is, unless we want to go to the City of Crystal and chat it up with the Foreseers." (22.64)
Even Alex can't tell Gemma if what she saw in her vision was the past or the future, but either way it doesn't make much of a difference. It's extremely difficult to change the course of a vision, and Gemma won't be able to help the woman.
I made it a little ways into the forest before the entire severity of my situation hit me. I was running through the forest, being chased by Death Walkers and Stephan. Great thinking, Gemma. Way to set yourself up for a cold death. Didn't your dreams teach you anything? (35.1)
Of course Gemma would end up running straight into the woods and being pursued by Death Walkers—just like in her dreams. Even though she's seen this in her dreams a hundred times, she still cannot change the ending.
"We need to do it now," Stephan told Alex. "Before things get worse."
"Do what?" My voice sounded weak and pathetic. "What are you going to do to me?"
"Gemma." Alex gave me a sympathetic look. "I already explained to you what was going to happen." (36.28-30)
Alex acts like they have no choice but to go along with Stephan's plan and remove Gemma's soul, but she knows this can't be the only option. It just can't be the only way the story can possibly end.
What did my life used to be like? That was the question that ping-ponged through my brain during the rest of the school day. What had my life been like before I'd been able to feel? Before Alex had come along? Before the electricity had shown up? Oddly enough, even though the majority of my life had been spent without all of this, it didn't feel like it. (5.56)
The thing about being emotionless is that Gemma doesn't have emotional ties to any of her memories. None of her past experiences stand out to her because she doesn't consider them important; it's all just one long boring blur.
It was my Birth Certificate. My fingers trembled as I read my mother's name listed at the bottom. Jocelyn Lucas. It was the first time I ever saw her name, yet it felt as familiar as my own. It was a beautiful name. I bet she was beautiful too. (10.37)
Gemma really doesn't know anything about her past. Sophia and Marco have kept so much from her that she doesn't even know her own mother's name until she goes snooping in their room.
It had felt very real—too real. Like I had seen it before. Lived it before. Maybe I had. The mother had called the little girl Gemma. But then why had I called the woman, who I was certain wasn't Sophia, Mama? My mother had died when I was one, and the little girl had to be at least four. (11.117)
The vision of the little girl and the woman that Gemma sees when she looks into the telescope feels like it could be a memory, but that's impossible. After all, her mother died when she was one… right? At least that's what she's been told her whole life.
"Maybe. But she also might already be down there." He sighed. "Sometimes when someone inexperienced tries to see into the future, they just end up seeing something that has already happened."
"So she could be down there right now!" The loudness of my voice made us both glance around nervously. (22.44-45)
Gemma is worried that the scene at the lake is about to happen, but Alex explains to her that it might be a memory. See, she's not a very experienced Foreseer; she's just getting started.
His forehead creased over. "You know, I'm really surprised you don't remember anything about her."
"How could I?" I wondered. "I was only a year old when she died."
He stared at me, dumbfounded. "No you weren't. You were four." (23.81-83)
So here's another thing that Gemma's been lied to about for her whole life: She was four when her mother disappeared, which makes it strange that she doesn't remember her. Why wouldn't she have any early childhood memories?
He shook his head. "Memory loss isn't a side effect from getting bitten. Something else had to happen to me. The only thing I can remember about that night is coming out of a club alone and thinking I heard a noise from behind me. When I turned around, everything went black. I'm not sure if I blacked out or what but when I did come to, I was sprawled out in an alley with a bite mark on my neck." (23.164)
Other vampires remember being bitten as this huge, life-changing event, but for some reason, Laylen doesn't recall what happened to him at all. He still doesn't know who bit him that night.
Ignoring him, I let the tunnel zoom in on the woman's face. Her bright blue irises, her warm smile, everything became clear, and I knew I had seen her before. But I had already figured that out as soon as I caught sight of the little girl's eyes. If this little girl in the vision was me, then the woman had to be my mother. (29.50)
The more Gemma spends time in the vision at the lake, the more she realizes that it's a memory she has from her own childhood. This is the only way that she's been able to see her mother's face again.
"[…] So, instead of taking your soul, Sophia did something a little less severe. She detached your soul from your emotions. And since emotions have such a huge connection with memories, it made it so you couldn't remember anything about your past." (30.49)
The reason that Gemma can't remember anything from her childhood is that her memories are no longer connected to her emotions. And without emotions, she doesn't feel the need to remember anything. She has no emotional connection to things that happened to her in the past.
"Look, Gemma, maybe you saw it wrong. Maybe it was someone else who forced your mom to go into the lake. I mean, Dyvinius said that you didn't see the vision correctly the first time. Who's to say you didn't see correctly the second time either?" (32.13)
Alex is desperate for Gemma to say that the vision isn't real and that it's not an actual memory from her childhood. After all, he can't bear to think that his father would do something so cruel.
I clutched onto the edge of the couch as my head started to hum. I was slipping away. I could feel it—the life leaving my body. I tried to think of my mom, her bright blue irises, and her warm smile.
I tried to picture the life I never knew. (36.61-62)
As Stephan starts to take away Gemma's soul and mind, she focuses on the one person who actually loved and cared for her—her mother. This is the only truly loving memory that Gemma carries with her.
I lay there, motionless, letting his words sink in. "So, what you're trying to tell me is that Marco and Sophia, the people who've raised me since I was one, belong to some secret group that protect the world from evil?" (13.180)
So Sophia and Marco aren't watching over Gemma because they're her grandparents after all—instead it's a part of their job as these Keepers who are charged with protecting the earth from destruction. Gemma's not sure how she feels about all of this.
"I need a break," I announced. "I'm going outside."
"Like hell you are," Alex said.
"I'm not a little kid." I stood up straight and raised my chin, hoping I appeared more confident than I felt. "If I want to go outside then I will. I need some fresh air." (15.65-67)
Alex thinks that it's his responsibility to check-in on Gemma and make sure that she's safe at all times, but his overprotective bossiness can sure be annoying. Gemma doesn't appreciate how he just orders her around like she's a kid.
"Maybe we should go back to Afton and check up on things," Aislin suggested. "There might something at the house that could help us figure out where they are."
Alex stared at her, dumbfounded. "Are you crazy? There's no way we're taking Gemma back there. It's too dangerous." (16.21-22)
Poor Gemma isn't even allowed to go back to her hometown after leaving without saying goodbye. She knows that it's her responsibility to stay out of harm's way, but it majorly stinks to have her movements so restricted.
"At any moment during your little huddle up, someone could have strolled up, and I'm pretty sure neither one of you would've noticed," Alex said.
"Yeah we would've," I protested. "Both of us have a clear view of each side of the hall." (17.177-178)
Alex is acting like he's upset because Laylen and Gemma aren't doing their job as lookouts, but everyone can tell that he's just annoyed that they're getting along. Jealous much?
"There are two of them standing at the top of the stairs… What we need is a decoy." He turned around, his eyes locking on Laylen. "Someone to distract them while I get Gemma out of here."
"And I'm assuming you want me to be that decoy." Laylen's tone didn't sound bitter, but empty. (17.211-212)
Alex doesn't want Laylen around most of the time, but when they're all in mortal peril, he's suddenly happy to have Laylen on his team—so long as he acts as the decoy to distract the Death Walkers.
Alex cast one last look at Aislin and Laylen, then he tightened his grip on my hand and tugged me after him as he sprinted down the hall, leaving Aislin and Laylen behind to fight the deathly ice monsters by themselves. (17.224)
You have to hand it to Aislin and Laylen: They're both serious warriors. They don't even act scared when told that they have to stay behind and fight off the Death Walkers; they just rise to the challenge.
"You don't need to apologize," I reassured him. "It's not your fault all of this happened."
"It's partly my fault." He rubbed his forehead and let out a stressed sigh. "I knew what Stephan was planning to do to you, and I didn't do anything to stop it." (23.91-92)
Poor Laylen acts like it was his duty to protect Gemma as a kid even though he was just a kid himself. Shouldn't Sophia, Marco, or one of the other adult Keepers have spoken out against Stephan's plan?
I started to argue. "But I—"
He cut me off. "Look, I know it's hard—always being the one who has to hide. But that's the way it has to be. You can't change who you are no matter how much you want to. Trust me." (24.15-16)
Gemma hates the idea of hiding while the others fight off the Death Walkers for her, but Laylen assures her that they all have their duties. Hers is to stay safe and alive.
"I said I was sorry about that. I didn't understand the situation," Alex said apologetically, staring down at the floor.
"The situation," I repeated, my confusion swirling just about as bad as the room was. "What situation?" (36.24-25)
At the very end of the book, Gemma realizes that Alex is going along with Stephan's plan after all. He doesn't like what they're doing, but he believes that it's his responsibility to let it happen for the sake of humanity.
He glared at me. "Your mother needed to be gotten rid of. She was getting in the way. And she went like a coward—crying the whole way to take you instead of her. She didn't seem to understand that the world's fate is depending on you and your inability to feel." (36.35)
Stephan tries to act like Gemma's mom didn't understand her duties as a Keeper and was weak, but Gemma knows that her mom was acting out of love—and there's nothing wrong with that.
"I'm not really sure how to explain it." He paused. "It happened the first day we came here. I felt this weird electric feeling when she walked by me. And it keeps getting worse the more I'm around her." (4.95)
Gemma thinks that her attraction to Alex is just a normal schoolgirl crush (after all, how could she know any differently?), but Alex knows that there's something magical about their connection. And he doesn't like that one bit.
It didn't feel hot or anything. Not even warm. But there was something off about it. Something different, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. It almost felt sparkly… or maybe it was more electric. (7.123)
As soon as Gemma touches the spot where the star supposedly fell, she feels a kind of spark. This makes sense since she's harboring the star's energy inside of her—it's like the star recognizes this place.
I tore my gaze away from the windows. Aislin was kneeling down on the ground, doing something weird with a black candle and what looked like a chunk of amethyst. What was this? Black magic time? (12.69)
What in the world is Aislin doing? Gemma's freaking out about the ice demons approaching the bus and can't figure out why Aislin would be playing with crystals instead of, you know, running away. She hasn't deduced that Aislin is a witch yet.
He hesitated again. "It's a form of magic."
A burst of laughter escaped my lips. "Are you being serious? Because, just so you know, magic isn't real." (13.61-62)
Even though Gemma has suddenly been transported to a random house outside of Las Vegas, she still doesn't totally believe magic is real. The idea that Aislin is a witch with magical powers seems ridiculous… even if it's the only explanation for what's just happened.
It sounded way too fictional. All saving the world from evil and demons and vampires. Yeah, I know, he hadn't actually mentioned vampires but… God, what if there were actual vampires. (13.180)
Talk about a bit of foreshadowing. Gemma thinks there's no way that vampires exist in the real world, but little does she know that she's standing in a vampire's house at that very moment.
Could I really be sitting in the desert next to a vampire, all while harboring the energy of a fallen star inside me? There was so much wrong with that statement, yet, in a bizarre, twisted way, it felt right. (15.102)
Gemma has learned all sorts of stuff about magic and fallen stars and even vampires, but somehow it all feels normal to her. Sitting next to Laylen (the vampire) doesn't freak her out nearly as much as she thought it would.
She spun around the pole, and then locked her haunting grey eyes on me. I felt my breath catch. My body suddenly felt so warm, like I was liquefying. My limbs, my muscles, everything centered to her. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to go to her. Right now. It was imperative that I did… a matter of life or death. (17.121)
Our girl Gemma really needs to be more careful around supernatural beings. She feels intensely drawn to the Black Angel, but doesn't seem to realize that it's probably a dangerous creature.
"But I don't have the power of a star flowing inside me, do I?" He rapped his fingers on the crystal ball again, trying to prove his point. "Who knows what might happen if you touch it? You might set off its power or something and get sucked into a vision. In fact, you probably shouldn't touch anything at all." (20.63)
Alex warns Gemma against touching anything in Adessa's shop. After all, it's a place where witches buy their goods, so there have to be some pretty dangerous magical objects sitting around.
Then they were gone.
"What the heck?" I was resting somewhere between being completely fascinated and absolutely terrified. "Where did they go?"
"To a secret place where Adessa keeps certain things hidden," Laylen answered. (20.83-85)
Gemma is a bit unnerved by the fact that Aislin basically disappears into thin air with the woman who owns this magic shop, but everyone else acts like it's totally normal. Maybe magic becomes mundane after you've been around it for a while.
"This is the most magnificent thing I've ever discovered." Stephan held the smoking rock up for Alex and me to see. "It is so much better than detaching your soul, because not only will it rid you of all your memories, but it will wipe away everything inside your mind. You won't even be able to function anymore." (36.48)
Okay, so a smoking rock that can remove your soul and wipe away your mind is cool in theory, but in practice it's freaking terrifying—and Gemma just wants that thing as far away from her as possible.