-“Do you know what it says?”

He stroked the edges with his thumbs; I could actually see the darker imprint where he’d done that often since his naming. “I think it says, ‘Colors will not fade.'”

To me, it sounded like a wonderful message, a promise of loyalty and fidelity. His colors would not fade or change, no matter what. The name fit someone who wouldn’t leave his partner, even when she disappeared in the dark, and who wouldn’t let her go Topside alone.-

This book was really interesting. I especially enjoyed reading about the culture of the enclave and how they lived their lives. It was a great reminder that there are a lot of ways people could live that are not the way we live, and still make it work out fine. The enclave had lots of rules and you were born and raised for a specific job, but it worked out fine for everybody and everyone got along well enough. While some of their methods were questionable and their rules binding, ultimately everything flowed together well and the enclave managed to thrive.

Another thing I liked about this book was the focus on partnership and teamwork. Yes, I always appreciate the friendliness portrayed in books, but that’s just because friendship is (apart from God) the most important thing in the world to me. I find it truly invaluable, above everything else, and I am ALWAYS appreciative of a gesture of friendship in any form it may take. And this book was very friendship-driven.

He touched my cheek very lightly. “I have your back. I didn’t mean only when it’s easy. ALL the time.”-

I loved how Fade was as likely to touch you with gentle concern as he was to club you over the head. Fade was a brilliant character that reminded me a bit of one of my own friendquaintances (I HATE friendquaintances, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have any). This quote came from early in the book and it was one of the first gentle gestures we see from Fade. But like I’ve mentioned before in my post about shyness, NEVER underestimate the power of a touch. Fade’s touch to Deuce’s cheek, soft and light, packed as much meaning as his words did, maybe even more. The words he said merely cemented what he was saying with his fingers. And how valuable it is to have a friend who is always there for you, always has your back, completely and utterly trustworthy no matter what the situation! This is exactly the kind of friend God is to us.

It hurt that he didn’t trust me, more than I’d expect, especially after we’d gone through together. I had saved his life, and he’d saved mine. We’d protected each other every step of the way. I would never do anything to hurt someone he cared about, even if his friend’s behavior was reckless and unwise.-

In friendship, not only is it important to value your friend, but also to value your friend’s values. If something is important to your friend, part of good friendship is that thing becomes important to you as well, and that includes people. Even if you hate someone, if that person is important to your friend, you should respect them too.

One time in this book (I didn’t write down the exact line) it mentioned that fighting tended to bring people together. The paragraph I wrote above signifies this, and I also highly agree with the idea myself. You see it over and over again in almost every war movie you can find. HARDSHIP BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER. You show through actions that you’re willing to protect someone’s back, and they’ll be willing to protect yours. You save their life, they’ll save yours. It forms a bond that I personally have never seen broken. Truly brilliant.

I fell into step with him as he talked, venting about the strain of working for Whitewall. Twist didn’t have any friends that I knew of, so maybe he didn’t have anyone else to talk to. Listening cost me nothing.-

Really the only thing from this that I wanted to highlight is that LISTENING COSTS NOTHING, but can mean EVERYTHING to the person who’s talking. Like Twist, I don’t have friends that I feel I can really talk to, and so being willing to listen is a trait I regularly look for in the people I’m around. BE that person. It literally costs you nothing.

I started to smile. I turned slowly, admiring the flashes of light. Rain poured against the ground until it sounded like a chorus of running feet combined with shushing whispers. I’d never heard anything so lovely.-

I loved the way Deuce reacted when she found “The Day Boy and the Night Girl,” and when she felt rain for the first time. I loved that kind of innocent wonder that came from finding a whole book, and feeling water fall from the sky in soft, gentle drops. The sound of rain is beautiful, and standing out in it and just FEELING it could probably change your view of it. The way Deuce felt the book and the realization that so many others before her had touched those pages ~ so many others that had their own stories, their own dreams, and her never able to know what those were ~ was just mind-blowing to me because I have had that outlook myself. Literally EVERYTHING has a story, every single rock on a gravel road. It’s really eye-opening if you start thinking about where things came from and how they got where they did, and thinking that way about people is even more thrilling.

I blocked their movements with graceful speed; I never felt beautiful unless I was fighting, and even then it was something that went beyond skin and bone and into the kinetic joy of successive movements. Kick, thrust, slash. I never doubted Fade at my back. I never faltered.-

This is where I really felt a connection with Deuce because I am exactly the same way. I am not beautiful. And I am okay with that. I have no problem with it. I would not change my appearance even if I could. Not being beautiful is actually a huge benefit for me, and I feel like being beautiful would just complicate everything. But when I run through my kenpo moves, or when I swing my sword or my knives, or I shoot my bow, I feel the beauty and the confidence of the movements, movements that I have practiced until it became automatic. For me, there’s nothing better than that feeling. And the combination of doing those movements with your most trusted friend at your back ~ blimey! I can’t imagine!

Wolves ~ and maybe all gangers ~ had a sickness in their brains that didn’t let them grasp the truth: People’s value came from their actions. In the enclave, the strong and the physically perfect survived, but IF you were strong, you protected the weak until they had an opportunity to grow into their own power.-

Isn’t that what it means to be a Christian, though? Protecting others and helping them grow so they can reach their full potential. And people’s value truly does come from their actions and their behavior and how they react to things. I didn’t really have much else to say about this, I just wanted to bring it up.

Fade winced when I unwrapped the cloth strips. I tried to be careful, but the dried blood made it stick. With perfect gravity, I stared at the way they’d made the cuts run parallel to his Hunter marks. Now he bore twelve. Part of me wished I could seal them properly, so his arms would say to anyone, I’m twice the Hunter you are. But Topside such symbols were meaningless. They were just scars. Nobody would admire him for having more. I hated that loss too.-

Scars are really meaningful. They mean you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you. And the STORIES they contain! I love them. But the way people Topside see scars is the same outlook most people seem to have. They don’t mean anything. They’re just scars.

Sometimes she cried. Sometimes she smiled. Once, she opened her eyes and tried to sit up but she didn’t see me. I pushed her sweaty hair off her forehead and knew the most awful fear ~ that I’d lose her, before I got to tell her how much she mattered.-

The idea of your best friend dying really gives you a lot to think about. What if I was sitting beside my best friend, watching the life slip away, and could do nothing about it, and I had no idea whether they would regain consciousness long enough for me to tell them how much they meant to me? I don’t think I could handle that. So I make a point of telling them as often as I can, cloaked in words like “How are you feeling?” or “Did you get home okay?” or “You can have it.” Because once they’re gone, you’ll never get to tell them. So why not tell them now?

You could miss someone, but it did no good to fixate on loss. I wished I had the ready words of a Breeder or the ability to comfort with a soft touch. I didn’t. Instead I had daggers and determination.

That would have to do.-