So basically the next chunk of book is a copy-paste of Ruben's conversion into a Wolf, only it's the kid's conversion and is relayed via his doctors.
The only stand-out irritating thing is the stuff with Stuart's mom. She is defending his stepdad, who tried to kill him because he was gay.
“She’s an awful woman, this mother,” Grace confided. “She’s jealous of her son. She blames him for the stepfather’s rages. She treats him like a pesky little brother who’s ruining her life with her new boyfriend. And the boy doesn’t get how childish she really is, and it makes me sick.”
I will add the caveat that families with this dynamic do exist. My family had a couple of kids with stories of this caliber in their home. They also had kids with Moms that make Buffy Longstreet look like Mary Poppins, all magic and love and educational and shit. I can't even say that women like that can't produce kids like Stuart, because they can if the home is healthy, and it is strongly implied that Stuart's home prior to the stepdad was pretty healthy. But I also know a lot of kids with Moms so far on the opposite end of the spectrum that it makes you want to bow in front of them and chant "I am not worthy, I am not worthy". I cannot, sadly, call *sigh* Buffy Longstreet an unnecessary, unrealistic caricature of a woman. I can, however, state that there is no reason whatsoever to cast Ms. Longstreet as an utter abysmal failure of a mother, and every reason to cast her as a good one.
Also: Grace has no fucking business criticizing how Stuart feels towards his mother. Reguardless of how correct or incorrect she might be, Stuart is not her patient and she is not a psychologist, and even when you desperately, DESPERATELY want to intervene in an abusive family situation, you don't do it by castigating any party for not being "enough" to get out of the situation. You don't understand the situation. In an abusive situation, when running away and fighting back are both unsafe, the instinct is to submit for however long it takes to get out of the situation alive. Manipulative abusers are very good at using this instinct to keep their victims in line and at home. And the kicker is, the victims are usually "right" in staying. The most dangerous time for an abuse victim is the after they leave their abuser.
Grace does not know these people. She doesn't know what the stepdad has said to Stuart or Buffy, she doesn't know what he might be capable of doing to them if either party steps out of line. In fact, in my HIGHLY inexpert opinion, I'd say it's psychologically likely that the Stepdad struck out against Stuart, not just because he was gay or because he had money--this was his mental justification for it--but because Stuart went to college. Stuart got away, and the abuser couldn't stand that. Sexuality and material gain might be the cover story, but the leaving is what triggered it. Again, IMHO. So Criticizing the mental process of someone in an abusive situation is rather like looking down on someone with TB because they can't run a mile. Things have gone very wrong in their lives and they have no idea how to get out safely, and they need you to help them find a solution, not point and laugh because you think the gasping sounds are funny.
It's possible that Buffy is just that stupid. It's also possible that Buffy is trying to stay alive as best she can.
So we get long paragraphs about Ruben talking to his mother and to the press, and meanwhile Stuart has nuns picketing in his support, demanding equal rights for Gays.
Stuart has the best story.
Also, the Russian Paris Doctor, Akim Jaska, has alienated Grace. So Grace is back on Ruben's side and Jaska is a plot bunny.
More copy paste from the first part of the book.
Ruben is told that Jaska wants to stick Stuart in a sanitorium, and so he rushes out to interview the Mom, who doesn't give a fuck because having a female character that isn't made of cardboard is asking too fucking much from this book. And then the stepdad wanders in.
The book then godmods for a while about what motivates Stepdad and how mom knows but doesn't know that she has to choose between her husband and her son, thus implicating her as having a part in the murder, albeit unconscious.
Ruben avoids shapeshifting for three days after biting Stuart, like any good drug abuser would abstain after their first incredibly bad bender, and then he says "fuck it" and wanders around his property, eating random wildlife. We get a list. It includes frogs and squirrels.
Ruben and Laura make a deal with the locals so they can keep hiking on Ruben's property. Because we needed to have three paragraphs dedicated to this.
We get another description of the conservatory and I have to say it: Who the FUCK puts bougainvillea indoors? It's poisonous, it has thorns that probably participated in the crucifixion and it grows like "Holy fuck, that was my house yesterday and now it's a plant!". Keeping it under control in an outdoor situation involves cutting it down to a stump once every few months. Indoors, you have to worry about it undermining foundations and killing all the other precious precious plants in the indoor flower garden. It's tropical and it's pretty, but those of us who live with the fuckers have a love/hate relationship that borders on hate more often than not. The only thing worse are Oleanders. If we ever have an attack of the triffids, South Texas will be safe, because the oleanders and the bougainvillea will eat them. As will anywhere else that uses the goddamned things in commercial landscaping.
...AND A FICUS IS NOT SPECIAL. IT IS THAT DEAD PLANT THAT DOCTORS KEEP IN A CORNER NEXT TO THE THREE-YEAR-OLD WOMEN'S WORLD ISSUES.
And then Ruben goes out and buys a used cheap laptop and gets a special e-mail with a wolfy name and writes a long screed to his editor about how awesome the manwolf is, only he never sends it because Filler is Filler and it can't be allowed to change the actual plot.
Laura goes for walks. She redecorates the house. She buys Ruben a piano. She takes pictures of all the trees on the property and teaches Ruben their species names. They talk about God. She doesn't believe, because Ruben has to convert her to some form of Deism as part of his conquest of her. Look, when a Christian is calling you out on your faith-centric metaphors being heavy handed and sexist? You've lost. You've just lost.
I am now chanting End. END. ENNNNNNNNNNND! at the screen and this chapter is not ending. It is instead talking randomly about Marchant's bedroom. It's pink.
Ruben goes out and signs the title for the house. It is now permanently his.
END. END. END.
They go to Laura's house and pick up her things. It's all frilly nightgowns and pedestrain flannal day clothes, and there's probably something sexist in there but I'm so board at this point I don't give a flying blue pony fuck either way.
Stuart gets better. Grace and Phil, Ruben's dad, come to the House for dinner. There are several paragraphs that amount to "Ruben's family is fucking loaded" and contributes fuck-all else to the story and the characters. Except that Grace, of course, is the lone dissenting voice. She thinks the house is a little much.
It's the house from Rose Red. It went past "little much" about the time it manufactured a conservatory big enough for bougainvillea.
Laura makes a salad.
They talk about Dr. Akim Jaska and his unhealthy obsession with Werewolves.
Ruben plays the piano. He tells Jim about biting Stuart. Jim prays. Ruben realizes someone is watching the house, so he shows his parents out the door and the chapter FINALLY ends.
Anne Rice totally doesn't need an editor, guys.