Chapter 27: Jesper: EIGHT BELLS 

Inej throws down the rope. Matthias, Wylan, and Nina climb up and join her on the roof. Jesper remains behind, waiting for Kaz, who is late. When Kaz finally arrives, Jesper notices that his shirt is covered in blood. The two of them climb up the rope and join the others. Inej is in pain. Her shoes have melted to the skin of her feet. Kaz orders Jesper to use his powers to separate the rubber from her skin. The rest of the team is shocked to learn that Jesper is a Grisha.  

Kaz apologizes for being late. He admits that he went after Pekka Rollins but doesn’t reveal what happened in the encounter. Since Bo Yul-Bayur wasn’t in the prison, they decide he must be confined somewhere on the White Island, a sector of the Ice Court where a huge party is being thrown. Inej proposes that she and Nina gain access to the party by posing as girls from the Menagerie, which has sent a contingent to entertain the Fjerdans.  


Kaz hatches a new plan. While Inej and Nina infiltrate the party, Wylan and Jesper will disable the gate and trigger Black Protocol, locking all the guards on the White Island while the crew absconds with Bo Yul-Bayur. Nina tailors herself and Inej, giving each of them the tattoo worn by girls of the Menagerie.  

Inej gives Kaz his gloves, which had been discarded in the basement by the prison guards. Kaz begins to confess his emotions to Inej but stops himself. Inej tells Kaz that if they survive, she plans to take her share of the money and leave Ketterdam. She touches his cheek, and he doesn’t flinch or come toward her. She says if she dies, she’ll die unafraid.  

Nina and Inej incapacitate two girls from the Menagerie and lock them in a cupboard. They dress up in their outfits, take their security papers, and head to the party. A guard scrutinizes their papers, but Nina distracts him with seductive talk. He lets Nina into the party, but Inej is detained and taken to a holding area.   

Chapter 29: Matthias: NINE BELLS 

Matthias tells Kaz about the sacred ash tree at the center of White Island. It is a place where the Fjerdans believe their god speaks to those who are worthy. Matthias shows Kaz the trick to crossing the ice moat, which has a submerged glass bridge. After they cross, they encounter two guards and take them down. Matthias picks up a guard’s gun and is tempted to shoot Kaz, but he does not. Suddenly Kaz pulls a gun on Matthias, revealing that he was never in any danger. He only pretended to be vulnerable to test Matthias’s loyalty.   


Jesper set out to disable the gate. Wylan distracts the gatehouse guards by pretending to be a drunken Fjerdan guard. Jesper takes down the guards, and they enter the gatehouse. They plan to cut the ropes that operate the gate, but they discover that the cables are made of steel chains. Jesper isn’t sure they will be able to cut the chains, but he sets to work using his Fabrikator powers to weaken a single link. Privately, he worries that there are a thousand ways Kaz’s plan could go wrong.  


Nina mingles and flirts with the guests at the party, searching for a Fjerdan drunk enough to reveal the whereabouts of Bo Yul-Bayur. To her surprise, she meets Jarl Brum, the drüskelle leader who she assumed had died in the shipwreck.  

Chapter 32: Jesper: TEN BELLS AND HALF A CHIME 

Jesper and Wylan struggle to break the chain in the gatehouse, all the while engaging in flirtatious banter. Jesper reveals that his obsession with guns started back in his homeland. He had worked for a gunsmith, using his powers to fabricate fancy guns. Wylan reveals that he doesn’t really like making bombs or killing people. His real interests are music and math. At one point, Wylan asks Jesper if he is only interested in girls, and Jesper says no. After nearly an hour, Jesper laments that a more skilled Fabrikator would have easily broken the chain. Finally, the chain snaps and the two rejoice. 


In this section, new complications test the crew’s resolve, forcing them to improvise to overcome setbacks that threaten the heist. As usual, the individual histories of the crew provide them with the tools to surmount these obstacles, but they must also overcome the inner demons that hold them back. For example, Nina and Inej both have previous experience working in pleasure houses, and they are able to use their inside knowledge of the industry to pass themselves off as prostitutes. But Nina plays the role more easily than Inej, likely because of Inej’s traumatic memories of the Menagerie. When Nina worked at The Emerald Palace, she used her powers to manipulate customers’ emotions, remaining in control while navigating the treacherous environment of the pleasure house. At the Ice Court, she taps into this experience, easily manipulating the emotions of the guards and the partygoers by appealing to their vices. In contrast, Inej had been forced to work as a prostitute and The Menagerie, and she sees herself in the Suli girl that she is trying to impersonate. Her reluctance to re-assume that role gives her away to the guards.  

Kaz continues to struggle with the psychological barriers that prevent him from expressing his desire for intimacy with Inej. His gloves continue to function as a symbol for his tendency to conceal his thoughts and emotions. When Inej returns Kaz’s gloves on the roof of the embassy, she watches closely as he puts them back on, noting that his hands are surprisingly vulnerable and tender. This parallels Kaz’s desire to hide any sign of weakness or vulnerability from even his closest allies. In the same conversation, when Kaz attempts to tell Inej how he feels about her, he grabs Inej’s wrist but he touches her only through the gloves. He cannot bring himself to speak his mind, stopping himself mid-sentence. Inej, sensing what he wants to say, touches him tenderly on his cheek, skin to skin, and confides that if she dies, she’ll die unafraid. In this moment, she is challenging him to return her touch and share his intimate feelings, but he fails the test. Although Kaz does not pull away from her touch, neither does he move toward Inej physically or emotionally. Like his gloves, the emotional barrier between him and Inej remains in place.   

Like Kaz, Jesper possesses long-held secrets that begin to emerge in these chapters. Although Jesper’s point of view is well represented throughout the novel, he reveals almost nothing about his origins compared to the other main characters. He plays the role of the fearless gunslinger and gambler, emanating bravado, style, and light-hearted humor without reflecting too deeply on his motives. But the revelation that Jesper has actually spent his whole life hiding the fact that he is a Grisha suggests that he is not quite as fearless as he seems. From a young age, Jesper and his family recognize that his Grisha powers put him in danger, so he hides his powers and neglects to practice them, except for his covert hobby of fabricating firearms. In the Ice Court, where he has been deprived of his guns, he is forced to use his powers and expose himself as a Fabrikator. This proves difficult for Jesper because he has repressed his powers for so long. In contrast to his unparalleled prowess as a marksman, his skills as a Fabrikator are so rusty that it takes him nearly an hour to break the chain in the gatehouse.   

 Jesper’s status as a closeted Grisha closely parallels the way that he uses his hypermasculine persona to conceal his sexuality. Although Jesper drops subtle hints about his homosexuality in many of the chapters he narrates, he does not advertise it to others. Even in the gatehouse scene, where it is already quite clear that he is developing romantic feelings for Wylan, he cracks a joke that implies he likes to chase girls. Only when Wylan timidly asks if he prefers only girls does Jesper come clean. Jesper’s uncloseting represents the sort of emotional breakthrough that Kaz has been unable to achieve with regard to his feelings for Inej. By admitting that he likes boys, Jesper signals that he is receptive to Wylan’s affections, opening the door to a romantic connection. This breakthrough manifests symbolically when the chain link finally breaks, releasing the gate and removing one of the main obstacles to the success of the heist.