So, I’m a day late. Blame Batman: Arkham Knight.
Welcome back to the Read-Along! HERE is the schedule, if you’d like to keep up and read along with everybody else.
For this section, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is hosting, so be sure to head over there and join in the conversation.
For this section, we’ll be covering Chapters 64 – 73. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
1. We finally go sailing and everything seems to be going so well that we were lulled temporarily into a false sense of security! Sailors are a superstitious bunch, throwing coins to the Lord of the Deep, for example. What did you make of the Master of the Straits? Any similarity to other myths or legends?
Well it reminded me of Poseidon the most I guess. I’m sure there’s other myths that he bears similarities to, but I can’t think of any offhand. I had mixed feelings on this encounter. On one hand, I thought it felt a little out of place with the rest of the story. It’s really the only point, thus far, that we have seen something so clearly magical. It made what felt like a low-fantasy story up to that point, change to a high-fantasy story, at least for that scene.
On the other hand, I thought the scene was so well-written, intense, and just cool that I accepted it.
2. Hyacinthe plays a much larger role in this instalment and has come into his own, plus given a new title – ‘Waking Dreamer’. His travels so far have been very bitter sweet and you really do feel for him. Bearing that in mind what did you make of the strange dream that Breidaia had where she saw Hyachinthe on an island – this was skimmed over a little but did it give you pause for thought. Do you have any ideas of what’s in store for our Waking Dreamer?
I didn’t pay much attention to that dream while I was reading, but now it seems to symbolize that he will always be alone. We see that he’s not accepted by the Tsingano now, and he’s never truly felt at home in d’Angeline. I’m guessing that is where the dream is going, that he will never really fit in anywhere, but instead be by himself throughout his life.
However, from a writer’s perspective, Hyacinthe’s arc seems to have peaked. We’ve resolved all of his conflicts introduced thus far (that I can think of), it’s an opportune time to kill him and propel Phedre’s storyline forward.
3. You have to hand it to Ysandre for choosing Phedre as Ambassador. It seems her strange talents come in very useful indeed. What did you make of her tactics and powers of persuasion?
I thought some of this was pretty strange, but maybe that’s just my own personal conservatism. She seems to solve every problem by sleeping with somebody. It almost feels a little demeaning, like she has no other strengths. She gets them past the blockade by sleeping with what’s-his-name. She solves the problem with the twins by sleeping with both of them. She makes Hyacinthe feel a bit better about Moiread’s death by sleeping with him. I know that sex is a huge focus of this story, but sometimes it feels a little forced almost. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it.
4. We finally meet Drustan. He at first seems like an unlikely match for Ysandre and yet they both seem to have a shared vision. Can they make it work do you think? They have so many differences even if they do succeed in battle?
Sure I think they can make it work. They are both focused on helping their nations succeed, and both seem like good people. I think they’ll get along well. Whether they get a chance to do so may be a different story, because there’s so much standing in their way. I’m guessing that either way, that will probably be a story for another book.
5. Can we discuss the Dalriada and the Cruithne – do they put you in mind of any particular races? What do you make of them??
I think they are pretty obviously associated with Scotland and Gaelic culture. They call themselves the Cullach Gorrym, which sounds very Gaelic to me, and paint their faces with blue paint. They seem like an interesting people. I love how they treat a warmarch like a big party. I love how Drustan seems to know everybody’s name and has words for each of them before the battle starts. It all feels very Braveheart.
6. I’m puzzled about Joscelin – he’s always so severe on himself, particularly after the battle and Moiread’s death. I wonder why he blames himself so much – and I also wonder how he’s coping with watching Phedre’s actions – in particular her closeness to Hyacinthe.
I feel bad for him because he’s obviously in love with Phedre, but has to endure her sleeping with every other guy (and some girls) in the book. It’s got to be tough. I think his self-blame is based around the Casseline order. They are perfectionists who make so many impossible oaths that I think they can’t help but put these huge pressures on themselves. I’ve known people like that personally who consider every thing that goes bad with anybody around them as a personal failure. It’s both because of their huge amount of compassion for everybody, plus maybe a bit of ego in the idea that they alone can prevent the suffering of everybody, ever.
7. Finally, we’re working ourselves up for the grand finale – do you have any predictions as to how this will all pan out?
Big war, Hyacinthe dies, Phedre kills Melisande, good guys win.
I honestly have no idea what is going to happen. Every chapter seems to divert my expectations in some way or another. Naamah could come down at this point and put a stop to the entire war by having sex with everybody and I wouldn’t question it.
There is a point where Hyacinthe mentions that he has seen a vision that he is not sharing. I’m thinking that he has seen his own death. He tells Phedre and Quintilus that they will one day return to the sea, but doesn’t mention his own path. There’s a lot of foreshadowing in this section to the idea that Hyacinthe is going to die.
One note that I thought of while reading is how Phedre repeatedly refers to d’Angelines as the most beautiful of all the races. I wonder if the other races share that viewpoint? It sounds very condescending and mildly racist at times.
The battle scene here is again, just amazing. Everything feels very intense, without getting bogged down in the minute blow-by-blow. Just very well done. I’ve read books by R.A. Salvatore and Joe Abercrombie, who are both known for writing great combat scenes, and while I love them both I honestly think Carey may have them beat here. Maybe because they are few and far between, but each one of her fight scenes feels extremely powerful and just beautiful.
There’s also a scene where Phedre knights twenty or so sailors and we see how much these men revere Phedre, as Ysandre’s ambassador. It’s interesting that she has this kind of political power now, considering where she comes from. I wonder where that will eventually lead.
Thanks for joining me! Leave me some comments and I’ll see you next week! Just two weeks left of this book, holy crap!