Welcome back everyone! Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone is up to.
This week we covered Chapter 3 through Interlude ‘Bastards Abroad’. Here is the SCHEDULE if you want to see what’s coming up.
Spoilers lurk below!
1) Blood And Breath And Water: Patience tells Locke that the ritual to save him is serious business. She wasn’t kidding… What did you make of this scene, and do you think any of it might (perhaps literally) come back to haunt Locke?
I know this ‘healing’ was rough for Locke, but it must have been awful for Jean as well. Even the healers were dropping from their efforts! The poison had weeks if not months to work on Locke, driving him weaker and weaker, and becoming more strongly embedded. So of course it is going to take quite a bit to neutralize it. Being familiar with Lynch’s writing, I didn’t expect him to skimp on this scene, and he didn’t.
Bug showing up in this way was a bit unexpected for me. Up to this point, we had not seen him in any of the flashbacks, but he was the last to join the merry group. But then he shows up in this messed up hallucinogenic dream sequence where he is the walking ghostly lost, in pain, in fear, perhaps even looking for some payback. Right now, I am inclined to say that this is either Locke’s overwrought sense of guilt messing with him, or one of the Bondsmagi involved in the healing.
2) Orphan’s Moon: Back to the childhood of the Gentlemen Bastards, and here we get another ritual, this one in service to the Nameless Thirteenth. It looks as though it might be Locke vs. Sabetha, round two – but this time Locke seems to be a little slow on that uptake… Who do you think deserves to be given the final oath? Locke or Sabetha?
I thought Sabetha’s stealing of the Watch’s bully clubs took both bravery and smarts. She came back in one piece, without two swollen eyes, so she had to be clever and sneaky about it. It’s obvious that Sabetha wants it, has put thought into it.
Locke’s little cake trick was cute, but I think it was old hat for him and Jean. There was nothing really new in the trick. And it is obvious that Locke hasn’t put any thought into joining the inner mysteries of the Crooked Warden.
So, who deserves it? Well, Sabetha. But deities and their priests don’t always pick new acolytes based on merit, but by who is best suited to it, or who may need that added protection in life more. So, Locke is the winner. I don’t think he will be all that happy about it once he sees Sabetha’s face and witnesses her reaction. After all, he put his hat int he ring on this to impress her, not because he wants it.
Based on things said in Books 1 and 2, and things said even in this section of the reading, I am fairly certain that Locke got the spot. I then have to wonder if that didn’t feed into the falling out later on between Sabetha and Locke. Shall be interesting to see.
3) Across The Amathel: This chapter takes a breather for quite a bit of Eldren history, while Locke starts recovering. What do you think of the history lesson, and Patience’s ominous speculation regarding the Eldren? Is this something you’d like to know more about?
Damn straight I want to know more! If the disappearance of the Eldren has the Bondsmagi scared pee-less, it being the one thing that holds them in check, then yes, I do want to know more.
I really liked this part because there has been even greater mystery (sorry Sabetha, but you do take second seat to some mysteries) over Books 1 & 2 about the Eldren and what they left behind. So it was great to have the mystery, that world-building, added to, and in such a creeptastic way!
4) Striking Sparks: The gang’s off to Espara, after a bad summer and a pretty thorough dressing-down from Chains, and we finally get to the source of the book’s title – they’re bound for the stage! What are your thoughts on this latest ‘challenge’ and the reasons for it?
It’s a coming of age trial for the lot of them and I love the idea of it. Chains, being the practical man he is, knows he won’t be around forever. So, he needs 2 things – peace & quiet and to know with certainty that these prodigies of his can function as a team out in the world without him. He is wise to achieve both by sending them on this mission to entertain the masses via the stage.
I do have to say that Locke is going to have to get a bit more circumspect about his wet dreams while sharing close quarters with Sabetha….or start snuggling with Jean so Jean can slap him awake before he embarrasses himself greatly.
5) The Five-Year Game: Starting Position: The election gets underway with a party (as you do) and before it’s even over, the Deep Roots party has problems – and not just thanks to Sabetha. What do you make of Nikoros and his unfortunate habit?
Nikoros is a weak point. Anyone working for the opposite team can either offer him a little too much of this favorite powder and hope that he drops critical information while enjoying it or tweak his special powder to make him sick, unconscious, or dead. Locke and Jean are going to have to neutralize this weak point quickly.
I loved that such a simple thing as the liquor permit paperwork being out of date (obviously messed with) can screw up the opening salvo of the Deep Roots campaign. If that is all it takes to shake up their efforts, then Locke and Jean have a lot of work on their hands.
6) Bastards Abroad: The gang arrives in Espara, and already they’ve got problems (nicely mirroring the Five Year Game!)… This aside, we’ve also seen some more of what seems to be eating at Sabetha. Do you sympathize with her, or is Locke right to be frustrated with her?
So far, Locke has spent a lot of time thinking about himself in this relationship. Yes, it is all about how he can catch her eye, how he can earn her praise, how he can engage her in conversation. I totally sympathize with Sabetha in that Locke is treating her like an object or minor goddess instead of contemplating what could be going on in Sabetha’s head. I loved it when she pointed out this simple fact by asking Locke if he had even considered if she liked men instead women. Ha!
If these two are to have a real relationship, they need to talk about this stuff. It was very gracious of Sabetha to explain, in part, the awkwardness on her side – she use to be in charge of the little gang, then went away for training, and came home to some new snot-nosed twerp of a kid calling the shots and all the boys are OK with this. She wasn’t the brains of the group any more. She wasn’t the boss of the little group anymore. And instead of being a jerk about it, she simply coolly kept to the sidelines.
Dreamsteel seems to have a lot of uses! It can be wicked cool stuff – healing, sharing memories in full living color. I have to wonder what devilishly bad things it can be used in too. Hmm…..
Hey! There’s a cat! But not any cat, it’s their cat from Book 2! Hooray! The only wayward child that Locke and Jean ever raised as a couple has returned to them!
I think I must have been channeling Locke this week because I want to eat everything! Simply be glad that you can’t possibly be on the menu because you are merely a name on screen and I am not hungry enough to try to track you down….yet. Jealous of the tasty food Locke can get his hands on once he touches land? Hell, yes!
My Fellow Bastards: