Two Serpents Rise – Part I

GladstoneTwoSerpentsRisingHello everyone! Welcome to the Two Serpents Rise read along! You can catch the schedule over HERE. Feel free to join us int he comments if you like!

This week, I’m your host, so make sure to swing by everyone else’s blog to see what everyone else thinks.

1) Poison in the Bright Mirror reservoir! What are your thoughts on the infestation? Then an explosion later on! Any ideas of who is the culprit yet? Are the two events related?

Wow! So the zemet (spelling?) infestation sounds like a real bugger. I like how the infestation is explained, and also how the folks who run the reservoir expected such a thing to happen eventually. What? They things pop up in other reservoirs? Have they occurred in this one before and it is something that has to be wiped out once a decade? Still, they are some cool beasties to throw into the mix.

I definitely think the poisoning and the explosion are related. I also think that whoever is behind it is using both Mal (for showing the way past security) and Timok (spelling) because of his past ill deeds and his political views. I would venture to guess further that 1) someone with a lot of power is behind it (so either the Red King or Alaxic) and 2) Mal’s shark tooth pendant was present at both sites, and I wonder if someone is using it as a conduit to conduct ill deeds. Now that Caleb as the pendant, we shall see if bad luck follows him around.

2) Let’s talk about Mal and the sport of cliff running. Care to compare this sport to one here in our real world? What do you think Mal gets out of the sport?

Cliff running made me think of parkour, of course. And also the slightly less crazy tradition of palo volador (pole flying). In the video below, skip ahead to about 3 minutes in to see the action start.

I think Mal gets several things out of the sport. We’ve seen a few hints that she comes from a more privileged side of town, so perhaps this is her freedom, where she can call all the shots, and suffer all the consequences. Her life is her own when she trains and competes.

3) Are you enjoying the deities and culture this book is infused with? Has any of the architecture wowed or frightened you?

I am really loving the world this story is set in. I’ve lived most of my life in New Mexico, which has vestiges and echoes of the ancient Toltec and Aztec cultures, so may of the proper nouns and myths sound familiar to me.

I will say some of the buildings and the way some things are done have been a little daunting. There are plenty of pyramids throughout the city, pyramids that not too long ago were used for regular sacrifice. And the description of the city’s slaughterhouse with the sharpened, whirling wires was pretty horrendous.

4) The Red King is a pretty serious guy. Will he make the deal with Alaxic concerning the powerhouses known as Achel & Aquel?

I think the Red King desires power more than anything these days, because it seems that is all that is left to him. So I expect he is feeling out multiple ways to gain control over the sister serpents. I am not sure Alaxic will make the deal, as I am not sure he would get what he wants out if it. He seems like the kind of guy who enjoys flaunting his power or a pretty item about to see who else is interested and then lead them on, never intending to give it up.

5) Finally, Caleb has a wealth of scars, linguistic skills, and a complex relationship with his father. Discuss!

Caleb is definitively a most fascinating main character. I think his father raised him to be a high priest, hence the linguistic skills and most likely the scars (which I think will turn out to be ceremonial). At some point, Caleb obviously decided that repeated, and perhaps mass, ceremonial human sacrifice was wrong for so may reasons and turned his back on it. In order to do that, it seems he had to turn his back on his father and certain aspects of his father’s culture. I can’t tell yet if the author will try to mend that rend in this book, or let it stand as simply the way things will be. Honestly, I am not sure how one would mend the damage caused by repeated human sacrifice.

Other Tidbits:

I am really enjoying Teo as Caleb’s best buddy. She’s smart, a good listener, and has a sense of humor when it comes to watching out for Caleb. Also, I love that we have a secondary character that is all these things, and also happens to be lesbian. Hooray for integration in fantasy literature!

There are lots of intense conversations in Part 1 of the book – Caleb talking with Mal over the sharktooth pendant (sexual tension), Caleb chatting with his dad (all sorts of anger and perhaps love), the Red King chatting at Caleb (power and fear and perhaps regret flowing through that conversation), etc. Its excellent that the conversations add so much to the story and aren’t simply filler and fluff.

Below are the blogs participating:

Lauren – Violin in a Void
Heather – The Bastard Title (who will be in and out as time allows)
Ria – Bibliotropic
Susan (me) – Dab of Darkness

8 thoughts on “Two Serpents Rise – Part I”

  1. 1. I didn’t even think of what might happen now that Caleb has the pendant… Oh, and it’s “Tzimet” and “Temoc” 🙂

    3. Oh wow, so cool that you’ve lived in New Mexico and know the mythology! I’ve been meaning to read more about it; it’s rather grim but incredible. Thanks for mentioning the slaughterhouse, that had totally slipped my mind. It is a bit scary, but seems very efficient too.

    5. I was thinking the same thing. I can’t imagine having a close, loving relationship with someone who slaughters people on a regular basis. If the culture were different, maybe, but Caleb was born at a time when people were changing their minds about gods.

    Teo’s awesome! And I’m glad Caleb has a good friend who will be totally honest with him.

    1. Thanks for the spelling correction. I have fun guessing with my audiobook, but I do like to correct my misspellings when I can.

      New Mexico has some influences from the Aztec culture, but much of it is covered up or has been over taken by Catholicism. The further south you go, the stronger the native culture.

      Teo is currently my favorite side character. She obviously has her own life and troubles and dreams, but she makes a good slap-you-in-face-when-you-are-an-idiot kind of friend.

  2. Hey missus – you gave this some great thought – i was totally useless this week. As usual I have a story but I won’t bore you with it!! I’m back now though.
    I think the serpents were great but the reservoir really freaked me in – what a terrible and amazing idea at the same time – imagine if that thing had got into the water system!!! eugh.
    My head is all over the place – I never thought about the pendant !!
    The relationship with Caleb and his father is very complicated and I’m looking forward to learning more about it 😀
    Lynn
    Again – sorry for being such a useless article this week. 😀 😀

    1. You are always welcome to bore me with your stories.

      If the tzemet had gotten into the water system, that would have sucked. I can only imagine the number of bodies throughout the city, from every age. Ugh! Vengeance would have to be enacted!

      heh – ‘useless article’ – I haven’t heard that one before. I am going to add that phrase to my repertoire.

  3. Yes, I love Teo so much! It’s great to see a guy and girl able to be great friends without us having to worry about a romance brewing there, haha

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