Two Serpents Rise – Part II

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

This week, Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow your host, so make sure to swing by her blog to see what she thinks, along with everyone else thinks.

1)  So we’re halfway in, and we seem to have uncovered the culprit already… What did you make of the confrontation at Seven Leaf?

I was surprised twice over – 1) that there was actually someone at Seven Leaf to confront and 2) that they not only won, but utterly destroyed their opponent. Since we still have half the book to go, I think we can safely say there is more to come.

Alesandra was probably someone’s pawn, but who’s? We met her first working for Alaxic, but I think it would be a little simple to point the finger at him and him alone.

I have suspicions about Mal, but there’s a question about her below, so I will put my speculations there.

2)  Temoc is still turning up at random, and still protesting his innocence. Doth he protest too much…?

Well, he has been pretty specific in exactly what he is innocent of. He has stated he was not responsible for the tzemoc in Bright Mirror, nor did he contaminate Seven Leaf with the wee beasties. I can’t recall if he said he was clear of the explosion.

Now if we were finding heartless bodies on stone altars, I would be highly suspicious of him. But so far, those have been confined to the past.

Still, someone used Alesandra as a pawn and Temoc could very well be involved in something much, much bigger, and possibly is being used as a figurehead pawn himself.

3)  The Red King. Discuss.

This is a complicated, power-hungry, and super powerful being. He nearly squished Caleb, but he then healed him. So, perhaps he has forgotten how frail us mere humans are. He also lost his lover to the sacrificial table years ago. Obviously, this strongly affected him. I want to know more about how Alaxic was a part of that, and I want to know how he was let off of charges. Why didn’t the Red King kill him in the chaos? What force or legal system could be strong enough to restrain the Red King from killing Alaxic afterwards?

He trusts Caleb, which is a very healthy thing for Caleb, but doesn’t trust Mal. I’m not sure I do either.

4)  And let’s not forget Mal! I confess, I did not see any of those surprises coming. What do you think of Caleb’s ‘sweetheart’ now?

Mal, Mal, Mal. Wow. So where to begin! When she walked out on stage for the signing ceremony I was totally surprised. But that was nothing compared to the surprises we get later in the section.

I really liked the chemistry building between Mal and Caleb, and they seem to like it too. Their dance date was quite sweet and sexy. They also chat about the bigger things (like feeling alive) and the hard stuff (Caleb’s dad and the new order versus the old god worship). So part of me wants these two to work and be able to ride off into the sunset.

But then there are little things that make me think they are working for different teams, kind of like two spies for different organizations that may or may not have opposing goals.

Mal was doing really good at dodging Caleb’s questions. He did try to dodge some of hers. I couldn’t tell if she was relieved to find out Caleb could hold his own, and therefore, giver her back up at Seven Leaf, or having to quickly rethink all her plans for how things would go down at Seven Leaf.

Then they get there and Caleb gets into a bind and is nearly beaten. Mal seems to think that he is dead and she says something along the lines that Caleb wasn’t to be part of this and that’s when she goes all badass on Alesandra. So, was it an innocent, enraged comment made by someone who thinks they just lost a boyfriend? Or was she drawing a line with her comrades and in fury and shame took out Alesandra?

My suspicions are further heightened learning more about how her parents died, and also how she feels about all of it – the trapping and diminishing of the old spirits, and the old ways, the current unending use of the trapped spirits, etc.

Or, I could be way too suspicious.

Other Tidbits:

It was so creepy seeing all the trapped revenants and spirits and whethered gods in Seven Leaf. And that of course means the same is most likely true for Bright Mirror Reservoir as well. A city build on the entrapment of such beings is probably a ticking time bomb.

So Caleb has had Mal’s pendant all this time and we haven’t seen him do anything with it, nor anything terribly drastic happen to him. Mal did chat a little bit about where she got it, but nothing in depth. Is the pendant important or am I just fixated on the shiny?

Temoc made the comment that Caleb sleeps like a stone most nights. Does this mean he pops in regularly to watch his son sleep? I’m not sure if that is sweet or creepy.

Mal believes in blood atonement. This freaks Caleb out. Mal thinks human sacrifice is OK as long as they are volunteers who understand the end they are in for and that they want to die. If Mal gets her way and they do set up a volunteer human sacrifice gig, then I really hope they put in a detailed and lengthy interview and counseling system, like they have for folks who want to change their genitalia drastically. It’s one of those things that can’t be undone.

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

6 thoughts on “Two Serpents Rise – Part II”

  1. Yeah, I think we’ll have to keep our eyes on Mal. I’ve definitely not made up my mind about her yet and I love your comment about what she said during the confrontation at Seven Leaf. I totally missed that – or, at least, I read it, but it just didn’t register. I felt odd about that whole scene tbh and it was over too fast – it now makes me wonder if it was a way of making certain revelations. It definitely feels like a big set up now!
    Lynn 😀

    1. AS much as I like Mal, I do think she has a hidden agenda. She probably has conflicted feelings about Caleb – she likes him, he’s an Eagle Knight (those scars and training from his dad) which she seems to admire, and yet Caleb hats his father and what he stands for. Mal probably dislikes that last part.

  2. Isn’t being way too suspicious about characters part of the fun, though? I love making up wild and wildly inaccurate theories of what’ll happen and then seeing how very wrong I was. (One day I won’t be. Maybe.)

    I like your point about Temoc’s language because he has been pretty precise about his protestations, yes. I just finished reading a novella that was all about the things that people don’t say, so that point stands out a lot because… What isn’t Temoc saying? What’s he leaving out and what is he hedging about? And what does all of that mean and how does it relate to the rest of the story?

    I think it’s Alaxic I trust least, though. Somehow he just doesn’t strike me as the kind of man to retire.

    1. Oh yes. I totally love making guesses and I don’t mind being completely wrong. I find it amusing how I can take all these hints and think the book is going in Direction A when in fact it is going Direction H.

      And I agree with you about Alaxic. He likes his power, so why stay out of the battle all those years ago? And why retire now?

      1. Being too suspicious and coming up with theories is definitely part of the fun for me! It’s also why I like read-alongs – because it’s divided into sections, I read so much slower and go through my notes and highlights for each section before posting, so I look at all the “evidence” and go crazy with conspiracy theories.

  3. Mal stepping out onto that stage totally took me by surprise as well! That said, I haven’t been feeling the chemistry between them. Well, until weel 3’s reading anyway 🙂

    The thought of all those tortured gods and other supernatural beings is very worrying, and quite horrifying. I wonder how that’ll play out…

    Oh wow, great observation about how much Temoc must be spying on his son! I can’t quite decide if it’s sweet or creepy either.

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