New Spring, Part I

JordanNewSpringBannerWelcome everyone to Book 0 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan which is a prequel to the series set several years before Book 1. You can find the schedule to New Spring over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, our host is Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, and he can be found in the comments.  Stop by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning. Make sure to check out Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 1-6. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. We find ourselves back at the end of the Aiel war, with a long-lost friend. Are there any other time periods you would have liked to see instead? Other characters you would have liked to follow?

I’m not too sure when the Ogier pretty much stopped leaving their Steddings to do construction (was it before or after this Aiel war?) but I would have liked to see them at work, instead of just their handy work falling into disrepair over the ages.

For this book, I am really hoping we get to see Tam, maybe hang out in his head a bit, and see what he is like as a soldier.

2. Gitara Moroso foretells Rand’s birth. If you recall, she was also the one who told Tigraine (Rand’s mother) to leave and go to the waste. What do you think about one person having such an impact on history?

Maybe that is why Gitara had her heart attack. In her prophesy she saw Tigraine’s face and realized just what her impact on history was.

By now, we have had it repeated quite often that the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills and there is no escaping that will. So someone somewhere had to tell Tigraine to leave for the Waste, or help her, or force her to. So if Gitara had not done so, some other person/mechanism would have done so. With that in mind, no it is not so surprising that Gitara’s actions set in motion other actions that lead to Rand’s birth meeting the specifics of more than one prophesy concerning the Dragon Reborn.

3. Tamra Ospenya hopes to catch the Dragon Reborn in a big list of names. What do you think of this idea? Knowing what we know about Rand, do you find it likely that he’ll be in the lists somewhere?

I’m trying to recall if Tam came back with a big pouch of coins, even if he just tucked them away with his sword…..and I can’t recall. But since Rand was born to a dying woman, and Tam meets up with Rand’s step-mom just before or just after Rand’s birth, I am guessing that Tam wouldn’t have taken Rand to a long list and waited for such sad details to be recorded.

So perhaps someone else on the battlefield witnessed the birth and the death of the mother and will report it to the Aes Sedai when they take their own babe to be recorded, since we saw Moiraine and Siuan asking some of the women if they knew of other babes not being carried in the line. But even then, it might be pretty vague – Aiel mother, son with red hair, etc.

4. Elaida has apparently never been nice in her entire life. Was she even at this point seeing herself as a future Amyrlin, or has she just gotten ambitious later?

Oh I have the distinct impression that Elaida has always had a stick up her ass and has always planned to use that stick to climb as high as she can. And we all know she pulled it off. I feel a little sorry for the stick.

I do find it interesting that she seems to have it in for Siuan and Moiraine at the very start of their Aes Sedai career. I think this makes it that much easier to hate Elaida for what she does to Siuan later.

5. Am I the only one who can’t help drawing comparisons with Hogwarts? Do you have any funny ones?

LOL! I was doing that too throughout this section. The Amyrlin giving Moiraine a smile when it came to using the Power to clean the ink stain out of her skirt made me think of Dumbledore reminding Hermione about time and then casually locking them in so they won’t be disturbed as they rewind time to carry off the rescue.

6. Both Moiraine and Siuan are close to being raised to the shawl. Will we see that in this book? What do you think the testing will be like, and what new thing might we learn about Moiraine and Siuan from it? Lan is around also… will we see a warder bonding?

I expect we will see at least Moiraine raised so that she can bond Lan. Siuan seems ready and prepared to be raised, but will she be tested this book? I am not sure. The senior Aes Sedai seem to enjoy tormenting the young by moving too slowly on such matters.

We’ve heard a little bit that the testers can do anything short of physical abuse/maiming to break an Accepted’s concentration during the test. So I expect anything from outright goofy to vicious words to pains and threats of pain. Perhaps they will even threaten to harm an Accepted’s friends. Aes Sedai can be pretty darn cruel. But I bet if oneof them did something completely out of character, like suddenly appear in a clown suit, that shock factor may very well be enough to break the Accepted’s concentration.

As with Nynaeve’s testing from Novice into the Accepted ranks, I expect we will see some of what makes up the core of Moiraine’s character (and Siuan’s too if she gets to test in this book). Perhaps we will see something that points to her chaotic good nature – basically her deep dedication to save this world, and yet not really beholden to any one authority.

Other Tidbits:

Lan starts off with some interesting ideas of Aes Sedai, considering where he ends up.

I love seeing Moiraine and Siuan as somewhat insecure students still learning what they can do and what roads are possible for them.

It is also fun to see that Moiraine and Siuan totally buy in to some of these Aes Sedai assumptions and lies – like the superiority assumption that the Sea Folk and Tinkers turn over any girls who show a spark of the Power. Then there is the lie that all those who run away from the Tower are caught eventually and brought back to finish out their training.

Green Ajah are one of two warrior Ajahs (the Red being the other)! That’s a new way of looking at it!

OK. I need a family tree again. Moiraine is a Damodred. Elayne’s step-brother, Galad, is a Damodred, right? And Galad is suppose to be Tigraine’s first son, right? So is Moiraine like Rand’s auntie?

Interview: Gabi Stevens, Author of The Wish List

StevensTheWishListEveryone, please welcome Gabi Stevens to the blog today. She is the author of the Time of Transition series. She also writes under the name Gabi Anderson (Destiny Coin series) and G. S. Anderson (Preternatural). Today we discuss Harry Potter and Cinderella, Star Wars I and backstory, game shows, reboots versus retellings, and plenty more!

Who are your non-writer influences?

Dare I be cliché and say my family? Okay, now that that’s behind us . . . I have to thank the teachers in my life who taught me how to think and dream, especially in high school. I went to boarding school and not only did those teachers see us in the classroom, but they also lived with us on campus. We ate meals with them, I babysat their children, etc. They introduced me to Sci Fi and Fantasy novels.

StevensAsYouWishWhich ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Ooo, confession time. I haven’t read Dickens. I know. Shocking. But I will, one day. I’ve really never read Hemmingway, but I know the plots, and I just don’t want to. Okay, I have read The Old Man and the Sea, but none of the others. Steinbeck is another author I’ve never read. I tried to read The Red Pony once, but, well, no. I only kick myself for the Dickens. I haven’t read all of The Canterbury Tales or any of Beowulf, but I can claim to have read part of The Aeneid in Latin, as well as some Livy, Tacitus, and Palutus’s Menaechmi. And I can claim Faust, parts one and two in German. (Too much bragging?)

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?

If you subscribe to the Joseph Campbell school of thought, there is only one story, so essentially every story is a reboot. That said, I loved Harry Potter (books more than movies, although I loved the movies too), which is essentially Cinderella. I myself have written a couple of Beauty and the Beast stories (one of my favorites). If you can’t tell, I love fairy tales (must be my German Lit background). I enjoy most of the new retellings of them–although no one has ever tackled my favorite, King Thrushbeard (or Grislybeard, as some have translated it, although the point of Thrushbeard is that the king’s beard looks like the beak of a bird).

StevensWishfulThinkingI’m not as fond of reboots. If it was good before, why remake it? Psycho? Really? And not enough time has passed to reboot some of the series (Could be that I’m just old). Dare I confess I haven’t seen the new Spiderman reboots? Planet of the Apes? Mad Max, ignoring the modern incarnation of Mel Gibson, is pretty awesome already. So what if it’s dated. That’s part of its charm. And clearly, the new one is not out yet, but did we really need a new one? There are so many untouched stories out there, why remake something that’s already been done and done well? But of course there are exceptions. I can’t wait for a good Hulk movie. And (I know this is controversial) I do like the reboot of Star Trek (but I loved the old series). But if they have to reboot, why not pick the really old stuff, like the Thin Man series. But my favorite is the reboot of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock (huge fan of this reboot).

There is this rumor that you have been on a few game shows – an experience worth repeating? What would your favorite characters from your own writing be like on a game show?

I have indeed. I was on the Family Feud with the women in my family when Richard Dawson was the host. We won twice then lost the third time, but only won the “Big Money” once. So many tales to tell from that experience, especially since two of our members had heavy Hungarian accents.

Then I appeared on Sale of the Century, and lost it in a tiebreaker because they said tiebreakers would be hard questions– it was easy, and by the time I thought, “But that’s easy,” the other guy had answered.

AndersonTemptation'sWarriorBut my favorite was on Jeopardy, where I came in third, but won the best set of pots and pans ever. No, seriously, they will be handed down to my children, the quality is that good. And I was doing great until Final Jeopardy. To myself I was chanting, “Don’t be US presidents, don’t be US Presidents”, and up pops the category: US Presidents. Man, the day before (because you watch several tapings while you wait) no one got the Final Jeopardy question right (What does Alice cross in “Through the Looking Glass?), and I was sitting in the audience screaming to myself because I knew it. My question: The last surviving president to have signed the US Constitution. Really?

So if my characters would be on game shows my characters, Tennyson Ritter, hero of THE WISH LIST, would do awesome on something like Jeopardy, but horrible on something like Family Feud. He’s got brains, but he just doesn’t have the exposure to the real world to answer questions about how other people would answer. Jonathan Bastion, hero of AS YOU WISH, is too savvy a businessman not to know how people respond to things, so Family Feud would be his game. And Hyacinth, one of the Fairy Godmothers who appear in the entire trilogy, couldn’t be bothered to do something like a game show. She would probably watch them and mock the contestants that appeared on them.

What is your favorite fictional holiday (from books, movies, or tv)?

Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) is my favorite, closely followed by May the Fourth (Star Wars day!).

AndersonFalconAndWolfHow did you celebrate that first time experience of having a piece accepted for publication?

That was fun. I bought my daughters little tokens—one got a Pocket Dragon (porcelain figurine) reading a book, one got items for her Josefina doll, and I just can’t remember what I got the youngest. I bought my husband a ping pong table, which has since gone the way of the dinosaur. For myself, I bought a tiny Swarovski crystal inkwell with gold quill. When I got the call my husband was in the air, flying to Britain, so I had to leave a message at his hotel to call me as soon as he arrived with the words, “Good news” so he wouldn’t panic upon arrival. My two oldest daughters jumped up and down, and my youngest just looked up at me and said, “Chocolate milk.” Way to bring me down to reality quickly, but she was only four.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

Mark Twain, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Allan Poe, L. Frank Baum, and Agatha Christie. But I would order for them–tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chips and salsa, margaritas, green chile, and sopapillas. They need to be exposed to the food from where I’m from. Especially the margaritas. Can you imagine the conversation we could have after a couple?

AndersonEverYoursIf you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

How about for your 8th grade students?

I already did give my eighth graders SFF literature. Not only did we read a bunch of short stories—Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” “There Will Come Soft Rains”; Asimov’s Nightfall; Stephen Vincent Benet’s By the Waters of Babylon; but we also read the entire I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.

As for college, here is my list of must reads: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Stars My Destination, A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Martian Chronicles, The Foundation Series, The Lord of the Rings, Doomsday Book, Lord Foul’s Bane,…I know I’ve forgotten a ton.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

When isn’t such a moment awkward? When I’m the one doing the gushing, I figure I’m bothering the author. I had a chance to meet Brent Weeks last year and his wife and their little girl and all I could talk about was child rearing. And when someone gushes to me, I always wonder why? I’m not that good (did you know that most writers are terribly insecure).

AndersonPreternaturalWhat is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

When my husband and I watched Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, we spent two hours discussing the movie at the end. We are both huge Star Wars fans (the original series, and Han shot first) and we didn’t like it. What it boiled down to for me was it was all backstory. As a writer you’re taught not to dump backstory on the reader. Yes, you give hints to what happened in the past, but unless it’s relevant, you don’t need backstory. SW I, II, and III are all backstory. I didn’t need to know why Anakin turned bad. I already knew he had and that he was redeemed. Funny, considering I usually like spoilers, but the difference between spoilers and backstory is huge.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

I am currently working on shopping around my first pure fantasy novel. I’ll keep you posted. In addition, I’ve got a story collection, Preternatural, on Kindle and Nook under the name GS Anderson, which is receiving some great reviews (Phew). Look for me and news about me at my web site: www.GabiStevens.com. You can also find me at Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

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Knife of Dreams, Part VIII

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning, is our host. Make sure to check out Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments over at Sue’s.

This week, we covered Chapters 32-End. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) As we predicted, Birgitte was left to rescue Elayne from certain maiming at the hands of the evil Black Sisters. Were you surprised by her solution to Elayne’s capture? What did you think of the way that she manipulated the Windfinders: do you see this causing problems for Elayne in the future?

While I didn’t not even think of the Windfinders as a solution to the captured-once-again Elayne, it makes total sense. Birgitte had to use the resources she had on hand and with the Aes Sedai out of the picture, that left the Windfinders and the Warders.

I expect there will be some initial uproar about being tricked/forced into the fray, but by the time we reach Tarmon Guidon I believe the Windfinders will have realized that they can’t simply sit this one out on their sea ships.

I would be more worried that Elayne’s closest advisers and those that will make up her government will see her as a rash idiot.

2) Arymilla is defeated and Elayne is suddenly alone in her claim to the Lion Throne. Did you expect a more difficult fight for the Far Madding Gate, or did you think that Arymilla’s plan was doomed to fail? What did you think of Elayne’s assessment of Sylvase Caeren: did Lord Nasin’s sudden incapacity surprise you at all?

Since there was this underlying dissension to Arymilla’s forces, I didn’t expect her plan to work. When Elayne was captured, I thought briefly that Arymilla might give her a good fight for the throne, but then Birgitte stepped in and sorted it all out with a forceful hand.

I thought Lord Nasin and this ‘daft’ granddaughter (or niece?) Sylvase were in it together, so I was a little surprised that he was actually removed from the picture. Sylvase seems like a vicious little creature, doesn’t she?

3) We finally get to really meet one of the Ogier Gardeners, who are surprisingly similar to their cousins on this side of the Sea. Were they what you expected or did you expect them to be more violent or aggressive than Loial? What do think that each group of Ogier would think of the other?

Yeah, I expected them to be more militant. We see a little bit that they appreciate hierarchy and proper respect, but I did expect them to be more into warrior codes and warrior way of life.

I think the Randland Ogier are going to be rather upset to meet their Seanchan cousins. After all, they are pretty non-violent unless pressed. They spend most of their time in long-winded talks and deep contemplation. They have taken a much more philosophical approach to life. But this causes problems too as their inaction can lead to death and mayhem just as the Seanchan cousins can bring death and mayhem by blindly following orders.

4) Frankly, I was amazed by the way that Luan and the others capitulated so easily, giving Elayne an uncontested path to the Throne. Were you surprised that we finally saw the resolution of a plotline? Do you think that Ellorien will cause any real trouble, or will she remain loyal to Andor?

Since Arymilla was defeated, the other Houses were looking for an excuse to capitulate. Elayne’s ‘deft’ handling of the ‘invading’ Borderlanders was their excuse. After all, they know that she has some tie to the Dragon Reborn, is a super strong Aes Sedai, is a personal friend to the (contested) Amyrlin Seat, and apparently, has the cooperation of the Windfinders. So, yeah, I would capitulate as soon as I saw a path to do so without losing too much face.

I don’t expect Ellorien to be a problem. I see in this book that several baddies have met their fall from grace and I think this is because we are gearing up for the big challenges. Once the Forsaken and the Dark One start playing hard ball, all the remaining little idiots (for example – Elaida) are going to fall. More and more, folks will realize that Randland must unite, at least temporarily, if there is to be a chance to survive and get back to the constant struggle for world domination.

5) Speaking of resolutions: Mat is married! We knew that it would happen, but how far did your jaw drop when Tuon made her declaration? We learn some of her reasons for saying the words, but do you think that the marriage can survive their positions on opposite sides of the Seanchan invasion?

Even though I really wanted Tuon to say the words this book, I was still surprised when she did it. It wasn’t a romantic moment. It was basically a political move, even if she enjoys kissing him.

Yeah, this is one messed up marriage. Tuon and Mat are on such opposite sides when it comes to the invasion. Tuon believes it is her right to rule Randland, collar all the Channelers, and have everyone be OK with that. Perfectly logical. NOT! And Mat, well, I am totally on his side about this one. Perhaps they can have a long distance relationship? Tuon and the Seanchan can return to Seanchanland where Tuon can rule and enslave people and have everyone be OK with that. Nat can be Rand’s wingman at his wedding to the ladies after Tarmon Guidon.

6) Suroth’s treachery is revealed and Tuon takes direct control of the Return. Did you expect Suroth to be removed so easily? Do you think that the remaining Seanchan nobility, such as Galgan, are loyal to Tuon or do you suspect that further Darkfriends are lurking in their ranks?

No, I didn’t expect Suroth to be that easy to remove. Despite her Darkfriend taint, she seems to still have this Seanchan hierarchy in her blood and can’t so easily, nor openly, break free of it. I expect there are further dissenters, even Darkfriends, among the ranks. How can there not be? Some will surely want to return home and salvage what they can. Others just want to grab power for themselves and see this invasion as a way to do so.

7) Taim ‘welcomes’ a delegation of Reds looking to find Warders. Does Taim’s demeanor, trappings and attitude give you any hint that he might NOT be a Very Bad Man? Do you expect the Red Sisters to leave the Black Tower alive and will any asha’man agree to Bonding?

Ooo! This is a very bad thing indeed. Logain and his crew have bonded sisters, but they are not evil like Taim. If Taim and his like-minded asha’men have bonded aes sedai (because I totally expect Taim to turn the tables and forcibly bond the ladies to his trusted men), then Taim has that much more power for taking out whoever he sets his eyes on. I think he has been glaring at Rand for the past 4 books, so if I was Rand, I would be concerned.

Other Tidbits:

I thought it interesting that Elayne and Birgitte and the rest of the ‘adults’ all have this idea in their heads about what age is appropriate for a young ruler to join in battle. No one likes having kids killed in battle, but sooner or later, everyone is going to be involved in the fracas, right?

Ogiers can be hurt by name calling – makes their ears droop. Poor things.

Hand of Chaos by J. Hamlet

HamletHandofChaosWhy I Read It: I really enjoy the theme of government sanctioned arcane/paranormal beastie hunters.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author via Masquerade Tours (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Like your detective novels with a heavy dose of the magical and paranormal? Check this book out.

Publisher: Createspace (2013)

Length: 311 pages

Series: Volume 1 Chaos Theology

Author’s Page

Set in modern day Washington DC, Anna Wei is a government employee. But not a boring employee with a boring job. No, she uses arcane powers to track down paranormal baddies. And she is not alone. She is part of an entire team that does this sort of thing for a paycheck. Of course, they can’t really talk about their work outside of their organization, which might explain why Anna can be quite the weeknight party animal she is; she is seeking companionship but also fears it. So she settles for some drunken sport sex here and there and lives with the hangovers.

And today, at 530AM, she is dealing with a hangover as she heads off to fight a nest of zombies. Wish her luck!

And that is just the opening folks. This was a fun urban fantasy that employs the right mix of magic and nitty gritty detective work. Anna was easy to connect with because she wasn’t perfect and occasionally, knowingly, made bad decisions. Her partner Roy, a paladin blessed with (or cursed with) immortality brought some weightiness to the storyline with his age and experience. A summoner, a shaman, a wizard (Ayham), and a shapeshifter also played parts in the story (though I don’t want to spoil anything for you).

And Anna uses body jewelry/adornments to spell cast. I really liked this aspect because we start out getting to know Anna a little bit (her over indulgences, her job of saving the world) and then Hamlet throws in all the body piercings. We, the readers, don’t judge her first by her body modifications, and hey, they are work related. If I had a nose piercing that helped combat local paranormal baddies, I would wear it all the time. Except during a fist fight.

Speaking of baddies, our biggest antagonist of the story was Ethan. Now Ethan has a sponsor, a demon from Hell named Plague, so he can’t be given all the credit for every little bad thing that happens in this book. I quite enjoyed hating on these two, even though I started off a bit sympathetic to Ethan. After all, he is trying to avenge the death of his brother, even if he loses himself in the process.

My two criticisms are small. There were some typos throughout the book, so it could have used one more round of editing to give it that polish. Also, the cover art doesn’t really portray the book well. I see the government authority on the cover, but where is all the arcane stuff?

All in all, a fun read and I look forward to seeing what this author does next.

lavinia-portraitRIP9BannerWhat I Liked: Anna’s mistakes, even though she is the main hero; Anna’s team of sometimes misfits; the body ornamentation as work required; Ethan and his back story.

What I Disliked: Needs another round of editing; the cover art didn’t do it for me.

I am participating in the yearly reading event R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. I will count Hand of Chaos as my dark fantasy read for the R.I.P. challenge.

What Others Think:

Check out the blog tour organized by Masquerade Tours for more reviews, interviews.

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Knife of Dreams, Part VII

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art, is our host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments over there. Check out Sue’s post at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for insights and deft reasoning and.

This week, we covered Chapters 27-31. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Why do you think Semirhage’s disguise of the Power failed? Did you see the Rand-losing-his-hand thing coming?

I am guessing that one of Cadsuane’s angreals counteracted the glamor. Cadsuane was there for that scene, right? Or am I just making that up? I guess there could be some innate power about Rand that allows him or Lews Therin to see through glamors. It wouldn’t be the first time that some character suddenly sprung a new ability as they gain in power.

I did not see Rand losing his hand at all. That completely surprised me. We haven’t had any of our main characters so permanently and detrimentally wounded before. Yes, Rand does have those irritating never-healing wounds in his side, but they don’t slow him down. Mat has that scar on his neck, but it just gives him an excuse to wear lacy scarves. Thom has a limp, but not bad. Perrin lost his family to Trollocs (which was harsh and he is definitely emotionally scarred from that), but again, he isn’t physically hindered. So, yes, I was quite surprised.

2) Do you think Mat’s plan against the Seanchan is a good one? Will it turn the tide?

I really am not sure if it is a good one. Tuon seems to think he is a lion in the field, and I expect she was trained in military tactics. Mat’s military leaders also think he is pretty hot shit in the field, so that bodes well too. But I think Tuon and her actions/orders to the Seanchan army are going to way in heavily on the outcome. Even if Mat totally rules the battlefield, there will be another battle, and another battle, etc. The Seanchan don’t really have a motto that allows them to retreat or surrender as a whole. Plus, we as the readers know that their homeland is totally screwed. So if they can’t go home, and if they can’t dominate Randland, what choice does that leave them with? I fear it may be fight until the last Seanchan warrior is dead.

3) Tam showed up! (Yea!) What did you think of his reaction to confirmation that Rand is the Dragon Reborn?

Wow! Another thing I wasn’t expecting. And I was a little surprised that Mat put him high up in the pecking order of his army. I know Mat can trust Tam, but Mat hasn’t seen the badass military Tam that we all suspected lurked under that sheepherding, moonshine brewing farmer that we met way back in Book 1.

I think Tam took the news pretty well. But then, he had heard about it before confirming it with Mat so I suspect he had plenty of time to go through all the emotions.

4) Masema shows up at an inconvenient time to (somewhat) ruin Perrin’s plans. What do you think he’s doing? What’s his endgame?

I think Masema was confirming with his own eyes how ‘evil’ Perrin is by working with Channelers, etc. But I also suspect he was giving final instructions to Aram (see next question).

If crazy Masema has an endgame, I think it is Randland domination via religious fervor. But if he were to ever achieve such a victory, Rand would have to be dead. Hence, Masema would have everyone, including himself, dirnk the Kool-aid to join the Dragon Reborn in some afterlife utopia that caters to crazy mass-murderers.

5) All kinds of crazy stuff in this chapter! Aram tries to kill Perrin and dies himself. Tylee captures Sevanna. And Galina ends up in Therava’s clutches, headed for the Waste. What did you think  of all these twists? Did you wish for other outcomes? How do you think they’ll affect the story going forward?

I was pretty sad to see Aram go in the way he did. I thought he would go out in the fight protecting Rand or someone else in some senseless act of heroism that would torture Perrin’s soul forever. Nope, instead he turns on Perrin, per Masema’s influence, and tries to kill him. Is it just me, or has there been an undercurrent of bromance going on for several books (Aram digging on Perrin, though Perrin is totally oblivious to this)?

I was very satisfied with Sevanna being captured and lugged around as a trophy across Tylee’s pommel having her ass slapped. Originally, I had hoped someone would kill Galina, but her punishment is ever so much better. She gets to live, but it is not the life she wanted at all. Haha! I wish there was a side story about her life of drudgery.

I think that Aram’s death will affect Perrin’s psyche going forward, of course.

6) Elayne encounters some black Sisters and, in her haste, ends up in hot water. We had a cliffhanger on this. What do you think will happen next? Were you surprised that it was actually Careanne that was Black Ajah, contrary to Elayne’s suspicions?

Elayne may be an efficient administrator for a country, but she sucks at espionage, battle, and winning her throne. She already owes Rand a very big kiss for keeping her throne warm for her. Now she needs saving. Rand might have to do it, but he just suffered a nasty injury and has his own worries. So maybe Brigitte and crew can save her? Did all of Elayne’s aes sedai get captured in this folly or are there more that Brigitte can call upon? There’s the Warders, so they might be able to pull it off. Either way, Elayne is going to owe her life and possibly her throne to someone else, again.

Quite frankly, the cast of characters in the Black Ajah/suspected Black Ajah category have run together for me. So I wasn’t particularly surprised, but then I was just going with the story, not having made up an opinion on it.

Other Tidbits:

I get that Min is doing a lot of keep Rand human and connected to the human race, but should she really be on the front lines of what turned out to be a nasty fight? While I respect her knife skills, that’s all she’s got going for her in a fight and this one had one of the biggest, nastiest Forsaken of them all.

Why didn’t Faile & crew pack water for their escape? Why didn’t they have a bit of water to drink before they became trapped? Of course, we couldn’t have Megden drinking the forkroot, but it nagged at me a little.

Didn’t anyone else shed a little tear for the lost Rolan?

Knife of Dreams, Part VI

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Check out Sue’s post at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for insights and deft resoning and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 24-26. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Egwene is holding strong in the Tower. Have you had a similar experience to her revelation about embracing the pain?

I have found that injuries incurred through honest farm work, such as working with the goats or donkeys, is far easier to tolerate than, say, stubbing my toe on a chair leg. If I have some work to show for the injury/pain, then I am better at handling it. Unless I am very tired. Then I can be a bit of a bitch/cry baby over it. I am glad that Egwene is getting healing each day so that her injuries do not become semi-permanent disabilities.

2) Egwene seems to be hoping for a mutiny from within the Tower. Do you think this will happen? If so, is it more likely to start with the initiates or with the Aes Sedai closest to Elaida?

Yes, I think we are looking to enjoy a mutiny in the near future. However, this might be coupled with the Seanchan invasion that Egwene dreamed about it. In such chaos, it would be easy for the mutineers to feel that they had an advantage in tossing out Elaida and electing Egwene to speak for the Aes Sedai with the invading force.

In some ways, the mutiny has already started, and it started with the initiates. They are treating Egwene with preference, providing a battered pillow for her and honeyed tea. So I expect that they will lead the way and other Aes Sedai will fall in line.

3) Egwene hears that Aes Sedai have been bonded to Asha’men and that some Aes Sedai have sworn oaths to Rand. What did you make of her reaction that it is inappropriate (at the least) for Aes Sedai to swear oaths to any man?

Haha! Egwene would be in a red fury if someone changed things around and said that such and such male group should never, ever be expected to swear an oath to any woman, no matter how powerful or competent. Sexism, it works both ways no matter what set of genitals you got.

4) We spent a little time in Tuon’s head this reading. What surprised you the most? Did you find Tuon’s reaction to her first kiss amusing?

So much here. First, she really expects to some day rule all of Randland (haha!) and she expects to collar all the Channelers (hahahahahhahahahahahaha!). Obviously, this woman hasn’t been paying much attention to customs of the folks around her nor to the news of the land she walks.

Then she was unfamiliar with the idea of ta’veren, not having an equivalent in her culture, and merely blew it off as superstition, while failing to see her bird readings as (possibly) superstitious.

Part of my thinks Tuon is a good match for Mat (physically capable of fending for herself, just as bullheaded if not more), but then she has these ideas about enslaving a good chunk of the population. Mat definitely has his work cut out for him.

I was amused that while we know Tuon quite enjoyed the kiss, she managed to make a simple observation about Mat’s potential fever with a straight face. I was giggling to myself over this scene.

5) Grady and the other Asha’men with Perrin are looking pretty haggard, worn out from making gateways to move troops around. Will they hold up for the Shaido fight? And young Aram is also looking pretty haggard, but from some different reason. Is he the weakest link in the forthcoming fight?

Ooo! I am worried about them. We all know that those loyal to the ta’veren tend to push themselves really, really hard. I fear we may see one or more of them burn themselves out in the forthcoming fight. We know that Stilling can be healed, to some degree. Can burn out be healed?

I fear that Aram is working himself up to betraying Perrin in some way. He’s probably wrapping his mind around it, coming up with excuses of why Maesma is right and how Perrin is just mislead. Hence, he has some internal conflict going on and needs to overdrink to cope with it.

6) Play a kissing game with Rolan or meet with Galina in the burned out half of Malden to pass off the Oath Rod….Which would you choose?

I would choose the kissing game. 1) It promises to give me my freedom (either in escape or eventually when I put the white off); and 2) It would be far more pleasant to meeting with Galina (who may or may not betray me). I know there is that whole conflict of being in a committed relationship, but Faile hasn’t trusted Perrin, ever, around Berelain. So if Faile truly believes that crap, then she ‘knows’ she isn’t in a monogamous committed relationship anyway. Additionally, I think Faile would be far more appreciative of Perrin and his commitment (in spite of sexy women just throwing themselves at him) if she did a little kissing while in this extraordinary circumstance.

Other Tidbits:

Loved Egwene’s little chat with Mattin Stepaneos about how just how many leaders the Dragon Reborn had actually killed.

Alviarin seems desperate to gain Egwene’s confidence. Of course, we all know why, and I very much hope and Egwene continues to hold her tongue around her.

Knife of Dreams, Part V

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia,  is our host and can be found in the comments. Check out Sue’s post at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 19-23. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Our favorite Origer bachelor is finally married.  Any wise words for the newlyweds?  The Ogier are torn on whether to leave this world or help humanity out.  Do you think Loial will be able to sway them?

My wise (ass) words to Erith would be to keep Loial stocked in good traveling clothes and scribing materials and to perhaps travel often with Loial just to avoid regular conflict with her mother-in-law. Of course my words of wisdom to Loial would be to let Erith think all the traveling is her idea.

Once again, I am reminded of Tolkien’s Ents, and their Entmoot where they take a very long time deciding on whether or not to help out the hasty humans, elves, dwarves, and humans. Knowing how that turned out, and also suspecting that the Dark One won’t leave the Steadings & Ogier alone, I think the Ogier will eventually fight evil rather than flee.

And I hope that Loial will be able to sway them sooner rather than simply walk away to join Rand at the Last Battle and have Ogier decide that is much more exciting than any Ogier business and join him later. Though I suspect that Covril or Erith may have a hand in persuading the Ogier, even if it means shaming them into caring about this world.

2. It’s been a while since the last surprise trolloc attack.  Who could have been behind this one?  Why now, and why so incredibly many?  Lews Therin took control of Rand’s channeling.  Will we see that again, and what kind of consequences might it have?

I wasn’t expecting a massive trolloc attack on the heals of an Ogier wedding!

Since the Dark One and Moridin want to keep Rand alive for now, I don’t think they were behind this attack. No, my eye turned toward Mazrim Taim. After all, if Rand, Logain, and a bunch of their closest followers fell in a trolloc attack, he could reign supreme (at least until the Dark One had him bale fired). Of course, this would mean that he has a hotline into a Forsaken who wants Rand dead now (as I don’t think Taim has been given command of so many myrrdraal). Taim would guesstimate that it would take oodles of myrrdraal and oodles X 20 to take out both Rand and Logain. Good for him that he miscalculated.

In this case, it was a very good thing that Lews took over the channeling and saved the day. But Lews isn’t the most stable Channeler out there, so I can see him losing it in a moment of disturbed surprise or intense anger and wiping out half of Rand’s army. Rand seriously needs to lock that shit down. Perhaps this is what Cadsuane needs to teach Rand, but first he would need to trust her enough to 1) confide in her about Lews and 2) Allow her to guide him, perhaps even entering his dreams or thoughts for a short time to do so. Good thing she is such a snuggable motherly type woman that Rand could so easily learn to trust. Not!

3. Lan departs to fight his own war, but Nynaeve won’t let him do it alone.  Any thoughts on the actions of either?  Any chills during the scene in the inn?

And yet for the third time during 1 reading session, I was surprised! I know that Lan has had a death wish since he learned he was the last Malkiri King, and that it intensified when Moiraine disappeared through that door angreal, but he really is a dense idiot sometimes. First, he can’t hold some pass in the north against hordes of trollocs and myrrdraal BY HIMSELF, no matter how good he is, no matter the terrain. So wrapping his suicidal inclinations up in honor and duty and heroics isn’t going to fool anyone in that scenario. Two, thinking that Nynaeve would simply let him do so is silly. She owns him now. Yep. You can put the love spin on it if you wish (and I do believe she does love him), but she is very, very possessive too. His life is now hers and she won’t be tossing it away.

And I was a bit surprised that Nynaeve was grown up enough to let Lan go and do his duty. I was also quite pleased to see her spreading the word near and far, calling in men to join Lan. Essentially, it’s like organizing a big party on sheep butchering day back in Two Rivers. Nynaeve is definitely the one to organize such an affair.

4. Rand again works his ta’veren magic and the rebellion in Tear is no more.  Darlin, who was a rebel not four books ago, is king.  Do you think he has sufficiently demonstrated his loyalty, or are you worried?  Rand is focusing on Arad Doman.  What do you think his plan there is?

We just saw Rand and his entourage take out thousands of trollocs and several dozen to a few hundred myrrdraal. If Darlin hasn’t heard about that yet, he will soon. So if he is planning any kind of subterfuge now, he will probably reconsider upon hearing that tale. So, no I am not particularly worried. Plus, he also was privy to seeing Cadsuane call Rand on his rude manners, so he knows he can be both pushed and reigned in without exploding. So it is unlikely that Darlin will decide to rebel ‘for the sake of the realm and to save his people from the mad Dragon reborn’.

I don’t know what Rand is planning in Arad Doman. Would he be leaving certain Waygates open to kind of channel where the trollocs turn up?

I think Eivind mentioned this in the last two weeks, that Robert Jordan had only planned 12 books and so he was trying to wind up some things in this book so that all could be tied off in the next book, right? But for us, we could have to wait to Book 14 to find out what goes down in Arad Doman.

5. The Sea Folk have chosen a new Mistress of the Ships and are being conscripted for the Arad Doman plan.  Meanwhile, a whole race of islanders commit suicide!  Where on Earth did that come from? Will it have any impact at all or is it just one of those… things?

I think the mass suicide was balance that Rand was contemplating earlier when he rode through town and the man fell out of a balcony onto his feet instead of his head, etc. Min says that for every evil, there is a good, while Rand takes the pessimistic opposite. Perhaps this mass suicide was the balance for all those who escaped Ebou Dar.

I expect it will sadden Rand when he hears of it, but I don’t expect any major ripples from it. I think it will just be another of those things that Jordan throws in to give the world depth.

6. An important sitting is called and the rebel Aes Sedai finally learn some important news (Saidin is clean, and they’ve been harboring a Saidin-channeling female forsaken for six books).  Are you happy that Halima was rooted out?  Sad that they weren’t caught?  Will they rethink their Asha’man policy now?

There was a lot of great stuff in this section. Being carried around in Ramanda’s head was interesting (romance adventure novels! prudish about ankles and boobs! set in her ways despite evidence to the contrary, especially concerning the new elderly novices, etc.).

I have been taken an impish glee in shocking the Aes Sedai. And I expect I am not alone in this. I really enjoyed the reactions to the Asha’man, and the announcements about bonding, both the offering up of Asha’men to be bonded and the fact that silly Sisters were already bonded to Asha’men.

I was surprised that Ramanda put it together first and called out Halima. Since Halima is a Forsaken in disguise, I figured that she wouldn’t be caught yet. Though I think it might have been pretty spectacular to have her fight an entire encampment of Aes Sedai.

Some of the Sisters are already moving along and not living in the past (cool with getting rid of the age limit on entering the Tower, etc.), and I think most of them will come to treat the Asha’men as equals in time. However, we will always have some sticklers like Ramanda and they will make it that much harder to prep for and win the Last Battle.

Other Tidbits:

That was a swift, simple wedding and I totally didn’t expect it. I wonder what does happen when you fondle an Ogier ear? And if they pierce their ears, is that the same as in humans piercing their nipples?

Lews Therin is starting to make some sense to me and I think I like the chap well enough to buy him a pint of beer: Only those who trust no one are truly insane (paraphrased).

Is it just me or is Nynaeve becoming some sort of a prude in her ‘old’ married life? What was that interesting dress she wore in the circus in which she met Masema?

I loved watching Logain stroll in and chat with the Sea Folk, calling them to pay service to the Dragon Reborn. And with the end of the world just around the corner, I think he is right to hold them to it even in their grief.