Kushiel’s Dart – Part III

Heldig and a very good book

Heldig and a very good book

Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us.

This week, Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow is your host. Pop over there and leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.

Sorry I am a little late posting today. I had commitments yesterday all day and was dead tired when I got home.

Chapters 19-26 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.

1)  We get a lot of political intrigue to wade through this week, plus a couple of pretty big dramatic revelations, not least of which was the twist of fate for Prince Baudoin and his mother. What did you make of the trial, and what became of these two?

Yep, plenty of intrigue! Honestly, it wasn’t until my 3rd or 4th read that I understood most of the politics. Still, there are some big things I recall from my first read – like Melisande borrowing Phedre for a night as a goodbye present to Baudoin. Obviously, there is something going on behind the scenes there.

So at the end of the trial, Baudoin and his mother, the Lioness of Azalle, have been sentenced to death. Meanwhile the husband and daughter have been exiled. This really made me think of that poem that has been referenced several times – the Exile’s Lament? First, I grew up moving around the country and when I first read this the longest I have ever stayed in one place was 6 years. So I didn’t really get it. Now that I have been in one place, a most beloved place, for over a decade, I have an idea of what it would be like to exiled from a home that has seeped into your bones and blood.

2)  On a rather different, much more personal note for the House of Delaunay was the drama that unfolded surrounding Alcuin (poor Guy!). What do you think might become of Alcuin now that he appears to be out of the game?

Ah! He risked so much for just a piece of the puzzle. Since I have read this many times, I know where this goes. However this book left such an impression with me the first time I read it. I remember thinking that he would probably sit through a long tattooing session and have his marque completed. Since he is so scholarly and has a knack for genealogy and languages, he could go one to be be a scholar in Delaunay’s household. Perhaps he could strike out on his own in the future serving as a translator at the palace.

3)  As we’d suspected last week, Phedre’s refusal to use her signale gets her into some trouble with d’Essoms – but it also gets her the result that Anafiel had hoped for… Do you think she’ll be more careful from here or will this only make that addictive slope more slippery for her?

A bit of both. She has learned not to underestimate how far a patron will go. But she has also learned that she can and will heal from such a thing. Right now Phedre is young and a little cocky. She can read people well, but not totally. I think that is one of the most important things she learned here – not to be cocky.

4)  Speaking of Phedre and trouble, what do you make of the ‘relationship’ building between her and Melisande?

Sexy!

OK, it will be more than that but I love the mix of brains and sex appeal and political intrigue surrounding Melisande. Even Delaunay doesn’t know what her game is. Phedre doesn’t seem particularly interested in Melisande’s politics though. ;)

Other Tidbits

3 whole days to choose your method of execution! Ugh! I think I would pick something and then want it done and to not have to wait 3 days.

While the Lioness and Baudoin Trevalion were traitors to the crown, I liked how the country was allowed to quietly mourn the fall of House Trevalion.

So glad Phedre and Alcuin got horse riding lessons, and not just because it was practical. Horses are fun in and of themselves.

I like how Phedre reflects back about how young she was then and how some of her actions were petty, like her treatment towards Guy. Sigh…. I really liked Guy.

Participating Bloggers:

Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

Kushiel’s Dart – Part II

Heldig and a very good book

Heldig and a very good book

Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us.

This week, Allie from Tethyan Books is your host. Pop over there and leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.

Chapters 9-18 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.

1) In these chapters, Phèdre finally gets to have her own dedication ceremony.  Were you surprised by what they did with the dove? Also, do you think it is fair to ask people to make a life decision about serving Naamah at such a young age?

The first time I read this book, I was a little worried for the dove. After all, animal sacrifice has been around for a long time and is not unheard of in epic fantasy fiction. So I was quite pleased when it was more of a catch and release situation.

Many cultures and religions require children to make such a life long decision at an early age. As an example, consider the Catholic religion and how early a child can have their dedication ceremony. Most folks who go through such a ceremony still turn out to be OK people.

With that said, I still think it is unfair to ask a kid or teen to make such a sincere, life-long dedication (to the Catholic church, or Naamah, or some other religion/philosophy) at such a young age. After all, few of us know much about life at such an age, even if we believed differently then. For this book, the dedication ceremony is supported by the culture and religion and is not out of place.

2) Sex ed is definitely different in Terre d’Ange.  Do you think the Showing was useful for the teenagers? Do you think, at their age, you would have appreciated something like the book-learning they received in the art?

I love the sex ed in this book. I really wish our society, or at least my parents, had been as open minded and educated when I was a teenager. I especially like the Showing as it shows sex to be an act of joy, beauty, love, and respect. Honesty, I got most of my sex ed as a teen from the Benny Hill show(which my parents found quite amusing and now I wonder why), which is none of those things.

I definitely would have appreciated 2 years of book learning on the subject. Sex ed in the US public school systems is mostly pictures of diseased genitals and abstinence as the only form of birth control. There was no instruction on the mechanics of the act, and definitely no conversation on what a beautiful, joyful thing it can be.

Luckily, today’s kids have a plethora of sex ed available, like Laci Green.

3) Hyacinthe has some neat theories about Delauney’s past.  What is your favorite theory?

Well, with Delaunay, I always lean towards the romantic theories. He strikes me as a man who loves deeply, even if he has to hide those feelings. In this book and later in the series, we learn a bit more about Delaunay’s past. But for Delaunay’s back story, you may have to check out the anthology Unfettered in which a short story by Jacqueline Carey is included.

4) Phèdre seems to be making a name for herself as an anguissette, known for never giving the signale. Do you think she would ever actually choose to use the signale, even if she were in real danger? Do you think her inability to do so might get her into trouble?

When I first read this book, I had never heard of a signale, or safe word. So I totally expected her to use it on her first assignation. However, she didn’t, nor did she use it with the pincer fanatic, nor with the riding crop lady. This speaks to Phedre’s stubbornness. Later in the book, we learn that which yields is not weak.

5) Do you think Alcuin is enjoying his career as much as Phèdre, or do you think he has a different focus? Do you think their differing appeals and tastes will drive them apart?

Ah. Alcuin! In many ways, even though he is slightly older than Phedre, he is so much younger in the ways of love. As Phedre noted, he did not grow up in one of the Houses and so was ignorant of so much that Phedre took for granted. Also, I think he feels he has a great debt towards Delaunay for rescuing him as a boy. At first, I don’t think he enjoyed the assignations as much. However, his sex ed instructor Cecile did borrow him for a night and introduce him to an experienced lady that left him dreamy eyed and dopey for a day or two.

Phedre is super special, being Kushiel’s chosen. She is almost always going to be in a class of her own when it comes to bedroom play. So I don’t think this will drive Alcuin and Phedre apart. After all, Alcuin and much of Terre D’Ange are totally accepting of her sexual preferences.

Other Tidbits

The old marquiste always gives me a laugh! How can he do quality work with Phedre squirming on the tattoo table?

It does not surprise me that Phedre abhors cleaning. ;)

The first few encounters with Melisandre still give me shivers – such beauty and intelligence rolled together!

Just because I am curious, where is everyone from? I believe we have quite the international crowd for this read along. I hale from the sticks of northern New Mexico, USA.

Participating Bloggers:

Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

Kushiel’s Dart – Part I

Heldig and a very good book

Heldig and a very good book

Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us.

This week, I am your host. If you post, leave a link in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.

Chapters 1-8 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.

1) Here we have the earliest days of Phedre’s life, and we have the story of Elua and his followers. Did you note any similarities between Phedre’s beginning and Elua’s stories? Do you enjoy having these stories upfront or would you rather have had the stories shuffled in later with an adult Phedre looking back?

The few similarities between Elua’s stories and Phedre are not something I had thought on until I had read the book a few times. As with all great persons of history or religion, I think most people can relate to some of the stories or situations surrounding that person. Phedre’s parents gave her up and she has to find her own way. She is already gathering friends and useful acquaintances.

I really like starting with Phedre’s childhood. Here we have this alternative France and I found this an excellent way to get steeped in the mystery and culture of Terre D’ange without feeling like we have a big info dump.

2) Hyacinthe has become Phedre’s one true friend. Do you think she is the same for him? The dromonde, or fortune telling, fascinates Phedre. Do you have a fortune telling story?

Ah, Hyacinthe. He’s such an interesting and colorful character. When I first read this, I felt that their friendship started off on an equal basis. Two kids stealing pies in the market for a laugh and a treat. Later, in this section, I can see how Hyacinthe might gain more from the relationship than Phedre. She has eyes and ears in the Court of Night Blooming Flowers. Some of that info might be useful for him. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil how things go for these two. He is one of the most interesting characters and I look forward to reading what others think of him.

Alas, I don’t have a particular fortune telling story. I grew up with a mix of Christian Science and ouija boards, dream readings, palm readings, crystal healings, and tarot cards. Today, I can’t say I believe in any of it, but it makes for fun fiction reading.

3) The Midwinter Masque on the Longest Night is a long held tradition in Terre D’Ange. What stood out for you? Have you been to such a fete?

Well, I would love to try a glass of joie. Mead will have to suffice. I love masques and how they can have a freeing effect on the wearer and those around the person. Amongst all that beauty and frivolity, we had Delaunay looking a bit serious here and there. So man connections can be made at such an event.

Alas, I have never been to such a party. Though I have many a midwinter’s eve curled up with this book to vicariously experience such a fete.

4) Anafiel Delaunay has many secrets. How do you think those secrets will shape Alcuin and Phedre?

I think if things had gone as we have seen them so far, that Alcuin and Phedre would have rich, full lives that also happen to include collecting info for Delaunay. Eventually, the two might grow bored with sitting on the side lines, so Delaunay could take on more pupils for Alcuin and Phedre to train. While I thought all this was a possibility the first time I read it, alas, such was just a pretty fantasy.

5) Delaunay has a saying; All knowledge is worth having. Do you believe this is so?

Ah, such a tough question! I am inquisitive by nature and often feel that secrets do more damage than good. I am also a scientist, so I love digging into the minutiae. But all knowledge? Well, that means you would have to to know everyone’s dirty secrets and that might make it very hard to have friends. If you pursue the knowledge, there is a cost, and occasionally a great prize to be had.

Other Tidbits

Ever since I read this book, I can’t help but check people’s eyes for Kushiel’s Dart.

I absolutely love the language of this book the lush descriptions, and the not quite courtly manner of Phedre, even in her inner most thoughts.

Just for fun, does anyone have a Terre D’Ange related tattoo? I’m pretty tempted to get one.

I am listening to the audio version of this book and it is excellent.

Participating Bloggers:

Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

Two Serpents Rise – Part IV

GladstoneTwoSerpentsRisingHello everyone! Welcome to the Two Serpents Rise read along! It’s the final week (sniffle) but no worries! There’s chatter of doing a read along of the third book, Full Fathom Five, though we might hold off until July to accommodate folks. We’ll keep you posted.

This week, Lynn E. from Little Lion Lynnet’s  is your host, so make sure to swing by her blog to see what she thinks, along with everyone else thinks.

1. I think we all pegged Mal for involved with whatever is going wrong in Dresediel Lex after the way Book 3 ended last week. How do you feel about discovering how deep that involvement goes?

I think it was clear from the beginning that Mal is an independent thinker. I mean you would have to be to be successful at cliff running. That isn’t a sport for followers, but for leaders. As we learned more and more about her, I had this feeling that she was deeply involved in whatever was going down. Still, it was a bit of a shock to see how dedicated to her beliefs she was and how far she would go. I liked Mal and because of that I wanted to think well of her. However, destroying a whole city and rebuilding from the rubble is not the way to wins friends and influence people.

2. Caleb and Temoc have to work together to save Dresediel Lex (and the world) from certain destruction. Do you think they make a good team?

Uh, no. For a brief moment, it seemed that Caleb had won his father over to giving his option a chance and it was interesting to see them work together. Caleb still had his defenses up and was sometimes hesitant to do as told. But Temoc had no hesitation in working with his son. In fact, he seemed proud and satisfied.

Then the jerk had to go and betray his son’s tentative trust once again this time by knocking him on the head and nearly sacrificing his best friend. Oh yeah, Caleb will need therapy for that. Temoc has probably destroyed any chance of having a meaningful relationship with his son too.

3. What do you think of the narrative’s overall treatment of Teo? Especially in light of her role in the finale?

I really liked Teo. While this story wasn’t about her, her moments in the story had weight. So when she temporarily became the damsel in distress at the end, I didn’t feel that that was her only role in the story. Especially since she turns around and is the one to tear the contract and get Lord Kopal to put in an appearance.

4. In the epilogue Caleb seems to have found a way to compromise between the ways of his father and the new world brought about by the God Wars. Do you think he’ll succeed in his goals?

We’ve seen that Caleb can be very tenacious when he is chasing after something. So, yes, I believe he will make it work. And, right now, it looks like Lord Kopal is willing to give him enough support to give it a try. If Kopal decides to stop supplying the soul stuff at some point, then I am sure that Caleb and Teo will put on a highly successful charity drive to gather enough soul stuff annually to keep the Sister Serpents happy. It might involve bake sales. Perhaps a charity run over rooftops and flinging from spire to spire.

Other Tidbits:

While Mal was on the destructive path, I can still imagine her in all her glory essentially channeling the might of the serpent sisters. Mal is athletic to begin with but the added power would make her a deity. Ah, I wish I was an artist and could do some fan art for this book.

The large crowds that gathered to riot were crazy! And since so much cultural knowledge had been set aside or lost, very few folks remembered that the wide main road, San Silva I think, wasn’t created for the people, but for the gods. Flee you mortals! Flee if you can!

I really enjoyed Book 1, but I definitely enjoyed this book even more. I think it was because of all the wonderful Aztec cultural awesomeness squeezed into every nook and crannie.

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

Kushiel’s Dart Read Along – The Schedule

Heldig and a very good book

Heldig and a very good book

It’s time. This has been kicking around in the back of my head for some time. I love doing read alongs and discussing the minutiae of a good book. The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Dart is Book 1) is one of my all time favorite series. In particular, I am forever enamored of Kushiel’s Dart. My man and I have read this book so many times, the covers have fallen off more than one copy.

Here is the current schedule.

Week 1: May 10, Chapters 1-8, Hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 2: May 17, Chapters 9-18, Hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 3: May 24, Chapters 19-26, Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 4: May 31, Chapters 27-36, Hosted by FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
Week 5: June 7, Chapters 37-45, Hosted by Igret’s Corner
Week 6: June 14, Chapters 46-54, Hosted by Books Without Any Pictures
Week 7: June 21, Chapters 55-63, Host job OPEN
Week 8: June 28, Chapters 64-73, Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 9: July 5, Chapters 74-83, Hosted by EmmaMaree.com
Week 10: July 12, Chapter 84-END, Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Nancy Heath has volunteered to be a back up host through the read along, should the need arise. Thank you Nancy!

And here is the current list of participators:

Plus:
Cara at @Chickowits will be a lurker

As always, folks are welcome to jump in and join us. You don’t have to be a host or a blogger. You can always choose the easy route and tackle the weekly discussion in the comments of the hosting blog. We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S DART in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

I am VERY excited be reading this book with a group and such a fine group we have!

Two Serpents Rise – Part III

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, Lauren from Violin in a Void is your host, so make sure to swing by her blog to see what she thinks, along with everyone else thinks.

1. After the fight at Seven Leaf, Caleb apologizes to Mal and they finally start dating. What do you think of the way their relationship has developed? Do you agree with Mal that Caleb chased her because he needs gods in his life?

At first, I was a little sad they didn’t sleep together that first night. But in retrospect, I think Caleb was right – that would have been their one and only night together.

Besides, things have been much more interesting this way. So, I am glad that they have had all this time to play off each other, the good and the bad. If they can both survive what’s coming, they could have a lasting relationship.

The sex on the beach was awesome, including that whole engulfed in a shark’s mouth thing. Though I do hope the force field kept out the fetid mouth breath of the beast.

I think Caleb is both attracted to and repulsed by people who have strong spiritual beliefs. He grew up in his father’s shadow, in some ways loved and protected, and in other ways horrified and disgusted. I’m going to go all Psychology 101 on this and guess that he has that same attraction/hate for Mal because of her strong beliefs, even it is only subconscious.

2. This section has been quite philosophical. Where do you stand on the debate – gods, no gods, or some kind of compromise? Do you agree with Caleb’s idea of sacrificing your morality because the religious alternative is even worse?

While I am not a religious person myself, I think a world without gods (and yes, I like there to be many of them and not just one) would be rather dull. Lots of inspiration comes from deities in one way or another. For this world, I think the humans have gained enough Craft knowledge and enough tech that they could reintegrate the gods without losing clean water and plentiful food. As we saw in Three Parts Dead, some (if not all) gods can be negotiated with using the Craft. Maybe that would be possible here.

It took me a while to figure out what Caleb was getting at – that no matter what choice is made, there is indeed a sacrifice. I think this is because my morality isn’t based on religion, so I was having trouble connecting the dots in this world where gods are real. For this world, I can no see clearly what Caleb is saying – imprisoning and enslaving gods, even the vegetable-mind kind, destroys a bit of society’s morality.

So with all that in mind, I have to look at what little we know of these gods. So far, they all seem to be a beastial in nature, taking from and feeding on the humans as desire drives them. Now, this has mostly been through Caleb’s eyes that we learn this, so have a grain of salt to swallow with it. But if that is so, then the gods themselves would understand the Red King’s destruction of them, and enslavement of what remained. they wouldn’t like it, but they would get it. And yet, I still am not entirely OK with enslaving these particular gods. Damn morals.

3. Gladstone is still unveiling amazing things in his world, like a sport based on myth, the eclipse festival, walking on water, and a half-dead sea god whose heart is being used for desalination. What interested you the most?

It was nice to see the ancient Aztec ball game being used as a live sport with raving teams and jerseys and drunken after game parties. This game isn’t based on myth, but on a real ancient ball game (Wikipedia Article). Doesn’t look any more brutal than hockey of Polish Knight League melees.

Haha! I laughed a little too at the Red King’s woes over the cost for a fireworks display for the eclipse festival. I like fireworks, but am not particularly enamored of them. Plus, I live in the desert where we have to perpetually be wary of forest fires. Fireworks season can suck. I think I would rather have free coffee for the entire populace for a day than fireworks.

Desalination isn’t easy, so it was mighty impressive that they found a perpetual power source to do the job in a vegetative state god. Now I am an organ donor and if I ever end up in a vegetative state, I hope they cut out the organs and tissues they can use and then pull the plug. OR plug me into a desalination plant and put me to work for the greater good!

Yet I doubt the god was an organ donor card carrier.

4. Mal has noted twice that they don’t have much time, and she apologizes to Caleb while he sleeps on the ocean. Then Alaxic kills himself and tries to kill Temoc – the last two priests of the old Quechal. What do you think is going on here? Any speculation about how it might turn out?

Something big is coming. I am a little surprised that Caleb, with all his inherent skepticism, hasn’t caught on to Mal’s little phrase of there not being much time left. Perhaps he has a blind spot there, being that he is trying to have a serious kissy-kissy relationship with her.

Alaxic was talking about worthy sacrifices on the night of the lunar eclipse. However, sacrificing himself wasn’t enough. So does this mean that he holds Temoc in high regard, so taking Temoc with him in this poisoned suicide was a worthy sacrifice? Or had Alaxic truly retired to the sidelines and knew Temoc was up to something and so was not only sacrificing himself & Temoc, but also whatever Temoc was trying to achieve?

Still so many questions on this one, and I look forward to getting the answers in the final part!

Other Tidbits:

I had forgotten the Red King had kept Mal’s pendant. It’s checked out and now Caleb has it back, along with the order to find the cliffrunner woman. Caleb is walking a slippery slope…..

Hooray for female sports celebrities!

Mal is the one who bought Teo’s girlfriend’s art piece. Coincidence? Or does it mean something? I’m going to go all conspiracy theory here and wonder if both Teo and Caleb are being shadowed in case they need to be eliminated or controlled for whenever this Big Something happens…..cause we all know something big is yet to come, right?

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

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