Naamah’s Blessing Part V

The read along continues with Naamah’s Blessing, Book 3 of Moirin’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is the host. We’re covering Chapters 58-71, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) What are your thoughts on the whole situation with Bao and Cusi? Was it right of Bao and Moirin to engage in blood sacrifice? What do you think of Cusi’s willingness?

Cusi was going to be a sacrifice anyway but it felt better knowing that she was willing to be one for the right reasons. Those right reasons involved Bao and Moirin because of their unique gifts, so I’m OK with them being a part of it. I do appreciate that they were strongly against it at first and that they will probably have a lot of mixed feelings on it for a chunk of time afterwards.

As for Cusi’s willingness… well, it’s not an experience I have reference for. I can see a person sacrificing themselves in an active way, usually in an emergency and for the greater good or for a loved one. However, Cusi’s sacrifice requires her to be most passive and for results that may or may not come to pass. It truly takes faith and that’s not something I am personally strong in. The fact that’s she’s underage (not married and as far as I can tell not treated as an adult in all ways) brings up more questions.

2) Was the secret of the ancestors what you thought it would be? Was it worth Cusi’s sacrifice?

Honestly, I was expecting a bit more. It was still fierce and frightening and a show of power… but was it enough to say, yes, this is worth the sacrifice of a vibrant young lady who is going to contribute decades of worthiness to her people? Well, I guess the next few chapters will answer that. Perhaps those ancestral ghosts did more than give Raphael a beat down. Perhaps they made the waters run pure, the fish plentiful, the plants heavy with fruits, and the tubers extra tasty.

3) Did Jehanne’s intervention, or Raphael’s reaction to it, surprise you? Do you think saving Moirin’s relationship with the Maghuin Dhon was worth eliminating their last resort to thwart Raphael?

It was good to see Jehanne doing what she could. She wasn’t one to apologize or plead in life but her better nature was on full display in that heart-felt talk with Raphael.

Too bad he was unable to take much good from it. He’s definitely all about himself, isn’t he?

As for weighing out Moirin’s link to her Great Bear & most likely Bao’s life versus thwarting Raphael/Fokolor – that’s a tough question. We don’t know what all Fokolor is capable of and there’s probably another way to (eventually) thwart him. And it was unclear to me if Fokolor would be permanently tied to Raphael or free to wreak his own havoc plus whatever else Raphael wants.

On the other hand, we’ve seen so much great good that Moirin has been able to do, and that is in part due to her Great Bear.

4) On Raphael’s attempted summoning, do you think his turn-around at the end is enough to bring him right enough with Elua to pass into the Terre d’Ange that lies beyond? Meaning, do you think he can be forgiven?

No, not yet. He has to pass Kushiel’s judgement first. I expect he truly has to be regretful, and I think he was in that moment, but would that regret last beyond that moment? I would like to think so, but I expect Kushiel would need him to seek forgiveness for many, many things. Once Kushiel’s gives his thumbs up (or two floggers up) then I expect Elua will welcome him into the Terre D’Ange that lies beyond.

Other Tidbits:

When Thierry’s men were punished, I was truly worried that either Thierry or Balthazar would be killed.

I wonder how much of Raphael’s varying moods was him on a power trip versus Fokolor showing through.

I do feel a bit bad for all those lizards that were sacrificed to get the dosing right for the paralytic. Also, many animals metabolize such poisons differently from humans, so yes, there had to be a human trial…. yet, still, that was such a gamble as there can be some big differences among humans.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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 NAAMAH’S BLESSING in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Abaddon’s Gate Part III

The read along of Abaddon’s Gate, Book 3 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More is our host. We’re covering Chapters 27-40, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. So, Ashford is a deranged man with a military force and a religious nut backing him up. Do you think the counter-coup will stick (or even stick together)?

I’m not sure how this counter-coup will play out. I recall that Bull had that Mars mech armor locked up good but I don’t recall where, but I expect those suits will come into play and would change the tide for whoever got their hands on them.

As for Ashford and Cortez being able to hold together this counter-coup, well, I think it depends on who’s the more unstable. If they are about equal, then, yes, they will hold together. If at some point either one of them does a drastic thing that makes the other reconsider his current path, then they will fall apart.

2. So we’re asking this question every week now. It’s a thing, okay? Where are you with the new characters NOW?

There’s some things I like about Anna, like her going over to the Roci and saving the crew (sort of) but then I don’t click with her naivete that all can be solved with love, compassion, and forgiveness. In a day to day setting, I would just shrug my shoulders and go on but here in this extreme situation, I’m not convinced she’s doing humanity a favor.

Melba/Clarissa – wow! OK, someone walked into the deep end and forgot how to float.

Tilly, while a secondary character, is awesome in some ways. I like that she’s willing to share her extravagance and for some reason I like that she’s trying to take Clarissa under her wing as best she can.

Bull – man! I love this guy. He’s so practical and interesting. Even though he’s bullheaded, such as refusing the medical coma, he sees that the ship (even the fleet) may need a strong leader. And that’s proven true with the counter-coup in progress.

3. Confronted by Anna, the crew of the Rocinante have a big decision to make. What do you make of their response(s)?

I’m OK with the crew keeping things quiet for now. It would only serve to anger an already stirred up hornet’s nest. Also, I’m pretty sure Clarissa isn’t playing with a full deck of cards at this point so executing her would bring all sorts of ethical questions into play.

Of course Naomi forgave her because that’s what she does.

I think when the crew said they owed Anna anything they weren’t expecting this. But I also think that out of all of them, Amos really meant it so when Anna asked for them to keep things about Clarissa quiet for now, it was easy for him to say Yes.

4. So Miller’s back then, and it’s all falling apart. Predictions for the finale? Will they get home?

I really don’t know how things are going to play out. In an earlier post, I said that I totally expected the crew to get back to the Solar System but now I’m not sure if that’s how things will end with this book. I don’t expect them all to die and I don’t expect them to be stuck at this big alien way station for the rest of the series, but they might be trapped here for a time, especially if Ashford and Cortez get the automated alien police all pissed.

Other Tidbits:

It was good to see Naomi do something other than be a peacemaker and love interest once again.

Lemonade, anyone? Tilly’s buying!

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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.

Naamah’s Blessing Part IV

The read along continues with Naamah’s Blessing, Book 3 of Moirin’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I am the host (Lynn’s life got busy). We’re covering Chapters 43-57, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Betrayal again! Did you expect it here in the heart of the jungle? How do you feel about this outcome versus what Durel has endured and has yet to face?

This time, I wasn’t really expecting such a big betrayal. I thought the disgruntled guide might leave, and perhaps that could put the party in a pinch, but I wasn’t expecting him to put both himself and his father is the middle of the violence.

It’s a tough situation but I think it was handled as best as possible. There wasn’t a feasible way to keep him under guard nor to send him back to the main city under guard to await some sort of ‘civilized’ law.

I do hope Durel hears of this and realizes how lucky he and his family are.

2) Raging rivers, deadly illness, efficient deadly natives, scary ants, big snakes: I know you don’t want to face any of them, but if you had to choose, which would you tackle?

So tough! So having faced 2 minor floods that messed up my property, I wouldn’t want to face a raging river. It’s really only luck if you survive that.

I can’t communicate with ants and they are rather single-minded once they get an idea. Unless I have a flame thrower, or a raging river between them and me, I am not tangling with them.

So snakes or people. Hmm… Snakes I guess. People are so unpredictable while snakes are pretty predictable and it pays not to be stupid.

3) Vilcabamba held a nasty surprise, didn’t it? An army of ants and Raphael controlling them! Were you surprised? How do you think Moirin will learn to deal with the ants?

Yes, I was surprised. I should have seen all the hints with Denis de Toulard mentioning the ants and even earlier with the D’Angeline poet and her 7th floor apartment, as far from the ants as possible.

I’m really not sure how Moirin will get around the ants. Perhaps she will be forced to summon Folkolor but as usual she will be polite and Folkolor will give her a small gift, one that lets her take control of the ants or destroy Raphael’s hold on them.

4) Raphael intends to summon Fokolor and force him to relinquish his powers or serve him without question. What do you think Fokolor’s reaction will be? Will he be so easily enslaved or tricked?

I really hope Fokolor plays some of his nasty tricks on Raphael. In fact I now wonder if he can take back his previous gift to Raphael and make it so he can no longer communicate with ants. I don’t expect anything concerning Fokolor to be easy.

Other Tidbits:

I keep noticing this underlying theme of family honor. Durel is concerned about having let his family down. Now this new betrayal leaves a grieving father feeling the need to make up for his son’s bad deeds.

Raphael has made the mistake of thinking of his servants and such as savages and letting them know it. Somehow I don’t think they expect their ‘god Raphael’ to think of them as savage. This is just another chink in his armor and I hope Moirin exploits it.

Potato planting! Yay!

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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 NAAMAH’S BLESSING in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Abaddon’s Gate Part II

The read along of Abaddon’s Gate, Book 3 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Sarah at The Illustrated Page is our host. We’re covering Chapters 13-26, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) After two books that built mystery on top of mystery, we finally get some answers. What revelation excites you the most?

I like knowing what Miller is, though I daresay all of us half-guessed it. It makes me wonder if Julie was somehow the same thing for Miller (when he was alive)… but Miller and Julie never met in real life.

Intergalactic travel is now possible if only the human species can live long enough to harness the technology.

2) Was Holden right to head off on his own? And how do you think he’ll fare now that he’s been captured by the Martians? And is his crew still alive?

Yes, Holden was right. He’s the one that’s been chatting up Miller/Protomolecule. So he’s the logical choice for going. Plus, he doesn’t have any skills that aren’t matched (or outmatched) by his crew mates. He’s not a mechanic or a pilot.

Well, the Martians will keep him alive provided he doesn’t do anything stupid and if Anna, Bull, or the Roci crew can get them to listen, they will want Melba and the documentary crew much more than Holden.

Yes, I think the Roci’s crew is still alive simple because there’s like 3 or 4 more books in the series.

3) On a related note, how do you feel about the new POV characters now? Are you warming to any?

I’m still intrigued by Melba simply because she’s both obsessed and thoughtful, and yet still has a blind eye towards her dad’s actions and how that created much of this mess.

Bull is still very interesting though now I worry about his survivability. He really needs some serious medical attention but I don’t know if he will be able to get what he needs in time so I applaud him making a tough choice to stay awake and do what he can.

4) Do you think Earth and Mars will agree to the OPA’s plan? Do you think they’ll be stuck forever in this weird starless place or will they get back home?

I think they will hesitate, especially Mars, but will  ultimately agree to send over their wounded. Everyone is desperate and has suffered losses.

As to whether any of them will get home again, that’s a very good question. This series has been full of surprises so far. At the end of Book 1, I expected war between Mars and Earth and possibly the OPA, but we didn’t get a full out war at all. Then at the end of Book 2, I thought that tentacular blob ejected from Venus would head towards another moon or planet to take over; instead, it turned into the big ring gate. So while I don’t expect our key players to be stuck in this starless construct for the next 3 or 4 books, I really don’t know where the story will take us next.

5) Oh, and do you think that destroyer of worlds, strange darkness is still out there?

If this protomolecule could exist for 2 million years in the void of space & eventually take us to this weird waystation in another galaxy, then yes, I think whatever could take out the civilization that created those first two could still be out there. Whether or not it’s murderous is really the question.

Other Tidbits:

Is it just me, or is Naomi having less to do this book? She’s coming across as a little whiny to me and as someone who just pops up when Holden needs his moral compass or sanity checked.

Betrayed Amos is a sad, angry Amos. Poor dude.

Tilly is more than a pretty face and fashionista. I’m glad she’s got some smarts to her.

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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.

Abaddon’s Gate Part I

The read along of Abaddon’s Gate, Book 3 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering the Prologue-Chapter 12, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. This time around the prologue shows us what became of The Thing That Abandoned Venus. Any ideas about what the purpose of the Ring might be?

My, I wasn’t expecting that! I was really expecting it to be some seed headed off to another planet or moon in our solar system. So now we have this ring and it seems to be a gate to somewhere very far off. I recall someone contemplating what was known so far, like sending in objects and light waves and also receiving radio waves from the inside of the ring that were older than the Big Bang. Perhaps that was Anna contemplating all that. Time warp? Just an intergalactic gate?

2. New book means new characters! Do any of these newcomers stand out to you at this point? If so, who and why?

Melba/Julie Mao’s sister (Clarice?) is interesting because she feels some regret over some of the horrible things she has to do… and yet she totally doesn’t explore the morality of her dad’s actions.

Bull is fun, coming from Alamogordo, New Mexico. I love that his special treat is some frozen Hatch chili. I liked the way he handled the Pixie Dust problem on the generation ship turned military vessel.

3. It looks like bureaucracy is finally catching up to the Rocinante crew. Do you think they’ll actually lose the ship?

Somehow I don’t think they will lose the ship through court. they have plenty of money and the ship is a moving target. They can hire their own lawyers and one court (OPA) has already granted them salvage rights to it. If Earth or Mars overturns the OPA’s ruling, the OPA could well be insulted, feeling like they aren’t acknowledged as a true sovereign realm.

But I do fear that someone could illegally take it from them or they could have to evacuate due to some sabotage or protomolecule stuff or the need to hurtle a very fast ship into a large alien ring, thereby destroying it….

Other Tidbits:

Brown sludge that looks like feces but smells like the best braised beef ever – yuck! I’ve never been a fan of foods that look like one thing but taste very different – like cakes that are made to look like litter boxes and such.

I think it was good of Ana’s wife to take their little girl to Earth so that she has the choice later on of where she wants to live. She can always return to the Belt or go to Mars, but if she grew up in low G, she wouldn’t have the choice of living on Earth.

I really like how Ana handled that domestic violence issue. Clever! Ana may well be a force to be reckoned with.

Sounds like Holden’s crew all have secrets they don’t want to share with the documentary crew. I do wonder the most about Alex.

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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.

Naamah’s Blessing Part III

The read along continues with Naamah’s Blessing, Book 3 of Moirin’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Grace at Books Without Any Pictures is the host. We’re covering Chapters 30-42, so be prepared for spoilers below!

Sorry for posting late this week. I went to Denver’s MALcon last weekend and actually met Jacqueline Carey, but it really wore me out so I’m behind on everything. Totally worth it though!

1) Were you surprised by Durel’s betrayal? Do you the captain and Balthasar handled it well?

I figured Durel would be some sort of disappointment. Perhaps he would have deserted them at a crucial point or become a bane upon the group by suggesting some stinging sap for genital warts to the soldiers. I wasn’t expecting an outright betrayal that so easily put himself in danger.

Yes, I feel that Balthasar handled it well. He took some pleasure in playing the role but I’m not convinced he would have taken it to depravity had he been left alone. Basically, I trust him to know where the lines are.

While the outcome was final, I’m glad that there wasn’t a lot of drama about it. Everyone had their say, including Durel, and it seems all understood what had to be. Durel has some honor left in him which shows in his willingness to testify against Rogier. Though I do wonder what would have happened had he said no outright.

2) Now that we’ve had some time to get acquainted with Terra Nova, what do you think of it? What do you make of the Nahuatl, and of the overall political tensions in Terra Nova? Do you think there’s any hope for reconciliation between the Aragonians, D’Angelines, other tribes, and Nahuatl?

What a mess! The native peoples had some organization between civilizations before the Aragonians got there but they also had (and still have to some extent) slavery, war, and human sacrifice. While it wasn’t perfect before the Europeans arrived, the Aragonians haven’t necessarily made it better. They are pretty disrespectful of the locals, especially the women.

I would like to think that the D’Angelines will get a toehold into the Americas and their wholesome ideas about sex will help establish respectful relationships. It won’t be perfect as the D’Angelines are prone to think of themselves as superior in many ways no matter their company.

3) What are your impressions of Achculati and the bargain he offered? How do you think Moirin’s choice will impact her going forward?

Moirin rocked this! She made it clear that an intimate night with her was as much honor as any man could ever hope for. Good for her! I like that she can value herself without being pretentious.

Obviously, Moirin is willing to meet the locals as equals, something the Aragonians haven’t been able to do. I hope her example shows them how relations could be if there was mutual respect.

Other Tidbits:

Moirin keeps trying to chat with the native American ladies, but with limited success so far. I hope that changes.

It’s interesting how the horses are such a status symbol, though I think few would enjoy riding llamas and obviously the llamas have distinct ideas about that…. and yet we haven’t seen any yet in this story.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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 NAAMAH’S BLESSING in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Naamah’s Blessing Part II

The read along continues with Naamah’s Blessing, Book 3 of Moirin’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I’m the host. We’re covering Chapters 16-26 29, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) What do you think of the assistance the Sharhizai have provided to Moirin and Bao so far? Do you think there’s merit to their claim that the Sharhizai should govern the Shemizai district?

They say that their assistance and the housing is a gift with no expectations but at the very least it gave then the opening to present their claim to Moirin and Bao, who are now the guardians of Dauphine. Obviously, Moirin and Bao have to listen, even if they don’t agree, if they don’t want to be rude.

As for their claim, I’m not sure. I can see that they should be proud of their bloodline, but does that give them an innate ability to govern a province? No. I would need to seem them or their close kin in action along with the current governors being incompetent.

2) Did you enjoy the Oath Swearing Ceremony where Moirin pledged to be Desiree’s protector? What did you like best about it?

First, I liked the solemnity about the actual oath swearing. Not only do the Maghuin Dhonn take oaths seriously, but Moirin herself values her word of honor and wouldn’t swear an oath lightly.

I liked that Moirin was able to gently chivy King Daniel into spending the afternoon with this daughter enjoying the tumblers.

3) Finally, there’s news from Terra Nova. From chocolate to spices to riches to a vexing pox that Raphael may be able to cure to the loss of crown prince! Do you think Prince Thierry is really dead? If not, what kind of trouble might he be in? What else about Terra Nova intrigues you at this point?

Yes, I expect that Thierry is still alive and that Moirin’s dream is a true dream. However, he’s obviously in some serious trouble if no one has had word from him…. I can’t help but wonder if maybe Raphael and the demon Fokolor have something to do with it. If so, then Thierry’s in big trouble.

The other side of the coin is that Raphael has come up with a way for the Terra Novans to manage the pox, greatly reducing the numbers it kills. That makes it hard to want Raphael dead at this point.

I look forward to seeing how Carey tackles this tumultuous clashing of cultures.

4) Let’s discuss King Daniel. He spent some time with his daughter but then planned to abdicate to Thierry when he returned. Upon the sad news, King Daniel is no longer with us. Is there anything more that could have been done, either by Daniel or for him?

Tough to say. I think Daniel was suffering from depression for many years, perhaps even before losing his first wife. Losing Jehanne was tough but then to lose his son was another hard blow. If Daniel was a more ordinary man with people around him that felt they could boss him around a bit, then perhaps his friends could have nudged him into more healthy activities over the years instead of so much brooding and attempting to feel numb. But he’s not an average bloke. He’s the king with no queen, no close confident, and no close family to give him a shoulder or shove depending on what he needs.

5) Rogier is angling for more political power. What do you think of him using his grieve to obtain his goal? Will Moirin and Bao be able to head off to Terra Nova without provoking Rogier further?

Moirin acknowledges to herself that Rogier’s grief is real but like Moirin, I don’t like him using it to sway public opinion and gather political clout. Sometimes I’m OK with characters using this tactic because it fuels a greater end, but Rogier isn’t a beloved good guy. He’s manipulative and power hungry and his son has a nasty streak that makes me wonder if he does as well.

I expect that whatever Moirin does next (unless it was to leave the country quietly and I don’t mean on some stealth mission to retrieve Thierry) is going to piss off Rogier. I think he would love the excuse to either put her under house arrest or kick her out the country.

Other Tidbits:

The poetess can still understand ants, which I find amusing.

I’m glad that Moirin’s dad, Phanuel, broke off his relationship with Rogier.

So I messed up and didn’t catch it until after posting this. This week was supposed to be through Chapter 29 but the questions only reflect through Chapter 26. Anyway, for Chapters 27-29, I figure we can all discuss them in this Oddbits section.

Nice to hear that Phanuel will go to Alba with a letter from Moirin for her mother.

Balthazar plans to go along and he’s pretty good with a sword.

Dennis de Toulard says that Terra Nova is no place for a lady. Ha! Like there’s no women, noble, peasant, or otherwise in Terra Nova.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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 NAAMAH’S BLESSING in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse #3) – Read Along Schedule

I read Leviathan Wakes (Book 1 of The Expanse series) some years ago and I have watched the first season of The Expanse as well. Now the wonderful folks on the SF/F Read Alongs GoodReads group have put together this group read and we’re into Book 3, Abaddon’s Gate.

Here is the current schedule:

Week 1: Prologue to Chapter 12, Friday 4th August, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Chapters 13 to 26, Friday 11th August
Week 3: Chapters 27 to 40, Friday 18th August
Week 4: Chapters 41 to End, Friday 25th August

Book Blurb for Abaddon’s Gate:

For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier. Until now.

The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus’s orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

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.

Caliban’s War Part IV

The read along of Caliban’s War, Book 2 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering Chapters 43-END, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Bobbie’s idea turns out to be sneakier than I expected! Do you think this is a case of brains as well as muscle power, or is she learning a thing from Avasarala?

Yes, definitely. Bobbie has been watching Avasarala maneuver and I think this has pushed her to rely on more than her mech suit and military training (tho both serve her quite well). I don’t expect she will ever become the great political chess master that Avasarala is, but she’s learning to step outside her comfort zone.

2. The crew split up to take on various missions, all different but all important. Holden, Prax, Bobbie… Which final battle POV sticks with you most, and why?

I was holding my breath until they found Mei as I was definitely concerned that she was a goo monster. I was also worried that Holden wouldn’t make it through this book. I agree with him shooting what’s his face on the ship instead of negotiating with him. Time was of the essence and I felt that man needed to be executed by someone. I hope Bobbie gets a new mech suit.

3. “What’s that?” What indeed. What do you make of whatever the heck just lifted off from Venus, and where do you think it’s going?

Oh my! I think it’s headed for either Mars or Earth. I expect it’s a giant protomolecule ball built to infest whatever it lands on. I really hope they can stop it. If not, humanity will either fall or expand further out into the galaxy… and since the series is called The Expanse…. well, that Mormon generation ship may well be more important than we first thought.

4. Speaking of what was on Venus, let’s discuss THAT ending. When you’re done (presumably) flailing, of course… Thoughts? Reactions? Theories?

Yeah! WTF? Either Holden is starting to lose it and his mind is doing it Miller fashion because that’s the best example it has or he really does see some version of Miller. Could the protomolecule have psychic abilities? Who knows. Either way, I’m intrigued and in many ways it’s good to have Miller back in the mix because he balances out Holden’s Justice For All attitude with a solid dose of reality.

Other Tidbits:

I love Bobbie’s banter with Holden’s crew. She jokes with Alex and calls Amos out on his open appreciation of her battle suit one piece.

I want to hug Avasarala for giving her backing to Prax, ensuring him and his daughter have a secure future.

I hope Bobbie stays with the crew even if she and Alex never hook up.

The crowd funding campaign for Prax to find his daughter was awesome, though I don’t like how his wife tried to turn it (I expect she was both threatened and paid to do so).

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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.

Naamah’s Blessing Part I

The read along continues with Naamah’s Blessing, Book 3 of Moirin’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I’m the host. We’re covering Chapters 1-15, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Wow! We’re back at Marsilikos and then into Terre D’Ange right away without any lengthy travel scenes. How was this change of pace for you after the lengthy travel journal we’ve had so far in this series?

I expect there’s some fanfiction out there some where that tells of some crazy happenings between Book 2 and Book 3. After all, they had to make it to a harbor and get passage home and then the entire lengthy trip itself.

But on the other hand, it’s good to be back in Terre D’Ange and ready to launch the last big adventure for this series.

2) What do you think of King Daniel’s management of the realm while he’s in mourning? The relationship he has with his daughter Desire?

He’s really stepped back, hasn’t he? And I guess his son isn’t ready to step in and manage everything just yet (tho he’s off doing royalty stuff). I get that he’s in mourning but he also suffered the loss of his first wife, so he knows he can’t just ignore stuff…. right? Even his daughter? Yeah, so he get’s a D for parenting at this point as neglect can have long-lasting effects on a kid.

3) Moirin has taken up the role as Desire’s protector. What do you think of the political quagmire she’s gotten herself into? Will her tumblers and poet be able to sway the general public in her favor?

I’m glad that Desire has a champion in her corner now but I think Moirin has done it more out of love for Jehane than for Desire herself (though that may become full blown parental love in time).

She’s definitely stirred up a not healed-over quagmire, hasn’t she? She left in the heat of Lion Mane’s embarrassment and it seems that is still seething a bit (probably due to Jehane’s death). Now she’s ‘picked a side’ by officially becoming Desire’s protector.

I hope her tumblers and poet will be enough to sway the public tho opposing factions can hire their own entertainers to smear her name. Seems that’s already started.

4) Moirin’s father has a lover, Balthazar Rogier, who is also in the king’s favor. How big of a problem for Moirin and Bao do you think he will be?

Hmm… well, right now he’s just being an inconvenience and a bit petty (like in assigning Moirin’s promised rooms to another at the last minute). However, I fear that he can become more of a problem, especially with King Daniel not paying attention to his realm all that much. Also, his name is one I associate with treacherous characters, so I expect he will become a much bigger problem soon.

Correction: Balthazar is one of the Sharhizai’s, not Phanuel’s lover.

Other Tidbits:

I like how Bao’s D’Angeline has improved and he doesn’t feel so foreign in Terre D’Ange now.

I also like that D’Angelines, for the most part, don’t know how to address Bao. Ha! His mere presence pushes most out of their comfort zone.

That sucks that Moirin can’t access her funds readily. I hope Bao doesn’t turn to competition fighting to pay the bills.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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 NAAMAH’S BLESSING in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).