Today is the final week of our readalong of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. The readalong has been organised by Lisa at Over The Effing Rainbow and is part of this year’s Sci-Fi Month.
So, to the questions, with a timely reminder before we start that the following may contain spoilers:
1. Let’s start with the Toremi, since we’ve waited this long to get to them! As we’ve been discussing for a while, we do get to learn more about the Toremi, about their culture and how they think and behave. In light of what happens when the Wayfarer reaches Hedra Ka, what’s your take on the Toremi now? Are the GC right to abandon their negotiations or could there have been a chance to make something of it?
At the end of the day the GC didn’t really know enough about the Toremi did they? Basically their culture and ways are very different and, whilst there’s nothing wrong with being different, I wonder whether they’ll ever be compatible. I think the GC were too busy thinking of the benefits of this agreement and not enough time on how, or whether, they could make it work. The motivations were frankly wrong and it all felt a little rushed. Plus the snapshot we saw of the Toremi before they met with the Wayfarer crew seemed to show that not all of them were content with the agreement with the GC and it seems like their response to disagreement, whether between themselves or others, is violence! I don’t know, it’s a difficult one, partly because I’m not quite sure what motivated the Toremi to ever want such an agreement in the first place. Perhaps they could both make it work in the future but for the moment I would say not. The lack of knowledge and understanding and the risk of causing offence and the resulting bloodshed are too great.
2. A visit to a Solitary Sianat colony in “Heresy” provides a potential cure for Ohan’s illness, but they make it fairly clear they don’t want it – though there may be some debate about whether or not Ohan is in their right mind… Corbin takes matters into his own hands in that respect, and he does it in a crucial moment following the attack on the Wayfarer. Do you think Corbin did the right thing?
Well, yes and no. Yes, because of the way Ohan responded and acted at the end of the story. He seemed happy and he wanted to stay with the crew so in that respect I think Corbin’s decision was good. I suppose you could say that Corbin did this with selfish reasons, keeping Ohan alive because the crew would suffer if another member of their team died – but really, his intent was not bad. Then again, no, because he took away Ohan’s rights and ability to choose. Now, I’m going to have a bit of an argument with myself. Okay, Corbin did take away Ohan’s ability to choose, but, if Ohan’s mental capacity was being affected by the illness wouldn’t that be the right thing to do? If Ohan couldn’t make the choice due to mental issues then I suppose somebody would have to do that for him. At the end of the day you wouldn’t just let somebody die if they weren’t able to reasonably make that decision – would you? On the whole I’m going with yes, primarily because if it was me and I wasn’t in the right mind to make the decision I think I’d sooner somebody make that decision and keep me alive! And now, Ohan is having cooking lessons with Dr Chef – so it’s all good!
3. Ohan survives the attack on the ship, but Lovey (as we know her) doesn’t. Were you at all prepared for what happened to the AI? And in light of all that, do you think Pepper’s offered solution was the right one?
I really didn’t see that coming at all and it really was so sad. But, I think Pepper’s solution was good and I do think it was the right choice. Lovey could have stayed on the ship – and Jenks would constantly be reminded of what they had, and maybe even try to recreate it. But the circumstances that led to Lovey becoming the character she was could never be duplicated, they were unique and all the crew contributed towards the way her character developed. We do lose people we love and we have to come to terms with it and it would be pretty awful, for example, to think that somebody you loved had died but then the body still lived with a different personality inside – it’s the same thing here, Lovey doesn’t have a body as such, she is part of the ship but once she was reset it was no longer the Lovey that everyone knew but a different personality altogether living inside the ship. Plus, it felt like it would be a good choice for Lovey to be honest. Pepper seemed to be making her a really good offer.
4. This one is less of a “thinky” question and more of a “wrap up” one, but I’m curious for your answers – now that we’ve finished the story, what scenes/moments do you remember best as your favourites, if any?
Well, I’m obviously a sucker for the happier moments to be honest and these were thankfully scattered liberally throughout. I think my favourite parts of the story were the introductions to the crew, watching the dynamics between them all and seeing the relationships grow. Sissix was undoubtedly my favourite character and I think that’s simply because she was so loving and affectionate – it’s difficult to not like a character with that type of nature.
Thanks to Lisa for organising this readalong and to all the other participants for all the thought provoking discussion. Stars! It’s been a blast!
This is a series that I very nearly overlooked! I’m so glad I didn’t. This was a really good book and I enjoyed it so much that I picked up The Masked City immediately and I’m now loving that too! Genevieve Cogman where have you been hiding? Never mind, I’ve found you now and it’s all good.
Prepare for gushing.
The Invisible Library is a bibliophile’s dream come true – and that holds true in terms of both the book itself and the invisible library from within the pages. Where should I start – just everything! Okay, the library itself – it is a strange place that not just anybody can enter – only initiated librarians or apprentices. It’s huge, think the tardis, from within it’s walls you can open a door to an infinite number of alternate worlds and any number of possibilities and, wait for it, when within the confines of the library, the librarians don’t age! OMG – where is this library, I’ve packed my spotted hanky and I’m going.
The plot. Irene is a librarian. The purpose of the librarians, in a nutshell, is to enter alternate universes and secure rare books and return them to the library so that they can be copied or preserved for all time. Basically, Irene opens door to all sorts of worlds, steals in, steals the book (or buys it) and steals back out. The entryways in and out are a little like the doors in Howl’s Moving Castle and are activated by a secret and magical language that the librarians use. At the start of the story Irene is sent to an alternate London to retrieve a book, unfortunately, upon arrival it appears that the book is already missing. Accompanied by a new apprentice called Kai the two now need to pick up the trail of the missing book. Of course, their search is hampered by a number of others who also appear to be on the search and pretty soon there are secret societies, clockwork alligators, fae and much more dangerous foe seeking to throw obstacles in the way.
So, the setting. The possibilities here are endless and I really hope that this means we have plenty more books to look forward to. This is such a great, fun and easy read. For this particular story we travel to Victorian London but here we find Vampires, Werewolves, fae and steampunk all combined.
In terms of characters. I like Irene. She’s intelligent and resourceful. Don’t be misled by her seemingly young age (I think she comes across as about 17 or 18 although I’m not 100% sure) because in actual fact, given the dynamics of the library and the length of time that Irene has spent there she is in fact older than she looks. Kai is her apprentice. He has led something of a shady past before entering the library and on top of that he has other secrets that are revealed during the course of the book. There is definitely chemistry between these two but it remains at that and the book isn’t focused on romance. We meet up with a brilliant detective of the time called Vale who becomes embroiled in the search. We meet one of the fae, called Silver and then we become acquainted with a rogue librarian!
The writing is lovely, the world building really excellent, the pacing is consistent throughout and the plot is thoroughly entertaining. Ms Cogman seems to have crammed a whole wealth of ideas in here and yet, very cleverly, she has still left herself with immense possibilities for future stories. On top of that, she’s written a story that I think easily crosses over both the YA/Adult audience. A great read, good fun and I’m hoping this will become a series – I would certainly enjoy learning more about these characters. Oh, and I almost forgot – dragons. That is all
In case you missed the main message. I enjoyed this and would definitely recommend. It’s not a deep thinking or serious book, it’s not grimdark but it is captivating and really good fun.
“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to. My book this week is Time Siege by Wesley Chu. (Time Salvager is the first in series, review here). Due out July 2016 – I can’t wait. Check out the fantastic cover too:
Having been haunted by the past and enslaved by the present, James Griffin-Mars is taking control of the future.
Earth is a toxic, sparsely inhabited wasteland: the perfect hiding place for a fugitive exchronman to hide from the authorities.
James has allies, scientists he rescued from previous centuries: Elise Kim, who believes she can renew Earth, given time; Grace Priestly, the venerated inventor of time travel herself; Levin, James’s mentor and former pursuer, now disgraced; and the Elfreth, a population of downtrodden humans who want desperately to believe that James and his friends will heal their ailing home world.
James also has enemies. They include the full military might of benighted solar system ruled by corporate greed and a desperate fear of what James will do next. At the forefront of their efforts to stop him is Kuo, the ruthless security head, who wants James’s head on a pike and will stop at nothing to obtain it
This week over at The Broke and Bookish the topic for discussion is:
‘Thanksgiving themed Freebie’
So, I decided to go for something different this week. For Thanksgiving, rather than focus on books I figured wouldn’t everybody just love to spend a little time over the holidays watching some awesome films? Right? You know you would. And, I figured as this is also SciFiMonth why not make these all sci fi spectaculars! It’s almost like I have a plan. Without further ado:
- Star Wars – I love Star Wars – although, I have to be precise – I like the original three films best. I can’t help it. There it is – judge away.
- Star Trek – I love the most recent films – Star Trek (2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness.
- The Terminator – I think you should definitely go for 1 and 2. I’m hard pressed to say which I like best between the two! Probably 2..
- The Martian – great book and very good adaptation.
- Interstellar – I thought this was really good. Epic even.
- Avatar – after a feast for the belly a feast for the eyes.
- Jurassic Park – don’t know if this is sci fi or not – but I do know it’s good.
- Aliens. No explanation needed. Scary!
- Back to the Future – you have to love this crazy series and it’s perfect for holiday watching.
- Guardians of the Galaxy – I am Groot, and, also, Chris Pratt.
There are loads more out there but I’m sticking with 10.
Today I’d like to welcome Michelle to my blog. Michelle’s latest book, Grudging, has just been released and is filled with witchcraft. Michelle was kind enough to write me a guest post all about witches and how they fit into her latest novel.
‘Thanks for having me on your blog, Lynn!’
Thanks for agreeing to be my guest :D
‘It seems proper around this time of year to look at witches in history, literature, and entertainment as I use them myself in my latest book. Witches go back centuries with mentions in the Bible. I think everyone knows from Exodus, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” In a harking back to the three fates of Greek mythology, Shakespeare used witches in Macbeth as prophets and sinister figures.
Salem had their own real-life run in with “witches” being burned at the stake in Puritan times. For all of history, witches have been women to cast blame upon for unexplained things like the failure of crops, or men who couldn’t stay faithful. Not to get too much into gender discrimination, but the word wizard just doesn’t have the same negative connotation behind it. It was easier to pin problems on the old woman, living alone, without family, than to seek a real explanation in a world without modern science.
But that’s not so much the case anymore in fiction, though the theme of witches shows no sign of slowing down. Sure there are still evil witches in testosterone-filled movies such as the very recent The Last Witch Hunter. But there’s so much variety to witches nowadays. You have the sinister, along with the benign, the romantic, the sexy, and even witches who are neither good nor bad, but somewhere in between.
JK Rowling and Hermoine did a lot to reinvent the idea of witches, giving us a heroic witch. They could be smart, fun, and brave. Hermoine does her fair share of saving other people and is no typical damsel in distress.
I was always partial to Terry Brooks’ Ilse Witch, where a bad witch with powerful magic turns good. One of my favorite witch movies is Hocus Pocus for some family Halloween fun. We even have the comical witch as in Sabrina: The Teenage Witch and Broomhilda from Bugs Bunny.
For most of my life, the image from the picture above was my idea of witches. They were ugly, wore pointy hats, rode brooms and did hexes and curses. We all know they keep black cats as part of their familiar bargain with the devil, and warts are how Satan marked them to distinguish them from righteous people. They carry wands and brew stinky potions in their cauldrons.
That’s why when I wrote Grudging and made witches the needed allies for a city under siege from an overwhelming army, I wanted the witches to be different. Oh, the witches in my story live apart in a swamp, but that’s the only typical witch characteristic. My character, Claire, has a cauldron, but she only uses it to brew soap. Instead of black cats, they rear goats. She doesn’t cast hexes or curses. She can’t wither any crops, though she may make the reader fall in love with her.
In Grudging, the people of the city call them witches, those living nearer to the swamps call them more accurately sirena. And Claire calls herself a Woman of the Song. They have voice magic that lets them bewitch and bewilder any man—rumor is unclear whether it works on other women—foolish enough to attack them. All Claire wants is for her mother to relent and let her practice her Song on someone/thing who can hear her.
She’ll get her chance when the city men appear on the scene, bringing their prejudices of witches as a cross between cannibals and temptresses. Can two traditional enemies become friends or just more casualties?
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.
The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.
On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.
But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.
Release Date: November 17, 2015; Harper Voyager Impulse
A little about Michelle:
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly query contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, PitchSlam, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints Series from Harper Voyager starts with GRUDGING on November 17, 2015. Her epic fantasy, KINDAR’S CURE, was published by Divertir Publishing.
Facebook: Michelle Hauck, Author
Thanks again Michelle for writing this guest post.
Whilst we’re thinking about witches – one of my favourites is Tiffany Aching created by Terry Pratchett – which witch is your favourite??