Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, readalong: final week

Today is the final week of our readalong of Max Gladstone’s Two Serpents rise. Lynn over at  Little Lion Lynnet’s  is our host this week.  Without further ado lets get to the Q&A and if you haven’t read this book be aware that there will be spoilers below.

1. I think we all pegged Mal for being 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?

Sort of disappointed to be honest – which I think just goes to show that I was really hoping that she wouldn’t be quite so bad or that somehow she’d manage to find some sort of compromise and would be redeemed.  I wound up feeling like she was just as big a fanatic as Temoc and would stop at nothing to get what she wanted.  I mean, I always had trust issues with Mal but I really didn’t expect her to be quite so extreme.

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?

I quite enjoyed reading that element of the story and again was surprised that Temoc had such different intentions.  Clearly he’d pulled the wool over my eyes as well as Caleb’s.  I think Teo’s remarks about him not being a team player when they were running up the stairs was a good hint in that direction and also her distrust of him should have given me more of a clue but I just failed to pick it up and was really hoping that he was going to go all out to try and make Caleb’s suggestion work.  He didn’t really end up making any friends in the end.  Strangely, Mal and Temoc turned out to be very similar in the way they were prepared to go to such extreme lengths.

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

I think Teo has been an interesting character to read and I was a bit surprised to be honest at her becoming such a victim all of a sudden.  Again I didn’t see that coming at all – but, she managed to turn the situation around and with Caleb working with her summon up the Red King.  I was pleased with the eventual outcome for both Caleb and Teo.

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?

It does seem like something of a dangerous idea but I really think he could make it work, The Red King seems inclined to help and Teo and Caleb make a good partnership.

You have to hand it to Max Gladstone for coming up with such an unusual world filled with strange creatures, magic and Gods and for managing to make his stories into something much more than you would generally expect.  I’ve really enjoyed all the discussion that this book has inspired and so thanks to all the other bloggers for making this so interesting.

Other bloggers taking part:

Lisa – Over the Effing Rainbow
Lauren – Violin in a Void
Anya – On Starships & Dragonwings
Heather – The Bastard Title
Lynn – Little Lion Lynnet’s 
Ria – Bibliotropic
Susan – Dab of Darkness


8 Responses to “Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, readalong: final week”

  1. Lauren

    “Strangely, Mal and Temoc turned out to be very similar in the way they were prepared to go to such extreme lengths.”
    I thought so too. In fact, I thought that Mal, Temoc, Caleb and Kopil were all similar in how tightly they clung to their convictions, although Caleb and Kopil at least make adjustments at the end.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, a lot of similarities in that respect. I never spotted that little hole in the plot that you pointed out – I feel like I should go and run through it again to see if I missed anything.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Lynn E. O'Connacht

    Temoc is an interesting character. I was all set to try to like him up until the way he behaved around Teo, but even then I wasn’t expecting him to double-cross Caleb and Teo the way that he did.

    And you and Lauren make a really good point about the similarities between the main characters in the book: Mal, Temoc, Caleb and Kopil are all pretty inflexible in their convictions. Caleb learns to be a bit more flexible and Kopil… I think he’s just starting to learn that at the end.

    Now I want to see more from the King in Red to see how Caleb’s plans affect him in the end… XD

    • lynnsbooks

      I couldn’t believe Temoc at the end – really, just couldn’t believe him!
      Lynn 😀

  3. nrlymrtl

    Very good observation about Temoc and Mal being so similar. They were each willing to go to extremes to fight for what they believed to be right, including sacrificing those around them (and yet not sacrificing themselves). Imagine all the years of therapy Caleb would have needed had Temoc lain down on the sacrificial altar and demanded Caleb to cut his heart out in order to save the world!

    • lynnsbooks

      I was thinking that it was interesting that neither Mal not Temoc were so enamoured with their own personal goals that they were prepared to put their own lives on the line.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

    Oh Mal, why must you be so crazy and not good deep down?? I kind of liked being thrown for a loop though I must admit ;-). I’m so excited to see what Gladstone comes up with next!

    • lynnsbooks

      Now you mention it Gladstone really did throw in a bombshell – we were clearly all expecting Mal to come good and so you really have to hand it to him for suckering us all in! I’m also looking forward to the next book.
      Lynn 😀

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