I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett readalong, final instalment

Crivens!

We’ve come to the end of the readalong, which is frankly a little bit sad.  I’ve enjoyed spending time with Tiffany and the Wee Blue Men and will miss them.  But, nae bother, onto the questions and if you haven’t read these books you definitely want to read no further.

The readalongs for Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight have been hosted by the lovely ladies at Dab of Darkness and Over the Effing Rainbow for which I give much gushing goodly thanks and praise!  Onwards:

Well, now. It seems Letitia is much more than just a snivelly ‘princess in the tower’… What do you think of the way she handles the ghosts at Keepsake Hall?  I thought it was great!  She’s definitely a witch.  She has that ‘caring’ thing down to a tee.  On top of that I was impressed with that whole chapter.  Letitia almost changed personalities when she was on her home ground and became a different person – it shows how out of water she was really feeling and how stressed with the whole ‘wedding’ thing.  Not to mention, and don’t pelt me with rotten fruit – but even the Duchess came out of that scene looking kind of good!  She looks after her staff in their dotage.  Okay, she can be a bit of a mare but that was touching and definitely helped me to look at her with a ‘less frowny face’.

“We do right, we don’t do nice…” Miss Smith turns up again – in another unusual way – and she’s got some eye-opening words for Tiffany here… Do you agree that Tiffany’s got to grow up a little more still, or should she just ask for help with the Cunning Man?  I quite like that Tiffany wanted to sort this out by herself – even more so as it wasn’t all her own creating.  I thought on the contrary it almost made her seem more grown up – she’s on her own turf, erm, chalk, and she’s taking the responsibility.  And, okay, things could have gone wrong but she has pride in herself which as she said isn’t necessarily bad.

Preston earns even more trust from Tiffany, and she makes an interesting point about whether or not the Cunning Man will be dangerous to him… Do you think the two of them can take him on? I really like Preston even more now I’ve finished!  To be honest it never occurred to me at the time just how terribly wrong it could all go – I suppose the Cunning Man could have tried to overtake Preston’s body just the same as the man in the jail and being worn as a suit by Dr Evil doesn’t sound like much fun to me.  But, Tiffany seemed to think he was safe so I did also.

Speaking of taking on the Cunning Man, he’s getting closer – and in a very alarming way. This is certainly different, and it’s keeping Mrs Proust involved. Do you think she might be the exception to the “kindly assistance” rule among witches?  It certainly seems that way.  She  made an enormous effort to reach Tiffany and warn her about the Cunning Man having acquired a body – and all the witches managed to get on together when they finally met.  It was like a standoff.

O-ho, so the Duchess has a secret of her own… Are you surprised?  I’m not surprised that she had a secret – you could tell her behaviour was wrong.  But I hadn’t figured it was about being a dancing girl!  It certainly brought her down a peg or two although I don’t know why she was so scared about it all coming out – it’s not exactly the end of the world and perhaps she would have been able to remove the ramrod from up her backside and get on with people in a normal fashion if she wasn’t so scared people would find out.  I guess the whole hint about all her family being dead was a giveaway – they were probably all still alive!

Tiffany defeats the Cunning Man! What did you make of this scene?  I didn’t really figure out what her plan was – right up to the end – Okay, I could tell she was running into the fire but I kind of thought she’d do that transference thing (although it’s not like she had a bucket of water handy so DOH!)  I liked that she used the whole harking back to the ancient wedding ceremony trick with the language and all – although I wondered why she was calling Letitia names and I thought it was cool that in actual fact she did really have help through the use of time travel – but actually helped herself.

Extras go here!

I loved that all the little odds and ends were worked out.  Amber, Letitia, Preston – even the Feegles being handed the land which the mound sits on.

Also – I loved the use of the Macbeth line!

I could definitely do with some more Tiffany reading material so side note to Mr Pratchett – if you want to write any more – or just the Feegles all by themselves – nae problemo, I’ll be there.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, readalong, final week

And so we come to the final chapters of our Red Seas Under Red Skies readalong hosted by Andrea at Little Red Reviewer.  This has been a great experience and I’ve really loved reading both books again but doing so as a group as it changes the whole experience.  Listening to everyone’s else’s conjecture just makes it such a different experience.  So, thanks to everyone who took part, thanks to Andrea and the other hosts (nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo,  My Awful Reviews,  @ohthatashley at SF Signal) and I hope we all get to read something else together soon.  Now to the final week’s questions and for anyone reading this post who hasn’t read the book please stop reading now as there will definitely be spoilers:

1.       Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up.  Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters  – but come on,  did you expect something like that?  And how on earth will Jean ever recover?

Okay this is a reread so I really can’t act as though I didn’t know what happened.  I think though that I was expecting for Ezri to maybe die in a fight or somebody to do a backstabbing number on her.  I never saw the whole self-sacrificing thing at all.  Even now I keep thinking surely there must have been another way, but then even as I sit and dwell on it I know that there wasn’t.  What was she gonna do really, look for a pair of oven gloves!  Plus, when you think about it, she didn’t just save Jean and the whole crew but she also saved the children.  I don’t know how Jean will recover – he’s going to blame himself and think that he should have been the one to save the day.

2.       The deceit, the betrayal, first Rodanov and then Colvard.  Even now I’m not entirely sure I understand Colvard – Rodanov was never keen on the oath but Colvard seemed okay with it all and yet in this final deceit she was more devious than Rodanov – what do you think was her motive?

Well, I have to say I was just downright bloody disgusted with Colvard.  What a bitch!  Two-faced backstabbing mare!  Motive, I’m not sure about, maybe she’s jealous of Drakasha or maybe she wanted more from her and was spurned.  I could have slapped her though.  Okay, Rodanov isn’t exactly soft and fluffy but at least he was quite openly unhappy with the scheme in the first place.  I don’t think it made it right the way he then reacted afterwards but he had a certain respect for Drakasha at least (although I thought he got what he deserved!).

3.       Merrain – such a puzzle, no real answer, the mysterious tattoo, the determination to kill everyone to keep her identity and that of her master a secret.  Does anybody have any ideas where she’s from and what she’s up to exactly and who the hell is she working for??

I’ve had a good think about this and in particular her strange tattoo.  It’s very puzzling.  I don’t think she’s working for the Bonsmagi and her actions were a little bit odd at the end.  She’d had plenty of time and opportunity to kill Locke and Jean but then at the end seemed to want them suddenly dead.  It’s as though she was working some strange double game as though she had to play the Archon’s game and help them stay alive when it was the opposite to what she wanted.  Maybe that’s why she killed the Archon’s people when Locke and Jean escaped with the ship originally, perhaps she thought the Archon would just simply kill them and she would be innocent of their deaths.  Which then makes who she’s working for all the more intriguing because whoever it is mustn’t want them dead…  I just don’t know who that would be.  The Bondsmagi would want them both dead, ditto a lot of others from Camorr, maybe the Spider was trying to help them and that’s who she was working for – but that doesn’t seem right either.  It could be his long lost father – trying to protect him – by sending a jealous sister!  Lol.  I give up.

4.       Finally we get to the point of the GB’s latest scheme, all that elaborate planning for two years, fancy chairs, gambling, dust covered cards, abseiling lessons – all for one gigantic bluff. I loved the diversionary tactic here but having finally reached the end of the story and, more to the point, the end result – do you think the GB’s are as clever as they think they are?

I loved the bluff.  All that strutting around, years of planning, all so they could get taken to Requin’s office and rob his precious pictures.  I love the fact that they knew his safe was unbeatable and weren’t even going to go there but they were playing on his own insecurities to get their hooks into him.  I mean, to a certain extent you just can’t help but be impressed by their plans, they seem to have thought of everything.  But if you measure their success in terms of what they have to show at the end of the two years – then it’s fairly small.  Although after the last couple of years they’ve had they probably think they’re lucky to be alive.  It’s made for good reading though.  I suppose if they just made a fortune and retired somewhere quiet to sip on a cocktail it would be a bit dull!

5.       I must admit that I liked Requin and Selendri – particularly at the end – I don’t think Requin will go after Locke and Jean, he was even sort of cool and composed about it all, in fact he came across as a bit pleased with himself because he had the last laugh.  Plenty of good characters this time which did you enjoy reading most about this time?

I couldn’t help but like Requin and Selendri.  I don’t want to make friends or anything but I thought they were good characters and I liked the way that the two of them were like a really good team.  Requin came across as confident in his own set up and even at the end he didn’t seem overly bothered.  He came across almost like an indulgent parent with a naughty boy.  That being said he came out of it all in a much stronger position so I suppose it was easy to be indifferent about it all.

6.       Finally, a triple barrel question, I know I shouldn’t ask this BUT, on reflection do you have a favourite between LoLL or RSURS??  And why?  Are you going to pick up Republic of Thieves?  And, where do you think Lynch will take us to next??

Well, on first reading of both these books I think I would have said without doubt LoLL was my favourite.  This time around though I find it more difficult to choose.  I think the first book in a series like this is always difficult to follow because you’ve lost the element of surprise or the novelty factor but having now reread RSURS I can genuinely say I can’t now decide.  I enjoyed both of them equally I think.  I loved LoLL – such a great introduction to Lynch’s world but RSuRS undoubtedly is an exciting and fun read.  I loved the swashbuckling.  I loved that Jean had a bit of romance enter his life.  The con was great.  Loads of assasins.  What’s not to love?  Of course I will pick up RoT – I just hope it’s out in autumn??  Any news on that anyone???  Where will we go to next.  No idea.  I guess as Locke and Jean are conmen they have to be in a city.  Tempted to say somewhere away from water – perhaps we can go somewhere more mountainous – with dragons!

Loved reading this with you all and look forward to your discussions.

Lynn 😀

Red Seas Under Red Skies

Red Seas Under Red Skies