The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, final week #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the final week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a

Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?

I really enjoyed this aspect of this week’s reading.  It felt like they took almost shy steps to begin with but eventually their relationship developed so well and I can’t help thinking that will make such a huge difference in relationships with the goblins moving forward.  Avar was very easy to read – a real force of nature tupe character that swallows up page space as soon as he arrives on the scene.  And, finally, I loved that he left a small army contingent behind to look out for his grandson.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Another plot against Maia is foiled… Were you surprised by the reveal of Tethimar as the one behind the late emperor’s murder? And what are your thoughts on this reveal, in light of the way this part of the story played out?

I wasn’t so much surprised by Tehimar’s involvement in the plot but I was surprised at his method.  It seemed a little crazy storming the dais with a knife – a death wish by any other name really.  In fact, I’d say the plots against Maia were probably, for me, the weakest part of the storyline.  I think I was expecting something with some thought or subtlety – that being said I guess Tethimar was driven a little crazy with hate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very, very happy that neither plot succeeded but I was a bit surprised at the weakness of both attempts.

For all of the enmity that’s shown to him, our emperor has a much more hopeful nickname by the end… Looking back, are you satisfied with/pleased by the way Maia handled all of these situations in which he had to make or break relationships? Was there anything you were left questioning or that you feel should have gone differently?

Maia is the absolute star of the piece.  I love the way his character has grown during the course of the book.  I love the way he handles himself, others and situations.  He is genuinely caring and even when he lacks confidence his interactions are a joy to read about.  He’s strong when you least expect it and also forgiving.  I can’t help but notice how everyone has warmed up to him, he even turned the ‘we can’t be friends’ issue on it’s head and found a compromise.  And I especially like the ending with the bridge analogy.  The bridge became something much more than a structure.  It helped Maia achieve confidence in himself, it demonstrated his progressive attitude to change and to listen and it also worked as a comparison with the bridges he was building with others.  Even when he acknowledged that he wasn’t able to build bridges with everyone.

I went into this read not really knowing what to expect and ended up loving this.  This is not a sweeping epic drama, it’s much more character focused and Maia is a great character to read about.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Thanks to Wyrd and Wonder for this fantastic month long love of everything fantasy and also to Lisa for hosting this readalong which definitely gave me the motivation I needed to pick this up.

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

Hobbit readalong, final week, J R R Tolkien

This week is the final week of the Hobbit readalong and the questions have been provided by  The Wicked Queen’s Mirror .  I really cannot stress enough that if you haven’t read The Hobbit and are intending to do so then don’t read any further as spoilers are contained within.

Thanks and straight to the Q&A:

1) Throughout the book there are many examples of greed (for both food and treasure). Why do you think Bilbo takes and hides the Arkenstone when he is later happy to ransom it for peace?  Is it simple greed? Forethought? Or a convenient plot device?

Strangely enough I don’t think Bilbo was bothered about any of the treasure.  He was only ever roped into the adventure because of his stubborn pride and he doesn’t really need any extra money as he already has a very comfortable existence.  I think throughout the story Bilbo showed a remarkable ability to think ahead and almost to benefit from a kind of foresight of sorts.  I’m not sure  that he knew himself why he’d picked up the Arkenstone other than that it seemed to be of great importance to Gloin – perhaps he was intending on presenting the stone to Gloin in a flourish, although I think it’s more likely that he’d started to see a different side to Gloin and so was keeping the stone as a bargaining tool.

2) Much has been written of Tolkien’s experiences in World War One and how the Lord of the Rings  shows both the romantic, heroic aspects of war (Aragorn’s journey)but also the stark realities (Frodo’s journey).  What did you think about the way the Battle of Five Armies was described? Did you feel these two aspects of war were represented?

Well, yes, I think both aspects were shown.  You have for example people rushing into the fray without hesitation, you have people and animals taking part, even at great risk to themselves, when they actually really didn’t need to join the battle and then alternately you have the loss of life and the sadness at the demise of Gloin and many others.

3)What did you think about the role of the goblins in the Battle of Five Armies? Was it easy for you to accept their appearance and that the threat they posed would automatically unite the men and elves with the dwarves? Or did you find it too simplistic?

I wasn’t really surprised at the appearance of the Goblins, they are basically greedy creatures and would be naturally compelled by the thought of all the wealth left unprotected after the passing of Smaug.  I suppose it was also fairly natural for the others to unite against the common enemy.  At the end of the day the elves/men and dwarves were not really enemies they were fighting over the gold and what they thought should be their share of of it.  The goblins are the natural enemy to all of them.

4) In ‘The Last Stage’ we are told Bilbo remained very happy to the end of his days. If you had been off on an adventures could you settle back to normal life so easily? Would you be content with only occasional visits to the elves?

I suppose Bilbo’s ‘Baggins’ side came out eventually.  We heard (many) times of his longing for his hearth and a cup of tea.  I think deep down he probably would have still liked something of an adventure but  maybe possession of the ring also changed his feelings.  After all, if he was off on adventures here and there roaming the hills there’d be more chance of him loosing the ring.

I enjoyed this reread and taking part with other readers.  I also feel set up and ready to watch the film now when it’ finally released.

I must confess I was surprised at how quickly Smaug was killed off – it seemed very sudden and I was expecting the dragon to have a bigger part somehow.  I thought the chapter where he met Bilbo and they had their little chat was very entertaining.

Thanks again to Writers’ Bloc for hosting this.