Chimes at Midnight (October Daye #7) by Seanan McGuire, readalong week 2

chimesToday is the second week of a four week readalong of Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire.    How I’m loving this series and it feels as though each book just keeps adding more depth to the world created by McGuire.  Feel free to join us.  A Goodreads page is set up here or simply jump in with the comments.  Also, be aware that spoilers will be lurking below so be careful!

This week I’m providing the questions so lets get a budge on:

Well, as ever I’m curious about the Luidaeg.  I used to feel as though she’d simply withdrawn from the world of the fae but the more I read the more it feels like she really is very restricted.  Any guesses why the Luidaeg is so restricted in what she can say and do?
I’m so all over the place with the Luidaeg.  What a fantastic character she is and how cunning of Ms McGuire to make us like her so much and hanker after more of her in these stories.  I can’t help feeling that I’m all over the place with this story line.  Or maybe I’m just too close to it – maybe it’s right in front of my eyes but I just can’t see it.  Everything about the Luidaeg involves water.  The water people are on Toby’s side at the moment, the Luidaeg is on Toby’s side.  Toby was turned into a fish – was that really as simple as it seems or was the choice of a fish meant to be something a little bit nasty, like a joke at somebody else’s expense!  Has there been some sort of war and the Luidaeg was banished to her own area and restricted from talking about virtually anything?  Did she accept these terms to save somebody else?  It’s so intriguing that I might actually pop.
Is it suspicious that there was an earthquake the night that Arden and Nolan’s parents were killed – was that part of something bigger or was it just pure chance.  Was somebody helping the Queen in the Mist to gain the throne that isn’t hers.
Frankly, and I’m probably barking up the wrong oak and ash here, but, I don’t particularly think the Queen of the Mists was smart enough to pull off a coup of this sort – yeah, I’m probably wrong, but she just doesn’t seem too savvy.  First of all, she’s sent Toby off with a flea in her ear and hasn’t even thought about the fact that she will start uncovering things.  Secondly, she just doesn’t come across as somebody with all the smarts.  She seems almost childish.  I can only assume that somebody was pulling the strings??
Marianne, the nurse who whisked Arden and Nolan away from danger, provided them with protective illusions and then left –  do you think she’ll turn up again?  Do you think this nurse could be known to us – or maybe in hiding somewhere?
Who is Marianne.  Come out come out wherever you are.  This whole storyline intrigues me.  From the king and the way that nobody ever saw him with his children or his partner. I understand the desire for separating your private life out from your public life but he really did take this to extremes.  Why?  I mean, did he have massive paranoia or was he just incredibly good at foreseeing the future because clearly he was right in terms of his family being under threat.  I need all the answers.
There was one particular comment in these chapters about no other Fetch having lived as long as May – I’m curious about that and worried in equal measure.  Why do you think May has lasted so long and does this bode ill?
Well, I’m hopeful that Fetch’s don’t usually last this long because the person that they have come for usually dies.  So, therefore, Toby is still alive (barely at the moment) so May is still alive.  I’m sticking with this theory because otherwise it means that there is doom and gloom on May’s horizon.
So, we’re searching for a Hope Chest – any ideas about firstborns that might be holding one??  Interesting too that the Hope Chest name was Goldengreen – any other guesses about names?
I’m rubbish this week, I really have no theories.  The only thing I can come up with is that maybe some of the other more recent knowes might also be named for hope chests?
A pie in the face – very slapstick and quite horrific how easy it is to become addicted!  We seem to be onto something with Toby’s blood helping to stave off the hunger, do you think this might be the key to a cure somehow?
Well, that was certainly a slapstick way to try and kill somebody wasn’t it!  And how awful.  It is strange because Toby’s blood seems to have brought her out of her sleep, it distracts her from her hunger and now that she has her very own blood M&Ms it seems she might be able to hold on for a little longer.We know that her blood abilities are strong, drugs travel in the blood stream – I don’t actually know what I’m talking about right now but maybe there is a cure just right in front of us – even if I can’t put my finger on it.  Yet.
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Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire, readalong week 2

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Late Eclipses is the fourth installment of the highly praised Toby Daye series and I can seriously say I’m firmly hooked on this series now!

Today is week two of our readalong of  Late Eclipses (October Daye #4) ) by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  This week I’m hosting the Q&A.  Oh my goodness what an emotional week – I’m a wreck!

The details are over here on Goodreads – the schedule is below.  If you want to join in or jump in with the comments then please do so.  Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

Week 1: Saturday 2nd July, Chapters 1 to 9, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 9th July, Chapters 10 to 18, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 3: Saturday 16th July, Chapters 19 to 27, hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 4: Saturday 23rd July, Chapters 28 to End, hosted by Hisham El-far

Lily, Luna and then Tybalt’s people – why are they being targeted? 

That does seem like a silly question but I do have my kind of odd reasonings for raising it – I suppose my main train of thought was that if it’s so easy to target all these others why not just target Toby?  Clearly this is aimed at her and all I can deduce from it is that somebody is trying to badly hurt her – but why not ‘actually’ hurt Toby instead of all these others, it seems like it would be so much easier somehow.  She doesn’t really take precautions, she rushes into the fray without a second though….  I could just go with the idea that somebody is really trying to make her hurt, perhaps before finishing her off in some way – just showing how weak and vulnerable she is?  But the reverse of this is that maybe whoever it is simply can’t hurt Toby.  *clutching at straws* also springs to mind as well.

Last week we saw the Queen again and she had apparently been through a transformation of sorts herself just before announcing that Toby was to be Countess – what, if anything, do you think might be the connection between these poisonings and the happenings last week.

I’ve asked this question because I’m really hoping for enlightenment from others.  I haven’t got a clue – not even a crazy theory.  It all seems so deliciously intermingled but is it?  Are there simply two separate themes and I’m going off down the wrong beaten track.  My brain is going in crazy circles.  Gods I love this book!  That change with the Queen – it was like a sulky rebellion or something…

We visited Tybalt’s Kingdom – what were your impressions? Toby herself was caught wondering just how vast Tybalt’s court actually is – do you think there’s any significance or just a quick thought?

Every time we visit Tybalt’s kingdom I’m flooded with conflicting emotions.  Firstly this is his domain and of course being the cat kingdom – there are plenty of waifs and strays included.  It always seems a lot less glamorous than the other courts – almost like an inferior version and I get the impression that this is how Tybalt is treated in a way – it makes me wonder if there’s more to the thought above.  This is obviously a large court – even if they feel a little like the underdogs (sorry).  I could be totally off track with this one of course but it just comes across like the cat court is a little bit like the ‘poor relation’ in some way. I love it – it has a dangerous and dark feel to it and – well, laugh away – but I always conjure up in my mind that Jet’s scene from West Side Story – I know, I’m a fool of a tuck!

What I’m particularly puzzled about is the absence of the Luidaeg – I’m not sure what’s going on in that respect and one part of me wonders if somebody is attacking all of Toby’s other friends and loved ones might the Luidaeg also be under threat – as difficult to believe as that might be.

Okay, in last week’s chapters Toby tried to get help from the Luidaeg but was cut short and at the time it seemed like something dramatic was going on in the background.  Now, at the time my main thoughts were that Ms McGuire has to find a way for Toby to not always get all her answers in this way as it would become formulaic, my next feeling was annoyance at the Luidaeg for not helping.  However, after this week’s chapters I have a nagging feeling that whatever was taking place in the earlier chapters could have been significant.  Also, as all of Toby’s other friends are being targeted why not the Luidaeg – even though she does come across as invulnerable?  If I was Toby right now – I’d be visiting all my friends and putting them into hiding or a bubble, or something.

Do you think Toby is going insane? Why is she seeing Oleander but nobody else is doing so?

I don’t think Toby is going insane although clearly somebody is going to great lengths to try and make it seem that way.  Oleander – well, I’m feeling very vague about her and her abilities – she could be capable of all of this, very capable, my only bugbear is why she doesn’t leave a magical scent – there’s no doubt a very good reason for that though.  And then there’s much being made of the whole casting a shadow??

It also seems that Raysel is doing her utmost to poison everyone against Toby – what are your thoughts on Raysel and her own motives?

Well Raysel hates Toby – I don’t try to pretend I completely understand why though.  Everyone very much acts as though Toby failed her – but she was a bloody fish!  What could she do – she wasn’t sitting with her feet up reading a book and enjoying a cup of tea – she was a fish!  Her life was pretty much over bar intervention from a good friend.  Anyway, I digress.  It seems to me that Raysel is making a play for power.  It almost feels too simple and obvious to say that – especially if it involves poisoning Luna – but that’s the way it feels.

The other thing that obviously occurs to me is that there seems to be a lot of uncertainty going around concerning territories??  Or more to the point – vulnerable territories – again, is that too simple and obvious??

Final thoughts, I absolutely feel that Toby’s mother must show up?  Surely??

And look, two gorgeous banners – one for the top and bottom – I think we have a craze right here!  I’m totally ruined and need two banners for everything right now!  Greedy much!

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Any Other Name (Split Worlds #2) by Emma Newman, readalong week 2

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Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William – a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family’s intentions for them both. 

Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency – a mysterious organisation that appears to play by its own rules – and none of them favourable to Society. 

Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife’s employer – something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds.

Today is week two of our readalong of Split Worlds by Emma Newman.  The schedule is below and a link to the Goodread’s page here.  Feel free to jump on board or join in with the comments and if you haven’t read the book please be aware of spoilers below.

Week 1: Monday 6th June, Chapters 1-6, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Monday 13th June, Chapters 7-13, hosted by x + 1
Week 3: Monday 20th June, Chapters 14-20, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Monday 27th June, Chapters 21-End, hosted by The Illustrated Page

Will wants to have his cake and eat it. Between his dealings with the Alba-Rosas and his efforts to coach Cathy for social success, how do you judge his behaviour this week?

Ohh, I don’t even want to go there – Will’s behaviour at the start of this just made me feel a little bit sick.  First of all – IT’S YOUR WEDDING NIGHT!  Just because he wasn’t going to get his way with Cathy he just slopes off and heads straight to Amelia.  And gives her some absolute b/s about I’ve been thinking about you, blah, blah, blah.  No.  If you were getting on with Cathy and thought you were in with a chance then you wouldn’t be with Amelia would you!  Wrongness.  Aside from the fact that he was just determined to have his wicked way and he didn’t really care who with and apart from the fact that he spent the night of his wedding in another woman’s bed I hated the way that he casually showed up in Amelia’s bedroom and told her how it’s going to be – it’s not like he exactly tried to lay on the romance.  It was so awful!  The thing is, he then, like he has throughout, seemed to almost redeem himself a little – but frankly, I just don’t know if I can come back from this.    Just the way he treats women in general is so bad – he comes across as being really nice but he’s not really is he.  He’s really self serving and definitely a product of the awful environment that he’s been raised in where women are given such little regard. He saved the Alba’s with his own self interest, and now he’s trying to be nice to Cathy, again with his own self interest.  I wonder if he’ll eventually have a moment where he realises what an ass he is!

Cathy seems to be taking on the Agency – just as Max is sent to investigate them. Is she biting off more than she can chew?

I thought Cathy was really good in this section.  She seems to be coming into her own and she’s obviously intelligent which is how she found it so easy to see through the Agency – plus I liked that she stood up to them.  I don’t think she’s biting off more than she can chew although she could be in for a battle here because I don’t think the Agency are going to just given up their monopoly so easily and the fact that Max is about to investigate them definitely makes me think that they’re obviously not all good!

Max drops a lot of hints that Leanne may not be entirely her own woman any more. What do you think is going on at Leanne’s flat? – and do you think there’s any chance for Sam to save his marriage?

This is very interesting.  I really don’t know what’s going on here – perhaps, to coin the Sorcerer’s phrase – Leanne is being used as some sort of ‘puppet’ in Mundanus?  Although – it does make me laugh a little that they’re looking at things such as changes in her weight and dress.  She’s surely not the only woman in London who has slimmed down and started to dress corporately – it’s not like the epitome of evil surely!  I actually think there could be a chance for their marriage but I suppose it depends on whether she’s being manipulated and is unaware – or she’s knowingly and willingly going down this route.  If the former then I suppose things could be reversed if the latter then it’s highly unlikely that she’ll want to.

We get our first glimpse of London Society at the Tulipas ‘intimate’ dinner, and we get a hint that Cathy might be tempted to adapt her goals. What did you think of how she handled herself at dinner – and of how she reacted on the way home?

I think there could be something in the suggestion last week that maybe Cathy would start trying to reform things for all the other women.  At the dinner party she took part in the conversation, she wasn’t content to be manhandled or show that she had a brain and then she took matters into her own hands and used the opportunity to talk to the other ladies about the Agency – which could have been a disaster but she took the chance.

All that being said – I’m keen to get to some ‘action’ now!  At the moment I’m not quite sure where the plot is going and it feels a little like the investigation has really slowed down.

Also, Sam and the Gargoyle make me laugh – they both think and talk about each other as though they’re separate beings!

 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, readalong week No.2 #RRSciFiMonth

Today is week two of a 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.  The details for the readalong are here and the schedule looks like this:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th): “Transit” to “Port Coriol” (95 pages)
Week 2 (Friday, November 13th): “Port Coriol” to “The Last War” (110 pages)
Week 3 (Friday, November 20th): “The Last War” to “Heresy” (107 pages)
Week 4 (Friday, November 27th): “Heresy” to end (90 pages)

All welcome.

So, to the questions, with a timely reminder before we start that the following may contain spoilers:

1. There has been significant conversation about AI, what it means to be alive, whether or not AI should have rights, whether or not a person can fall in love with a specific instance of AI, etc. This is a bit of a sticky situation. After the discussion between Pepper and Jenks, how do you feel about Lovey’s and Jenks’ relationship? Should they move forward with their plan?

This is a really fascinating train of thought to be honest.  Clearly a person can fall in love with an AI and Jenks is the proof of that.  And I can understand why Lovey wants a body – she’s an AI, she develops and learns and I suppose having a body will give her much more freedom to do so.  Can she feel for Jenks in the same way that he does for her? It’s really difficult to know isn’t it.  Is she manipulating him in order to get a body?  It’s a possibility I suppose – and she does need him in that respect – does she equate need with love?  Again, I’m not sure.  More importantly why does she want a body – does she want a body in order to break out of her confines and learn more, does she want to progress their relationship, does she think it will please Jenks?  And, no matter what the answer – are any of those things really so bad? Then again, does Jenks need Lovey – not in the same way perhaps but certainly it must be appealing to him that Lovey has no judgement in terms of him and his stature for example. In that respect they’re both equal in that they haven’t judged each other or had prejudices based on expectations and whatever feelings they have are built on something other than appearance.  I am enjoying this storyline and I’m keen to see how it develops.  In terms of Pepper and her fears, well, perhaps there is a time in history where AIs had bodies and maybe things didn’t go so well – maybe they did rise up – a la Terminator style- although clearly a body isn’t totally necessary to cause destruction is it?  I’m not totally sure that I’ve answered anything here – in fact I seem to have come up with more questions than answers.  I’m interested to see what happens but whatever action they take – well, it could have implications for others.  So, in one respect I really find it kind of sweet but in another, well, we’ll have to see.

2. In the chapter “Intro to Harmagian Colonial History,” we see Dr. Chef’s perspective of having been a mother, though he is currently male, and Sissix’s perspective that children aren’t people yet. Ohan is referred to as they/them. The Akarak are referred to as xyr/xe. These perspectives and preferences are perspectives actually held by different groups of humans in our own world. Do you think assigning these perspectives to aliens rather than humans make them easier or harder to sympathize with?

I guess it makes it easier in a way – although barely.  Probably just that thing about looking for common ground.  People – and aliens are all different though aren’t they – as we see from this book.

3. How might the ship robbery have been different if the Wayfarer were armed?

Well, I suppose it depends on how it was armed.  I think it is a good idea to take precautions against being attacked – like a shield.  However, I think it could have potentially been a lot worse if they were more armed.  Both were only small parties but if one person started shooting then they all could have started shooting and it could have escalated massively. At the end of the day they can replace the goods.  The only injury was Ashby and that was simply as a result of a misunderstanding in communication.  So yeah, I think there’s wouldn’t be any harm in taking some precautions – just be reasonable about it.  Ashby seems to have his head screwed on in that respect anyway.

4. As I finished the fourth chapter in my section, “Cricket,” I thought it might be a good place to stop and talk about some of our favorite humorous moments so far. What scenes really tickled your funny bone? Who makes you laugh the most?

I like the humour.  It’s not like outright guffawing but I enjoy keeping my dignity when I’m reading in Public!  The humour is more subtle – like Rosemary being consoled by her Pixel plant after a dressing down by Corbin.  I liked the humour between Dr Chef and Sissix when they were talking about humans – and putting something into the food to stop them being so smelly.  Or, after the robbery Sissix saying ‘I took some time to freak out.  Didn’t you?’   I loved the chapter ‘Cricket’.  The planet and the way the people live – reminiscent of earlier settlers from history – who have little but band together to help each other.  And I liked Bear – he’s a gigantic softie isn’t he – building guns and other things – and letting Kizzy plait his hair.  Good stuff.

Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week 2

Welcome to week two of our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series.  Kushiel’s Avatar is the third in the series and I am loving it so far.  So much goodness.  All free to join in, if you’ve already read this then please join in with the comments.  The full schedule is here and this week Allie at Tethyan Books is our lovely host.  Before moving on: a word of warning – there will be spoilers lurking below.

I must say before I even start that I’m loving this book so far, in fact, at this point it’s almost becoming my favourite.  I don’t know why, whether it just feels easier to read now knowing the characters more, I can’t be sure, but I’m really enjoying the story so far.  Anyway, moving swiftly on:

Chapters 14 – 25

1.  Phedre has been incredibly efficient in finding out what has happened to Imriel.  Do you think it really is as simple as a random act of cruelty?  Is it a punishment from Kushiel, and if so, why were the other two children involved?  

I’m not sure what to make of it at this point.  At first I was tempted to say that it was a random act of cruelty but then part of me also thinks maybe Imriel has been taken deliberately – and the other two were taken as a guise to make it seem like a random act.  Part of me just thinks it’s too much of a coincidence that Imriel – out of all the other goat herders – should be the one taken and also that only Imriel was shipped on.  I think there are just too many coincidences.  Perhaps one of the Gods has equally chosen Imriel for special attention in much the same way that Phedre has been chosen?  It remains to be seen but I’m definitely intrigued.

2.  A lot of justice is meted out (or not) to different people.  Do you think the priests deserve forgiveness for hiding Imriel?  Do you agree with the harsh methods in Amilcar toward the slavers?

The priests – well, I don’t think they’ve done anything worse than the priestesses who are currently providing sanctity to Melisande?  We all know that priests have to be confidential and not divulge things that they hear from their congregation so in much the same way I don’t see why the priests should be punished for taking the boy in and giving him an upbringing – they would hold to the same confidentiality.  Plus it seems like they were being fair in that Imriel truly was being brought up in ignorance of who he was – I hope that’s the case anyway as it could lead to trouble if he inadvertently blurts something out to his captors!  In terms of the slavers I’m not sorry to say that I think they got what they deserved.  I admit that I don’t like torture but I simply don’t think they would have given up the information otherwise.  And, I really, strongly, dislike (despise even) slavers – I know that’s probably a bit strong  – but it really is the way I feel.  In fantasy you tend to read about slavers on occasion and every time I experience the same feeling of horror that you could be taken from your home and then called a slave.  What right do people have to do such a thing – it makes me totally aghast.

3.  Do you think it’s worth it for Phedre to go to Serenissima to get information from Melisande, or would it be better for her to travel with the royal entourage and find her own guide?

I think she should go to Melisande.  You never quite know what to expect from Melisande and even now I’m not sure what tricks she has up her sleeves but on the flip side of the coin Phedre could learn something important or pick up some small clue.  I think it’s highly possible that any guide Melisande provides will already have an agenda and in that respect I think it’s good that Phedre is trying to learn the language – at least that way she might have a surreptitious way of discovering something unbeknown to others.  Plus this way we have two threads – the one following Imriel’s trail and the one seeking the answer to the Hyacinthe puzzle.  It will be interesting to see if they cross paths.

4.  It occurs to me that Joscelin improved the public attitude towards the Cassilines, though he was cast out, and the Prince of Travellers may be having a similar effect for his own people.  In what ways do you think the Tsingani and the prejudice against them might change as a result of recent events?  Do you think Hyacinthe will ever be allowed to go back to them, and if so, should he?

Hopefully some of the prejudices against the Tsingani will be quelled although to be honest I think it’s doubtful.  These prejudices are built up over years and years and whilst one person’s opinion might be changed due to circumstances I think the majority of people will continue with their fear and distrust.  In fairness the Tsingani also have their own fear and loathing of the ‘Gadje’ – although I think they have more reason in that they will have experienced much more prejudice.  I think that putting to bed such deep seated prejudices takes a long time and hopefully small steps such as this help but I also think it takes both parties putting down their baggage and trying.  I’m not sure if Hyacinthe should go back to the Tsingani – it’s never really been his home as it?  He’d be a little like a fish out of water there and I think people would still dislike his use of the dromonde and also would probably be scared of him after his time as Master of the Straits.  I don’t know – I think Hyachinthe’s home will more likely be where his friends and loved ones are.  I wonder what he will make of Sibeal and whether they might have a future together?  He might find it easier to be with somebody he has an affinity with after all.  I hope he finds some measure happiness anyway – more than that I hope he finds a way to still be a part of these stories as I’ve missed his presence.

The other participants:

  1. Susan at Dab of Darkness
  2. Allie at Tethyan Books
  3. Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
  4. Me at Lynn’s Book Blog
  5. Emily at Emma Wolf
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