Week three already! Doesn’t time fly? This week’s questions are hosted by Lynn over at Lynn’s Book Blog, so hop on over and check out everyone else’s replies! (After reading mine, of course.)
1. The election competition. Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean. Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea. What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?
Objectively speaking it was utter genius, and it really proved that Sabetha should not be underestimated. How she executed it, I think, was both incredibly clever and very underhanded. Clever because she knew that Locke would never refuse her a kiss if she asked for it, and underhanded because she used his biggest weakness against him. That said, I did believe her when she said it was for Locke’s own good, and that she did it because she genuinely felt that he would run himself into the ground trying to beat her (no false modesty there either). She also made sure that they were in the best possible care and lacked nothing except freedom. All in all a very impressive opening gambit.
2. During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water – I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue – Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched? Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?
The Eldren seems the most likely explanation. They’ve left stuff behind everywhere, but very little in Lashain (I think? I don’t remember seeing any descriptions of any Eldren/Elderglass structures). With the lake positioned between Karthain and Lashain it’s no real stretch of the imagination to see some ancient Eldren city fathoms deep underwater with strange lights glowing everywhere. Especially after Patience’s theory of the Eldren having received some ultimate Godly smackdown. Atlantis, anyone?
3. Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course – were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?
For something so massively anticipated (both by Locke and by us as readers), I think it was pretty perfect. There was never any way she was going to shout ‘Locke!’ and throw herself into his arms, nor was she going to be a polite stranger, because that would have been insulting. I think there was enough of a feeling of old friends meeting after years apart, but also with enough of a ‘I know you’ve been dying to see me again, but if I felt the same I’d never have run off on you in the first place’ in there too.
Jean’s reaction was spot on as well, I think. He doesn’t have the blind spot that Locke has for Sabetha, and I doubt he’s forgiven her for running off on his best friend, or for turning him into a blabbering fool, for that matter. He’s understandably wary.
(I think it’s testament again to Sabetha’s skill as a Gentleman Bastard that she fooled them and they didn’t realise who she was until it was far too late. No face lost on either side, methinks.)
What I found truly touching is Locke’s behaviour prior to the meeting. The nerves were so realistic and recognisable, yet even in that he still retains the essence that makes him Locke. My favourite quote in this part was this:
“Well, look, if you’ve got the new bruisers in hand and you’ve already heard the news, I’m, uh, going up to the room… to get ready.”
“You’ve got at least four hours before we have to leave.”
“Yeah, but if I don’t start my nervous pacing now, I’ll never have it all done in time.”
Locke knows very well he’s being an idiot about her, but being the masochist he is I believe he takes a strange enjoyment out of it.
4. So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own! Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?
Pretty par for the course for a medieval-type society, to be honest. Nobility is pretty much untouchable for the unwashed masses. That was a challenge for them to get their teeth into though! And as always I was impressed with how they actually managed to do so. They’re so clever they really make me feel stupid sometimes.
5. The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts – are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face! Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang. Any ideas of how it will play out?
I rather liked it all. It’s funny to see the Sanzas struggle with hangovers and reading lines. The theatre stuff is all very Shakespearian and a bit o.O at times, but that makes it all even more theatrical. As for it being out of character – it is and it isn’t. I think Chains meant for them to be completely outside of their comfort zone, but in an environment that won’t get them killed if they mess it up, because once they start applying that acting knowledge to their real ‘day jobs’, the world won’t be so forgiving. Bring on the theatrics!
6. We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi. What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?
Moncraine is a bit of an arsehole, but he’s probably meant to be. Full of himself, arrogant, stubborn, hard-headed… I suppose it needs someone like that to keep a bunch of eccentric actors in line, even if it’s only by keeping them united in their dislike of him.
Boulidazi… I’m not sure. He seems okay for now, and at least he’s easily enough fooled by Locke and Sabetha’s Camorri noblemen ploy, but I seem to remember Locke remarking on the fact that he seems to have a bit of a violent streak, which could be dangerous. Also, the fact that he seems to fancy Sabetha is like a big flashing neon sign saying ‘TROUBLE AHEAD’.
7. The rooftop scene and the apology. How did it all go so wrong? And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?
Well, ultimately they’re still two teenagers stuffed full of hormones, and considering what Sabetha says people do with redhead virgin girls (that was really horrible) I can kind of see why she overreacts just a tad. Still, it is a completely unjustified overreaction. Whether Locke can convince her of that probably all depends on whether she’ll even let him talk to her. Girls are good at that whole ‘don’t even talk to me’ routine.
ETA: Woops, that included a bit we haven’t read yet. My fault for having read the whole book already! Sorry!
The spat with Boulidazi… I don’t know. In part it maybe depends on how much he actually overheard, but that whole conversation really wasn’t what you’d normally hear two noble-blooded cousins discuss together. I’m not even going to speculate though, because it’s impossible to second-guess Locke.
General observations: I’m glad there’s finally some progress in the relationship between Locke and Sabetha. We’re halfway through the book and it’s been nothing but buildup until now, the suspense is killing me!