May 20, 13
Recommended to Estara by:
one of my top comfort read authors with the newest in an auto-buy series
fans of the series
Read from April 27 to 29, 2013 — I own a copy, read count: 2
** spoiler alert **
Due to today being a national holiday I was able to read the rest of the book in six hours straight through and having read it it confirms that for me personally MSW really writes the most fulfilling, nourishing comfort reads at the moment.
I cried the first time when Kaylin slept in what looked like her old flat for the last time. Her realization that - while as a child in the fiefs she hadn't let herself become attached to much more than people - her small flat, rented after having been accepted by the Hawks, after making the cut with Barren, after taking the name Kaylin, had in many ways symbolized her new self to her, which is why she felt so irritated subconsciously by Bellusdeo's nonchalant coopting of the room and her presence: it really resonated with me.
Kaylin's mystical strength continues to come down to midwifing and healing when you ignore the way that it is done via true words - while the birth of the being from the egg needed more than she could provide, she nurtured the egg before its hatching and provided the first food afterwards.
She fumbled towards healing a wrong she can't quite understand but instinctively deal with due to her being Chosen when she saves the first compromised Hallione, she redirects power and words corrupted into a different channel when she can't heal the damage and midwifes the survival of what little past the misused human reborns have left.
Whenever she can she tries to clear away corruption and reinforce choice and sense of self. One of my favourite bits was when she managed to provide two of the Halliones with companionship - one of the occasions being like the return of long lost family.
And in between those action pieces and dangers in this book, there was an exploration of what Bellusdeo sees as her position at the Dragon Court now (and the problems inherent to that), of Kaylin's standing within the Barrani High Court especially regarding its rulers, after the huge upset she dealt them in the last book. I didn't expect to get but was delighted to find out more about Severn's current state of mind and the part of his past that Kaylin didn't share.
Interestingly enough, although this book had Nightshade, the focus of this part of the journey towards the Western March was much more on the Consort and on Teela (fascinating - I especially enjoyed the interludes Kaylin had with both when they were forced to room together in the Halliones). I found Nightshade totally in character and believably in both the positive and negative actions he takes in this book - he is Barrani. So is the consort and so is Teela. They are not human and the fact that MSW makes me feel a distance but sort of allows me to understand that is another part of why I love this series so.
I do not in the least feel cheated of an action arc or a danger arc or an emotional growth arc: all of these are in this book. The multiplicity of worlds may not have directly been in danger this time, but I have the impression that the underlying basis of it - the true words - was in danger and the fight is only in abeyance. There was no clear winner this time, but Kaylin and her group have a breather and more warning now.
In respect to warning: various people of all kinds of mystical knowledge have by now told Kaylin she has to do more than she has done so far to nourish the hatchling from the egg properly (may I say he was an especially delightful part of the book ^^). I expect Cast in Sorrow to not only bring the tale telling of the Western March to some sort of conclusion but also address that dangling danger.
Also: I love the fact that I can feel the fear and danger of the situation and be brought to elation and tears in this series WITHOUT the sacrifice of well-known characters. Kaylin feels the loss and MSW makes me feel it, too. The loss of potential and of future even more than the loss of life.
And a last thought I had, considering I read impressions that this wasn't a full story: why is it fine when Martin or Jordan lay out long ranging plot threads spread over numerous long books which do not allow starting later in the series or you miss a lot of the subthreads, but let a woman writer do so in epic fantasy and she gets complained to?
For some reason people don't mind C.J.Cherryh doing so, or is it because the Foreigner series is sf? Hmm.
2nd read: Nightshade clearly shows his true colours regarding his valuing of his human fief inhabitants, and Kaylin reacts in character and that is why, my dears, I will never believe that Kaylin loves him unless she gets brainwashed.
Kaylin is emphatic with so many unusual beings; when she is influenced by stereotypes or prejudice and she is shown that those are wrong, she adapts. People... for that matter entities who can feel (or what would you call the elements or the Maker) are always dealt with according to how they present themselves to her and she always will give them the benefit of the doubt if she can afford to.
For Nightshade, outside of his Barrani court ties, everything comes down to power (in many ways like the Dragon Outcaste, though it seems he doesn't want to be Highlord of his caste, hmm. But then he didn't get corrupted in Ravellon, did he). And his connection and devotion to Kaylin does, too.
On this series reread I also realised that we get a NEW point-of-view character for the first time. Usually we always get limited third person via Kaylin and what happens to her. And suddenly in the last few pages we get the consort! I wonder how that will play out in the next book.