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Redwood (The Familiar #5)
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Volume 5: Redwood > November 13-18, pages 288-509

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message 1: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Scuffling (ianscuffling) | 96 comments Post thoughts, discussions, tidbits in this thread or create a new topic under Vol. 5 here as you read along with the Facebook Reading Group.

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message 2: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Scuffling (ianscuffling) | 96 comments I'll need to go back and revisit recapping Anwar and Xanther's chapters when I re-read, probably in anticipation of TFv06 (whenever that may be), but for the most part, this section is a kind of Rashomon where each narrator is recounting the action of the previous Act II.

Also, please feel free to correct me on any mistakes I've made--I mix up the members of Luther's gang quite a lot while reading:

13 – Jingjing: Tian Li asks JJ to translate what she says—Tian Li makes clear that she knows Astair as “her mother” and notes that “she’s so lucky to have you.” Where Tian Li is kind and warm, JJ is rude and pushy. He demands to know where the cat is but then translates Tian Li’s remarks about how “she’s waited so long to meet the five of you.” JJ corrects to two after he says five, seemingly unaware of the whole family the way Tian Li is (she even knows their names). Anwar and Astair leave the room to make tea for Tian Li who needs to rest on the couch. JJ is tired too, and frustrated from the cab ride, which took a long time—he’s suspicious that Shnorhk took the longest route possible to squeeze them for a bigger fare. Tian Li gave Shnorhk and extra $20 to wait outside for 10 minutes while they went into the house. While taking stock of the comfort of the Ibrahims’ home (and notes the spiral staircase), Shasti comes downstairs and has to be ushered back out of the room to go to bed. While Astair and Anwar are out of the room, Xanther comes down, but JJ seems to be able to hear the cat coming before he even sees X coming. When she arrives with the cat on her shoulder, JJ is bewildered and upset—he says he had touched the cat, but definitely never held it, much less had it been on his shoulder. In what seems like impossibly quick moves, X is suddenly very close to both JJ and Tian Li, holding the cat out in her hand to give to Tian Li saying “he’s yours.” JJ sees X’s treatment of the animal as offensive somehow and winds up a punch, landing a blow on Xanther.

14 – Anwar:

15 – Shnorhk: Jingjing, turned out of the house by Tian Li after he punched Xanther and she used some kind of force/power to knock him back, walks up to Shnorhk’s cab. Shnorhk, while waiting for Tian Li and JJ, has taken the opportunity to relax. He takes stock of the neighborhood, noting all of the beautiful, well-kept houses on the street, with the Ibrahims’s house as an exception—describing it as very dark and dreary in contrast to what surrounds it. He also looks on his maneki neko, recalling that Tian Li asked him what its name was—confused why he would name the porcelain statue, he suddenly “knows” it’s name—though it’s not on the page, one might think the name he “finds” for it is that of his dead daughter, Arshlaous. When JJ comes up to the cab, Shnorhk is worried about where Tian Li is—he does not like JJ who he refers to as “Ferret Man,” but is fascinated by the old woman. JJ asks him to wait for another 10, which he’s reluctant but willing to do for Tian Li. He looks forward to meeting up with Mnatsagan and his friends later, though is enjoying the chance to rest while waiting for the Singaporean pair. The chapter ends with JJ telling Shnorhk that the people who live in the house are not friends, that Tian Li and he are just there to “get back my cat.”

16 – Xanther:

17 – Orbists: Cas arrives where she’s to meet Recluse. The Orb is programmed to detonate if she removes her hand from it, ensuring that if Recluse kills her, he will die too—or if anything else goes sour. Recluse lowers the lights and the number of laser sights pointed on them covers the area. Recluse then offers Cas a deal to end the war between them; compensation, (legal) immunity, etc. However, Cas realizes there must be something deeper if he’s coming to her for help. Recluse states that while the Orbists have been successful at reducing the VEM window, they’ve missed a significant thing: all of the clips are going black.

18 – Luther: Domingo, the purple-clad pimp, makes the slip when he leaves the club and loses Pina and Tweetie who are tailing him while Luther and Juarez are taking a cab to the stake-out. Finally, Luther receives a call from Domingo—he wants to meet up, so they plan a place of Luther’s choosing—an old sewing factory. They cuff Domingo’s hands to ensure their safety. It’s there where Domingo starts making an offer to Luther; quite the balloon parade and come deal Synsnap. Luther doesn’t seem interested, but Domingo lets the gang try some of the black balloon “pure Synsnap.” Seemingly, nothing happens to the crew, except Luther tastes something sweet after smoking it. Domingo then reveals that he’s known Luther’s been hunting him and that he was trying to figure out what Luther was after before agreeing to be “caught” or meet face-to-face. Luther demands to know who told him. After plying Domingo with cash and the promise of letting him out of his cuffs, he finally relents that it’s one of his whores, Cricket who heard it from a john. Cricket is a young girl covered in freckles and had been working for Domingo briefly before returning to Nacho, her first pimp, there’s also mention that she does poetry on her phone, seemingly to suggest she is one of the voices in the RawrGrrl entr’acts, Luther’s crew remembers her because she loved Hopi. Domingo either won’t reveal, or doesn’t know the name of the Cricket’s john. He then tries again to enlist Luther in changing to the Synsnap game instead of the balloon parade. Luther doesn’t buckle, but gives Domingo the keys to the cuffs. Juarez stabs Domingo in the neck, killing him.

Entre’act III: RawrGrrl: Someone is texting her sister to show up somewhere. Cricket is writing poetry about milfoil flowers.

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