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Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 2 of 4
This topic is about Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 2 of 4
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Past annual reads > April - June Chapters 26 - 50

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Book Wormy | 1985 comments Mod
Q2 Discussion


Book Wormy | 1985 comments Mod
Well it is time to start our Q2 reading and I am waiting for the library to get hold of volume 2 as they had lost in on the shelves somewhere. It has now been found but needs to make its way to my library...


message 3: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments My copy is buried under all sorts of other books I should be reading....but I will get to it.


Book Wormy | 1985 comments Mod
My copy has arrived and I think I will use a chapter every other day or so as my reading plan, starting next week as I am already in the middle of 3 books currently.


message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 29 comments Vol. 2 so far has been more of the same (I am in Chapter 43.) The number of heroes continues to grow - I count about 30 or so of the 36 total. The volume is more group focused - whereas in Book 1 most of the adventures were one man, with a story, here the group grows, and battles are fought against cities and groups of soldiers, although a few individual battles still arise. In a recent chapter, four leaders from a gang of bandits "attack" Song Jiang, only to reveal themselves as admirers. All four and their troop are quickly invited to join.


Book Wormy | 1985 comments Mod
I have read the first chapter of Volume 2 and it carries on exactly where book 2 left of, revenge is suitably bloody.


Book Wormy | 1985 comments Mod
What does everyone think of the magical realism in this section?

Any ideas what Dai's secret form of travel is?


Book Wormy | 1985 comments Mod
I have now finished Volume 2

Is it me or is this volume a lot bloodier than the first?
Do you have sympathy for the Outlaws?


message 9: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments I started reading Book 2. Fell right back into it although I finished Book 1 back in April. Oh boy, the amount of blood and blood letting is getting to be overwhelming. I will wait and finish the read before answering questions but I do find it amusing that many of the enemies quickly become friends when they realize that the person they are fighting (or attempting to poison) are renowned fighters. The thing about admirers is culturally very interesting.


message 10: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments Yesterday’s chapter included the killing of a woman because “she might cause trouble in the future” and the sympathetically telling one of the gallant fraternity that it was too bad about his wife but they had to kill her and they will get him another. The new bride and groom get together days later. So much for the worth of a good woman or the very long mourning period given to men who have passed away.
Also Son Jiang is an extremely interesting character. He is loved and honored by everyone he meets but he is not a fighter like most of the other main characters. He is an example of a bureaucrat that made a good reputation for himself from understanding the system of the give and take of the gallant fraternity and the emperor’s appointed and corrupt officials. I am enjoying his tale.


message 11: by Diane (new)

Diane  | 2042 comments Book 2 does seem more bloody than book 1. Lots of killing and kowtowing. Also, more women and children meeting their demises.


message 12: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments Agreed, our gallant ones seem less gallant.
Also, there is quite a bit about dumplings made from humans.
I like this sentence though:
“It was if the domes of their skulls had been opened in eight parts and half a bucket of icy snow poured in”.
Next time I eat ice cream too quickly I will remember this sentence.


message 13: by Pip (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pip | 1409 comments I have only finished 30 chapters but the blood letting has certainly increased. I don't watch Game of Thrones so why am I reading this!


message 14: by Pip (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pip | 1409 comments I have read up to chapter 50 and nay be tempted to knock the whole thing off on my almost 13 hour flight later today. The repetition that I found so charming has become tedious. This may be because I have been reading it all at once rather than a chapter a day, which may be how it was originally intended to be read. The way that questions are posed to entice the reader on to the next chapter points to this - and then the suspense is shattered by the Chapter Title revealing all! I began by enjoying the descriptions of how all our heroes were dressed, it seems that everyone had their style and they dressed the same everyday, and colours might change but the description always followed the same formula starting with the headdress. The fighting was also formulaic. Two men fighting it out for 50 rounds without a conclusion, then they discover they know and admire each other and join forces. The heroes are supposed to be honourable and admired so much but there is so much collateral damage that is not even remarked upon it is hard to admire the thuggery. Finally, the guangxi, or connections which are such an integral part of Chinese culture are shown as each new character is introduced.


message 15: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1381 comments I finished the 50 chapters and I agree with Pip that it is better reading in small doses as otherwise it is too formulaic and repetitive. I am fascinated with the Chinese government of the 12th century with all the prefectures, courts, sheriffs, armies and clerks. Compare that to what was happening in other parts of the world in the 12th century. On the other hand, these very government officials are portrayed as the bad guys while the emperor is not seen as evil although he must reign over this complicated and somewhat corrupt government bureaucracy.
One of the quotes used more than once to describe our outlaws: “As long as you haven’t lost your desire to serve the emperor, Heaven will surely protect you”.
In these last chapters there was the novelty of 2 different women warriors who were respected because of their fighting skills. I continue to enjoy the little language treats: “hating their parents for giving them only one pair of legs” or “he was 1/10th inkling, 2/10ths guessed, 3/10ths sure, 5/10ths annoyed, 6/10ths irritated and finally 7/10th positive before becoming simply “positive”. I will probably not read Book 3 for awhile to make way for other reading.
Of this we will say no more....


message 16: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments So I am the weirdo reading the 70-chapter version, which means my reading schedule is different than everyone else's. I did finish my chapters 25-50 by the end of August (with one day to spare!). I don't really know where to put my comments, which is why I am finally doing this a full week later.

It takes me awhile to get a good rhythm going with this book. I have finally figured out who are the heavily repeating characters. I have given up referring to the characters in the character list and just going with it. Reading a chapter every day or two works well, but I dawdled with the last section so now need a break. I generally enjoy it. Or maybe I should say it's not bad? Certainly interesting. Liangshan Marsh must be pretty crowded by now, I can't help but wonder how they feed themselves? That would take a whole lot of raiding and/or a whole lot of farming. Neither of which is mentioned to nearly that degree.


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