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Fire in the Blood > Fire in the Blood: Chapters 3-6

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message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Dobbs | 31 comments Hmm, things have got quiet around here so I figured we could move on to the next couple of chapters. One of my first impressions reading chapter 3 was, "is Havi pregnant?" since she is wondering why her boobs are bigger. Of course, it turned out that it wasn't the case and it was just the result of their time gap. In addition, we see the tensions between Havilar and Constancia. Havi seems to be handling matters on her own.

I love Lord Vescaras. He isn't a drow but gets mistaken for one since he's darker skinned. The dynamics between Dahl and him are interesting. They aren't exactly friends but they do work well together.

My first impression of Henlindra is that she would make a good matron mother of a drow house. She's conniving and ruthless when she wants to be.

Other more pressing issues come up in chapter 5 with the crown prince's disappearance and Brin's decision to look for him.

This is the chapter where Lorcan becomes a grade A jerk by deliberately giving Farideh shaking fever, ugh.

Helindra also comes across as particularly nasty since she dismissed the servants.

There there is Bryseis Kakistos who kills maids and tries to get some answers from Farideh while she isn't in her right mind.

I like that the sisters are separated at this point because there is so much more development that happens with them in the next couple of chapters. So, what does everyone think?

message 2: by Torradin341 (new)

Torradin341 | 4 comments When Lorcan dropped the vial that had the fever, my immediate thought was "There is only one way this will end..."

message 3: by Erin (last edited Oct 27, 2014 05:31PM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod

(To be clear, I deleted a response that was here which was phrased to give a spoiler.)

message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Some fun lore in these chapters:

The wine is all from Ed Greenwood. And when he told me what Zanzel (a kind of Botrytized wine) tastes like old cheese, I was definitely using that detail!

He gave me the shaking fever detail too. And I like the idea that the healer has no idea how to treat a tiefling (and that the god would be like "Are you kidding me with this?"

This is the first mention here of the ancestor stories, which become more important later and in the next book. This is one of those details I wish I thought of books ago.

message 5: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments Yes there is a seperate thread for spoilers

message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Dobbs | 31 comments I didn't know that about the wines. I love those sort of details that Ed Greenwood has about the realms. Oh dear, I should have edited my response better. It's so hard at times to not have it phrased as a spoiler. That said, I liked the idea that the healer had no idea how to treat a tiefling. It does make one wonder just what kind of medical training any of the clerics get, if any.

message 7: by Steve (new)

Steve Mumford | 16 comments There's a lot to like in this section - and a lot to keep track of; it was nice to see Dahl appear, and I did like the relationship between him and Vescaras. Brin's position as a Harper is looking shaky as his own actions and affairs become part of the story, and it goes without saying that Mehen's timing is perfect when he says 'something will change soon'.

Although Lorcan's position has improved, he still seems strangely powerless and out-of-control; he's apparently up to his neck in the machinations of the Nine Hells, and he's almost on autopilot with his dealings with Farideh. There's pressure on him to corrupt her, but she more than ever seems to be wise to his tricks; I particularly liked Farideh's knowing "I'm sure I'll see you soon. Eight days, right?". When he stoops so low as to infect her with the shaking fever, he bungles the job, losing the vial and not realising Havilar would be resistant. A most cunning way of splitting the party, Erin :) (It doesn't feel too contrived, serves the story and advances the plot in a number of ways - I'm sure Lorcan is going to get found out at some point and that's going to make for a *very* interesting conversation.)

It bodes well that the sections concerning intrigue and political sparring are as gripping as the combat sequences; I've always enjoyed Erin's books for the conversations between characters and the way the relationships develop - and especially the relationship between Mehen and Brin following the events since the timeslip in The Adversary. Mehen is still adjusting to Farideh and Havilar growing more mature; it's good that he's finding a purpose in supporting Brin.

And then we end with the reappearance of the ghost of Bryseis Kakistos - I'm not sure right now who the greatest threat in this adventure is likely to be!

Also, Erin - this book is really very hard to put down - I haven't got too far ahead, but it's been the cause of some very late nights :)

message 8: by Ashley (last edited Oct 29, 2014 03:50PM) (new)

Ashley | 19 comments I think Constancia and Brin's relationship is interesting. She raised him, but she seems more like an older sister. She wants Brin to be loyal to his duty, but she doesn't seem to understand that he has to be loyal to people (Havilar) as well.

I still feel like Brin is acting very selfishly. In his conversation with Raedra after her father disappeared, he made it clear that he cared more about keeping himself as far from the throne as possible than protecting Cormyr from nobles like Erzoured.

At the same time, he was very sweet and supportive of Raedra when they first heard about Baerovus and her missing father. They are friends in a way and allies despite the recent drama. It seems Brin has two sides of himself; a kind, loving friend and a self centered noble.

message 9: by Amak888 (last edited Oct 29, 2014 03:59PM) (new)

Amak888 | 4 comments Brin has a self interested side to him, but that side has nothing to do with being a noble. That self interest is why he ran away from Cormyr in the first place, why he's pushed back his marriage for so long, and why he hasn't cut Havilar lose already.

None of that (perfectly reasonable) self interest actually prevents him from being NICE to Raedra. He just doesn't want to marry her, is all.

message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
This is one of those times where I'm a little hesitant to jump in. Readers' experiences of my books are frankly none of my business. But you came for the background info, soooo....

To be fair, Brin shouldn't be an option for the throne. It's only because things have gotten so out of whack that it's coming up.

Legitimizing bastards is really weird in Cormyr. It's not really done, especially given that no one's hurting for an heir here. The current situation is kind of unheard of, but anyone who's remotely a traditionalist would say that--if Irvel and Baerovus are not options--then Raedra should have the throne. If that doesn't happen, then Cormyr is 100% heading for a civil war. True, there's always the possibility Foril could name Erzoured--he could name freaking Emvar if he wanted, rulers choose their successors--but it's not done.

Brin's freaking out about ruling is partly self-interest, but also partly for Cormyr--in a panicky, "these people are so crazy they might run over their own heads given the chance." And that's why he's done these seemingly selfish things in the past too--the Crownsilvers are ambitious and wealthy and juuuuuust ruthless enough to do something like this if all the cards were right. He runs because he doesn't know what else to do, but he also knows--for all Cormyr makes him crazy--that he can't let the cards be right.

Now he's an adult and he does know better what to do, but he is trying to solve six problems at the same time without everyone finding out he's a Harper. He's not handling it well. He's definitely regressing.

message 11: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments grr. It at my original post.

The interaction between Viscera and Dahl. I can imagine Dahl think for once can I just be bitter without you ruining it by being reasonable.

Lorcan has gotten really desperate, but I actually think Havilar being immune to the disease works out in his best interest. I can see Helindra becoming the scapegoat for that little mistake if he can somehow pull his head out of his butt.

Raedra is growing on me as a character. I am really concerned for her because of the shar agent. I don't particularly trust that one war mage that has been guarding her either.

Mehen's statement that things will change soon have me concerned. Pretty sure I am not going to like the changes :(

message 12: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this section because I felt like it teased us with all of these different players and schemes, and there seems to be no limit to the number of possible outcomes.

I definitely think that Brin is way over his head. I feel like he is trying to make everyone happy and it is just going to leave him with a long list of enemies. My hope is that he will just dedicate himself to the Harpers and run away from all of the politics of Cormyr. I definitely don't think he is suited to be in charge.

I was on the fence about Lorcan right up until this section. I think infecting Farideh for the sake of keeping her safe crosses a line.

I can't wait to start reading the next section and see how things develop with all of the different things that are going on. I feel like I need one of those "murder boards" that you see in all the cop shows with pictures of suspects and their motives written next to them. I really am loving all of the intrigue that this book has so far.

message 13: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments Some assorted comments from this section. By this point, the book was already really rolling!

I thought the controversy of the succubi being demons v. devils was funny, mostly because it reminded me of some of James Wyatt's creature articles discussing the same thing, and the subsequent crazy debates online. It's neat to see it play out in the world.

I, too, felt Lorcan finally crossed a line by infecting Farideh. I'd been thinking, at the end of the prior book, that his humanity might finally be emerging. This, to me, proved that he was still just a devil--and, at his core, evil. Might have been an overreaction, but that's where I was.

I also really loved the scene with the healer trying to diagnose a tiefling. It's a great (<--wrong word) mixture of prejudice and genuine befuddlement. It was neat, also, to see healers in the Realms as medical professionals and not just "be healed!" magic casters.

message 14: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
I feel VERY STRONGLY that the succubi should get lots of screen time to flesh out their situation vs. a quick sourcebook retcon. It's too rich a field to leave fallow.

message 15: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments Agreed that it's great fodder, and I love what you're doing with it!

message 16: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments I feel like they have already rebooted the cosmology, so there is not much hope for succubi, as far as I can tell.

My personal opinion is they have no official stance for either default cosmology or FR. I like succubi as devils. Unfortunately it suffers from being linked to 4e so it certainly going away. For the same reason, I expect a more visible reset for the benefit of the people who hated the last 100 years.

I don't like the new incarnation of erinyes or the original erinyes. The original palette swapped angel is a little disappointing; but the new beastial version seems out of place. In my mind succubi fit with Glasya & Malbolge far better than erinyes.

message 17: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Glasya was previously the mistress of the erinyes, before she got her own layer. I figured Invadiah came over with her and brought her daughters.

The succubi situation is actually one I'm okay with, because they've managed something where everyone gets a little of what they want: succubi can be allied with devils, demons, or be free agents. Which means you can emphasize different aspects of their character, and have some pretty great in-fighting. Devil-allied succubi would really hate their demon-allied sisters.

Or maybe not, and that's what I love even more. Maybe they're all playing the other fiends. You could get a really great situation where the various succubi who claimed to be the queen--Malcanthet, Shami-Amourae, and Xinivrae*--all behave as though they're enemies, but in reality they're colluding. Or might be--you'd never be sure that the succubus who's going after your enemy's cultists isn't the same one you fought off in a raid from the Abyss last month, because they're shapechangers. But they're valuable allies so maybe you just cross your fingers and keep an eye out.

*There's a fourth one, Lynkhab, but I do not get her deal so I'm going to pretend she came over to the Nine Hells with Malcanthet, impressed an archdevil and was promoted to a unique devil's form when Malcanthet complained about sharing power.

message 18: by Jon (new)

Jon Crofts | 76 comments ...and this is what I get by moving to another continent. I fall very far behind in book club. It has taken so long to complete the move that I ended up forgetting everything I had previously read (to the end of Chapter 6) and am having to reread (not that this is a chore with one of Erin's books ;) ).

So far I have only reread to the end of Chapter 3 but a couple of queries had come up already and so I thought I would post.

I like that Havi is trying to play the role of a member of Cormyrean Society without, it seems, having the training, experience or even any natural inclination towards understanding its rules.

Fari, though, seems to be on edge for pretty much the whole of this chapter (book) trying to juggle the desire to stay on good terms with Havi with her increasing desire to just run.

The scenes with Dahl and Vescaras are definitely enjoyable. With the deep Realmslore and sense of wry whimsy about then they recall a sense of Ed's writing. I do mean that as a compliment.

Brin is being even more Brin-like at the moment.

Helindra, ah Helindra. The kind of noble that Cormyr seems to do so well. A person who specialises in the kind of low-grade, socially acceptable, evils that tend to arise when someone with coins and influence believes that what is good for them (and their family name) is good for the land. Ugh.

I had other questions and other notes but a couple stood out for me:

Helindra's response to Draconic was interesting in that she considered it (vocally) "not a proper language". I would assume that she would consider Chondathan and Damaran "proper" languages if only for their colocational geography. What about Cormanthan or Elven? Both of which have cases they might present for being "proper". I can't see her deigning to use the Common trade-tongue unless she had to.

The other question was also about Helindra. She seems requisitely well informed about the machinations of those with interests in her interests (i.e. those who would wish harm to the girls... not that she is protective, quite the opposite I suspect she asked her agents to look into it to see if anyone would do the job of getting rid of them one way or another so she didn't have to). I wonder just how developed her information network is, and whether we will see any more of it in later chapters. If not, any chance we could get some hints (maybe later), Erin?

message 19: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Helindra and language: So there's two parts to this. One, I'm a little ashamed to say, is that nobody (to my knowledge) much mucks with Common vs. Chondathan/Damaran/Illuskan/etc. in novels. I would probably go a little nuts with it, given the opportunity, but it's not something you see established, so it's not a path I walk down. Which might be best, because I don't think Farideh and Havilar have a good reason to speak all the languages they might legitimately encounter, and stuff would get weird fast. In the novels, it's usually been that human=Common, more or less.

But on the other hand, let's think of her as an NPC in Cormyr where that is a factor: She's absolutely talking about Chondathan here. I suspect she speaks Common, but never unless she absolutely has to, probably Damaran and maybe some Cormanthyri Elvish, because that seems like the sort of thing you might teach a Cormyrean noblewoman to do in her youth. She's not down with non-human languages on the whole. Draconic is the speech of monsters, after all. And more importantly, she doesn't speak it. That is, I think, the crux of her complaint: Talk in the language I have power over you in

You'll see a little more of Helindra's reach in later chapters, yes. But she'll never show all her cards!

message 20: by Jon (new)

Jon Crofts | 76 comments Having finally finished this section now, I can only say that a great deal has happened to advance the different threads of this tale in quite a small count of pages. The sense of a very dense narrative is strong.

My observations from chapters 4-7 are as follows:

There were a few moments for me that really stood out. Fari having to fight off the carriage bandits without Havi and Mehen helping was interesting in terms of her developing her magical abilities... even if it did get the Wizards of War involved. I wondered about that too, their arrival just after the battle had been concluded. Somewhat too convenient for my liking. Especially consider which ones turned up.

There were a few "family" scenes that worked on the evolution of the relationships of Mehen and the girls, both memories of the past, the difficulties now and the fact that each is seeking their place in the future. I really enjoyed those (especially the by-play between Havi and Fari, as usual).

The battle scene was sharp and punchy but still managed to convey a sense of the confusion and loss of the war.

Raedra had some nice character exposition/development in this section. She really does seem to care for her brother and the wellbeing of Cormyr, even if she seems to be getting increasingly tired of caring for everything else. In an odd way she reminds me, now, of a mix of Alusair and Tanalasta.

Brin's attempts to stave off any personal involvement with the crown are getting more stretched by the minute ;).

Lorcan's musings on the hierarchy and processes of the Hells was illuminating if a little... stifling. In a situation where every player eyes every other and takes advantage of any error or infraction immediately and without mercy then the benefits of studied inaction seem great indeed. His mishandling of Fari remains an interesting thread. The question occurs as to why he is doing it *so* badly at the moment. The dropped vial felt a little off, if not contrived then somewhat formulaic, sadly.

The scene with the Healer though, that was superb. Her lack of knowledge mixed with the fact that she had obviously been listening of the gossip makes for a deeply amusing interchange. It recalls to me the Loremaster in the Houses of Healing in RotK, a man of great learning but (seemingly) little actual use.

Helindra being Helindra... I had expected something similar to her clearing the tallhouse the moment I noticed, with Brin, that she had chosen her words *very* carefully when giving her promise.

Bryseis Kakistos is an excellent character. A shredded ghost that is seeking knowledge and the path to her revenge but isn't all there... talking to pieces of her former self in an effort to make her way. Excellent stuff.

message 21: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 19 comments The way Helindra worded her promise to Brin reminded me of the way Lorcan and the other devils talk.

message 22: by Jon (new)

Jon Crofts | 76 comments I would tend to agree. It had that same sense of deceitful legalese.

...and it is as similarly attractive as a trait.

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