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FoE Book Club > The Starless Sea: Book 2: Fortunes and Fables

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 833 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for book 2, Fortunes and Fables.

Feel free to answer any of the questions you like, or add any more you'd like to see people answer.

There's a lot of mention abut Zachary's eyesight. Wearing glasses, wearing contacts, finding new glasses. What do you think this signifies?

There's distinct differences between how the Harbor is described in the book, and what Zachary finds in reality. What does this mean? What is the relationship between the book and the actual Harbor?

Why do you think it was so important to rescue Dorian?

In the Collectors Club, it's clear the guardians differ quite a bit from the guardians mentioned within the Sweet Sorrows book. What do you think happened? What do you think it signifies?

The next time we see the pirate and the girl, it's mentioned as an Interlude, not a story in a book. What does this mean? How do you think the stories in the books relate to the world as a whole?

Any other questions? thoughts?


message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan | 236 comments 1. I thought the changes in glasses or lack thereof accompanied changes in how Zachary wanted to present himself. I didn't think that it lined up as much with how he was seeing everything outside of himself changing, more like part of a costume change.

2. This part reminded me a bit of the movie Tomorrowland - obviously the tone and many of the details are different, but the implications of arriving in a place that had lots of buildup but is now uninhabited (or at least less inhabited) and no longer in its prime for reasons the new arrival isn't aware of yet are similar. I don't think at this point that we're supposed to know yet what it means beyond that.

3. At this point I still wasn't sure what Dorian's role was in the story - the fact that they were rescuing him made me think that he was going to be important, but still not sure how. Obviously after finishing the book there are many reasons why he needed to stick around, but at this point I won't be spoilery.

4. Again, I was going with Tomorrowland as a comparison at this point, so I wasn't yet sure if the guardians had been misrepresented in Sweet Sorrows intentionally, if their role hadn't really been defined yet at the time the book was written, or if things had changed so much since the time of the book. At this point in the story, I think I had a slight inclination that things had changed, but I wasn't 100% sure yet.

5. I had a feeling we would be seeing the pirate and the girl again - a book this meta wouldn't just use them as a Princess Bride type framing device. I think that the use of so many structures and devices, like Interludes, that are more associated with older books and fantasy stories, is intentional - and the fact that they make their reappearance that way was a sign to me that they were sort of in on being characters in a story.

I'll repeat my question from the first section - what were everyone else's favorite references/homages/similarities to other stories in this part?

And one more - at this point, were you forming opinions about who the "good" and "bad" characters were? If so, who did you put in each category?


message 3: by Jen (last edited Jan 28, 2020 02:28PM) (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 193 comments 1. There's the obvious metaphor about not seeing clearly, or seeing through different lenses. And also, presenting oneself in different ways. As someone who's worn glasses almost my entire life, there's a feeling of helplessness when you're without your glasses and you can't see things properly. Like, you can't trust your own eyes. And now, Zachary has to trust the glasses given to him by the Keeper to help him see.

2. The Harbor is empty and almost devoid of people - I guess because the Guardians have been taking away the doors. I think the book describes the Harbor as it was during its heydey, before the Guardians starting cutting off others from going there. I wonder, too, if the influx of new media and new stories into the world is also part of less people finding their way there, or finding different ways there. I feel like there's some signifigance here to the story revolving around Zachary, a lover of both books and interactive media (games), both old and new media.

3. There must be something more to Dorian than what's apparent so far, but I'm still not sure what. From what Allegra said, he was a guardian, too, at one point. I have this niggling thought in the back of my head that he's a reincarnation of the owl king from the story, but that's just a theory. I don't have any evidence to support it.

4. I'm not sure what's up with the Collectors, TBH. They seem like the bad guys to me, but the way Allegra spoke about their mission to protect the other world, they also seem like zealots. It's like their desire to protect was taken too far, and protection changed into isolation, keeping anyone else away from the other world whether they mean harm or not.

5. It was actually the bit right at the end of this section with the story sculptor and then the interlude with the pirate and the girl, that got me thinking the pirate and the girl, as well as the other stories, are part of the story-box that sculptor created to lock away whatever secret it was.

I have a theory that the secret in the box is the heart of Fate, as mentioned in some of the other stories. Either that, or it's the owl king's crown.

As far as references, I grinned at Mirabel giving "Zelda" as her name in the coffee shop, and Zachary asking, Princess or Fitzgerald?

Right now, my feeling is that the Guardians are the bad guys, or at least the misguided ones with possibly good intentions once. Mainly because of the violence with which Allegra threatened Zachary when she was questioning him. I want to like Mirabel and trust her, and I'm not sure about Dorian yet.


message 4: by Megan (new)

Megan | 236 comments I wonder, too, if the influx of new media and new stories into the world is also part of less people finding their way there, or finding different ways there. I feel like there's some signifigance here to the story revolving around Zachary, a lover of both books and interactive media (games), both old and new media.

That's a really good point - now that I'm thinking back on it, the older generation seems laser focused on books, but I didn't really notice that because of the diversity of media that's worked into Zachary's story. Hmmm....


message 5: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 228 comments I agree with Jennifer that the secret in the box is the heart of fate - it describes the “mouse-like man” who commissioned the sculpture...

Am on my phone and it’s a pain to comment.
But I just finished this section and had to poke in and see what everyone had to say!


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