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FoE Book Club > The Starless Sea: Book 3: The Ballad of Simon and Eleanor

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
This is the discussion area for Book 3: The Ballad of Simon and Eleanore.

Feel free to answer whichever questions you want, or just write your own thoughts.

The book tying this section together is more of a continuous story than the previous volumes. There are still clear ties to the previous books and to the real world. What do you think this signifies?

Do you think there's a significance to the cats that keep appearing?

The bee imagery is even more prevalent in this section. What do you think they signify?

How does your perspective of what has been happening change as you see them from Dorian's view?

Any other thoughts, questions?


message 2: by Jen (last edited Jan 29, 2020 03:31PM) (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 216 comments 1. I actually really liked the framing story in this section, about Simon and Eleanor, and the fact that the book Zachary found, Sweet Sorrows, originally came from Eleanor. I knew their love story was doomed from the start, but it was just very beautifully written. In Simon and Eleanor, we have the coming together of two worlds and two times, the real world and the Harbor, and the past and the future. I wonder where Eleanor was from, and if she ever went back, or if she died in the Harbor never having seen Simon again.

2. I am starting to think the cats are some kind of living personification of the Harbor/library. They seem to be appearing as guides for Zachary, or maybe just watching over him.

3. I'm still not sure. I still think the bee symbols must be related to collection of knowledge and stories, but I'm not sure of the significance of the bee queen yet. Honey seems to be also coming up constantly in relation to the Harbor: the final sweet taste on the tongue for the acolytes (was Rhyme the acolyte mentioned in Sweet Sorrows?), the cure when Zachary was poisoned by Allegra, the taste of the drink when he first came to the Harbor. (But, notably, no honey with the tea Allegra gave him - further tying the bee/honey motif to the Harbor, and not the Collectors/guardians.)

4. I liked getting to see that bar scene again from Dorian's POV. The girl he saw trying to drug Zachary's drink... For a split second, when he said she looked familiar, I thought it was Mirabel. Then I realized it must be the girl who'd been at the discussion group, the one who we find out later was working for the Collectors' Club, and that she was probably ordered to get the book back. Dorian would know her if he used to be part of them, too. I really want to know what Dorian meant about what happened before, too, the incident in the "dark hotel room". Was that when he quit? Did he quit, or was he kicked out?

Other thoughts... Things are really starting to tie together now that we know Mirabel's origins, and I'm looking forward to finding out her true motives. I also really want to know what the Keeper's deal is. I'm certain there's more to him than the calm caretaker we've seen thus far. How old is he? Is he immortal? Is he the same Keeper who Simon met? If so, it's kinda weird if he's involved with Mirabel romantically (assuming Zachary really saw what he thought he was seeing when he was eavesdropping on their conversation).


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments I feel like the continuity of this section has to do with it being so much more foundational to the overall story of the Harbor, and to Zachary's story than the others have been. Establishing Mirabel's origins in particular felt in some sense more solid and real than the other sections have been.

I tend to really enjoy these later chapters in novels like this one, with so many symbols and moving pieces- there's all of a sudden this point where they start to make sense, where there are enough pieces of the puzzle that one can start to see the bigger picture. I never tire of that first set of "ahah!!!!" moments!

I know sense of time was bouncing around quite a bit in this section of the narrative, but did anyone manage to catch how old Elenor actually was when Mirabel was born? I read it, did a double take, and then tried to figure it out and couldn't. One minute she's hopping around in bunny ears as a child, and then suddenly there's a baby. Given that we have a more solid sense of Simon's age, it just felt like an uncomfortably abrupt transition.


message 4: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
I think 8 years had passed the since the note, so she was probably 18ish when they first met. Then I think 6 months passed...I can’t remember offhand how long passed before they got together specifically. But at least a young adult


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments Sheri wrote: "I think 8 years had passed the since the note, so she was probably 18ish when they first met. Then I think 6 months passed...I can’t remember offhand how long passed before they got together specif..."

Sheri- that definitely makes more sense than how I was seeing it. Thanks!


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