Chapter bookmark, for those of you who might… be reading… along? But chances are you’ve already read the books. Still, hi there. Anyway, onwards:
Where last chapter, Barsamin travelled from one point to another, and Hayr sat still while nothing happened, this chapter is about that paradigm flipping, and finally breaking. Hayr makes a transition – beginning a journey away from the bandit tower where Evren and Chakori live – and Barsamin spends a part of the chapter just twitting around.
We’re also treated to touches of real-world history as well, or rather, prehistory. Interestingly we have an instance of what is probably deliberate shortcutting in language. The writer has clearly put a lot of effort into making sure the words and terms used feel in situ, and to see pterosaur on the page made my eyebrow raise. Still – it’s pretty evident that at some point you have to give way from cleverness convention to useful and readable, and I think that’s where we are.
There are other future seeds; the Alks as self-replicating engines is interesting and I’m sure that I know one other reader who’d find them endearing on principle. It also further suggests their derivation – alchemicals, perhaps? Or maybe that’s just where the writer gestures, in the hopes that’s what I’ll suspect. Hard to tell at this point.
Then in the last chapter, like a train, Tsovinar arrived. Next time, we’ll see what that means. Tsovinar is clearly important – she’s the book cover character, she’s throwing thunder around like a motherhaver, and she’s demanding an audience with Governor Evilname and the King, so we’ll see where it goes.
What strikes me reading these chapters is that the author clearly cares about, and recognises the characters, and how they differ. Elliott’s writing style is one where there’s an intimate understanding of each character, and how they behave, and what they know, what they value, what puts them in conflict with the world, and how they’re going to end up – and now she just has to get all this fussy stuff out of the way to get there.
We’ve stepped out of what is probably the introduction, or would be in conventional structure. In this time, we’ve been introduced to the ideas of Gods, the Night the Stars Fell, we’ve had the Will of the World presented to us and we’ve seen a handful of little nations and cultures butting up against one another. This is, by convention, where I would typically decide whether or not to put a book down, if in this much time it had successfully hooked me in to care more about what transpires. Bear this in mind! Your reader has to want to keep reading, after all!
With the introduction over, this should have all the truly major setting surprises in place. We may come to understand them differently, learn of the Gods and how their powers (their stars?) work, or that things we have learned so far are incorrect, but if spaceships and tesla coils show up after this point it’ll be pretty jarring. The stage is set, and the players have begun to dance.
I’m led to understand that this book probably has a new character every chapter. Don’t know, can’t say. We’ll have to see!