Lost the thread a little, with the essay pressure and all that. Exams are coming, but here we go. Let’s pick up again at Chapter 10.
We’re again treated to the strange gentleness of the narration. I wonder if perhaps Solornel, as god of storms, only really existed so that the author could give Barsamin heroic moments without forcing him to commit to actions. Solornel literally strikes two people with a bolt of lightning and it is the kind of moment that you will miss if you’re skimming even slightly.
That said, I heed the words of No God is pretty cool.
There’s a lot of crammed exposition here; it feels an awful lot like a comic book. Characters say things in front of other characters and the dialogue doesn’t feel very natural. This is strange, because natural-feeling dialogue is one of the things Elliott does quite well; conveying moments where characters have this easy back-and-forth based on how this pair work together.
It also sort of creates a hierarchy; Barsamin and Hayr are very important, because as they interact the writing is breathed with character. Ismyrn is less important, but still important, maintaining her voice well throughout it all. Solornel is sort of just a big device, as befits him. Maybe I just don’t know the guy that well but he talks in a way that seems more like he has to churn out some plot points and exposition to ensure that the others will behave properly. And finally, Tsovinar, the Witch of the Waves is clearly the most important thing that the author likes the most, because, well, she gets all the rad stuff in this section.She also scores the dramatic final line.
Moving on we’re treated to some intrigue; broken swords that probably aren’t an intentional metaphor being wielded by male authority figures who probably don’t actually have any real power to move things in the story but are there to influence and frustrate the actions of the young queer teens. There’s also meaty flashbacks with Solornel speaking differently and a furtherance of the idea that Clarion, and Rashk, are creepy.
Rashk is creepy, but something to note is that at no point is his crossdressing/flamboyance part of his creepiness. He’s creepy because he pulls people’s souls out of them and turns them into transformers toys. He’s not creepy because he’s probably queerer than a three-dollar note. This is something that I would have feared, but really, Rashk’s sexuality is well-segregated from, well, the stuff about manipulating souls and hanging out with monsters.
Basically, what Rashk is is not being used to explain or justify what Rashk does.