If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at Lynn's Book Blog.
This week we read through to the end of Aurin & Amadine.
1. The election competition. Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean. Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea. What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?
Sabetha is obviously a meticulous planner with a great eye for detail and she knows her marks inside and out. Her plans for the ‘cruise’ were almost perfect, but did not account for the almost suicidal tendencies of her prisoners. I am quite sure that she has more nice surprises in store for them: I just hope that Locke is awake and paying full attention now.
2. During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water - I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue - Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched? Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?
I found scene that rather creepy as I had a horrible suspicion that the glowing lights were bioluminescent animals with a particular taste for Camorri . . . However, Locke’s reaction to whatever he saw was equally unnerving, so I hope that we eventually find out what he saw. I suppose that it could be something as simple as a sunken or collapsed city, but he made it sound a lot more menacing than that.
3. Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course - were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?
I was a little disappointed that, yet again, I spotted the pick pocket ruse before Locke did: either I am getting seriously clever or he is slipping into his dotage. I thought it was really obvious that the woman would plant something on him during their accidental collision, and that she was actually Sabetha. I do hope that this does not mean that Mr Lynch is getting sloppy . . .
Although I can sympathize with Locke a little, I do think that he is still completely blind to Sabetha’s massive advantage in this competition. He walked into a very neat trap and she played him beautifully: I was actually shouting “No! Don’t do it!” as he started to nuzzle at her neck. What a total idiot! I have no idea why he cannot bring himself to distrust her, but I hope that his dunk in the ocean has awoken his more careful side and made him realize that ha cannot afford to let his guard down around her.
It was very noticeable that she did not try to charm Jean at all: she obviously knew that he would be too difficult to trick. I have a feeling that Jean is not blind to Sabetha’s ability to mess with them and she realizes that he is on his guard around her at all times.
4. So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own! Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble?? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?
As the lawyer points out, the high and mighty are more than happy to make laws unequal so that they can beat on the lower orders, so it was not a huge surprise to me. I believe we also heard that dueling was a constant issue in the city because everyone is so touchy about his or her honor, so that would add weight to the need to save face if one was struck by a peasant.
The justice system seems much the same as the other ones we have come across. It seems merciless, but is actually fairly open to corruption and bribery, so they should be able to navigate it without too much trouble, if they can keep their collective noses reasonably clean.
5. The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts - are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face! Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang. Any ideas of how it will play out??
I am a long time fan of the theatre, so I find it quite funny watching people rehearse something akin to Shakespeare. I especially loved all the byplay with Sylvanos: there were lots of great insults to savor. I can understand what you mean about it being a little out of character for the Bastards, but I can also see how it will improve their ability to play a role convincingly. Acting is a skilled craft, after all, so learning some of the tricks of the trade will be very useful for them. I can also imagine that it will give them an insight into psychology and how to manipulate a mark effortlessly.
I thought it was interesting that Jean was marked as useless acting material. He does play a much narrower selection of roles, most often playing the less flashy, supporting role while Locke hams it up with gay abandon hogging all the attention. Somehow this is quite endearing as it shows how ‘honest’ Jean’s underlying character is in comparison to the others.
6. We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi. What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?
Most of the actors are great fun and I particularly like Sylvanos and Bertrand. However, my favorite aspect of the group is that they all know each other so well that the banter is sparkling and very edgy. Terrific! :D
Boulidazi strikes me as someone to keep an eye on. Moncraine is obviously as mad as a ferret, but I think his assessment of his new partner is not far from the truth. He is not trustworthy and there is something slimy feeling about him.
7. The rooftop scene and the apology. How did it all go so wrong? And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?
I suppose it would have been far too easy for Locke’s apology to work properly and let him sweep Sabetha off her feet. Obviously the poor guy is totally unaware of what is so significant about redheads, but I hope we find out why it makes Sabetha so very angry. I wonder if the Sanzas will be able to enlighten him . . .
As I said, I do not trust Boulidazi and I thought it rather presumptuous of him to ask Locke if he could have a go at Sabetha after that single, rather short, meeting. That does not seem like the behavior of a nice person to me. Perhaps Locke can persuade him that they were rehearsing? Otherwise I fear that Mr Lamora is due to get a new set of lumps and bruises.
Well, I think we finally got out answer to the “Did they?” question. However, I feel as if there is still a lot for us to learn about the relationship, and I can only imagine how often Locke managed to say totally the wrong thing and cause a giant argument.