Dark days: The Poison Song Read-along, Part 1

Today we’re FINALLY returning to the world of Sarn, for the finale of the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams. It may be overdue, but my enthusiasm has not waned – and neither has, it seems, the author’s knack for making me feel all the things. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Let’s discuss The Poison Song.


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Enter Agent Chenlo. What are your first impressions of the Yuron-kai Winnowry agent and her interactions with Noon and Vintage?

I have quite a few thoughts regarding Agent Chenlo. I remember wanting to know/see more of the Yuron-kai after their appearance in Ebora, in The Bitter Twins. I wasn’t expecting to see one of them turning up in a role like this, but I’m definitely relishing the chance to get more up close and personal with someone from that background. If Chenlo can be considered someone with a close relationship to the Yuron-kai? If she grew up at the Winnowry, that’s doubtful. But it’s still interesting to see her here in that capacity.

It’s also interesting to get her point of view on the Winnowry and what they do to young women, and how she deals with her part in all of it. On the surface it seems like she does have sympathy and doesn’t approve entirely of what the Winnowry does, but even while her journal entries might paint her as a sympathetic figure, the more you think about her the more passive she seems. If she truly objected to the work she does, and the oppressive entity she does it for, words on a page wouldn’t be enough to assuage any guilt she feels. Actions speak louder, Chenlo.

Even still, that feels a little unfair – she wouldn’t be mixing with the likes of Noon and Vintage if she considered them her enemies. But those were my first impressions; time will tell if she’s going to sway me further. I just think she has a lot of deep self-examination to do.

So Bern’s gambit succeeded and the Jure’lia have retreated in disarray. Hest is not happy to find herself on what feels like the losing side. Has she miscalculated? What do you make of her response?

… She’s gone way beyond doubling down at this point, hasn’t she. Jesus.

*Deep breath* Wow, Hest. Wow.

I won’t lie: I’m starting to wonder if the Jure’lia queen is going to survive much longer in close quarters with Hest. Something tells me that now that Hest has a taste of something like the kind of power the queen has, she’s going to want more. What she does with it will likely continue to make me scream and despair of her, but part of me still wants to see her at least seize the opportunity to get away from the Jure’lia? Even if she doesn’t use it for a better purpose, I want her to have that chance. Time will tell what she does with it, I suppose.

Damn it, Hest.

Side note: I am definitely keeping an eye on the fact that Bern can ‘communicate’ with these creatures Hest is rebuilding? That has to be Important Information, right? Espionage! But will it do any good…?

Tyranny Munk, Queen of Tigrish, companion to warbeasts. What do you think will happen when Vintage and Chenlo make it to Jarlsbad?

Nothing good. NOTHING GOOD.

… Then again, who knows? I love having my expectations smashed to bits, and it’s a well-established fact at this point that I’m happy to go along for any ride Jen Williams takes her readers on. Whatever’s coming, I just want to get to it. So long as Vintage survives. She’d better survive.

I honestly don’t know! I want to hope that there’s more to Tyranny’s motivations than we’ve seen? But it will definitely be interesting to have another villain in play on the ground, so to speak. Maybe someone capable of countering Hestillion from an unexpected angle…?

WHO KNOWS. Just bring it on, whatever it is. My body and my popcorn are ready.

Oh dear stars above, Tor is sick. We’ve reached the final act, my darlings. Time to cast your auguries: who will survive The Poison Song?

*Wild sobbing*

I mean, we all knew this was coming, right? Tor’s been playing with fire when it comes to the crimson flux, and apparently two books was time enough to avoid getting burned.

I really really REALLY do not want Tor to die this way. I can’t help wondering if there is a way to cure the flux, and I would love for our heroes to find it, but that’s a long shot and we’re into the final book… If it has to happen, I just hope he finds the courage to own up to his friends (and to Noon!) and at least not suffer alone.

As for who will survive… oh God I don’t know. I don’t want anyone to die! But I know better than that, don’t I… Tor would seem like the obvious ill-fated one, but damn it I will hold onto hope until I can’t anymore.



So there are my initial thoughts! Feel free to comment with your own takes, or join us for more, if you haven’t already gotten in on this read-along, over on Goodreads!

Until next time…



2 comments On Dark days: The Poison Song Read-along, Part 1

  • Mwahahahaha look at us both side-eyeing Chenlo and worry about the Jure’lian Queen! I do like Chenlo – but I’m with you in being faintly disapproving too (do MORE, Chenlo. Although late is better than never, and she has apparently seized the opportunity Noon offered on that front I guess).

    Hest tho. My word, Hest.

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