We’re about to hit the home stretch of this book, and of this read along, and … everything’s getting chaotic. It’s also (finally!) getting properly romantic…
Let’s discuss Winter’s Orbit. Spoilers below for chapters 16 through 22.
This week’s questions come from Ariana at Book Nook Reviews, and you can check out the full schedule and other participant posts at the bottom of this post. But for now, let’s talk…
Just over halfway through the book and it finally happened! Our boys actually communicated, and all of us that have been yelling at them to just kiss already have finally been rewarded! Thoughts? Reactions? How do you see the relationship progressing now?
FINALLY. I enjoy a good slow burn, and this was a good slow burn. There was a good amount of necessary background to establish here, particularly in Jainan’s case, and that backstory finally started properly coming to light in these chapters. So it fits, however painfully, that it would come on the heels of actual romantic progress between our protagonists. Got to have that dramatic balance!
In all seriousness, I feel all over again for Jainan – and for Kiem, not only realising what’s actually in his new partner’s past but also how much he hasn’t been picking up on, emotionally, from him. Perhaps it’s understandable given how closely Jainan tries to guard his emotions, plus all the miscommunication blunders they’ve had, but Jainan is not the only soft cinnamon roll I want to protect here. That said: Kiem, please step lightly here…
Iskat doesn’t seem to be the friendlies environment: the constant cold, the savage birdlife, and not to mention the “bear” that Kiem and Jainan encounter in the wilderness – are you enjoying the world building? Anything you’d like to see more of?
I do really enjoy worldbuilding of this sort, especially when it can show you how people are and why they are that way – as it did here, with Kiem showing some very welcome competence when it came to surviving in the wilderness. Because of course there would be survival training included with one’s education from a young age, in a place where plenty of aspects of nature seem designed to kill you! This was some smart thinking, and smart inclusion, on the author’s part. There are plenty of ways to create drama without relying on it stemming from the fact that your protagonists are clueless, and Everina Maxwell certainly scores high on that count!
And as for stuff I’d like to see more of – I admit, I have wondered once or twice what the average life of a birdwatcher on Iskat must be like. I’m picturing someone like Steve Irwin…
Chapter 21 in particular bombarded us with revelations, most prominent among them the Revoked Status of all treaty representatives and the Auditor’s discovery that the remnants presented are fake. Who do you think is responsible, and what might they have planned to be messing with the Resolution like this?
This part got really interesting because … I don’t entirely remember what’s going on with all of this! It’ll certainly be interesting to refresh my memory on the parts of this book that don’t involve the romantic plot. (Stop swooning, Lisa, there’s skulduggery afoot!)
I think I remember who’s responsible for the fake remnants, and why. But that memory is patchy, so I’ll gently sidestep this question here and see what other people think of it!
The Emperor is a character we have not seen in person since the first chapter, but her presence is always lurking in the background. What do you make of her? Is she just a figurehead, or a competent but busy ruler? Could she have some sort of agenda beyond trying to get Iskat through the Resolution and Unification Day?
This is an interesting question because I think, in terms of the characters in play in this story, the answer might depend on who you ask. Plenty of people in the palace certainly seem to bend to her will, naturally, but I can’t see someone like Colonel Lunver doing that quite so readily. I think Lunver might put her more in the “figurehead” column, but that might be some of my bias against arrogant military leaders showing…
At the end of the day, I think the Emperor’s goal here is to keep everything running smoothly and – perhaps more importantly – to maintain the status quo. And that’s an answer I’m probably going to expand on in the final round of questions… *Wink*
What do you think Kiem is going to do with the information he’s found about Jainan and Taam? How do you feel about it, for that matter? And what about the other things Kiem has discovered?
I am pretty sure Kiem’s number one concern now is for Jainan’s personal/mental wellbeing, and that this will be the focus of his conversation with him. But I also have to admit I don’t remember the meat of that conversation very clearly right now. Can’t wait to refresh my memory!
As for how I feel about that revelation – I have been waiting for this reveal from the start, because (for Reasons) it’s the one I do remember most clearly from my first reading. As we see with the puzzle pieces that fall into place for Kiem, it explains so much about Jainan’s behaviour. This isn’t just the way he is, it’s the way he was “trained” to be. The patterns of behaviour we learn in an abusive relationship don’t just simply vanish when that relationship ends, and Jainan’s ended very abruptly. It makes perfect sense that he would struggle to let go of it during that very short transition from one marriage into another. Everything about what we’ve learned here just breaks my heart for him, on top of making me pretty angry at a certain fictional dead ex-husband. And, fair warning: we have not exactly seen the last of Taam’s influence on Jainan…
What do you make of Jainan’s encounter with the Auditor and his explanations on Galactic politics?
Oh, this is a delicious chewy nugget of a complication, isn’t it? I was also waiting for this one! I suspect it’s going to be a matter of personal taste regarding whether or not this new sympathetic twist (if you could call it that?) from the Auditor is a good move or not. Impartiality can still make a character fascinating, but personally I like this turn of events. And I really like that it’s Jainan who gets this glimpse of someone ‘real’ under the Auditor’s mask. He is someone who has struggled to toe the line and keep his personal thoughts and emotions tightly under wraps, so for him to see that this avatar of that ‘perfect’ impartiality is, in fact, also someone human underneath feels very poignant to me. The timing of it also feels spot on.
As for his stance on Galactic politics … What I took from this is that the Auditor is encouraging Jainan toward a very bold – and risky – move, but also toward actually taking action and doing something that will openly show support for the active betterment of his own people. If it pays off. That “actually taking action” part is what resonates with me, because it’s exactly what Jainan hasn’t been doing until now…
I am just. So full of FEELINGS.
And on that note, that’s enough from me for now! Here’s what others have thought (and felt!) so far:
(Links will added as they go live.)