The end (of the book) is upon us! Let’s wrap things up and see what the final chapters wrought…
We learn the truth of who was behind the fake remnants, the Kingfisher thefts, and Taam’s murder… What did you make of Aren Saffer’s motivations? Surprising, or not?
You know, it is a very, very poor reflection on the real world in general when things like murder motivated by pure greed – and acts of war motivated by the same – end up seeming kind of mundane.
Not that I think this is a poor reflection on the author! There is no grand, twisting conspiracy here because that isn’t the type of book Everina Maxwell was writing. This aspect of the plot has to go hand in hand with the romance that’s driving it, and anything truly overblown would… well, overblow it.
So no, Aren Saffer’s motives are not surprising, even considering that this is a reread for me.
So. On a scale of 1 to PROTECT, how did you feel about Jainan’s ordeal and his conversation with Kiem?
*Deep breath* Okay.
Pretty much everything about this turnout hit me in the gut, for Reasons – and for me, this scene was first and foremost about Jainan. There was no grand sweeping rescue, no ideal response in which Kiem tells Jainan everything will be all right and Jainan believes it – because this wasn’t about Kiem, even if he was doing what he thought was best.
It hurt to see Jainan forced to relive those memories, though I was relieved that he had a thread of something good to cling to, to keep him from falling too deeply for the deception even in the darkest corners of his own mind. And I felt it pretty hard when his response to hearing that Kiem had dragged his worst secrets out into the light was outrage – but it makes perfect sense. Even someone who needs that kind of help is going to resent learning that suddenly, everyone knows it. It was prideful, but it fit.
And for Jainan to then realise that Kiem is the one who needs help, and decide that he’s going to be the one to step up and ‘save’ him? Be still, my old romantic heart. Also: tear them to pieces, Jainan.
So: PROTECT all day long, but I deeply appreciate that this wasn’t a one-sided thing. These two protect each other, and my heart is wildly aflutter about it.
How do you feel about what the Tau field does/what it’s used for here? Is this misuse of a tool, or scientists creating something they should know better than to create?
This is a thorny issue, and to be honest I’m still chewing on it myself in terms of how to answer the question. Any tool can be misused in the wrong hands, and when those hands are military ones, the first concern is going to be for defense. But people can, and historically have, done some terrible things in the name of ‘defense’. (They often do it because they know they can convince a great many people to buy it, but that’s another argument.)
As for the scientist angle… I can’t help feeling like they should have known better, but then I am neither a military leader or a scientist, so my perspective is limited. Or maybe I just have the luxury of letting my morals make my decisions? Or MAYBE more people should be doing that.
See what I mean? Chewy. But heck it, this question was about how you feel about the matter, so I’ll stick to those guns. People in power should be held very strictly to account, after all. I mean … *Gestures widely and a bit tiredly at the whole world*
We’ve had some opinions about the Emperor in previous weeks; how do you feel about her now, following her … discussion with Kiem?
This felt very much like the Happy Ever After portion of the programme, and as I have established that I am very much a romantic, I fully admit that I kind of enjoyed seeing the Emperor outmaneuvered. She was as guilty as anyone else of not seeing or treating Jainan like a person who deserved respect, and that attitude was reflected in how she regarded Thea. Now she’s got to show respect or risk losing everything.
I would have liked to see more page time dedicated to raking General Fenrik and the like over the coals, though. That would have been so sweet.
And lastly: This might be a standalone book, but that never stops the fannish imagination! If you could have a sequel/second story with any of the other characters we’ve met in this book, who would it be and why?
I would love some companion stories, maybe sidequel more than sequel, and my number one Interesting Character would be Bel Siara. There’s a juicy potential history there given her connections to the Sefalan raiders. Gairad could also be interesting to see more of, in the tumult that’s sure to follow the political changes made at the end of this book. Either of them would be my faves. Or both! Heck, both would be awesome…
Aaaand that’s a wrap for this read along, but don’t forget to check out what others thought! Links are below, and will be added as I gather them for this week.