Our heroes finally find what they set out looking for – but oh, the cost… Bittersweet barely describes it.
burn it all down discuss The Bitter Twins. Spoilers follow for chapter 47 through to the end.
So many betrayals. Which one surprised you the most/least?
“Most AND least” might be a better way for me to put this, because there were a couple that I wasn’t quite expecting, but that nonetheless didn’t really surprise me at all when they happened.
One was Nanthema. That one was a bag of surprises, and not just on her account: I knew Tyranny was going to do something dastardly, but I honestly wasn’t expecting her to turn out to be a Winnowry agent! That thickened the plot rather nicely, and I’m definitely curious to see what comes of it, but that’s for later. Nanthema … *sigh* I wish I could say I felt her loss, but honestly? Vintage is better off without her. I hoped so much for a happy reunion, but I guess I should have known better. It seems if there’s one thing Jen Williams is good at, it’s stomping cheerfully all over my feelings and my expectations. But this was done in a way that engaged me, in the end, far more than I think a mere Happy Ever After would have. I mean, we’re only on the second book…
The other surprise that wasn’t really a surprise was the course of action Hestillion takes, regarding Aldasair and Bern. I was surprised that she’d decide to sneak around to help them escape. What didn’t surprise me, sadly, was the revelation of her reasons for doing it.
Talk about doubling down. At this point I’m seriously starting to wonder if there’s any hope left for her, but I guess that’s right where I’m supposed to be as a reader! One ticket please, I’d like to go along for this ride.
The Jure’lia have been fended off… for now, at least. What do you think the future holds for Sarn? What do you think Bern’s action has done to the hive mind?
Oh, there is definitely a bigger, bloodier battle coming. Which would be even more terrifying if it wasn’t for whatever the heck it was Bern did to the hive mind! I’ve talked before about how I don’t think the Jure’lia queen can really corrupt any of them without becoming at least a little bit ‘corrupted’ herself, and this seems like the equivalent of getting some malware into her system. Frankly, I’m here for it. The queen gives me the ultimate creeps and I hope she chokes on humanity.
The war beasts have forged a bond and found unity in love and vengeance. Are you okay? Would you like to talk about it?
NO I AM NOT OKAY AND YES I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT IT.
‘Eri,’ said Helcate.
This line, right here? This is where I started crying like my heart had broken, BECAUSE IT HAD. How dare you, Ms Williams. How. Dare. You.
But then this happened, and the righteously furious sun came out again:
‘Get ready, my darlings. We are going to fuck them up.’
I love Vintage so, so much and I swear if she doesn’t find a way to bond with my poor baby Helcate after all this, I may riot because IT WOULD BE PERFECT OKAY.
Also, I love the way Aldasair reminds everyone that, along with all the vengeance they’re setting out to get, they’ve got love to see them through. As if he wasn’t already enough of a sweet cinnamon roll, too good and pure for this world.
I am seriously having trouble remembering the last time I went so quickly from one overwhelming emotion to another, never mind the case of rage wrapped in terror and rolled in heartbreak that this ONE SCENE gave me. All I can do is take my hat off to Jen Williams for it, and hope she can top it in The Poison Song while simultaneously hoping she NEVER DOES THIS TO ME AGAIN OH GOD I CAN’T.
Bring it all: what are your impressions overall? Favourite moments? Disappointments or quibbles?
Fucking them up; Tyranny punching out one of the Yuron-Kai (why yes, I can dislike her and still appreciate her badassness); Helcate showing up to give the Winnowry thieves what for; the good ship Aldabern finally coming in. AUGH I could go on here all day, there are just so many moments! But these are definitely standout ones.
Disappointments are a bit thinner on the ground, but let’s say I’m holding onto a bit of hope that the Yuron-Kai will stick around, and that they might surprise me in the final book somehow. I just want to know more about them, and to see what they’re really made of. And let’s face it, Ebora needs allies right now. Let’s counter the xenophobia with a bit more expansion of some horizons! Finneral set a good example; I’d like to see that followed!
So! That’s it for this read-along, but we’ll be back for the final book soon! August is going to require a bit of a break, or as much of one as myself and imyril at least can get – we’re heading to Dublin for Worldcon in a couple of weeks, among other blogger commitments! So there’s a bit of a hiatus planned for this trilogy read-along, but we’re planning to return for The Poison Song in September, so keep your eyes peeled for more details in the near future!