Wyrd and Wonder Read Along: The Bone Witch, Week 2

It’s late, but it’s time to dive back into discussion of The Bone Witch for Wyrd and Wonder!

Spoilers follow for chapters 8 through 15.



Full schedule details are here, and last week’s Read Along round-up can be found here.

And now, let’s discuss!

The heartglass is a very important part of everyone’s life but especially if you are an Asha. Having heard of Lady Mikaela’s story, can you imagine giving your heartglass to anyone?

I am a romantic at heart, so I can absolutely imagine it, though it would require a LOT of trust, heh. I was a bit more taken by Lady Mikaela’s story in the sense that it’s more of a cautionary tale than a romantic one. The cynical side of me appreciated that, even while I’m wondering how it’s going to inform Tea’s own perspective and/or actions in future…

Continuing on from that, how would you feel if your heartglass showed your every emotion?

Excellent question! I think this also comes down to a matter of trust. If it can’t be hidden, then you’re taking it on a lot of faith that the people who can ‘see’ how you’re feeling won’t use that against you. On the other hand, the trained observer would never need to have your feelings explained to them. I can definitely see an up side to that!

‘I don’t see the importance of good manners the way asha seem to,’ Kalen said. ‘People respond to a show of force, not to etiquette. You asha are powerful in your own right. I don’t see why you have to wrap it it up in pretty clothes and dancing. People don’t kowtow to me because I know what type of spoons to use with my stew.’

‘You’re a man, Kalen,’ Zoya laughed. ‘Or, rather, you are the type of man who has little patience for intrigue, and so you dismiss it and think others should do the same.’ (P 103-104)

How much do you feel that Kalen and/or Zoya have a point here about how the Asha are regarded as to their powers?

This is an interesting question, and that was an interesting exchange. Kalen seems to be equating a show of any power other than force with “etiquette”, and seems dismissive of it based on that. Zoya definitely has his number on that score! But intrigue has its uses and brings/conveys its own sense of power, whether it’s manipulation using graces and manners or a show of something beautiful, like dancing, to make someone think a certain way of you or see certain things in you. Not everyone can be a wall of force, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to show strengths. I think anyone who writes those ways off as pointless because it’s not an obvious show of purely physical strength probably deserves to be hoodwinked, even if it’s just to make a point. (I don’t care much for Kalen, can you tell?)

After the incident with the other asha, Tea is quite shocked to find she is not getting a punishment by Parmina. What did you think of this change of heart by Parmina and the conversation they had?

That conversation definitely gave me the sense that Parmina is applying the old adage, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. I don’t think she’s doing this out of kindness, exactly, but I do think she sees an opportunity to benefit personally from making sure Tea’s abilities are honed as sharp as possible. If Tea turns out to be a friend, then she’s done her a favour. If she doesn’t, then Parmina can at least be aware of what she’s capable of and what skill sets she has.

‘She is a mix of both Water and Metal and a faint touch of Fire,’ she told Mistress Parmina. ‘Determined and highly intelligent. This is good. She will strive for perfection, and she has a strong sense of righteousness. She accepts change quicker than others, but she will always be questioning her abilities, no matter how far her training takes her. That is not necessarily a good thing.’

Salika seems to have a sense for who Tea is as she uses her vials. How do you feel this description stacks up to the young and older Tea we have seen so far?

I think all of Salika’s observations can be taken as good or bad things, here – and I’m not entirely sure which they are, from what we’ve seen of the older Tea so far. Those interludes feel like they’re leading somewhere, but I’m not convinced of the direction just yet. Villains can be determined, intelligent and righteous, and the really interesting ones question themselves without necessarily deciding to correct their course… So I think it’s an insightful description, but the devil’s in the details and we haven’t heard enough of Tea’s story to know those yet. It’s interesting, though!

Fox is still a constant throughout the story though it has been more than 2 years than he was raised. He seems to act as when he was alive, discussing and disagreeing with Tea. He can go through the city and make his own choices. And except for the tie to Tea and wounds not healing, there doesn’t seem to be much backlash to being undead. How realistic does that feel to you?

I’m not sure undead creatures need to be realistic, precisely – if there was such a thing, we’d be in a bit of bother, wouldn’t we? BUT. I like Fox. I like this take on necromancy, and the nature of undead people – if we can assume that this is typical of raising the dead, of course. I don’t think it’s been stated that Fox is entirely unique, or if it has I missed that. I do think there’s got to be a sting in the tail somewhere down the line, though? Right? It’s called dark magic for a reason, so part of me is bracing for a twist in this regard…

… And on that note, I think that’s a good place for me to stop for the week so I can keep reading!

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