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Meltintalle
(@mel)
Member Moderator

@fantasia, I'm glad you enjoyed Ben and Me! I think I almost didn't put that one on the list, since you hadn't liked Rabbit HillGiggle Are you going to look for the one about Revere's horse?

@coracle, I've had Pillars of the Earth recommended to me, (it's the one about the construction of a cathedral, yes?) and the premise sounds interesting. I've never picked it up, though. Instead I read The Heaven Tree trilogy by Edith Pratager which was less of a time commitment and sounded like a similar premise. 

I finished Return of the Thief this morning. I gulped it in approximately two chunks (convenient the way the book is divided). I would count myself in the reasonably satisfied reader camp, and expect that my appreciation of it will grow with a reread or two.

Spoiler
assorted Return of the Thief thoughts

I spotted several literary influences; I'd seen mention of the scene that was similar to one in Henry V. I hadn't heard about the one that reminded me of the story of Esther. Or the gates of Mordor moment. And overall, the book had a very Rosemary Sutcliff tone, treading the balance between small cares and a big picture, and the touchstones people chose.

The intervention of the gods was--more spectacular? but less impressive? (I admit to feeling satisfaction at Baron Erondities' end, though I wonder if I'd feel the same if it were attributed to a spark in the munitions.)

I'll be over in the corner, having Feelings about the Minister of War and the battle at Naupent. And the king's attendants. And maybe even Ion Nomenus.

I've read (and reread) the previous books in the series, so I don't know how RotT would hit without that context, but I think it'd be pretty satisfying. Costis' cameo, which felt out-of-place and bordering on unnecessary in the grand scheme, might even be less of a what-just-happened moment.

I'm disappointed that the volcano erupts post-book; especially since it got center billing on the cover. I mean, I'm glad it gets resolved happily and the streets are empty in the dream-version, but I expect it was a lot more complicated than that logistically in the end.

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Posted : November 19, 2020 1:05 pm
daughter of the King
(@dot)
Princess Dot Moderator
Belated replies about Return of the Thief.
Spoiler
return of the thief
Posted by: @valiantarcher

Speaking of Pheris - do you know what his disability would be? I wasn't sure if his special love and interest in numbers pointed towards autism, but that didn't seem to fit with his physical ailments.

I'm not sure if she had a specific disability in mind. But my initial thought was something like cerebral palsy or another neuromuscular disorder. Possibly something genetic since his uncle apparently had it. There are some genetic disorders that women carry but never show symptoms for.

Posted by: @valiantarcher

There was a scene early on in the book where there was a bright light and a figure and Pheris clung to Gen - but I don't think we ever got an explanation as to what the bright light and figure were???

I think it was Moira, but it's not stated outright. Pheris is telling it from his point of view there and he had no idea what he was getting into. Is that the scene where Gen tells people not to get rid of Pheris?

Posted by: @valiantarcher

Also, I understand why Gen couldn't be told who else had betrayed him, but it was very unsatisfying as a reader.

I have a theory. Most of the characters we know were traitors were ones Attolia had told the other royals to kill but they kept them alive. Maybe all of the people she said to kill were traitors?

Posted by: @ajaiken

Is everyone alive, with the heir and the spare, and happy, super-convenient? Yes. Did it make me happy? Also yes ...

I saw one article by a reviewer who said RotT felt out of place because modern fantasy rarely does everyone is happy endings. And so they found this book refreshing. And I think I agree.

 

 

Very glad I re-read Warbreaker (and read Elantris for the first time!) before Rhythm of War came out. RoW is probably the most Cosmere aware Brandon Sanderson book to date. He dropped a lot of lore, and there are indications of a lot of characters already world hopping beyond what was seen in Mistborn: Secret History. I think I liked Oathbringer better, and there are some stuff that I'm a bit iffy about it, but overall I liked it a lot. Definitely needed more Lift though (I suspect I shall be saying that until we get her point-of-view book somewhere in the second half of the series).

And Dawnshard was delightful. The e-book is available at different places, but if you're waiting for a physical copy it will be sometime next year. Thankfully, it's not required reading for RoW or the other way around. I need a Chiri-chiri action figure right now.

 

I actually ended up really liking The Light Between Worlds. There were a lot of Narnia references (the older sister goes to America, a nylons comment, the siblings planting trees outside the palace, conflict with another nation where the older sister almost agrees to stay with their prince), but it wasn't in a negative way. It was just a different take on the portal world concept. I knew going in there would be stuff about depression, but I did not know there was self-harm in the book so content warning to anyone who might want to read it. It was overall rather melancholy but the prose was often very dreamlike. And I appreciated the magical realism on "our" world that happened in the second half even though I usually don't appreciate magical realism as a general concept.

 

Next up: Wintersong by S. Jae-Hones for YA book club. It's a fairytale where the sister gets taken by the Goblin King and our heroine must journey into the Underground to save her. And she'll probably fall in love somewhere in there because YA. The description reminds me of the Norwegian fairytale Tatterhood, but I doubt the heroine is born holding a spoon and riding a goat in this book. Although I could be wrong. Giggle  

Narniaweb sister to Pattertwig's Pal

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Posted : November 21, 2020 8:55 pm
Adeona
(@adeona)
Thursday's Wayfaring Child Hospitality Committee

Hello all! Popping in to discuss Return of the Thief and shed a few thoughts/feelings. Smile

Overall I'm fairly pleased and satisfied with it as a book and a series conclusion, and definitely like it better than Thick as Thieves (a relief). I expect it'll improve with acquaintance, too, like A Conspiracy of Kings.

Spoiler
...this got long
Like @arwenel, I thought there were times when Pheris came across as a sort of Costis-replacement, hence unnecessary and disappointing - especially in light of previous speculation about a Heiro POV! But I had to feel for his predicament and determination to make up for his mistakes. Regarding his disabilities, @valiantarcher, the official artist of the character art used a resource on cerebral palsy for her Pheris art, so could be that (though I don't think that's hereditary.... maybe shared risk factors??) plus autism is a common co-diagnosis with CP.

Posted by: @dot

So, first off, I really liked Pheris. He's both a pretty good example of how to write a disabled protagonist and also keeping in line with some traditional Greek mythos. He cannot speak, but he is the mouthpiece of the gods and of history. ... He says at the start of the book that this is his recording of history as he knows it, but included other things that were told to him.

I really like how you put that, @dot, and it explains, better than I could, why I ultimately liked Pheris and his POV.

Like Valia I didn't love the politically correct "development" of certain long-standing characters. Sadly it didn't exactly come as a huge shock, so I mostly ignored all that.

Posted by: @mel

I spotted several literary influences; I'd seen mention of the scene that was similar to one in Henry V. I hadn't heard about the one that reminded me of the story of Esther. Or the gates of Mordor moment. And overall, the book had a very Rosemary Sutcliff tone, treading the balance between small cares and a big picture, and the touchstones people chose.

Oh man, the Henry V reference (Shakespearean historical play vibes in general too)! Haha yes the Esther scene definitely hit me too. The whole segment where they're fighting a vast army for days could be comparable to it, but nothing specific is coming to mind for the gates of Mordor moment? However, the moment when they're planning the campaign and someone asks about the "advance/return ratio" or something like that... my heart just dropped. It reminded me so much of the line in A Kingdom Far and Clear where the Queen asks how many of her men will of get through and the generals tell her "A hundred, perhaps, or twenty," and they all know they won't be among those who survive. (I am also having feelings about the Minister of War and all the attendants and yes Ion Nomenus). You're right about the Rosemary Sutcliff tone, I'd just finished rereading Frontier Wolf and The Shining Company and there's the same exploration of the deep pain and loss that comes with war, while not denying the necessity of fighting for your people. Also ideas about leadership and the rich historical details (or psuedo-historical hah). Additionally, I'm not sure who else has read it, but Gen reminded me a bit of Dammerung in Plenilune this time around. When he roars out for Erondites and the lighting comes down - yikes!

Posted by: @dot

I have a theory. Most of the characters we know were traitors were ones Attolia had told the other royals to kill but they kept them alive. Maybe all of the people she said to kill were traitors?

This is intriguing - the only options I could think of are people in group A, so who did she say to kill that hasn't been confirmed a traitor?  ... Relius?! Anyone else?

Favorite moments: Sophos promises that riding Fryst will be "like riding a slow-moving sofa"; foolish junior naval officer almost becomes an appetizer; the Esther scene.

Little questions I was left with: who was the "dead man" Gen saw near the cairn right before the ambush? Was he speaking lightly and pretending he was just seeing the ghost of whoever was buried there? Or did he see Lader, as a warning from the gods (making him stop suddenly and thus be farther away when the blast happened)? Also, Bu-seneth implied the Continent powers were somehow responsible for the bomb - was he implying it was Fordad that set the bomb?! If so, what a record stinker. After finishing the book I also had to wonder: was the increased rain that comes at Gen's asking specifically from Alyta? They are in the mountains after all.

Edit: Like several of you already mentioned, I was disappointed not to see

Spoiler
the volcano erupt!!! But I agree with @dot that the narrative around that was at least resolved, if not in quite as satisfactory a way as it could have been. I actually had been speculating that they'd evacuate everyone and lure the Mede army up to Eddis to be swept away in the eruption... oh well.

This post was modified 1 day ago by Adeona

avi by Flambeau

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Posted : November 24, 2020 1:19 am
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