We're up to September, so we're closing in on The Red Queen!
This one is a mammoth, not just in size and content, but in the length of time it took to be published (9 years!). I remember joining the series around the time this book was published, so I haven't even been reading the series, for as long as some people were waiting for this book to be published since The Keeping Place. So much happens in the book, so it's no wonder it's so large.
I vividly remember Elspeth being taken to Herder Island, and how exciting it was to finally see this other side of the Herders, and of course an overthrow is always good fun. Then there was the plague, and finding of Domick, which was heartrending, but it was also a time to find out more about INES, and the Beforetime Complex, where I just want to explore a lot more! And who could forget Norseland, and Rushton!
Can't wait to reread this one soon (I'm still up to The Keeping Place - a lot further along than I expected - *shifty eyes* may or may not have been reading instead of other things).
What are your thoughts on the book?
I couldn't wait, and read both the stone key and sending in August. I finished the Keeping Place and needed MOAR.
Once I catch up with my reading challenges I might do the Sending again.
I wish there was a herder Isle map, that would have been awesome. An Obernewtyn map would be great, too
This is my favourite book, though the whole Malik scenario chills me. Favourite random character - Kevrik - what a sweetheart! It's a pity we'll probably never see him again. I absolutely love this book from when she meets Hevlar and Lark all the way to the end. Herder Isle is a magnificent coup, meeting Rolf is heartwarming (what a great guy), the Beforetime complex leaves me desperately wanting more, Norseland and Ariel's residence is thrilling but not the sort of thing to read on a cold, dark night when you're alone in the house...and then the aftermath in Sador is incredibly satisfying. I really like the couples we discover - Jak/Seely and Merret/Blyss both seem to work really well together. Dardelan's 'capture' of Bruna is so fantastic too - I love how her aura changes from ice blue to fiery in an instant. And thrown into the mix is the all-important discovery of Cassy's clue on the West Coast...
Although this book has a large number of continuity/character name errors, it astounds me every time with its gripping power and I just love it!
Wow, that was quite a stream of consciousness, hope it made sense!
yes, Kevrik rocked! Maybe in the end we'll have a bit of "Where are they now" wrap up, heh.
I love the relationships, too.
Even though the series is still YA, the relationships are presented in a really mature, and calm way. Not mature like dirty, but not all giggly and silly and over the top.
I don't really want to comment because I don't want to mix the books up!
This is by far one of my favorites in the series. I love it so much! From the moment Elspeth leaves Obernewtyn at the beginning of the novel to the moment where she shows Rushton how much she loves him by 'sacrificing' herself for him. It is so beautiful. The discovery that Dommick is the infected null is always devastating every time I read it, and it pulls at my heart strings as Dommick fights for control with Micah. And Rolf! Such a great character. Then of course Gilbert re-enters the scene which just adds to the already tenuous relationship Elspeth and Rushton have throughout most of the novel. Elspeth however deals with that situation quite well in my opinion. Part of me was all for Elspeth and Gilbert ending up together but it was never to be. Also, are we assuming that the stone sword is Dragon's or do you have any other suggestions?
Oh my, this is so mammoth, I can't believe how much happens in this, reading your comments, I was like oh yeah Malik was thing that happened. It just feels so long ago!
Reading through has made me realise how much I forget things or misremember. I was really excited for the INES talk, and yet it was so brief, I thought that they had a massive talk and it was really revealing, but I was quite underwhelmed by my expectations of it. It was still great, and I love the whole Beforetime Complex but I had thought there was more.
Herder Island is so thrilling, I love reading through it.
The Rushton/Elspeth scene is really stressful.
At the end of the book, Elspeth says that she has travelled the coast road before, I don't think so! And the dream sequence really points to it being Matthew, like the Destroyer is seeking you -> 'Elspeth' Matthew cried.
Ok, as i read this book again, i realised how little of it i remembered. I really had only the haziest of memories of it. I came to the conclusion that in hindsight, this series may have worked better as shorter single arc books, starting at ashling. The stone key has at least 3 shorter books in it ....
Yeah that's what I was thinking as I read it, the US idea of splitting does make some sense, because I do feel quite overwhelmed by it. The only problem is that all her previous ones made nice concluded stories in and of themselves, splitting it anywhere here, ruins that.
Pizza, I think she road back at the end of Ashling after the battlegames.
I thought they all went back to Sutrium?? Indeed, I just checked, and it says they went via sea to Sutrium
I am so behind.. I think I've only read this one once or twice!! How will I ever finish this and the next before The Red Queen :'(
I think I've only ever read TSK once in full. I've gone over bits and pieces of it for references, quotes etc for theories, but never read it in full other than the first time. I'm up to the Beforetime city and I know why now - it's not just because of Domick, though that is a large part of the reason. I love this book in that it's much more detailed and revealing about the world and the characters, but there are many moments that are so stressful that I hate having to read it again and I guess I've been avoiding the book like the plague (sigh, bad pun) because of it. The Malik section, Herder Isle, Domick...then there's the stress of Rushton to come, on Norseland.
I'll finish it, and the Sending, before TRQ too, but a part of me wonders if this will be the last time I ever read TSK. We've "known" these characters for so long that reading it in sequence/full again is like watching a bunch of friends make bad decisions and being unable to help them. I'd forgotten what it felt like to be so invested in a book/fictional characters.
Finished TSK tonight. A couple of things:
- Did we ever determine who the "one of Kasanda-blood" is that is with Elspeth when she retrieves the USB stick of doom? Was there a suggestion there it was Jakoby, since she brought her to the Earthtemple?
- Agree now that it's highly likely that Jakoby's sister is Salamander. It's hinted several times that Ariel and Salamander are practically BFFs, and I have to wonder what Salamander (/Saresh) has that Ariel needs. Ariel just tends to manipulate everything and everyone into doing whatever he needs at the time, before destroying them. So what does he need from Salamander? If - from my first point - Jakoby is 'one of Kasanda blood', could it have something to do with Elspeth's quest? That Ariel's keeping a close eye on her because he's found someone who (willingly) fits the bill?
- Either Matthew is the Destroyer, or the dream Elspeth has near the end is a massive red herring. She dreams of a strange shadow that doesn't feel like Ariel hovering over her; Maruman tells her the shadow is the Destroyer (he doesn't say H'rayka) and that she must flee before he sees her...and then she dreams of Matthew, calling out to her again and again from the Sentinal dream tunnel! I mean, c'mon! And this, after the dream where Elspeth and Matthew make proper/genuine contact for the first time, where she tells him about Dragon. Of course Matthew will now be trying to reach her again.
- One of the maps that Gorgol shows Elspeth on the Umborine has two small islands on it called Romsey and Bayleux. I'm wondering if they can help us with any correlations (though it's difficult without *seeing* that map). Romsey is a town in southern England and while Bayleux doesn't exist, Bayeux does, in Normandy. Don't know if it's even possible or relevant, just thought it was worth noting.
- Speaking of correlations, I'm insanely curious about the Beforetime city where Dell and the others now live. I want more hints about what city it was originally...but that might never come if Dell's prediction that she and Elspeth would never meet again comes true, because chances of going back there are so slim.
- VERY [censored] off at Gilbert. GO HOME, GILBERT. What an [censored], leaving Serra with TWO baby boys. I don't care that he's found peace re his obsession with Elspeth and that after he's pranced around with Gwynedd he'll go home and see if Serra will take him back. That's a fair amount of time that you've left her to herself with TWINS. That poor woman, first she has to suffer Gilbert wooing her because she reminds him of Elspeth and then she's abandoned.
- I've said in other threads that I don't think Elspeth will kill Ariel, but I really hope someone does. While we never see much of Ariel any more, we hear more and more of his insanity and cruelty each book and someone needs to end him. I want it to be Rushton, but don't know if it would be (if they wanted to take Malik to trial, they'd insist on doing the same with Ariel).
Overall I loved it but I'm glad it's done, because (as I said the other night) there is so much pain in this book that it's difficult to get through.
On to The Sending - yay!
I finished The Stone Key this morning, and just read The Dark Road tonight. I was kind of thinking I might be in danger of not re-reading quick enough, but now I am worried that I will re-read too quickly and have a month long gap until The Red Queen (which wouldn't be so bad considering the study piling up while I read...).
Probably spoilers maybe........
I thought that the 'one of Kasanda blood' was the temple overguardian who was of kasanda blood by being a kasanda, but still really unsure.
I have always really loved seeing different parts of the land and Herder Isle and Norseland, and I enjoyed them returning to Sador as well.
Re-reading this one does seem to point towards Saresh as Salamander, with the need for secrecy, Daffyd's eye-witness and surety that Salamander is Sadorian, and the mention of Saresh's love of her mothers pretty things that correlates with the room in Ariel's Norseland dwelling...though Elspeth does hear Salamander speak and there is nothing to suggest that the voice sounds female.
For some reason I came out of the book feeling like Daffyd might be the destroyer, but I have no idea why and it is fairly baseless, just something to do with his ongoing desperation and searching...but I really hope he isn't.
I actually assumed that Kasanda's blood was like an incorrect thing, like it was supposed to happen, but things changed. Cause I always thought it was Swallow who needed to come. But Jakoby or the Overguardian works, unless someone was on the boat with them?
Saresh seems very likely, and I had the same thought about Matthew (indeed I thought it was a red-herring last time I re-read, and then this time I promptly forgot that I made that assertion about Matthew)
I also noticed that at the end there was a passage where Elspeth notices new people in Sador "We ate and drank standing, watching two very small women with honey-coloured skin and deeply slanted eyes tumble and roll with an agility that Merret would have gaped to see. I was about to ask where they came from, for they did not look like Sadorians or Land or Norseland stock, when a long mournful note swelled the air". Are they Chinon-ese people - in the beginning of the Sending we hear that Chinon was hardly untouched by The Great White. It's such a small point, but it made me very interested, cause why haven't they been mentioned before if they are here? And how did they get here?
I loved how this book just got into the thick of things - I was so apprehensive with the whole Malik saga!
I totally forgot that Elspeth ended up on the ship that took her directly to Herder Isle! It is still quite interesting to find out about the inner workings of the Herders but is a little slower in pace. I actually was unable to remember/imagine how she could possibly get out of the situation! And then suddenly the coercers!
The returning of Ariel somewhat terrifies me, and then I feel apprehensive to find out exactly what happened to Rushton.
Loving this book so far.
Jossie I felt the same about a lot of it, I knew she had to go to herder isle, but wasn't sure how she would get on the boat.
And suddenly, coercers!
And Min, Gilbert! Ugh! Such a knob.
It's been a while since I read this and TS, so I'm sure it's been said but I want to say it anyway (almost finished!). It seems to me that Jakoby's twin, Sesha is Salamander. Makes sense for her to cover herself completely then to hide her deformities. It also then links that the clothes found in Ariel's place was hers to since I just read Jakoby saying how her sister loved pretty things like their mother's jewels and silks.. Oh and also how Jakoby said she could navigate away from the coast because her sister and she had done so when they were younger.
Does this mean then she is also the Destroyer... It seems too obvious that it would be Ariel- would make sense that he would be helping her... Hmmm
Rant over, but clear to me that I've only read this book maybe only once or twice before to have forgotten so much!
I was shocked that the "growling" in the torture chamber at Ariel's was Rushton! Totally forgot! It's like I'm reading for the first time! So much happens in this book!
I would agree with your choice as Seresh for Salamander, only it seems too obvious to make Salamander and the destroyer the same person, and Isobelle would love a surprise.
Min- I absolutely agree! Gilbert is a _________. How can he leave his wife with her children to go off for the girl who:
a. He barely knows
b. He believes will love him
c. Might be DEAD
I mean, come on! Idiot!
Anyway, Gilbert aside, I really love this book. It was pretty intense, but definitely great. I like how Isobelle resolved the Elspeth/Rushton tension, it broke my heart to see him treating her the way that he was after Ariel had finished with him :(
I also loved the ship fish, it supports Elspeth's ability to beast talk and kind of refers back to old stories where dolphins rescue shipwrecked sailors. It provides a balance in the story, showing that around all the issues with people, the animals ave their part as well.
HermioneSJ and Min – I agree in that I did not like Gilbert in this book. At. All. He was just way too annoying! That being said, I liked him the first time we met him in The Farseekers ^_^
This was one huge book! I don’t remember it being this long or packed full of so much stuff! Perhaps I skim-read it the first time, jumping to bits that I liked, but my goodness, it took a while to digest everything. No doubt it helps pave the way for The Sending and The Red Queen.
Spoilers… Actually the bar is just there because my post is long and this way you have an option to skip over my meanderings :D
I loved the Technoguilder’s house with unfinished windows and floors (so typical), the horses taking over Malik’s camp, Elspeth’s adventures out in the Strait with the dolphins, meeting Lark and Helvar and overthrowing Herder Isle. I also liked Rolf and Erit (who reminded me of an Artful Dodger-type), meeting Iriny on Stone Hill. I loved loved loved the Beforetime complex, in particular Dell communicating with INES, her haven in Sanctuary, the Pavo healing machine – and poor Domick…
Ariel’s abode on Norseland was chilly to read and Salamander’s quarters, fascinating, esp. with the hints about women’s clothing, Salamander being Sadorian/ Gadfian and the story of Jakoby’s sister Seresh, her deformity and love of adventure and sailing. The part where Elspeth is trapped in the dark was even scarier on second read. I enjoyed the more peaceful ending in Sador, Dardelan hunting Bruna, Rushton in a sane frame of mind, the tiny look into Rushton’s heritage, the message left from Cassanda and the stone key! What on earth is it???
The nature of Dameon’s empath barrier: To Wenda – ‘… I learned to create a barrier about my own mind to keep from receiving anything but the most passionate emotions of people to whom I am very close. And even in those cases I can block myself by erecting a special temporary barrier against that person.’” (p. 215). Dameon creates a barrier to keep from feeling others’ emotions but he also constructed a personal barrier against Elspeth to block his own emotions towards her, which means they must be pretty strong! He is probably fearful of influencing her in any way by transmitting strong emotions of love. Either that or he is keeping some massive secret that will completely throw us in the end.
Jes – I loved the memory of Jes and Elspeth. I always saw Jes as more cruel and cold but I loved the care of his sister when watching their parents burn. It makes sense, having seen what he had, why he acts the way he does in the first book – distant and remote and scared of his sister’s misfit powers. It makes you care for him more as a person.
Ariel’s fate: I assume Ariel’s powers are elaborated on a little later but in this book, Domick describes him as such: “He uses empathy in some twisted, dreadful way. Like coercing but worse…’” (p.671) and “’… he is like an empath turned inside out…” (p.674)
I wonder if Elspeth will have a final battle of powers/ minds with Ariel. I wonder how this will work – coercion/ farseeking/ beast-speaking/ dark power against empathy/coercion. Elspeth herself says that empathy is the only power she completely lacks - I wonder if this will help or hinder her in the end. The fact that Dameon is with her on the journey, may point to Dameon being needed to play an integral part, perhaps by helping to awaken her empathy or to duel Ariel himself in some small way. This could also mean Ariel turns Dameon against Elspeth – but I’m not sure about this as it seems to go against his very nature and he is very strong - still fun to speculate, though.
Domick says to Elspeth about Ariel “He hates you… you can’t imagine how he hates you.” (p.673). Ariel is portrayed as being utterly evil but I can’t help but wonder if there will be any redeeming factor for him in the end, any clearer intentions or motivations, something we aren’t seeing clearly yet that will help us understand him. I think it makes sense for Ariel to die but I wonder if there is in fact some other use for him or role he can play that will bring him to justice and make him atone for his evil at the same time:
1. Ariel accidently plays an integral part in destroying the weaponmachines
2. Ariel awakens empathy in Elspeth’s mind, thus helping her to overcome him
3. Ariel is defeated/ destroyed by having his own powers turned against him or Elspeth accidently turns Sentinel on Ariel, which ends up killing him – that would be poetic justice, me thinks.
INES and Sentinel: Elspeth’s conversation with Dell about INES is quite meaningful – “Do you really think that it is possible for a machine to change its mind?” (p.698). It almost has a prophetic feeling about it. Indeed that is what Elspeth might just have to do. It makes me wonder if Elspeth could reason and communicate with Sentinel to shut the program down or self-destruct or do whatever was needed. Sentinel would be the perfect judge – but too perfect and too cold, with no empathy. Even though Ariel would seek to takeover Sentinel and gain ultimate knowledge, Sentinel would probably turn on him in the end.
I also wonder what else could be in the Beforetime library complex, in the forbidden areas that Dell is interested in and trying to get into. I have a feeling that Dell will gain forbidden knowledge or gain troubling information about an aspect of Elspeth’s quest. I can see her trying to warn Elspeth or pass on information through the dream tails or something like that.
Message from Cassanda and the stone key - I want to know what Cassy was about to say before the computer shut-down! A warning of sorts? I’m also really curious about the stone key – what on earth is it for? My thought is that it has something to do with The Red Queen’s grave and the sign that Elspeth has to find there.
Let’s hope I can read The Sending before The Red Queen comes out! If not, it’ll be straight onto The Red Queen! Whoooo!