Because no one want to be known as story killer.... True bookworms last forever, No one mourns the spoilers, Lud I hope this is enough.. Maybe one more line?
Min I agree, there was so much hype for all these animals both wild and tame from The Land, Sador, and probably other places who have given so much for The Free Running Barud and they're just left behind. Is it supposed to be enough that they're freed? I find it all so unfair.
Why hello there, sidebar! You're looking mighty fine today. Is that a new post you're displaying there? It suits your eyes.
Where to begin, oh where to begin.
I enjoyed a lot and was also disappointed with a lot, but as some of the others have mentioned, as I've let the story settle I'm more okay with it.
My initial reaction to Lidge being the Destroyer was definitely 'ARE YOU KIDDING ME?' because it didn't really seem to fit with some of the information we were given (even though we were never really sure of Lidge's gender in Farseekers). But, honestly, I mostly lament Lidge being the Destroyer simply because it's not an option that has a really huge emotional impact. Rushton/Dameon/Matthew being the Destroyer would have devastated Elspeth, and I am a terrible human being who wants the main characters sobbing terribly in the end--also me sobbing terribly in the end! Nothing in the book really had that sort of impact on me though (seriously, I was expecting so many more characters to die).
The build up and reveal of Dameon's unrequited love was hilarious and frustrating and equally horrifying all at once (Balboa Balboa BLOODY Balboa--oh Elspeth you idiotic fool!). Though I agree with Sian that him forcing her to respond to his kiss was very uncomfortable to read and I did not like that he had no shame in doing so, but I /don't/ think it was really out of character for him, tbh. It's more that we don't see that side to his character as often because Elspeth is Elspeth and is an unobservant fool. I'm also kinda sad that this whole plot thread just fell of the wagon. They had their little awkward talk in the desert and then . . . that's it. Dameon kinda just becomes a background character and the issue is never really raised again.
To no one's surprise, Salamander was Jakoby's sister, but the whole resolution of that arc just BAM was so quick. Some random just comes and throws a knife and Salamander is dead and there's like no real reaction before we're off to the next plot point. I'm just so hungry to understand how Seresh became Salamander and then how Salamander became involved with Ariel, and there were those hints in TSK that Salamander had talent that also went nowhere--and I HAVE NEEDS!! *frustrated yowling*
On that note, the backstories for Dameon, Ariel, Louis, and pretty much everyone else too are also still greatly desired. Except for Rushton. I'm too happy with Min's idea of his contiki acid trip. I don't need that backstory fully explained now.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE SENTINEL TOO! Love love love all the 'ew gross humans might infect, I'm never gonna talk to them'. She was amazing and I'm so glad she survived--though also super annoyed that Hendon had to get squashed into the corner for it because AWWWW HENDON!! HENDON HENDON HENDON! I really would have loved for Hendon to remain with Ana after Swallow died (*grugs deb*). I really enjoyed how dismissive of him Elspeth was and how judgmental everyone else was of her for it, and I wonder whether the other unit will end up named in a similar fashion by Tash or Ahmedri.
On that note, also really loved Miryums dream. Elf and Dameon as cats was super amusing and how they acted in those forms was endearing and fun (though Dameon perhaps enjoyed it a little too much ;) ).
There were a lot of plot points that were dropped throughout the book too. Like Elf never listened to the message Hannah left for her in Midland, and the communicators they set up while there were never used for some reason, and then there's the whole forgetting to say HERE THERE BE DRAGONS thing--and seriously was there really any point to the poisoned plums?!? But considering the rush that was put on getting the book out, it probably could have been worse.
I also desperately need to do a reread because I read the last third in a delirious state at about 2-5am and am very fuzzy on all the white faced lord stuff and kind of blanked a lot of it out in an attempt to concentrate on the characters I cared about at that point.
Overall though, we got a fairly well rounded tale and I'm generally happy with it--and REALLY excited for the Beforetime Chronicles. GIVE ME ALL THE ROBOTS AND AI NOW THANKS!
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Is anyone else super super glad that Elf wasn't pregnant?
Here be spoilers etc.
So I finally finished TRQ at around 5:30 this morning and felt the urge to share my reaction with people who would get how much this series has meant to me and who have been invested in Elspeth’s story for as long as I have (and probably significantly longer for many of you because I was three when Obernewtyn was published and didn’t start reading the books until I was 12 or 13).
There were things I liked and things I disliked about The Red Queen, and I want to be clear that I’m not sharing my criticisms in an attempt to discourage any of you who genuinely enjoyed the book in its entirety or to suggest that you are wrong for having that reaction. Mostly I think my dissatisfaction with how large chunks of this final book played out have a lot to do with the inherent risks of using prophecy as a device in fiction. It’s super useful and effective early on, but it seems to make concluding things difficult (again, this is just my humble opinion).
But let’s start with the positives:
-The scene where Dameon finally confesses his love to Elspeth was beautifully written.
-As was the scene where Straaka talks about his love for Miryum being a gift and her coming to return that love being a separate but equally beautiful gift
-Elspeth nearly passing out from joy when she was mentally reunited with Gahltha certainly caused my bedroom to get very dusty all of a sudden
-Sentinel proved to be a fascinating character in her own right, and I was very taken with God too (I was a big fan of INES in TSK)
-It was a massive relief to have Dragon’s trust and love for Elspeth return, and I thought their relationship developed nicely in this last book and concluded in a satisfying way
-the mentions of supporting characters from the early books (like Selmar, Cameo and Saul) were nice
-the description of The Desolation seen by Elspeth’s party from the glider was wonderfully chilling and bleak
-now that I think of it I also quite enjoyed Elspeth’s interaction with Tasha in Habitat and Midland
-Elspeth and Dameon rescuing Miryum from the dream cycle was a lovely little story of its own
-the narcissist in me was happy that BOT was on the moon as I’d long believed, although I thought it was silly that the warheads were on earth and just BOT was on the moon
I’m sure I’ll discover many more things to love when I inevitably re-read The Red Queen many times over in the future.
The negatives (as I see them):
-it’s possible that I’m just imagining it, but I felt like Elspeth’s talents were weirdly de-emphasized in The Red Queen, relative to the previous books. Sharing Elspeth’s subjective point of view while she farseeks, beastspeaks, coerces etc. has always been one of my favourite parts of the series. I loved reading about her interacting with/investigating the minds of other people, maybe because that’s a big part of what draws me to fiction in the first place (the opportunity to observe how another person thinks, even if it’s only a character). I liked the scenes in Redport where she probed the mind of the Gadfian woman (apologies, I can’t recall her name atm and am not in a position to check) and I got this brief but incredibly vivid and fairly complex portrait of the woman’s personality and life story. I would have loved more of that. I was kind of annoyed that Elspeth was blocked from using her talents for the long section in Habitat and then again in Redport, but even when she was able to use them it seemed to me that less effort was being made to describe what Elsepth was doing than I’m used to from the previous books, just a lot of “I farsought this person”, “I coerced that person”, with no attempt to explain the process.
-Elspeth was pretty passive and reactive for a protagonist, especially when compared to previous books. This is probably just a taste thing, but personally I like the way Elspeth was written in The Farseekers, Ashling and The Stone Key (the more driven, agency-filled version of the character). I don’t mind reflective, speculative Elspeth for her own sake but the plot just grinds to a halt when she’s in that mode because she is the center of the story. It worked in The Keeping Place because the two sides (active and passive Elspeth that is) were well balanced and that book was sandwiched between the two most urgently paced, heavily plotted books in the series. In The Sending and The Red Queen though (more the former than the latter admittedly) it gave the narrative this sluggish, weirdly drawn out quality where simple tasks like travelling from one place to another or cooking and consuming meals suddenly took forever to be conveyed to the reader.
-The Analivia character was just generally problematic (to my way of thinking). Not because she was a bad or poorly written character, but because her agency and talents and qualities took up so much of the author’s focus, to the detriment of the protagonist. That Elspeth had to stop and explicitly state how glad she was the Ana was part of her quest and how useful she was and how could she have ever doubted that Analivia was essential seemed like lampshading. Pretty much every word spent marvelling at Ana’s machine empathy or Darga’s devotion to her or the wolves respect for her could have been removed from TRQ without any obvious loss of meaning, or better yet, spent on characters I had been given reasons to care for beyond just being told how awesome they are.
-Habitat. Just…why? I’m not against Habitat having been part of the story, but to spend like a third of the book on a place and characters that ultimately proved to be non-essential to the narrative is strange and frustrating, especially when much more important events seemed so rushed towards the end. Given the choice I would have preferred more time with Sentinel, or on Elspeth and Matthew’s reunion, or on Jakoby and Salamander’s final encounter, or with the White-Faced Lords, or with Rushton, etc.
@Sian - re the lalala lalala spoilers spoilers lalala!
So, yes re the how Dragon got out when Oldhaven was still sealed shut - all I can think is that there was another door that Dragon came and went with. If not Oldhaven, I've no idea where Dragon would have been put into cryo. Chronologically it would have only been done by a) people/animals who wanted her alive, and b) people/animals who knew she MUST live. So, quest-related people, so gypsies :D
To have her in cryo at Redport makes no sense, so it had to be once she got to the Land. And that she was found there - I doubt she would have journeyed away from where she woke, she was too confused and scared. So while I'm not 100% happy with the deduction, I can't see any other way...but like most things in book, I'm probably missing a LOT.
I finished a couple of days ago and have been lurking, enjoying everyone's reactions :) hehe, that should be enough sidebar.
Most of the reactions I wrote down were things that made me laugh, like maruman eating Elspeth's pancakes, or Sendari's method of alleviating boredom, the fact that when the arrived in the Red Land I immediately thought of the middle of Australia with the red dirt and Brunt the goat, I immediately loved Brunt, and it was adorable when he said that he had been waiting his whole life to follow her so he wasn't going to leave.
Elspeth was suitably Elspeth level dense, and I love how her emotional stupid-ness was explained with Jes coercing her not to remember, probably augmented by his own spirit force. That shoed in nicely. But... Elspeth is still very dense... She saw Hannah Sr pregnant, hears both God and Hendon describe Hannah burying Hannah and STILL never worked out that they were separate people o_O lol
I absolutely loved how Sentinel was done, but I've also always had a soft spot for AIs when their personification is done well :) but that whole scene was fantastic and poignant.
My reaction to Lidge as destroyer was "Wait!! What?!" Cause I had a feeling that Ariel would use her against Elspeth once he realised he could nullify her powers (poor Lidge) but I didn't realise she would be the destroyer, but now that I've had 2 days to digest it makes sense. I think Ariel is still the one who was destined to turn on the machines (so I reckon atthis TF speech was using the term synonymously with h'rayka) but once he had been killed lidge could not control her destructive powers and would have likely killed everyone in the room including Elspeth, so eventually someone else would have activated BOT (as said by white faced lords future teller... On that note kudos to him for not letting Ariel near him!! Finally something didn't go his way lol)
I did ask IC about Lidge being the destroyer having not been in book one and she said that she *may* have deliberately red herringed us and made it as ambiguous as she didn't want anyone to guess, but she had always know who it would be (Kudos!!) and so that it would be a surprise when we read it :) (was there actually a mention of the static in the white valley in ober? I had a quick look and couldn't find it but I had also thought I'd seen that in ober too, also, if that's the case Lidge would have been 2 in farseekers, and it wasn't uncommon for babies not to be weened until between 2-3 in medieval times so Gilaines comment that they could do nothing until she was weened would still work... Then you'd only need about 9 years to pass between farseekers and red queen (+19 months Cryo time) for timeline to work and Elspeth would only be about 21-22...)
I thought Rushton's story was interesting, and that the reason that he wasn't killed by the mutants was due to his link with Elspeth and that the animals were ALL recognising Elspeth and starting to literally gravitate towards her. swallow mentioned that they were sending gold waves to her aura and I thought that could be essentially transferred to Rushton so that the animals would see him as connected to Innle, and therefore seen him as "brother".
Poor maruman being experimented on, I'm so glad he didn't die, and was also so glad (morbidly) that Ariel died in a kinda horrible way after killing swallow and smashing maruman a paw with a rock... Lol, I just checked my reaction list and sure enough that page just said "Hah! Serves you right!" Lol
Straaka's farewell was lovely, and Ahmedris promise to reunite their bones if she dies was adorable (but if she's healed... I could totally see that developing as he realises more what his half brother saw in her lol) and Tash, she was sweet and so accepting... I wonder what will happen to the people in habitat, because where could they go? They are literally surrounded on all sides by blacklands... Too many rhenlings :O oh, and the creepy things that were described as giant spiders... Nothing ever needs to be described as giant spiders *shudders*
*shakes head at Dameon* that was not cool man... Not cool... Especially to use his empathy on her...
I was so sad for the wolves cause they nearly all died! Death by rhenlings, more death by rhenlings and giant spiders, poor Rhaegar but understandable, I love that Gobor befriended Ahmedri, but then death by lava... They just had no luck at all :( and all to dig them out after the escape from Omega base... But the moment when Ana was made honorary pack member *thumbs up* :D
I'm still digesting the end, would love to see a "this many years later" to find out what happens with Elspeth/rushton's isolation, but I'm just glad they ended up together haha.
Overall I actually really liked the book, so weird to think its over, but there's always re-reading, and I am also looking forward to the beforetime chronicles, and Matthews (potential) stand alone story, it would be so interesting to see the snippets of Elspeth's life through Hannah's eyes or Matthew's :)
I should sign out before I keep going haha :)
I did a quick read because I had to get to the end but now I'm doing a slow one to digest properly and savour this . . .
On the Elspeth/Rushton Eden ending, I like what you are saying about them maybe being able to go back to Obernewtyn evantually if they wanted. I felt the same way about the way they just had to go like that - a bit unsatisfied. But then I thought too there was enough to suggest that they would not be cut off entirely or forever.
Plus one aspect of it that reconciled me to it was that they have never just been able to spend time with each other without one or the other having some issue that needed to be resolved. And even when they finally did get it all together they had to try to steal time away from all of the others, and then were separated immediately after. So I kind of liked the thought they would be away from other humans for a while.
Sidebar filler - I just finished reading about two hours ago.
Elspeth's denseness frustrated me so much at the beginning, but was also a source of great amusement. Most of my frustration came from the Hannah Obernewtyn detail, and I actually wish I hadn't read The Dark Road prior to reading The Red Queen, simply because I wouldn't have known more than Elspeth did.
As much as I despised Dameon's empathy-bordering-on-coercion in kissing Elspeth, I felt that it worked. He saw that Elspeth was never going to see or even hear the truth about how he felt, and so he saw the only way he could was to show her. His empathising I think was not deliberate - for so many years he's kept up a shield, not only to protect himself from Elspeth, but also to prevent his emotions, his yearning to be projected to her.
When Dameon described how he wanted to be burnt in the way of gypsies when he died I kept dreading the moment he would be placed in the same room as Ariel, so when Dameon, Swallow, Matthew and the others were all in the crypt I was accepting that he would die, but then when he didn't and Swallow did it such a blow, and it took me a couple of minutes before I could see properly to continue reading. I think it will be quite a long time before I can read Ashling again without getting teary.
As to Lidge being the Destroyer I wasn't surprised/didn't really care, because ultimately Ariel was the bigger, more immediate threat. What I did find fascinating was my search through the forum to see if anyone had guessed it, and I actually found two people who suggested it, though they discounted it because of the red herrings.
In regards to Eden I have mixed feelings. In one sense I wish she had been offered the choice, but at the same time I don't think Gahltha, and Maruman, would have stayed behind with her and I don't think she could have borne them leaving her, especially so soon after she feared Gahltha to be dead. Yet I think there is much that could happen for her at Eden. The reconnecting of the different computermachines, such as Ines and God, time with Rushton and to learn who she is without her quest looming overhead, as well as learning what happened to Kelver Rhonin, as well as his glide.
Sidebar Sidebar blaaaaaaaaahhhh is this long enough I hope so
Ok, so I read it all on the day and its taken me until today to process all of the information that was revealed. OMG Elspeth start asking some better questions, like seriously you never ask the right questions! The two Hannah's and their relationship was staring you literally in the face and you did not put it together. I wish I could just shake her sometimes!
Loved the fact that Hannah Jnr got to meet Jacob but, I keep imagining Jacobs reaction to this grown up daughter awwww
One major thing bugged me: this Kelver Rhonin character.
Who gives a damn about the dead Beforetimer, he had no connection to any of the clues or past dreams so why would they decide "oh lets follow him and see what his deal was" when there was a much higher likelihood that Elf and Dragon needed to be together in the Redland. Like Swallow (sobs) had confirmed that they were supposed to be in the Redland, Elspeths' dreams had confirmed she needed to be in the Redland, the damn clues in the door that we've had for several books confirmed that she needed to be in the Redland why would this strange random Beforetimer suddenly be more convincing than all of that! Gosh that bugs me! Ok rant over sorry :P
Also, with the revelation of Lidge as the Destroyer, does anyone else think that the dark presence that Elspeth kept encountering on the dreamtrails was a reflection of the damage done to Lidge's mind by Ariel? Like Ariel would have kept a pretty solid mental link to Lidge for a looooong time, so Lidge would have absorbed a lot of his hatred towards Elspeth, and then that would be what formed the angry black presence on the Dreamtrails.
Finally, "as a reward" gosh that was the best line to end this epic marathon of a series with. Sassy Maruman
Take me out to the side bar take me out of the world...
Didn't they cover that lodge was behind the rapid change in the monster seeking Elspeth on the dreamtrails? "The storm of mindless madness that had pursued me on the dreamtrails. Lidge's broken mind, unleashed in sleep and driven not by her own desires, but by Ariel's"
It's after Gilaine reveals herself in the confrontation with Ariel..
Lala la spoiler spoiler lala wooo...
I'm wondering actually why Lidge didn't turn on Rushton as the immediate threat to Gilaine. Yes, Ariel was controlling him (Ariel must have altered Lidge's mind so that while she blocked everyone else, his talent was immune), so she might have been able to discern that it was Ariel who needed stopping before all else, but when Gilaine was threatened by Elspeth, she went straight for her instead.
Lalalala spoiler spoiler spoiler oh la spoiler ooohhh ohh ohhhhh,
Ariel slapped her, he was going to again, taking her focus away from Gilaine, so he was the threat in that moment. She was lashing out against the pain she was suffering, when Elspeth slapped Gilaine there was probably a lot of the hate Ariel had used to twist Lidge to convince her that Elspeth was a threat. I think that makes sense anyway.
I can't believe that the story has ended I think I am still in denial! I finished at 1:59 Saturday night/Sunday morning and I think am going to have to read at least the end again because of foggy brain and the rush to get to the end. I have had some time to ponder and discuss off line with Ashalinde and here are my thoughts....
Over all I was happy with it.
I was pretty frustrated with Elspeth being slow on the 2 Hannah's uptake - probably because like many of you I read The Dark Road, but still seriously she never really questions it.
I was pretty eager to get out of Habitat and Midlands/North Port and onto the red land and maybe would have liked less time here and more time at the end or maybe just more book in general :).
I was ok with how Dameon's confession and kiss played out, it had been building up for some time and it was such a bittersweet moment for him, because he knew he could never have what he desired and was so torn, and it would have been tedious if he just became progressively morose as they went on.
I also was a little thrown but Elspeth not using the "Here be dragons" code phrase and also her not saying the ancient words with Swallow standing by her...
I want to know so much more about Dragon, her past and future, and also what happened to Rushton (and why there was not more shock by the others seeing him after they all thought he was dead).
I also want to know what happens with Miryum.
I liked Sentiel too... the way she evolved and the way that all played out.
In my opinion Ariel was the destroyer - I thought that all along and maybe that is why I am sticking to it - I see Lidge as more of a tool of the destroyer than a active opposition to the seeker.
I also thought that the Hidden Kingdom and White Faced Lords would end up playing a bigger part... there was a small moment where I thought that Elspeth would have to go there as part of the quest.
The part where Elspeth figures out about her extraordinarily low emotional IQ was a nice bonus.
And the ending... So many thoughts around this. I agree with those who felt it was rushed and that characters that had played such a big part all along were in and out so quickly we missed a lot of reunions.Poor Swallow and Ana :( though I guessed when he died she would be pregnant because of what he had said about him only not having children if he didn't join the quest.
I was not fully content with the 'reward' Elspeth receives at the end it felt a bit like a runners up prize in a way. I am so glad that her and Rushton ended up together, and that they will have time to just be together, but sad that they are isolated from everyone and in a way that didn't seem essential and that there was very little choice involved. Also thinking forward for them if they stay there then any children they have would be deprived of love and friendship and that just seems tragic to me. So I have decided that Sentinel will connect to both Ines and God and that somehow they will repair the glides, or find more, so that after a time Rushton and Elspeth will be able to leave and then also for animals from around The Land, Sador, Redport etc that didn't have the opportunity to go to Eden to go if they wish. Maybe for all animals to spend time there at some point (similar to how Avra had her foal spend time with the wild flock before interacting with humans) that animals could also have a choice about where to live.
I eagerly await the Beforetime Chronicles and secretly hope for other spinoff stories, like Dragon and Matthew, and Miryum, and maybe even a story about a Rusbeth baby and how they make a journey back to see the places Elspeth went and return to Obernewtyn... (though this might be because I just don't want to let go of the story that I have been reading for the last 20 years...
Keeper of the Sherbet Lemons
Spoiler space spoiler space spoiler space hoping that's enough space.
Okay, just wanted to drop in something that's really affected me.
Dameon, I mean, I did not understand how that section justified his character. He used his powers to take advantage of Elf and then we're supposed to shrug it off? The feminist in me is screaming murder, because that was a sexual assault. That was without her consent, and he didn't even allow her the choice to pull away or not. I was angrier because Dameon has always been the champion of choice and consent, yet he abuses it in such a breach of trust, I just was horrified. It was not the character I came to love and I was equally horrified how accepting Elf was of it, and how it was explained away. Very similar to Hannah Jnr in the short story with the gypsy boy. Too breezy too, "boys will be boys," when it's an assault. I was especially frustrated when the Gadifian way of arrange marriages and male power was represented so raw and negative, when Elf's acceptance of Dameon's actions is in the same basket.
La la la spoiler spoilers. River says spoilers!
So weird to be back. Haven't posted in these forums for about 8 years or so! But our love for these books endures through the years... Plus nobody else seems to understand the crazy :)
I am still in denial about finishing this book that has been a fixed future point in my life for so long. I can't believe it's happened. Now what?! I do agree in that the story needs time to settle - and I need a reread when my eyes aren't bleeding from 1120 pages in 10 hours!
There were so many things I loved about this book - and a few things that I was like "really?" about. I guess the weight of expectation (about half my life!) means that it can never have fully lived up to what we've built it up to be...
- the technology. We've gone so quickly from post-apocalyptic dark ages to AI and androids and cryogenic sleep... Which is awesome, makes you wonder about all the stuff they haven't yet unearthed. The glide as well... Did anybody else read it as a zeppelin? At the time I reread the description and couldn't see any mention of wings. I was anxious about how everybody was going to end up in the Red Land without some BS going on and this resolved that nicely.
- the cryosleep thing and how scary it would've been for the Scooby Gang to maybe have been asleep for a lifetime.
- Lidge as Destroyer. It made sense... I always had a sense of the Destroyer being unwitting in their role, and a null Lidge made sense. But seriously Elspeth... How the heck didn't you cotton on?!
- Dragon getting her queen on.
- Min's idea of Rushton's contiki ;)
- the pacing. About the 60% mark, as I could see it on my Kindle, I was getting anxious. I seriously thought we night be in for another book. I feel like we spent way too long in Habitat, and nowhere near long enough on resolving the plot threads that have been laboriously laid across six books. It might've been the late time but there seemed like so many things that weren't resolved, characters who weren't given their dues. It seemed like everything towards the end happened in a huge rush and I wasn't satisfied. Hopefully I'll change my mind on reread at a leisurely pace.
- the emotional impact. Again, might be been racing through at the time, but I thought more people could've died. Ariel surely should've cut Dameon's throat instead of his arm (not saying I would want that, but seems like he spent a lot of time figuratively twirling his moustache rather than getting Elf to do what he wanted). I knew Gahltha wasn't dead... IC wouldn't do that. So basically the whole climax was all... Eh. And Elf and Rushton riding off into the sunset was nice but... Yes I also hope that there's hope of a reunion/communication at some oiling.
- Innle. So basically all the animals that aren't in the Red Land get screwed? :S those Agyllians are douches.
I think I'll have more coherent thoughts later on :)
Flit - I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. At the time I was reading too quickly to make much of it, but thinking back, Dameon first kissing her and then practically empath-coercing her to respond seemed not only out of character but yes, sexual assault as well. I will need my slower rereading to fully process how I feel about it but it kind of made me feel really different about Dameon...
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I love what everyone else is writing here and I agree with most of it in regards to the overall pacing - the end was just a bit rushed compared to the rest of the book. Just a few things:
THINGS I LOVED!!
1) I liked Tash and the little bits we got to see of Hannah Obernewtyn (even if Elf was so dense about the 2 Hannahs!)
2) I didnt mind the slow(ish) pacing for the first half of the book. I really enjoyed the character interactions and the introduction of the Speci.
3) Doktaruth! I loved that from the first time she said it in.. TSK or TS? anyway, I think it's adorable. Also, Tumen and Speci-men was good too.
4) The rhenlings were a good antagonist and made for some pretty dicey moments!
5) Ana and Swallow's loooove!! They were they cutest.
6) Sentinel was great! I loved her and I loved that Elspeth understood that she was worth saving.
7) The plot in general - I thought the cryopods and G.o.d and Redport wrapped everything together quite well.
THINGS I DISLIKED (sorry, but this might be longer)
1) I didnt love how the Dameon/ Elspeth relationship was brought up and then dropped so completely. Elf admitted to herself that she had feelings for him and then they had their little chat and he went back to being a background character.
2) There were soooooo many editing errors where names were mixed up or things were missed. It hurt my brain.
3) Does this mean that Maruman was resurrected when Hannah and Cassie were? If so, wouldn't he be like 500 + years old??? I am so confused about this.
4) I, too, was a bit upset they missed the ancient promises moment with Swallow because it was mentioned so many times and especially because it was something that he really believed in *sob*
5) Both Dragon and.. someone else (I can't remember) had visions of Elf is a 'red dress' - at no point did she wear this.
6) At the end when Analivia was saying how Swallow had said earlier that he wanted to be burned when he died - i'm certain this was Dameon (pg 441). And it makes me sure that IC meant to kill Dameon instead but changed her mind.
7) Can someone please explain to me why Hannah and/or Cassy couldn't shut down Sentinel? Why it had to be Elspeth? I'm sorry if it's really obvious but I'm having a moment because I've always thought she would need her dark spirit power to do it.
8 ) Unlike most people here, I disliked the whole 'Jes coerced me not to feel' thing. I felt it was a cop-out, and, given the established parameters for misfit powers, almost impossible.** edit** I wanted to explain this opinion a bit because I don't think it came across very well. When Elf 'realises' this about herself, she lists instances where she failed to notice not only her own feelings and peoples feelings towards her, but also romantic feelings between other people. However, she had no issue in discerning Anas affection for Swallow pretty early on and could definitely tell there was something between them before it was 'official'. She also noticed early on the feelings that Ceirwan and Freya have for one another and hopes that they work out. Even one of her examples of not noticing what was between Matthew and Dragon doesn't really ring true, because she does know there is something there and when she true dreams of him she wonders if maybe his love for Dragon has deepened. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this emotional block thing is too inconsistent to be believable and a better explanation could just be that she is an orphan and was traumatised as a child and still has major issues.
9) Eden was meh. I liked that her and Rushton FINALLY got some time together but I feel bad for all the animals that thought they could go there. I guess that resolution is that animals on the Land will be free-ish with the new beast charter laws etc.
10) absolutely zero resolution on where the Herders originated or on this random Kevin Rhonin. Possibly the latter, at least, will be explained in a short story.
11) The white faced lords - I didn't really feel that they contributed much to the story, other than tying up an old and insignificant loose thread regarding Tibia and Chinon.
12) Ariel. The moment with Ariel and Lidge was a bit anti-climactic I thought. It just didn't feel like there was any danger of the BOT being activated or given over the Ariel's control.
That's it so far! I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but I really did enjoy it a lot. And if anyone can answer my questions about Elf and Maruman - please do! they are not rhetorical lol.
Spoiler space, la la la. Spoilery Spoilery diddly dee.
It only occurred to me now but forget Elf being slow to work out the block was Lidge. What's Dafydd's excuse? That's just mind-boggling.
It kind of bugged me how many questions Elf didn't ask God or delayed asking (how often did she think about but not ask about the critical memory seed?) but I think it was established as an aggravating character trait more than anything, that she preferred to gnaw internally than ask the question. The orphan Misfit who couldn't trust anyone is still in there.
The Dameon kiss... Yeah, that was assault. That was not nice. I thought for sure that was IC setting him up to go haywire at the death (his behaviour in Habitat generally seemed really suspicious) but just a red herring. It was well written though, and a reminder that Elf's perception is far from perfect, Dameon is not entirely who we were led to think from Elf's POV and that was important to keep in mind.
I like the ending even more now it has had time to settle in. There's scope to assume whatever you want happened - that Sentinel contacted God and Ines, that animals from the Land and Sador were eventually able to go to Eden, Elf and Rushton could keep contacting their friends even if Elf never returned to Obernewtyn in person, and so on but without it being prescriptive. Write your own endings. Life goes on, you can't prescribe closure for everyone all at once.
Still think the defeat of Lidge was basically a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere kind of ending that was incredibly rushed, and the obvious errors in the last section definitely point to the last bit being rushed. I won't be surprised to hear Isobelle flirted with breaking this into 2 books and was told NO by the publisher tbh and had to cram in the last couple of hundred pages.
SIDEBAR FILLER! I havent been on in yonks, or well I havent logged in for ages, but I have been lurking reading the threads especially recently with the release coming up. I was stoked when I got the book at 10pm on Wednesday night! (the joy of living in Western Australia and prepurchasing on Kindle).
Ok that should do it.
I can't even get my thoughts straight right now all a jumble.
1) MARUMAN! I really wish they had cleared up how he ended up being 500 years old, unless he was sleeping as well right up until when Dragon was awoken. Min you mentioned the healing power but that was specifically bought up in TS because when Maruman comes back from the Mountains with Darga to get Elspeth, Elf notices how much better Maruman looks, so I thought THIS was when he had gone and been given the healing powers by the Agyllians. Hmph.
2) Um so the words on the statue in the land where 'Luthens name is Luthens heart' or something to that effect but when she gives the code to Sentinel she says 'Luthens path is long' (or something to that effect)......why, I just can't fathom an editor who hasn't gone back and reread the books to ensure things match up. Anyways.
3) I felt like the end was super rushed. Dont get me wrong I liked the fast paced action, but I really would have preferred more after they left for Eden, a snippet or insight into what happened. I kind of feel sad we didn't get to see a little more. And Matthew, I cried when she said goodbye to Matthew because she had just found him again, barely 24hrs beforehand ( in their time haha), I was devastated we didnt get to see more of him. I also feel like the final confrontations were a little rushed but I loved how they worked out overall.
4) Ages! Timeline. I was a bit shocked when Elf said that Lidge was 12/13 but when I think on it, that seems right. They spent nearly 2 years travelling from when she left Obernewtyn to when she got to the Red Land. The first book was at least a few months, the time between that and Farseekers had to be near on a year, with similar times in the following books and in between. I always thought Elf was 14 in Ober, so this would make her 24/25 maybe a tad older.
5) There were a couple plot holes that bothered me that others have bought up. Which kind of left me feeling like this book deviated from where it was going and changed without taking into account the first books. And I can see how this would happen over 20+years of writing a book
6) The Dark power! I like others am totally kinda of blown away that this didn't come into play in the final confrontations at all. There was such a big deal made about it over the first 6 books that it was surely supposed to have a part to play. It was what made Elf special, without it being needed why did Elf have to shut Sentinel down and not as others have said Casey or Hannah etc.
7) I enjoyed the time in Habitat/Midland getting to know the characters better, setting the scene. Meeting Tash, the confrontation with the Committee. The rhenlings! Seeing Miryum again. Although seeing the kindle ticking past 30% and still stuck in Midland made me a little nervous haha.
8) I am a bit disappointed that Elf wasn't needed to free the beasts, although I guess she did play her part by freeing Sentinel. I didn't like that they weren't given a choice or more info and kind of felt that was purely to make up for the fact that we had always been told that she wouldn't be able to return to Ober. I was touched though that it was implied that she was asked to go because she was worthy, that is a pretty high compliment from Sentinel and the beasts for a human.
9) Swallow and the Ancient Promises - he only said he was with Elf when she spoke the words of the Ancient Promises in the place that they were first spoken, and he described chamber much like the crypt they were in with Ariel when he died. Possibly the AP were her refusing Ariel what he wanted just before he murdered Swallow. That seems to fit for me.
10) I feel like Ariel could have been scarier. Instead he just sounded like loony child to me. I get that he was supposed to be crazy/defective. But I imagined a more sinister kind of crazy and less high pitched giggling crazy. I did like how he died though, Lidge turning his mind into a maelstrom was pretty darn EPIC.
Sorry if this is a little muddled, I finished reading it like 16 hours ago and so some of what I was thinking at the time has slipped away. I should have made notes!
I am sure I will come up with more later.
How are people doing block quotes? It's been too long since I was on this website.
swallow 08 wrote:
Ages! Timeline. I was a bit shocked when Elf said that Lidge was 12/13 but when I think on it, that seems right. They spent nearly 2 years travelling from when she left Obernewtyn to when she got to the Red Land. The first book was at least a few months, the time between that and Farseekers had to be near on a year, with similar times in the following books and in between. I always thought Elf was 14 in Ober, so this would make her 24/25 maybe a tad older.
But Lidge wasn't in book 1; she wasn't even born yet. If we assume that Elspeth was 14 in Obernewtyn and had just turned 14 when we meet her, Elspeth is 16 in Farseekers and that Lidge is about 12 months old, this makes Elf 28 by the end of TRQ. But if we assume that she has a birthday in the middle of Obernewtyn, or that Lidge was younger when we meet her in Farseekers, Elf ends up being 29 or 30 by the end of the series. Lidge being 13 doesn't indicate that it's been 12 years since Elspeth went to Silentvale, it indicates that it's been 14+ years. But previous estimates of Elf's age only account for 9 and a half over the entire series, at a maximum.
I went over the maths again and it is not quite as bad as I thought; there are a few spots of ambiguity (was it one year between Farseekers and Ashling or was it two? Was it just under a year between TKP and TSK or was it just under two?) and where the details we previously had generally worked better with the shorter assumptions than the longer ones, if we assume the longer time differences, it's only a couple of years out, not the 4 years out that I had originally thought and the indicators of the passage of time in the oberchron is so ambiguous anyway that I guess it's justifiable. [strike]But I still find the ambiguity of the progression of time really annoying.[/strike]
Sidebar filler spoiler alert sidebar filler... Is that enough sidebar? Yes, I think it is :)
I reckon it's possible that lidge was between 1-2 in farseekers, doesn't Daffyd mention somewhere that he found out he was a misfit not that long after the events of ober? If that's the case you'd only need 9 years to pass + 2years of travelling/Cryo to make the timeline fit, I had always guessed that she was around 20 in the sending...
On a different note, I kinda liked how poor Daffyd, who many of us had pegged as a destroyer candidate because of his quest to save gilaine, ended up being sort of an "anti-destroyer" because his desperation to find gilaine brought him to that moment to reunite with her and they created the only possible distraction for lidge. It was a nice way to tie in this semi random character on his own personal quest who just kept popping up at the most random, and sometimes convenient times...
Cause how else could you break through to a mind that has been destroyer if not with another mind that was intricately entwined with "the baby in the maelstrom"? It's as if lidge's power created its own foil to Ariel's plan and that's why the white faces lords tried so hard to find gilaine and keep her alive for that moment cause they had seen that she was needed, that, and that old notion of love being an ultimate weapon that psychopaths can never foresee or understand...
Spoiler Spoiler doo doo dee doo Spoiler Spoiler
I can’t believe I’ve finished reading TRQ at 3am in the morning!!! (actually I can, I did it afterall x]).
WOW what journey! I really really really love this series ever since my English teacher introduced it to me in high school. The characters, the plot, the ideas, the journeys that goes into this is just simply incredible.
This last book has me in a rollercoaster of emotions. One moment I’m frowning thinking ”please stop putting the main character in danger”, the next I’m laughing over new characters (love you Brunt and Sheena) and then crying over reunions, separations and deaths.
Things I like about the book:
o Brunt and Sheena: Gosh I love them! Their characters were a bundle of joy, so cheerful and bubbly that you just want to hug them and put them in your pocket to carry around. I’m glad there was that ridiculous and funny scene of Brunt hopping along, butting Galtha and just STANDING on him! :D (page 786-787). Sheena, the little darling, either you have a good knack of judging people or you haven’t been taught stranger-danger, I don’t know but I still love you.
o The computer-machines (Unit A, Unit B/Hendon, God and Sentinel): I like the interactions between the computer-machines and the characters, it gave them depth as if they’re trying to understand humans more. It makes me want to have my own little unit following me around so we can communicate! Hendon reminds me of Baymax and I near cried when they left him even though I know ”he’s a machine, he’ll live”. God and Sentinel (even IVES) reminds me of Siri and the messenger bots that we have though imagine how cool it would be if they evolved to be like Sentinel! !amazed (minus the destruction of the world of course).
o Daffyd and Gilaine: They finally reunited with each other after how many books??? I was crying so much while reading thinking if Daffyd dies or if Gilaine never came back to Redport there better be a side story dedicated to them after what they’ve been through!
o Jakoby and Seresh: At last, the sisters meet! I would have liked their final meeting to be dragged a bit longer as there must’ve been a lot of things they’ve wanted to say to each other after all these years. Does Seresh still resent Jakoby for not being deformed? Has she forgiven her sister for something she can’t control and that’s why she spared her at The Spit? What’s going on through her head? However, I guess these sisters’ story have been acknowledged and finalised in a way that says ”silence speaks louder than words”. Afterall, Sadorians are a courageous bunch who don’t need spoken words to say what they feel (intense stare of admiration).
o Swallow and Ana: It’s about time their ship sailed after all they’ve been through! Even though it was short and sweet at least they loved and have loved before Swallow died. I knew his death was imminent since The Sending but still couldn’t acknowledge it when it happened. I wonder what would happen to Ana and the baby, by the sounds of it they’ll be living with Iriny, Rolf and Maire?
o Matthew and Dragon: Oh you lovable shy kids! It’s only a matter of time before your ship hoist it’s sails, catches the wind and ACTUALLY sail :p I liked how Dragon’s character transformed to accept her Queenly responsibilities and that Matthew's character seems to have grown up and taken up a more leadership role in this book. I would have liked more interactions between him and the characters from Obernewtyn.
o Dameon and Elspeth: I wonder how the guy could not go crazy holding in his feelings for as long as he did! I’m glad it was acknowledged and confessed in a way that gave him at least, a sweet memory. I know he’s on his way to have his own happy ending, one day, maybe he’ll meet his future bondmate in Redport or on his journey when he goes back to Obernewtyn? :D
o Rushton and Elspeth: They can finally live in their own paradise without dangerous missions, evil characters and heart-breaking separations ever again!!! I can already imagine them planning to have heaps of babies with beast-speaking abilities (as their main ability, being surrounded by animals and all). Maruman, Gahltha, Faraf and Sendari and their future kittens and foals will treasure the little pumpkins <3 ^w^
Things I didn’t like about the book (mostly minor details):
o Ariel and Elspeth’s final showdown: I was hoping for something dramatic and near-death to happen between them using their powers eg. Ariel amassing an army of ruthless killers who shares his ideal for the destruction of the world or Elspeth amassing beasts and people to help her fight Ariel. But alas, Ariel is a crazy, manipulative coward who prefers to let others do his dirty work and Elspeth’s Quest is her own but there should be something incorporated in which the beasts fight for their freedom.
o Redport Rebellion: I wanted to see more strategic plotting and coordination between all the leaders (Redlanders, Rebels, Misfits etc.) like the rebellions that took place in TSK and TS. Everyone just seemed so passive (even the rebel leaders and the people that survived the 4 ships) that all they seemed to be doing was either exchanging information, avoiding the Ekoni or trying to find Dragon. I know they didn’t want any bloodshed but a little more action eg. drawing the Gadfian and Ekoni oppressors into a trap or even knocking them unconscious would be nice x]
o The keys Cassandra left behind: In TS, the pact that was forged on Luthen’s statue to access the Core of Sentinel said “When one door is closed another may open. Luthen’s code is Luthen’s heart” but in TRQ it was changed to “Luthen’s path has no end.” Elspeth was also advised to say “Here be dragons” when she accessed BOT but it only took her cursing Ariel for it to activate in Luthen’s Crypt x] I was very confused but I guess maybe it was changed so that it only needed her voice instead of the passages she was meant to speak?
o Errors: Sometimes the characters get mixed up (eg. page 592) Dameon asks a question and then answers it himself in two different sentences. Or the characters speak in a way that seems out of character or not of the era(?) they’re from (I can’t imagine any of the characters saying “stupid” instead of “foolish” and cursing using our 21st century terms.) But alas, these are but minor details that didn’t bother me too much - I just wanted to acknowledge it because it puzzled me.
Overall I’m so delighted to have read the completion of this series but at the same time there’s that feeling of sadness because the series has finally ended. I hope Isobelle Carmody continues to write new stories for us to enjoy and who knows, there might be another series I’ll come to love just as much. But for now, I’ll always have Obernewtyn in my heart~! <3