The Bitter Twins Read-along: week two

The Bitter Twins Read-along

Ebora’s greatest artist believed he’d found Ysgeril’s birthplace – and he left a map. As Tor and Noon set out in his footsteps, Bern and Aldasair are summoned to Finneral to guard against a new Jure’lia threat. Clearly Vintage isn’t familiar with that evergreen advice: DON’T SPLIT THE PARTY!

It’s the second week of our Wyrd and Wonder read-along of The Bitter Twins, and new plots are hatching left, right and centre….

Along comes The Epic Quest To a Fabled Land … What are your thoughts on Tor and Noon’s journey to find the island Micanal was searching for? What do you think they might find if/when they get there? 

I have unfair prior knowledge here from my first read, so I’m going to take a moment instead to admire how completely convenient Eri’s dead parents turn out to be to the core plot (well played, Ms Williams, I like it) and to reflect that I think Micanal’s sister Arnia would get on awfully well with Hestillion. There’s something about the memory of her irritation with her brother and her social polish that makes me think that leaving Ebora was always the right decision for a young Eboran, and Nanthema and Tor are better people for getting out and getting some perspective. Although whether they ever would have done without the motivation of the Crimson Flux is another matter.

Also: ARGH MUTANT STARFISH WTF. Altrhough, just in case you’d never considered starfish to be slightly alarming alien neighbours:

Starfish walking down the beach

For that matter, what did you make of Firstlight and its residents, and the hints about their origins and why they came to this island?

…I had forgotten Firstlight, and isn’t it a fascinated sequence? We’re a long way from Sarn now, so how did these people get here? The most likely answer is that they sensibly built coracles and fled the plains during the Carrion Wars to get away from the hordes of ravening vampiric Elves who kept sweeping over the mountains to drink them dry. The rather darker question is whether Micanal and the Golden Fox brought a blood supply with them (although I assume not, as they were aware of the Crimson Flux).

The slightly intriguing aspect is that they immediately knew what Tor was on sight. Maybe that’s as simple as ‘blood-red eyes = Eboran, duh’ – but it underlined for me how visually distinct an Eboran is from a human even when seen out of context and for the first time (OR WAIT: what if it isn’t the first time? Duh duh DUH – I genuinely can’t remember and know I want to know the thing again!)

That said, Noon reacted in pretty much the same way when she met Tor – so the memory of Ebora is etched deep on the (former) plains people. Still, while it’s pretty clear the Firstlighters do still scare their children to sleep with tales of Eborans, I’m just naive enough to default to ‘oh look, a really pretty pale-skinned person with red eyes, how unusual’.

No, I wouldn’t survive any sort of apocalypse, fantasy or horror story, I know.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party is splitting up as Bern and Aldasair set out for Finneral, whose people are having their own problems after the return of the Jure’lia. What might you be expecting from this side mission?




…oh what, you wanted plot points? I expect there will be heroics, and some epic world-building because Finneral with its trans fell-witch Stone Talker and hardy helpful burly blonds sounds awesome in every way?

…but mostly, I’m waiting for my ship to come in.

Vintage, meanwhile, has finally been forced to sit the adventures out – though that isn’t stopping her from making questionable decisions. What are your first impressions of Tyranny, and her offer to aid the war effort?

This week was peak Vintage for me: she goes from one side of a library so fast Tor doesn’t even see her move, she humansplains history to an Eboran (and gets called out for it, thank you Noon) and she falls over trying to save a baby bat (which is plot convenient, but so on brand I can’t argue with it. Also BABY BAT).

Yes, Vintage is still my favourite.

One of my joys in rereading The Bitter Twins is I keep finding all my digital reading notes from my first read as I go. Cue the scene in the reception room where Tyranny Munk drinks hot tea likes its iced, while her companion doesn’t even take a sip. My assessment: never trust a man who doesn’t drink his tea.

Rules to live by, folks.

…which is a shame, because I really like these newcomers. Tyranny Munk has the best name in the book (which is saying something) and is bad-ass and also a really bad liar (unless she’s intentionally telegraphing) who needs to work a whole lot harder on her euphemisms. Yes dear, you led a pack of scoundrels in Mushenska and have clearly been involved in doing questionable things (and wasn’t Vintage’s outrage that she’d missed out on something that would have increased her knowledge of the Jure’lia adorable?)

I think Tyranny is awesome, I want to know more about her and I want to know how she fits in with Okaar and his ?sibling as the way she talks about herself doesn’t seem to include them in her past. I also, sadly, don’t think she’s on the level at all (no matter how much I want her to be, and I really do). Still: woooo war beast armour!



This is a free-form read-along – we’re reading companionably along to an outline schedule and some of us are blogging as we go. You’re very welcome to join us – just grab the book and join us in the comments or on Twitter to share your thoughts. Blogging to weekly prompts is entirely optional!

Discussion Schedule

You are welcome to read at your own pace, but please be mindful of the schedule when leaving comments to avoid spoilers for your co-readers…

  • Sunday 23rd June | Beginning through end Chapter Twelve
  • Sunday 30th June | Chapter Thirteen – Twenty-two
  • Sunday 7th July | Chapter Twenty-three – Thirty-four
  • Sunday 14th July | Chapter Thirty-five – Forty-six
  • Sunday 21st July | Chapter Forty-seven through the end

Prompts typically posted on the Goodreads group by Friday each week – if anyone else fancies taking the questions one week, I’m happy to share!