It’s betrayals on every side as enemies turn unexpected allies, and so-called friends show their true colours. The past is a lie, and the future hangs on a memory in the final week of The Bitter Twins read-along…
…and I thought last week was all incoherent screaming. I had no idea.
So, spoilers, yeah?
So many betrayals. Which one surprised you the most / least?
I knew what was coming from Tyranny Munk – and I think her duplicity is pretty telegraphed – so that one was definitely the least surprising for me.
I’m still not sure how I managed to forget so many of the awesome fine details in this book though (I know it’s been 18 months and getting on for 80 books in the meantime, but still). Somehow, Hest, Micanal and Arnia still managed to surprise me even though it was a reread!
Hest turning on Aldasair shocked me; her then turning right back on the Queen (sort of) surprised me – not that I think I can predict anything Hest will do at this point.
I knew Arnia was up to no good – her routine was a little too femme fatale, and I remembered she was beguiling the village into feeding her blood – but I had forgotten about her alliance and what it delivered for her (both in terms of back-up and in terms of clean blood). And I had completely forgotten about Micanal’s response to her second, which is rather… convenient, shall we say? But I quite like how the sequence plays out as a sort of passion play of guilt.
But of all the betrayals, the one that stings most is Nanthema. This one hadn’t slipped my memory, and on a reread I can see how thoroughly her behaviour builds to it – but it still hurts. Nanthema, you disappoint me. Every time.
The Jure’lia have been fended off… for now, at least. What do you think the future holds for Sarn? What do you think Bern’s action has done to the hive mind?
The Winnowry will have their hands on a war beast (oh help) – unless Tyranny Munk betrayed them too – so the situation could be about to get even more complicated. After all, I can’t see the Winnowry allying with any group led (or even including) Noon…
I would expect the Queen to give Hestillion a harrowing for failing to atone, but after Bern’s gambit, perhaps she will forgive her for only killing one Eboran (and no war beasts). After all, surely Bern has planted a seed that could change everything for the Jure’lia? If they are bound together by the memories in the crystals and the Queen’s Behemoth now carries Ebora in its heart, their outlook must take a turn of some sort. However, I’m pretty certain it won’t be anywhere near as convenient as suing for peace and trying to make friends (after all, we have a whole third book to get through!)
And in spite of their absurd arrogance, I sort of hope the Yuron-Kai join the war and get a war beast. I’m pretty sure they’ll be as much of a liability as not, but they’d be fun to see more of.
But mostly, I hope Bern and Aldasair get a chance for some time together.
The war beasts have forged a bond and found unity in love and vengeance. Are you okay? Would you like to talk about it?
I am not okay. I’m still not sure I can talk about it.
Ugh. Just. Argh.
I love this series enormously. It is more than standing up to a reread – although I’m appreciating some of the finer points more second time around, in between the flailing.
In between the sheer horror of poor Eri and the crunching, there were some moments of comedy in the final battle (mostly taking the piss out of Tor), but it almost goes without saying that the moment where our distraught band found their joint purpose made a big impression – not least for how they expressed it.
“Love binds us”
Thank you Aldasair. Yes, I bawled for a moment. And I love how you frustrate your cousins, who both struggle to open their hearts as you have. Hest with her complete incomprehension of being connected to others; Tor with his own form of ingrained selfishness, his constant battle with his desire to give up and run away (he’s a terrible hero, really).
And Vintage, oh my darling Vintage
“Get ready, my darlings. We are going to fuck them up.”
DAMN RIGHT YOU ARE.
But there is something that doesn’t sit entirely right with me, and which is more obvious to me this time around. Every Eboran woman is poisonously self-involved and turns traitor in some way. Arnia and Hest do it in grand gestures, forging alliances with literal aliens to slaughter their own people; Nanthema gives in to Tor’s instincts and turns her back, convincing herself the war beasts are malformed so that it’s fine to sell them to the Winnowry. Sure, Tor and Aldasair (not to mention Micanal) are far from well-adjusted, but it bothers me more this time that we’re yet to meet an Eboran woman you’d want to have a cup of tea with.
But hey, there’s a book to go and plenty of world we haven’t seen. And I can’t wait to explore it. Bring on the next round of devastation!
This has been a #WyrdAndWonder free-form read-along. It’s all over now, and we are destroyed. DESTROYED. Catch up on just how we came apart:
- Lisa of Dear Geek Place | Week One | Week Two | Week Three
- Vinjii of Books in Blankets | Review to follow
- Annemieke of A Dance with Books | Review to follow
- Mayri the Book Forager | Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five
- Nikki the Bibliophibian | Reaction post (spoiler-free) | Review to follow
- imyril here at There’s Always Room for One More | Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | …and the post you just read is Week Five
What next? Well, I suspect we’ll be making plans to tackle The Poison Song just as soon as we can all get our grabby hands on it… Watch this space for updates if you’d like to join us or giggle at our reactions.