Week 3: Between Two Thorns Read-Along
We’re continuing with The Split Worlds read-along this week, starting with the first book Between Two Thorns! If you’re interested in joining this Read-Along, visit the SF/F Read-Along group for more information and to join the discussion.
The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.
There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.
But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?
Part 1 – Monday 9th May: Chapters 1-9, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Part 2 – Monday 16th May: Chapters 10-18, hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings
Part 3 – Monday 23rd May: Chapters 19-25, hosted by OneMore.org (Imyril)
Part 4 – Monday 30th May: Chapters 26-End, hosted by Lynn’s Books
1. Sam is our fish out of water – any sympathy for his predicament?
Mogsy: Yeah, I feel pretty bad for him. Not just for the trouble he’s in with the fae realm either; it seems things are pretty crappy for him at home too, even if he did have a hand in creating that mess himself. I’m so glad Sam is playing a bigger part in the story again though, because while I have sympathy for his predicament, I also had a few laughs at his expense. The scene at the Sorcerer’s house and Sam’s ensuing confusion was hilarious.
Tiara: Everything that he’s going through from his home life to this business with the fae certainly makes me sympathize with him. I think I’m saving my sympathy to see what is going to happen with Sam’s memory because I feel like it’s probably going to all tie-in to his wife, which I have some thoughts about because of her job. Also, I don’t feel like this is Sam’s last brush with Lord Poppy, and I might have to save all my sympathy for their encounters going forward. Lord Poppy strikes me as the type of fae who will continue to be a thorn (no pun intended) and a blessing in the sides of the people he’s interested in.
2. Horatio Gallica-Rosa is claiming property to try to weasel his way into Aquae Sulis; and the Alba-Rosas are trying to weasel their way into Will’s good graces to stop him. Given what we know about Lady Rose, do we believe in the inter-Rosa feud, or is this all part of a plan? (if so, what do you think it is?)
Mogsy: Currently I have no reason to think that the feud is anything more than it seems, but the lords and ladies of these houses are all so mercurial, who knows what might happen? It could go either way at this point, I’m just along for the ride.
Tiara: I think it’s all part of the plan. Supposedly, they don’t get along, but all their actions are pointing toward something to gain by playing a sort of good cop/bad cop routine as it were. Will and Cathy’s families are both very powerful, and now, there’s this talk of property. It seems like one side of the family is set up to offend everyone and the other is set to get in their good graces and likely infiltrate the society since NEITHER set of Rosas are accepted right now, but they seem to want to be part of it for some reason that I can’t really discern at this moment. Being part of society and being admired by all seems to be more important any feud. It’s all too easy to connect. There’s no real mystery there with their actions. I’ll be more surprised if they’re in fact not working together.
3. We get to see a lot more of Will this week. What do you make of him now we’ve got to know him better? Do you think Cathy should give him a chance?
Mogsy: I think this section actually paints Will in a more positive light, and his character is starting to grow on me. He’s clearly trying to make the best out of their situation, and honestly, Cathy is responding to his olive branch by being such a spoiled little brat. I can appreciate the fact she’s angry, but it’s not like lashing out will do any good. I think Will said it the best when he effectively told her that she doesn’t have to be happy with their impending nuptials, but at least she could be civil.
He also seemed genuinely concerned and angered she he saw the bruises Cathy’s father left on her arm. There may be hope for Will yet.
Tiara: Well, this certainly makes Will seem a bit better since he does seem to care about Cathy’s well-being. I thought his suggestion that Cathy meet him halfway was a good one, but it still seems to be to his benefit mostly. Meet him halfway on his terms. I don’t necessarily fault Cathy for not giving him that much. However, constantly heaping anger on him for something that neither of them can really prevent isn’t exactly helping either. Giving him some understanding of why she feels the way she does would be a step up into making an ally of him. Honestly, this section really reminded me why fantasy of manners stories can make my head hurt. Also, I’m going to take the side of anyone who just wants to eat chocolate and play Mass Effect.
4. No sooner has Cathy survived Society – after a fashion – than she’s back in deep water with the Sorcerer and sent to Exilium. How well do you think she handled Lord Poppy?
Mogsy: I think she handled herself well, and did what she could to keep herself and Sam safe. Although, maybe I was just feeling the residual annoyance from Cathy’s behavior with Will, but I was pretty irritated by the way she just bargained away Sam’s memory without a moment’s thought. I get that they were desperate to get what they need and then get the hell out of Exilium, but technically it wasn’t hers to give and I can’t help but feel a bit indignant on Sam’s behalf. Cathy should know better than most how Lord Poppy operates, and I have an unsettling feeling this encounter is going to come back later and bite them in the ass.
Tiara: Well… it was what it was. I’m surprised it didn’t turn out much worse than it actually did.