Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week Three

| Week Three |

Welcome to the Read Along of An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the third post in the An Artificial Night Read Along! Apologies for the lateness of this post – I’ve been away! Week three was hosted by the lovely Lynn of Lynn’s Books who had some rather juicy questions for us to answer!

If anyone would like to join in, just head on over to the Goodreads group and sign up. Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 9th April)

Chapters 1-7 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th April)

Chapters 8-17 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd April)

Chapters 18-24 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 4 (Saturday 30th April)

Chapters 25-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

There will be spoilers!

| Week Three Rating |

four star

| The Questions |

| 1. |

We’ve seen a good deal more of May and her interactions with Toby – any speculation on how this might play out yet??

I really love the dynamic between Toby and May, especially during that car ride. So tense and funny and ridiculous – and it’s so unusual to have such a cheery version of Toby! May is clearly quite reticent about assisting Toby too much – there seem to be quite a few Fetch rules that we’ve only been given snippets on so far – but I love that she can be talked round into doing the very thing she’s protesting against. It makes her quite an endearing doppelgänger. Toby is, of course, sure to survive (at least in some shape or form) but I’ll be quite sad to see the back of May. I hope it’s not quite the end for her – I quite like the idea of her sticking around to make a nuisance of herself!

| 2. |

Tybalt – what did you make of his rather cryptic comment about what he found out and particularly that he now knows that Toby didn’t lie to him?

That was very cryptic now wasn’t it. Well for one – I have no idea what Toby may or may not have lied about! I was certain that when Tybalt buzzed off he had gone in search of answers to Toby’s unusual blood magic after resurrecting Alex… and now I’m almost sure he did! But I really couldn’t begin to guess what he found out. Perhaps he was referring to the Hope Chest and whether Toby had used it… or maybe there was another message further back which I missed… but whatever it is, I’m very VERY intrigued!!

| 3. |

We finally discovered a little bit more about Luna. What are your thoughts on her now, why did she run away, thoughts about her character, why she sent Toby into Michael’s realm?

Luna’s tale is a very sad one and I can’t help but feel both her and Acacia. She was more than justified in running away from her former life and it seems that she has found true love and happiness after all with Sylvester and her roses. However I feel like there must have been something more she could have done to help Toby, even if it was just giving her some advice. It seemed as though Toby was woefully unprepared to make the journey to Blind Michael’s realm yet the only people who could or were willing to help her in any obvious way were the Luidaeg and Quentin. But one thing is certain after all these revelations – it sure as hell explains Raysel.

| 4. |

What were your first impressions of the Court of Cats?

I almost feel like the Court of Cats is overwhelmingly underwhelming. I secretly hope there is a hidden aspect to it that isn’t revealed to any old changeling so that I can put my disappointment aside and truly bask in the wonder that is the Cait Sidhe. In fact I’m almost certain that Toby mentioned as much… Having said that, it is a very interesting and unusual court – in a grubby alley cat kind of way – and it has some really intriguing aspects to its function, hierarchy and its methods of inheritance. But no matter how much this intrigues me… I don’t want that Raj killing our Tybalt!

| 5. |

And, finally, back to Tybalt – what on earth just happened!!

Ahhh! I’m sure these chase scenes are going to give me a heart attack – they’re too fun by half! This latest run through the shadows was no exception and it looks like Tybalt’s paid Toby back tenfold. I loved the fact that he was there when she needed him – it seems like he would do anything to aid her – even if he was only recently stalking her from one darkened alley to the next. Toby’s reactions are definitely one of the most entertaining aspects of their interactions. Then he goes and saves her from the hunt… here’s hoping Tybalt survives to see the next page!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 30th April

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week Three

A Local Habitation - white

| Week Three |

Welcome to the Read Along of A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the third post in the A Local Habitation Read Along! This week’s section has definitely turned the book around and I’m now completely absorbed! And I’m hosting! Scroll down for the Week Three questions!

If anyone would like to join in, just head on over to the Goodreads group and sign up. Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 5th March)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 12th March)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 19th March)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 4 (Saturday 26th March)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

There will be spoilers!

| Week Three Rating |

| The Questions |

| 1. |

First things first, Toby braved the likelihood of being eaten alive by summoning the night-haunts! What are your impressions of this strange race of fae? And how do you think Toby’s relationship with the Luidaeg will change now that her final question has been asked?

I love the night-haunts! They definitely surpassed my expectations and were completely different to what I had envisaged. They manage to remain super creepy, completely alien and undeniably sinister but, despite their penchant for snacking on the deceased, actually came across as quite endearing. However, being confronted with something of a ghost, no matter how pocket sized, would be more than a little disconcerting for anyone. Toby seems to hold up pretty well though and lived to tell (almost all of) the tale, despite having to sacrifice her poor mandrake mini-me. I’m definitely looking forward to their return, even if they do give off something like a creepy doll vibe!

As for the Luidaeg… I loved the hints at the start of the book which seemed to confirm some form of friendship had sprung up between them and, because the Luidaeg is clearly ridiculously awesome, would love to see this friendship continue to grow. Whilst I agree she should still be something of a threat – I’d hate to miss out on some of the more sinister aspects of the Luidaeg – it seems as though they’re both good for each other and are more than likely to supply a steady ream of entertaining, snarky dialogue.

| 2. |

The storyline has really kicked off with another death to add to the body count and yet another attempt on Toby’s life. How did you feel about this latest murder? Are you suspicious of anyone in particular or seeing any patterns regarding motivations?

As soon as January mentioned a secret I knew she was a goner! But up until that point I really wouldn’t have expected it – she seemed like an integral part of the storyline! It actually made me quite sad when they found her body, especially considering the violence of her death and April’s subsequent reaction. But at the moment I really couldn’t say who I’m most suspicious of! Alex and Terrie seem to be put up as the most likely candidates but that’s all a little bit too obvious… so right now I’m in as much of the dark as I was last week! We know something was going on at ALH before the deaths so my suspicions are still turned on the other employees, but as for who it might be… no clue!

| 3. |

Before her untimely demise, January was on the verge of revealing a secret regarding ALH and a mysterious project it was running. Do you have any suspicions on what this might be?

I have absolutely no idea! A project worth killing over? It must be pretty huge. Corporate espionage? Court politics and intrigue? Single-minded jealousy? It could be anything! I’m very excited to find out though.

| 4. |

April is a fascinating and amusing character to read about, how do you think she’ll cope now she no longer has her adoptive mother? Can you see her becoming part of another court or as an addition to Toby’s life?

The more I see of April, the more I love her! She’s very entertaining, especially when attempting to describe human actions and reactions, and as a character remains fascinating throughout. I’m almost certain Toby wouldn’t know what to do with her but I can definitely see her becoming a part of Shadowed Hills, and the friendship she seems to have sparked up with Quentin definitely bodes well for the future. In any case, I love having a Dryad hooked up to the network! I only hope ALH won’t be the last we see of her!

| 5. |

In this section of the novel a little more is revealed about one half of our suspicious siblings, Alex and Terrie. Whilst Alex gets very handsy and a bit hypnocreep with Toby, Terrie is almost non-existent! What are your thoughts on this pair? Was Toby’s reaction justified? And are you as suspicious of at least one half of this pairing as Toby?!

I still think they’re the same person! However, although they both seem ridiculously suspicious and highly creepy, I still can’t see either of them as being the murderer(s) at large! I think their problems are more to do with whatever it is they are and the fact they seem determined to keep this a secret. And as for Alex’s attempt to get it on with Toby, she was completely justified in her reaction! He might not be able to help what he is but that just makes it more important to be upfront about it in the first place. Toby was completely justified – I’m just glad she realised something was wrong!

| 6. |

Alex might not be able to turn off the seduction but in this section we see the return of both Connor and Tybalt. What do you think of Connor and his obviously complicated relationship with both Toby and Raysel? Do you think they have a future? Or is Tybalt too much of an infuriating temptation? Or more to the point, will either of them be of any use during the investigation? Thoughts please!

I can’t help but like Connor – he’s just so very likeable! Rather than being of use during the investigation though, I can certainly see him getting himself into trouble! Toby will more than likely have to save his ass on more than one occasion….but no doubt he’ll surprise me by doing something heroic that saves the day! As for their relationship – my, my, it is complex! Raysel is definitely not a woman to cross! Connor seems like such a good guy though that I hope he and Toby can remain friends if nothing else.

And then there’s Tybalt! “Why are you so concerned with what becomes of this ‘Quentin’? Is he a new swain of yours?” Hah! I’m so happy to see him over at ALH and he will definitely be handy in any upcoming struggle. I pretty much love everything he says so I’m definitely up for him sweeping Toby off her feet… or more likely sweeping them out from under her!

Stay tuned for the final instalment of this Read Along on 26th March

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week Three

Rosemary and Rue Read Along

| Week Three |

Welcome to the Read Along of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the third post in the Rosemary and Rue Read Along! This is proving to be such an absorbing read and, with so little to go, I can’t wait to get to the end! This week is hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings who has some wonderful questions for us to get stuck into.  Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 9th January)

Chapters 1-6 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th January)

Chapters 7-14 – hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd January)

Chapters 15-20 – hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 4 (Saturday 30th January)

Chapters 21-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

There will be spoilers!

| Week Three Rating |

| The Questions |

| 1. |

We finally get to meet Lily in person! What do you think? Does she live up to the buildup in the first part of the book? We also meet Julie for the first time. Does it surprise you that Toby seems to have more friends than she lets on?

Lily is such an otherworldly and ethereal character, strange yet obviously a loving and compassionate character. Her Knowe was effectively destroyed during Toby’s fishcident and her people cast out, yet she still cares for Toby, heals her and tries to protect her as much as possible. She seems somewhat disconnected from the real world so whether letting Toby leave with so little protection was sensible still remains unseen… but maybe she trusted that Toby and Julie could hold their own (but perhaps not Ross!) and perhaps she knew Tybalt wouldn’t be far. I certainly can’t see her meaning Toby any harm, she seems too mothering for that.

I thought more of Toby’s friends would come out of the woodwork at some point, especially after Mitch made mention of a fair few, so it was more a matter of time than surprise when Julie turned up. At this stage Toby is definitely holding back from her past and keeping everyone at an arms length. Everyone but Devin that is. But maybe she considers him the only person who she couldn’t really let down. Whether Julie will remain a friend is up for debate! 

| 2. |

Tybalt to the rescue! Do you buy his excuse for why he chose to save Toby’s life? Ulterior motives much?

Oh Tybalt! Good show old man. I think perhaps he believes some of his own excuse for saving Toby’s life… but I don’t think it’s the whole truth! He clearly cares for Toby a lot more than he lets on.. or perhaps even more than he believes himself. And of course he would be there for Julie too – I don’t think he would let any friend of hers die easily (maybe he just didn’t approve of Ross!).

| 3. |

Toby gets together with Devin in this section. Their relationship is a bit fraught, what do you think? Is it good she is relying on Devin or do you think it is unhealthy?

I think any relationship with Devin, whether you’re hopping into bed with him or doing (legitimately illegitimate) business, is unhealthy! He’s definitely not a trustworthy character even if he believes his intentions to be good ones… which I sincerely doubt! He seems obsessed with and possessive of Toby which cannot possibly end well. Toby has a whole heap of trustworthy friends to rely upon, she just doesn’t want to get them hurt and doesn’t trust herself to be able to protect them. With Devin she doesn’t have to worry about him – he can most definitely look after himself. I can’t see it ending well though.

| 4. |

That freaking doppleganger! Did you suspect Gillian was fake? Do you think Toby should try to get to know Gillian now that she is older?

Hah! No, I definitely thought it was Gillian until it all got a bit strange… I absolutely loved that scene with the doppelganger though, it was so funny (and slightly terrifying)!

Toby clearly needs to work through her own issues before she considers getting to know Gillian. If she won’t even see her friends what hope will she have with her daughter? I think, once she’s worked through her problems and stopped hating on herself so much, she should tell Gillian the truth. Not only will it give Toby a chance to get something of her family back but, even if it doesn’t, it will certainly bring Gillian some closure as to why she disappeared all those years ago. Although… she might just think her mother is a fruitcake… but maybe that’s explanation enough.

| 5. |

Finally, we only have a few chapters left, any idea how everything is going to shake out? Ideas on who is behind it all yet?

Absolutely no idea! I think at this stage anything could happen and anyone could be implicated, save Toby herself. I’m excited to find out though and I’m sure, despite trusting so few people, it will come as something of a surprise!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 30th January

Sci-Fi Month 2015 Read Along: Week 3

the long way to a small, angry planet

| Week 3 |

Welcome back to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. Hurrah! I’ve almost caught up! I finished reading this section late last night so there wasn’t much time to write a post… but a day out isn’t so bad! Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):

“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):

“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus

Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):

“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau

Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):

“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

| The Questions |

| 1. |

There is a lot of focus on some of the different alien races in this section, from Dr Chef recounting the story of his people’s decline and Sissix introducing Rosemary to her families, to the surprise visit from the Aeluons and the much less welcome search by the Quelin. What are your thoughts on the various beliefs systems we encounter? Does anything specific pique your interest more than the rest?

As I’ve said before, I absolutely love all the different alien races; they bring such vibrancy to the storyline and a cultural backdrop which lends weight and depth to the universe Chambers has created. This is a novel which is driven by its characters and the character developments within this section made for an enjoyable read and showcased what ‘family’ really means to each of them.

Dr Chef is such a lovely character and displays a great deal of strength and morality through his tale of his people’s past and the inevitable extinction they face, and the choices this has consequently led him to make. He has chosen to be something other than what was expected of him and become someone who can do good and help people who are not lost in hopeless war. However, he brings such comfort to those on board the Wayfarer that I can’t help but feel sad for the demise of his people.

Sissix is still one of my favourite characters and I absolutely love the detail Becky Chambers has put into the Aandrisk culture. The Aandrisk are completely open with their emotions and their interactions with one other, and their concept of family is completely different to that which we know that it all makes for fascinating reading. The Aandrisk are so completely different to humanity and so uninhibited that they make humans look stuffy and prudish by comparison!

Getting to know more alien races is always an interesting, if not always good, thing – The Aeluons are an intriguing race who appear on one hand to be fragile and beautiful and on the other silent and deadly. I already think Pei is a fantastic character and shows herself to be more than just the sterotype of an Aeluon, and her crew also seem to prove that she’s not just a one off. But the Quelin… oh dear, they’re not very likeable are they? Poor Corbin.

| 2. |

Ashby gets the chance to give Pei a tour of his ship and introduce her to his crew, meanwhile Jenks and Lovey decide not to risk transferring the AI into a body just yet, and Rosemary initiates a relationship of sorts with Sissix. Were you happy to see any of these developments, or not so fussed?

I loved all these developments and thought they contributed well to the storyline. It was great to see more Aeluons and how they interact with both their own species and others, and it was also good to see Pei as worried for Ashby’s wellbeing after the run in with the Akarak pirates as he constantly is for her. Kizzy also had the opportunity to show off her impressive skills to quite literally defuse the situation.

The Jenks and Lovey storyline has developed in a very sweet way after Lovey admitted that she had been lying when she said her desire for a body was for herself; she had wanted it to please him. Jenks also tells Lovey that he doesn’t think having a body is worth the risk of losing her altogether. This interaction was lovely but it also highlighted the great unfairness with which intelligent AIs are denied a body. When compared to some of the other violent and dangerous alien races, how is an AI within a body any more of a risk?

I also love the developments with Rosemary and Sissix. Rosemary has found herself running away from her family and their reputation on Mars (and throughout the Universe!) and has found a new family on the Wayfarer. This corresponds with what Sissix tells us about the Aandrisk beliefs about what family really is and her Feather Family aboard ship. Their relationship is written well and is something both the characters seem to need at this point in the storyline. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes!

| 3. |

Cloning technology exists and is used in many sci-fi universes, but the GC does not look kindly on it and it is abomination to the Quelin. Did the reveal of Corbin’s nature change your view of the character?

In some ways it does yes. He is still an insufferable and mean character but the section where he speaks to his father really shows how his upbringing has contributed to this. Even if I don’t particularly like him, I understand him a lot better now. I felt very sorry for him both for the way he was treated by the Quelin and by the expectations his father had for him. As always, we are our own worst enemies and poor Corbin is a perfect example of this. His father, knowing Corbin was essentially himself, probably expected far more from him than he would have expected from his natural child had it survived.

| 4. |

Each chapter told a different and fairly self-contained story, without any big cliffhangers from one to the next. How did you feel about the pacing of the story so far? Are you satisfied with how long the long journey is taking or are you impatient for the crew to finally get to their destination and do some tunnelling?

I think it’s really the character development that drives the plot of this novel and I’m perfectly happy with the pacing and the form in which it takes. It’s through the characters that we learn about the universe and all the alien races it contains and it is mostly through the clash of these races that the conflict within the storyline is found. I think I would be happy reading about their long journey every week even if it took a whole Earth year to get there!