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04 March 2014 @ 07:41 pm
GGK Book Club: The Darkest Road, ch 1-4  

I was just sitting here frowning at my website wondering why a post hadn’t automatically posted and I realized it was because I hadn’t written it yet. @.@ And indeed, because I’m supposed to be working, and because I read the whole book at once this time, and don’t have it in my office right now, I’m going to make this a super short post primarily for the purposes of getting it out there rather than having anything insightful to say right now. I’ll try to get insights into the comments. :) But! I do remember a couple of things…

…like the fact that I’d forgotten, totally forgotten, that Jennifer sends Lance away before Arthur even wakes up, my god. For good reasons, even, but AUGH THE HEART STABBY HEARTSTABBINESS OF IT ALL.

Although that doesn’t come close to her sending poor Darien away, or the Light going out when he puts the Lisen’s circlet on, both of which I had *also* forgotten. Well, no, I mean, I remembered she wasn’t exactly Ms Nurturing when he came to see her, but the details of how he came to see her, waugh. #heartstabby

The rest I’m too blurry on when it happens to comment more right now, because I’ll probably be going past the end of chapter 4. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
 
Mary Annepers1stence on March 10th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
The opening line "Do you know the wish of your heart?" is possibly the strongest thesis statement possible for much of the book. It surely isn't subtle, but it does encapsulate several of the relationship dynamics at play: Darien's choice between light/dark; Jennifer's relationships with Arthur/Lancelot; Matt's feelings about the Dwarvish kingship; etc.

An eye-roller for me that rates on par with Kevin's super-extra-fancy-orgasms is that Dave is afraid of his own so-deeply-felt emotions. It's not that I don't "get" being conflicted and being uncomfortable with the strength of one's emotions sometimes, but, as with Kevin, it's so over-the-top "aren't we special special snowflakes" that it takes me right out of the story.

Realizing that one of Kim's companions is Torc's dad was sweet and well-handled.

Structurally, GGK sometimes devotes an entire chapter to one character's point of view, but other chapters are made up of snippets of different characters scattered geographically and not necessarily sharing the experiences with the other POV characters. And I'm not sure why all these shorter bits are lumped together, other than a feeling that chapters "ought" to be a certain length. Or wanting to save page/line space in formatting, since chapter headings take up a half page or so with white space and number. But I'm interested to know what others thing of that structural choice.

Jaelle is growing on me quite a bit in this book. At the end of chapter four, she has a conversation with Sharra that felt the most "real" of any dialogue/interior monologue yet. She tells Sharra that she (Jaelle) is who she is -- high priestess of the Goddess, and asks why everyone keeps expecting her to be other than she is. Which is, I think, a fair point....But of all the characters, I feel like she's possibly the one who has a real, natural progression and growth as a character/person. As opposed to being an archetype, or being static, or being deus ex machinaed into something other than what they began as.
Mary Annepers1stence on March 18th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
do we get a double-edition of commenting today, for chapters 5-8 and 9-12? :)
Mary Annepers1stence on March 29th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
So I'll just drop my final thoughts on Darkest Road here.... :)

An interesting thread, to me, is the theme of how far can the ends justify the means? Kim eventually draws a line. Arthur didn't in his first life (slaying the children, to ensure a more perfect Camelot), Diarmuid's seduction of Sharra, etc. Matt describes his own initial departure from his kingdom as being done "in the name of Light [but] it still may have been an act of evil" (said to Kim, of all people).

Speaking of child-slaying, how is it that Arthur's deeds drag him into such an enormous doom but that doesn't seem to be the case for any of the other people in the history of the world? And how do Guinevere and Lancelot deserve to get drug along for the endless ride? Unless everyone has multiple lives in this construction, and just the three of them get to be conscious of it? But then, again, what makes them so special?

I have a small beef -- Matt's name. Why the heck does he get such an ordinary, human name out of all the dwarves? All the other dwarves are at the very least unusual for humans (Brock) and generally not human at all (Blod, Miach).

Loved the reference to the Lady of Shalott (i started to write Shallot, but that would be something totally different).

I like the structural parallel victory-by-sacrifices, done three times: Diarmuid's taking of Lancelot's place on the battlefield (crying, all the crying), Darien forcing Rakoth's hand, and Tabor and the unicorn taking on the dragon (even though Tabor is saved, his intent is still there and the unicorn does sacrifice herself for the victory).

It seems additionally appropriate that Paul is the one to redeem Galadan -- both of them made their choices because their loves both left them and died.

And I liked the way that the Arthurian triangle is resolved. I can't help but wonder how much grief they could have avoided if they'd just settled on polyamory in some earlier iteration? Maybe not the first time around, but you'd think at some point they'd have given it a go....

I totally knew that Ceinwen was aiming to have a baby from the moment she and Dave had their tryst way back whenever it was. Nice to be proved right. :)

And the last two pairings-off were very satisfying to me: I loved the development of Jaelle, so for her to find something kind and warm in the end was good. And as a practical matter, it would be incredibly difficult to have had the kind of experiences that Kim and Dave had, then to be back in "the world" and not be able to share the truth of it with your partner and expect to be believed, gives it a kind of inevitability that offsets the fact that there aren't a lot of other indicators that they'd pair off.
And it