While we'll try to avoid being too specific, these literary feasts will, in general, include spoilers for the books. Below is a space to discuss content from the first 116 pages of The Warrior Heir.
So, let's kick off our discussion of The Warrior Heir! Anyone out there reading it? Here are some of our initial thoughts....
SHEL: As I began the book, I felt too many characters were introduced too quickly. Do you not realize, Cinda Williams Chima, I am TERRIBLE with names. I remember nobody. You're making my life painful! Who are these people? Should I remember them? How do I know them? Why must they have unusual names? Although, Bob, Fred and Paula would probably also be difficult for me....
But the first sentence did make me happy: "The scent of wood smoke and roses always took him back there, to the boy he was and would never be again."
And here the scent of wood smoke makes me think of smores. And how I was the terrible girl scout who kept setting the marshmallows on fire while everyone else patiently toasted theirs.
MONICA: You are *so* right about the names. Of course, I’m one of those people who can’t remember characters’ names until the last page of the book. Until then, it’s all “that snippy little ex-girlfriend” and “that best friend kid who wants to know what’s going on but doesn’t” and “that sort of useless aunt.” It works well for me, because it means that when, 60 pages in, “Nick” becomes “The Great Wizard Nicodemus Snowbeard,” I can still keep mentally referring to him as “handyman dude with magical powers.”
In other news, I actually liked the opening – to the point that I was vaguely sad when time flashed forward. (What? I just loved all the mayhem and destruction!) I recognized that it had to happen, but even in just those few pages I found myself getting rather ridiculously attached to his sister. You know, before she was vaporized.
SHEL: Maybe she'll come back. As much as a person can ever come back from vaporization...hmmm.
So far, Jack feels younger to me than 16. His relationship with his mom, the way he asked permission to go home and get his medicine...it felt like he was 12, until the ex-girl was presented. I think out of those my biggest struggle is over the medicine. What sixteen-year-old has never questioned who he needs to take a medicine each day. When I was eight or nine, my nose would be a steady leak, I'd be coughing like a male beast calling for a mate, but I'd still pour my cherry medicine down the drain because I didn't like the taste or because I didn't think it would do any good. On the other hand, I like the way the narration pokes fun at the medicine, how Jack and his mom perceive it to be like a magical potion. Hahaha.
MONICA: I’m having the same problem you’re having – plus, he seems so *tame*. I recognize he’s just an Heir, not a Warrior, yet, but come on. Maybe it’s supposed to help us see the difference in The Way He Is Now as compared to The Way He’s Going To Be, but I’m at the point now where I need him to start whapping people with his whomping big sword. Also, like you mentioned, since I wouldn’t have been willing to take delicious gummy vitamins as a kid (let alone bizarre viscous fluids) without me whining about why I needed them, I do think that for him to have never once wondered about it seems kind of ridiculous.
Ah, necessary plot points. How I accept your existence.
I am finding it kind of adorable, way deep down. Jack is just such a gumpy sweetheart! We’ll see how it goes, though. I'm fully prepared to be awed by his Warrior Skills, if it comes to it.
SHEL: I am starting to get into it a little more with the search for the sword. It's nice to have the boys out and about unsupervised. Behaving like the sixteen-year-olds they're supposed to be. Plus, it's vaguely Arthurian. A sword only one can withdraw from the ground...makes me happy. I like that you call him "gumpy." That's such a good description for him! Dead on.
Your thoughts, our few but dear readers? Also, keep reading! We'll start discussion of chapters five to eleven in a post on Friday night!