Hey everyone! It’s week 2 of the Three Parts Dead read-along, and this part covers everything from Chapter 8 to the end of chapter 14.
Our host is Susan from Dab of Darkness, so you can head over to her place for links to the blog hop (although I will also add them to the bottom of my post, once I have them all).
Exciting things are happening in Alt Coulumb, so let me get into these questions:
1) Throughout this section, we learn little tidbits about our main characters: Tara and her time at the Secret Universities, Kevarian and her past works, Abelard and his childhood. What fascinated you the most?
Tough one… I certainly want to know more about Raz’s relationship with Ms Kevarian, and her role in turning Seril into Justice. It’s ironic how the Blacksuits and the Guardians/gargoyles worship the same entity, and are mortal enemies for the same reason.
I liked the depiction of Abelard’s childhood; I find the mixture of engineering, faith and religion very interesting.
However, I’m glad we finally have Tara’s backstory. I had it a bit wrong, assuming she was the one doing something ingenious but unethical, when in fact she was a victim of Denovo’s brain-drain scheme. Which of course explains her aversion to mind-control techniques and the way Justice can bend people like Cat to its will and insert info in her mind whenever it feels the need. I can’t believe Denovo’s tactics are allowed in Court though; surely that’s against the rules somehow?
2) So many conspiracies! Someone tried to burn out some of Raz’s memories, there were super secret contracts between the dead Cabot and Kos and some unknown third party, and Abelard found a hidden altar in the heart of Kos’s church! Do you think they are connected?
I assume so! Unless Gladstone is throwing out red herrings. I’ve read a few stories where major plotlines turned out to be unconnected, playing on the characters’ and readers’ expectations that they would be connected. Which is interesting in a way, but I do love to see everything come together.
3) This question is just for fun & came about from discussion over at Violin in a Void last week. Abelard is a chain smoker and his worship of Kos keeps him safe from any ill effects of said smoking. If there were multiple deities who could protect you from ill effects of different vices (alcohol, illicit drugs, gluttony, etc.), which vice, if any, would you pick?
My first instinct was GLUTTONY! I will eat ALL THE CHEESE! But being able to indulge myself all the time might actually spoil the pleasure of eating, which, as far as I’m concerned, is one of life greatest pleasures.
Alcohol… no. Where’s the fun in not being able to get tipsy or drunk sometimes? Not interested in drugs or smoking. I enjoy being active, so not sloth.
Ah well, I guess it’ll just have to be lust then. Assuming that “drama” is one of the ill effects I’d be protected from 😀
4) Stonemen! Will Tara be able to win over Shale and gain his assistance? Will Justice’s Black Suits face off against them, potentially destroying the city? Discuss!
Stupid Shale! Can’t he see that Tara could help him? I think Tara can handle him, but she’s been fairly successful in her endeavours so far, despite ending up in hospital, so I worry that this time she’s not going to get through the fight without getting hurt.
A Blacksuit-Guardian throwdown certainly seems likely, but at this stage I have no idea how this will all play out. I’m more curious about the THING that Abelard released at the hidden altar, whether Kos will be resurrected, and what Kos will be like if he’s resurrected. Seril became the Stone Men’s mortal enemy when she was resurrected/remade, and that doesn’t bode well for Abelard and his religion.
5) The Courthouse of Crafts is a strange place. Feel free to comment on it. Ms. Kevarian tells Tara, last minute, that she will be the one to face Denovo. Calculated way to boost Tara’s confidence? Or a cruel way to test her?
A test, I think, but not necessarily a cruel one. Ms Kevarian is demanding, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call her cruel (yet) and I think she’s too much of a professional to torment Tara for the sake of it. Rather, I think she understands how much of an issue Tara’s history with Denovo is, and she wanted her to face him head on, not giving her a chance to overthink it and maybe cower later. If Ms Kevarian had gone up against Denovo, it may have also have set a precedent of her taking on the bigger battles, and Tara needs to prove that she can handle this sort of thing on her own, not rely on her boss to protect her. And it’s possible that Ms Kevarian simply had more faith in Tara’s skills than her own; Tara nearly took down Denovo before, and she understands how he works.
The Courthouse of Craft – well, as someone who is terrible with direction, I quite like the idea of a building that takes you straight where you need to go!
– I love the way Tara keeps psyching herself up for the job at hand, controlling her fear and insecurities. She knows what she needs to do, and she knows how she could fail, so she’s preparing herself for battle. Which, apparently, means reading a lot 🙂 Who said lawyers can’t be cool?
– I’ve wondered a bit about the gender dynamics of this society. It seems pretty egalitarian, but I find it a wee bit odd that they use the terms “Craftsmen” and “Craftswomen” instead of a gender-neutral term like “Craftspeople” or “Crafters”. And there’s a moment when Denovo says “Put not your trust in things, but in men,” then adds “And women” (p.167). So perhaps an egalitarian world that’s only recently evolved from a more sexist society? Enough that we don’t see any discrimination, but the language hasn’t quite caught up yet. Which I find a bit incongruent, but it’s nice to be able to read a fantasy world where it isn’t assumed that women must somehow be considered inferior.
Denovo is such a creep! Eugh.
And, yes, to number 1 – I felt so guilty that I’d kind of thought last week that Tara had maybe rushed in and been foolhardy – *hangs head in shame*
I couldn’t help thinking that Kevarian had been in some kind of relationship with the Prof – perhaps a forced one?? Could she have been one of his pupils – my mind is running riot. Anyway, I kind of felt that she was a little scared or cautious around him – perhaps she threw Tara in at the deep end in the Courtroom to see how she would handle him – she’s already shown a lot of backbone where he’s concerned.
PS – I was late this week! Silly weekend, too much going on.
I was also wondering if something happened between Kevarian and Denovo. And yes, ugh, he’s horrible. I hope we get to see Tara take him down for good.
I see your weekend post – looks like you had a lovely time! *jealous* 😀
Stupid Shale! Can’t he see that Tara could help him?
To be fair on Shale, she did cut his face off with little explanation and without giving him any reason to believe she’s as trustworthy as she claimed. (Not that she had much chance or choice, I know.) Plus, with how the people seem to hate Stone Men in general, that’s on top of self-preservational distrust and the fact that he was framed for murder and knows he would only get a sham trial.
I love that dynamic between them because they both have such understandable reactions to the situation they’re in together. I find it easy to see why Shale wouldn’t trust Tara and why Tara has little patience for that distrust. It’s wonderful. ❤
Which I find a bit incongruent, but it’s nice to be able to read a fantasy world where it isn’t assumed that women must somehow be considered inferior.
Except by Denovo, but he’s creepy and arrogant, so that says a whole lot more about him than the society they live in. Thank you for wording this! It’s something I noticed and didn’t really know how to mention it. It’s definitely interesting to see the way that works and I’ll be curious to see whether that’s the same in the other books in the series. Maybe it’s different in other places? Or maybe it’s a slip on Gladstone’s part in general because it’s the kind of thing that’s hard to spot, but that still just opens it up to your in-story interpretation. Now I hope that’s something Gladstone plays with as the series progresses That would be awesome.
“To be fair on Shale, she did cut his face off with little explanation and without giving him any reason to believe she’s as trustworthy as she claimed. ”
That’s true. As I read the other answers I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about my reaction to Shale, which as a bit of a kneejerk “don’t hurt Tara, she’s one of the good guys!” And I suppose I’d be a bit like Tara too, wanting to get on with the case.
Gender: Yeah, I haven’t made up my mind yet whether it’s Gladstone’s slip-up or a feature of the world. And of course we may not be able to tell at all. But he nevertheless gets points for writing great female characters and an egalitarian society. One of the many reasons to continue with the series 🙂
I think that’s some of the point, though. We’ve only seen Shale’s perspective once: at the beginning. All the other times we’ve seen him have been from Tara’s pov. So we’re much more likely to side with Tara’s perspective on what’s going on than Shale’s. Imagine if Gladstone’d written the book from Shale’s perspective. We’d have an entirely different view of what kind of a person Tara is.
He does. I love the female characters in this book. ❤
I am also surprised that Donovo has gotten away with so much for so long! Ugh! Why hasn’t someone figured out how to turn his brain into mush yet? And, yes, why were such tactics allowed in court? Hmmm…maybe he is clever at wrapping such things up in legalese, etc.
I so agree about gluttony. One of the pleasures of eating is that you can’t have it all all the time, otherwise you would get tired of it. And lust can be a very active vice. Total win! 🙂
Interesting thought about Justice remade into Seril, who despises the Guardians. Will the new Kos (assuming we get one) had his former worshipers?
Interesting comment on the gender dynamics. In my experience, it can take decades for a ‘on paper’ egalitarian society to catch up in the language (and thought) department. Not even 2 years ago, I did safety incident investigations and this involved working with a lot of crafts people, a still tot this day male dominated workforce. Often the folks refer to themselves as craftsmen, not craftspeople, even the women.
Well, Denovo’s tactic is probably completely new, so they wouldn’t have rules against it. It’s probably assumed that as long as you go in there alone without tools that could be used for cheating, you’re ok.
I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with the resurrection of Kos!
Luckily this society doesn’t seem to be male-dominated, although now that I think about it, most of the leadership positions are held by men… I wonder what things were like when Seril was still alive.