Read-along: The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams (week 4)


Banner by imyril from There’s Always Room for One More

Sorry I’m a bit late with this – had a family weekend, so have only just caught up on my reading. As always there are going to be SPOILERS in my responses to the prompts from imyril of There’s Always Room for One More, and … oh-my-goodness-why-aren’t-you-reading-this-book-already!!!


Week 4 – Chapters 35 to 46 inclusive

New connections: how do you feel about events aboard the Behemoth? How do you think her newly imposed alien empathy will affect Hest’s choices in future? #WhatWillHestDo

Holy cow! I thought things couldn’t get any worse than Bern, Sharrik, Aldasair and Jessen getting swallowed up by the Behemoth, but what do I know? I am more and more not happy about what’s happening to Celaphon, more and more bemused by Hest’s decisions – is it just an overwhelming desire to survive, to come out on top, that drives her decision-making? I’m blowed if I can see any proofs of loyalty or love in her, and her reaction to the love Bern feels for Aldasair seemed to … horrify? … her. Is Hest, in fact, a sociopath? She’s utterly fascinating and her motives seem to be fluid, often ambiguous, making her an almost perfect match for the Jure’lia Queen. If we don’t get to see some sort of final showdown between these two I’ll be sorely disappointed.


Allies or antagonists: as the Yuron-Kai challenge Vintage’s leadership and Tyranny Munk and Okaar make themselves indispensable, what do you think is going to happen in Ebora?

OK. I think the Yuron-Kai may end up being pretty awesome allies (is it wrong that I liked them immediately, even though they looked down their nose at Vintage?) people that badass have just got to deliver, even if they’re going to be snooty the whole time. Tyranny Munk, Okaar and Jhef are absolutely up to no good, and not in an adorable-rogue kind of way, I suspect. I think they’re going to do something very bad. Even though I kind of like all three of them: Okaar for his quiet healing ways (is this what he does for Tyranny? Is he some kind of on-hand healer? She does drink her tea scalding hot, remember …); Jhef for her slinking, sneaking, strange seriousness, and general poking about (I think that’s her role, she’s a sneak, an information-gatherer – because, really, how much attention do people pay to children? – and a useful little body for small windows and gaps); and Tyranny for her balls. I mean, she just walked up to Sen-Lord Takor and punched him flat out! It was fabulous!! But with the questions they’re asking and their general off-ness, I think maybe they intend to do something to the war-beasts, and I’m worried it’s going to be unforgivable. (If it is in any way forgivable, then I definitely want a spin off book about these three please Ms Williams).


Flawed mirrors: our Eboran contingent have over-indexed on arrogant self-regard recently – but this week we come face to face with their startling origins. Are we reading fantasy or scifi?

Oh man, this … this was fricking awesome!!! The existence of the alien Jure’lia on Sarn had already blown my mind, but that there has been another alien touchdown on Sarn, that Sarn has already undergone a transformation because of alien interference is just … well, it’s just staggering. I’m loving it! After all that talk of Eboran history and culture, to have their whole race reframed as an experiment was fascinating. I can’t even begin to imagine how Tor will handle the revelation (but I did enjoy his rankling over being called ‘child’, ‘lesser’ and ‘it’ – I don’t like the people in the mirrors, but that did make me chortle). I am hoping we’ll find out a bit more about Eeskar before the focus inevitably turns back towards war with the Jure’lia, s/he/it seems just a little different from the people in the mirrors, maybe a little less disdainful about what the ‘seedlings’ have become.

As to whether we are reading fantasy or scifi – I think we’re reading a scifi set in a fantasy world, and I am loving every minute of it! *Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee*


There’s so much going on! Any other thoughts to share about the Poisonless? The strengthening bond between Tor and Kirune? Our ship coming in? Eri’s new playmate?

OK, Eri’s new playmate Jhef? – covered above.

The Poisonless? I’m not sure I’m clear who the Poisonless are right now. That term was used by the humans in the settlement on the other side of the island, right? The ones Arnia visits (feeds from? Uses as slaves?) during the night. I couldn’t really get a handle on who they were speaking about: Arnia and Micanal? Themselves? Something else on the island? Am I being really dumb? Have I missed something?

The bond between Tor and Kirune? Awww, this made me so happy! I don’t know why it’s happening and I don’t really care, I’m just glad it is. Anything that helps heal Kirune’s dreadful feelings of inadequacy is fabulous.

And, oh … Aldasair and Bern … our ship come home, flag proudly flying. I couldn’t have asked for a better confession of love from these two. All. The. Feels. I’m just sorry they didn’t get to bask in it a little longer before being ripped from one another and tortured. I don’t know what will happen to them both once the queen is done with them, but I hope their love breaks her. Bitch didn’t even give them a chance to kiss once.



The next post for this read-along can be found here:

Week 5 – Chapters 47 to the end



  1. It’s been such a busy week I’m only just getting time to come enjoy your comments from last week! I’m with you on wondering whether Hest is a sociopath – I think her current motivations become clearer by the end, but fluid is the perfect word for her morality. Also utterly self-interested – even when it’s about Celaphon, it’s really about Hest. I realise she’s spent a great deal of her life becoming ever more isolated, but wow she’s lost any ability she ever had to empathise with others (and having now read to the finish, I have Thoughts about the portrayal of ALL the Eboran women. Also Questions). I wondered whether her Jure’lian connection would help, but she can and does squirm away from any connection with Bern – EVEN when she can see what an admirable bloke he is! – so I guess not. Eh, Hest.

    …and she still fascinates me. She’s utterly unlikeable, and yet I want to see where she takes it.

    You like the Yuron-Kai way more than I do 😂…but I’m willing to give them another chance 😀

    But OHBOY the reframing of Eboran origins is amazing. I love that this is a fantasy-horror in an SF world – I can’t wait to see where it goes in the last book!

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