We’ve very quickly reached the halfway point in The Bone Shard Daughter this week and I’m still not sure about most of my feelings. Puzzles and questions abound! Let’s see if we can untangle a few thoughts, at least.
This week’s prompts have been set by imyril of There’s Always Room for One More, which is also where you should go for schedule details about this Wyrd and Wonder read-along.
As ever, SPOILERS can be expected from here on out.
Chapters 12 to 23 inclusive
Jovis has begun to show strange new strengths since escaping Deerhead Island. What do you think is going on?
I sort of suspect Mephi, but I have no idea why or how it’s happening. Jovis, when trying to come to terms with his new powers, speculates on the nature of the magic inside him, something different from the bone-shard magic of the Emperor; and it’s been hinted that the Alanga had their own magic too (I’m fascinated by the Alanga statue whose eyes opened and closed again – is this a red herring? Or will something come of it? … I’m dying to know). These all feel like clues to something bigger, but the whole pattern has yet to come into focus.
I love Jovis’ new strengths, particularly the stamping of his foot which, even though not as powerful, has echoes of the sinking of Deerhead Island behind it (you can almost see the legend of Jovis being formed as he moves through the world). But I think the question I’m more interested in seeing answered is: what is Mephi? I feel like if the puzzle of Mephi is solved, then so will the puzzle of what is happening to Jovis.
What is your understanding of witstone, and the strange effect it has on Mephi?
This threw me through a loop because I thought Mephi had eaten that last bit of witstone so that he could fill Jovis’s sails with wind, but that would appear to be wrong. It also puts a spanner in my he’s-a-construct theory as we know from Lin’s bits of the story that constructs don’t react to witstone the way Mephi does. I’ve been thinking of witstone as a kind of magical coal, but I think I must be way off there too, and I’m now not sure what to think. I need more information! All I really feel for sure right now is that Mephi is good and therefore witstone is bad, which leads me to think that it is produced in some horrible way that I’m not going to like when it’s revealed. Am I remembering correctly that it is only produced/mined in one place in the Empire? I can’t find where I read that now, so I may be misremembering…
Lin attends two rather different – and rather awkward – family dinners. Why do you think her father invited her to eat with him? What do you make of Bayan now?
Yeah, why did her father invite her to eat with him and Bayan? I feel like he plays games with the two of them and I really don’t like that. It’s almost as if he’s experimenting with the both of them in the same way he works with the constructs. His four main constructs coming to the meal too was kind of surreal and only served to highlight what a strange daily life Lin has, when this meal is compared to the one she was invited to by Numeen. That meal was, briefly, comfortable and familiar and gave us chance to see Lin in a slightly more human light.
Bayan though. What a strange position he seems to hold. Seemingly favoured by the Emperor because of all the lessons and studying, and because of his six keys, but also standing on shaky ground because he is not the Emperor’s kin and, if Lin becomes Emperor, a liability. I feel like the Emperor commanding Tirang to kill Bayan at the dinner table was a test (possibly another a test for Lin?), but that he did so with apparently no feeling just moved him a couple of notches higher on my sh*t-list. He’s a poisonous man.
I feel a little more sympathy of Bayan as a result. If his strong jaw and pretty lips get mentioned again, however, I’ll just as quickly move back to indifference.
What do you make of the rebel plan and the deal they offer Jovis? Do you trust them to deliver what they’ve promised? How do you think Phalue will react to their plan?
Hmmm. I do feel for Jovis. He’s quickly becoming a victim of his own legend, when all he really wants to do is find Emahla. He’s not really very good at saying no, so naturally he’s going to get caught up in the rebel plan and I feel like that’s just going to be a slippery slope for him. Just as with all the desperate parents, the rebels are going to want more and more from him (I’m pretty sure those skills of him are only going to get more impressive as the story goes on), and what they’re trying to accomplish will be seen as bigger than one man trying to find his lost wife.
I’m curious to see what Mephi’s judgement of the rebel plan will be. He’s made it clear that he thinks saving children is “a very good”, what will he think about dislodging a governor?
And Phalue – I’m really struggling with Phalue’s character – will somehow end up going along with it all. She has become my biggest frustration this week, I just can’t get to grips with the way she thinks. I think I’m going to wait and see if anyone on the read-along crew puts my feelings into words because I don’t have any right now, except that Phalue is a bit of grit in my mental shoe.
So, erm, it’s confirmed that bone-shard magic is a kind of animal-Frankenstein’s-monster magic? I wasn’t quite expecting the room full of animal parts, although clearly I should have been. Now I know for sure, there is a little dark-cloaked figure running around in my brain lamenting “nothing good can come of this!” I have bad feelings about where this is going, everyone.
My next post for this read-along can be found here: