The reread begins! Imyril at There’s Always Room for One More has the questions for this week and also the schedule for future weeks.
Spoilers for Chapters 1 through 16
This book starts with a map and a list of Dramatis Personae, how do you feel about this approach?
It signals to me that this will be an epic fantasy with lots of moving parts. I appreciate having a map. When the book informs me of the relationships between nations, like when borders are being threatened by somebody, it helps to see where they are located. A list of characters is also helpful when dealing with the complicated politics of a world with multiple nations. I’m not going to remember everyone from scene to scene, especially if they don’t appear in every scene. It also helps me spell people’s names correctly. Accents are important.
What are your first impressions of d’Angeline culture?
This is my third time reading this book so these won’t be true first impressions. When I first read it as a teenager I was a little overwhelmed but also fascinated. Like I mentioned above, there are a lot of moving parts. There are multiple components of the society that are built on or next to their religion. Then you have politics. The Midwinter Masque hosted by Cereus House has religious and political elements. It is celebrating the Longest Night but not everyone is invited. There is a skit with the Winter Queen and the Sun King. The person chosen as Sun King can be a political statement.
We also do get an impression of the different classes. The emphasis is on the elite, especially the ruling class. But those in the Night Court serve them. Those living on Night’s Doorstep can serve the elite and other classes below that depending. It’s more for the adventurous types.
What are your thoughts on the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, its adepts, the service of Naamah, and the earning of marques?
It is its own little microcosm. Everyone who works there seems to live there. They do get information from outside via their patrons but not everyone is given that information. It depends on who you’re talking to.
I also found the idea of catering to different sexual tastes interesting too. As a teenager this was eye-opening.
All of this being in service to Naamah is meant to give it a certain level of legitimacy but I get the impression that men are still more dominant in this society so that’s why whore can be a fact and also an insult depending on who is wielding or receiving the word. There is also a difference between working for the Night Court and working in a temple dedicated to Naamah.
The earning of marques makes me sad but it also adds to the complexity. When Phèdre’s mother sells her into indentured servitude it is a traumatic moment.
Guy, Alcuin, and Phèdre are all devoted to the mysterious Anafiel Delaunay, do you think he deserves their love?
That’s a hard one to answer. I can see why they love him though. Guy and Alcuin were saved by him: Alcuin physically and Guy emotionally. Delaunay was the first to see Phèdre’s eye as a symbol of a god’s favor rather than a flaw. He’s also charismatic, mysterious, and sad sometimes. Plus he has a grand purpose that they know he has but don’t know exactly what it is.
What do you make of Phèdre’s choice of signale?
This makes a lot of sense. Delaunay describes it as being something that is meant to halt what’s happening as protection. It also can’t be mistaken for anything else. Her best friend’s name fits on every level.
Am I still in?
Yep, I’ve been rather enjoying my reread so far. I’m excited to look at other people’s responses today.