Loki on Chapter 2

Okay, first and foremost, I have something I need to rant about:

GILDEN. JUST… GILDEN. I realize that Alma is already aware of the depth of my adoration for Gilden, but I have to say it – GILDEN IS MY FAVORITE. HE LIVES IN A WORLD OF MY FAVORITISM. I REALIZE THAT MAKES NEXT TO NO SENSE, BUT I REALLY DON’T EVEN CARE. I try not to let my personal bias towards Gilden get in the way when I’m critiquing writing referring to him, but I can’t help it – he’s just so humorous and awesome, and his character is so well done throughout the book that…  I … this is a
very large part of why I love Alma’s writing, is because so often there’s just that  *one* character for everyone that sort of worms their way into your heart like some kind of good parasite and steals your soul…

 (“And throwing cushions is unbecoming to a Clan Lord.” Quite possibly my one of my favorite quotes in
the entire book. Yeah, I’m done now.)

Anyhow, in the land of brutal honesty, this may be only me, but I feel the placement of the Rainald and Alleth scene – the racing one – is a little awkward here. Don’t get me wrong, I like the scene, even if it is a tad generic, but some little voice inside me is telling me, ‘This shouldn’t go here. It’s choppy. It’s *not right* somehow.’ I sometimes think of these types of scenes as sort of placed advertisements – like, you know how when you’re watching a TV show or something and they
randomly drop brand names, so it’s just like a commercial inside the show (the biggest one I can think of at the moment is Warehouse 13 and Myka’s awfully convenient, bi-weekly love of Twizzlers)? Okay, so this is a bit of a weak analogy, but what I’m TRYING to say is that while it’s a good scene that tells
a lot about the characters, I feel like it was kind of thrown in there. It’s the kind of scene that technically could have gone any place. It doesn’t feel right because it’s too… general? Intentional? Informative? Convenient? Do you guys see what I’m getting at here? I feel like this tends to happen in quite a bit of amateur writing, because everyone spends a lot of time talking about “character development” and the like, and so sometimes writers think they have to cram it somewhere in there rather than let it come out on its own. I’m thinking that the actual RELATIONSHIP between Rainald and Alleth was very spontaneous and very, very real – it’s just that the scenes that put that
relationship on display are a bit forced.

(This is small and random, but I saw one place where I missed an “r,” so Rainald reigned in Imril, his ‘hose’. Haha.)

Anyhow, I did really enjoy the flashback. I think an important thing to the pacing of a story is that a large event doesn’t simply cause deep grief that dissipates quickly, but that something as largely
upsetting as the death of a father continues to impact the character for a long while throughout the story. Very, very nice to see Rainald feeling a little pain there.

On the other hand, the Macha thing had a bit of an awkward time lapse to it, as did the traveling portions. I don’t want to sound redundant, because I realize that Zach already mentioned this, but you’re reading along, and all of a sudden you stumble across ‘Those three months fled before he knew it.’ Whoa – wait… what? It was kind of disorienting, I guess – like tripping over a step you didn’t know was there. No big issue, but it’s jarring. (I suppose I am somewhat fine with the lack of narration of travel, though – sometimes I guess novels in this ‘time period’ tend to spend entirely too much
time chronicling what happens on horseback.)

I do think it took a good while for Mirella to be introduced – in the present, anyway – which is a shame, because I do enjoy her character. It’s nice to have an honest-to-God downer around in a novel, I think – someone who’s just a complete emotional wreck, or an almost complete emotional wreck. Or a closeted emotional wreck. You know, she provides that needed angst in exactly the right amount, because it’s so strong and you feel awful for her, but she’s not in the spotlight all the time so it’s not all in-your-face. I will take this opportunity to point out that, though Rainald and Mirella seem
to be two very different people, her grief when it comes to her fiancé hasn’t faded all that far, even over the years. You’d think Rainald would be *slightly* less over his father than he seems to be.

I’m not going to rant about Rainald’s sudden precog gift, because Zach and Courtney pretty much covered that.  But I am going to talk about Aleta for a minute – I mean, not only was Rainald’s gift completely rushed, *she* was completely rushed. Usually, given, in a book you can tell when the main
character’s love interest shows up. It was even easy to guess that Rainald wasn’t going to end up with anyone his High Council buddies tried to sat him up with. But at least you are often paced into getting to know the love interest before anything actually starts happening. Not only do we know next to nothing about Aleta or her personality, making her extremely difficult to like or connect to or want to see with Rainald, but I found myself almost irritated by her. In such limited spotlight, I feel like she came off as self-involved, ill-spoken, and impersonal. Either she needs some serious character work, or she needs a chance to show off her character work.

Let’s do the list thing again:

[+] I do enjoy a certain tendency that I’ve noticed throughout the book – that minor characters and their stories, while not heavily featured, tend to be almost integral to the plot and the pacing of the
story. The example here would be the very end of the chapter, with the light coming from Mirella’s room.

[-] Not only does it not seem plausible that Rainald would know precog the first time he had it, it makes no sense that some guy who he comes to see in the middle of the night would believe him without a doubt, for crying out loud. Or that he would be so nonchalant about setting the whole damn
thing up.

[-] After no small amount of pondering, it seems that Rainald is more mood-swingey than under-emotional. Like, he switched between happy and sad at pretty impressive speed. He can be a little hard to follow sometimes.

[-] I actually used one of those word cloud sites to confirm my suspicions on this – the most frequently overused words in this chapter that aren’t names of characters or Clans are: still, now, back, time, and –twitch- one.

[+] Love that Rainald’s taking a cue from Gilden.

[/] The humor in here really is nice – I’d love to see more of it.

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2 Responses to “Loki on Chapter 2”

  1. haha I regret not having read the original chapters when they were emailed to me. You seem to have a very deep understanding of this novel and its characters which I assume comes from a combination of you having typed the monster up, as well as your intuitive ability. I understand what you’re getting at as far as the warehouse thirteen analogy goes, there was definitely something off..it’s interesting how sometimes there seems to be different levels of understanding. I understood something was wrong but I just didn’t especially take a moment to think on it. Now that I have thought about it your comments on the topic make so much more sense, not that they didn’t before, basically going through the thought processes gives a better understanding of the topic. Well that’s my side rant for the day, night.

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