[Exams over, our regular nonstop blogathon will resume shortly]
After all that time-wasting, the book dumps us straight into the middle of the abdication ceremony with Tristan standing on a dais in front of a huge crowd. I’m very disappointed that we missed the many, many chapters of Tristan thinking about how he doesn’t want to be king and characters crying single shining pearlescent tears and the sorceresses leaning against things and letting their minds drift to the past that we weren’t shown.
The great room smelled pleasantly of potpourri, fresh-cut flowers, and anticipation.
For some reason I find this sentence unintentionally hilarious.
As stated last chapter, Tristan is wearing his leather pants and quiver of throwing knives because he’s an immature manchild. Everyone puts up with this even though a thirty year old man petulantly refusing to wear ceremonial clothes out of sheer stubbornness is obviously not a good candidate to become king.
Of course, the actual reason he’s wearing the dirks is no doubt so that he can have his signature weapons on hand when shit goes down, but that just makes it more stupid. I should not be able to tell where the story has been engineered so that certain events occur later.
If it is a king I must be, then it is a king of the common people that I shall strive to remain.
No, Tristan, shut the fuck up. There is no such thing as a “king of the common people”. You’re a monarch, you have absolute power and are considered to be superior to every other person in the kingdom purely by virtue of the fact that you’re the son of the last guy who was superior to everyone else. If you want to be “of the common people” then abdicate the throne immediately. Actually you should do that anyway, since it’s clearly what you want and you’re obviously not suited to the job.
There was Natasha, the duchess of Ephyra, and her husband, Duke Baldric.
I wonder what nefarious things Natasha will get up to?
Actually wait, that’s not what I meant to say. What I meant to say is that I don’t care.
Wigg starts the ceremony, which involves Nicholas taking off the Paragon. It has to be placed in a chalice of special magic water from the Magic Caves to recharge, during which time the wizards will be de-powered.
It was astounding.
Just to give you an idea of the breathless excitement of the scene. These characters only seem to come alive when they’re having sex or killing something.
Tristan recites a vaguely Jedi-ish oath, and then in the middle of it SHIT GOES DOWN
Just as the executioner’s ax falls, just as the horse trips and the rider knows he is going down, just as the archer’s fingers loose the arrow – whenever the portent of disaster arrives and the entire world begins to spin in a terrifying kind of slow motion, the words that one hears at that precise moment can go on almost forever in one’s head, a sickening, unforgettable prelude to disaster.
Also the writing briefly veers into a completely different style for like a paragraph.
A bunch of Minions (OF DAY AND NIGHT) drop through the domed glass ceiling that’s apparently there and this immediately raises a few questions, such as how they were able to get to the capital without anyone noticing. Even if the city is on the coast (is it on the coast? It’s only been described in the vaguest terms), surely someone would notice a bunch of flying dudes and/or the ships they arrived in. Don’t they have any kind of coast-guard watching for trouble? Aren’t there sentries around the palace? Remember, they needed to wait for a very specific moment, for Natasha to signal that the paragon was neutralized. Unless they have absolutely perfect timing and were able to fly from so far away that the ships weren’t visible and arrived exactly on target, that means they somehow were able to hide on the palace roof, just out of sight, before launching the attack.
Anyway the minion decapitates Frederick (bye Frederick!) and Tristan throws a knife at it while the palace guards stand around doing nothing, just like when the harpy attacked. But then hundreds of more minions come flying in! So many that they outnumber the royal guard ten to one! How the fuck were they all staying out of sight? No idea!
Tristan goes to heroically jump into the fray, but Wigg stops him because vague reasons.
‘Tristan! You and Shailiha must stay near me here at the altar! For the sake of everything you value and love, you both must stay by my side!’
Hey Wigg, maybe you should have just explained all of this beforehand instead of being vague and keeping secrets for no apparent reason. Also you should probably have moved the abdication ceremony somewhere, but we already talked about that.
All of the wizards except Wigg are slaughtered in short order, and Tristan is filled with manly rage and shit. He jumps down off the dais to take on a particularly strong Minion who I’m guessing is meant to be Kluge, but he gets his ass handed to him easily and Kluge gets him in an arm-lock. He’s not supposed to kill Tristan yet (the sorceresses have been weirdly inconsistent on this point, which is another sign that this book was barely edited), but he knocks Tristan around a bit more.
Apparently Wigg and the royal family are just standing on the dais this entire time, which doesn’t seem terribly wise to me.
Shailiha sat at her parents’ feet in her now blood-soaked gown, pathetically holding the headless corpse of her husband, crying and talking to the dead body as if it could talk back. She’s lost her mind, he thought.
What the fuck? No she hasn’t “lost her mind”, she fucking grieving.
Finally, after at least an hour, the Great Hall once again became still, the many surviving citizens who had had the bad fortune to attend the ceremony
“Bad fortune”? It wasn’t bad fortune, Wigg insisted they be allowed to attend for no goddamn reason.
She was lying in a pool of blood on the floor, her throat cut, her eyes frozen open and staring outward as if she were still gazing at him, even in death.
Yep Evelyn’s dead. Fridge count: 1.
‘My name is Kluge,’ the creature said, ‘and I am the commander of the Minions of Day and Night, the troops who have smashed your overrated Royal Guard. From now on your nation, and everything in it, belongs to someone else.’
Uh, no. You still have to conquer the rest of the kingdom. This isn’t Civilization where the entire nation crumbles the instant the capital falls. There are still soldiers and a shit-ton of wizards everywhere, and the minions are at a distinct disadvantage- they’re an entire ocean away from their home base, massively outnumbered, with no hope of getting supplies or reinforcements. Sure, the city itself will have some of that, but all the Eutracians need to do is lay siege to it. Eventually Kluge’s forces will be exhausted. I doubt two sorceresses are going to be powerful enough to overcome all of this.
Hey we haven’t heard about how much the minions love rape in, like, one whole chapter! Kluge starts leering at Morganna and talking about how he wants to rape her, because he’s evil. DID YOU HEAR ME HE’S EVIL AND YOU KNOW HE’S EVIL BECAUSE HE WANTS TO RAPE PEOPLE HEY ALSO THE SORCERESSES ARE ALSO EVIL AND THEY RAPE PEOPLE
Sicciu descends from the roof, carried by a minion. Even in the midst of horrible death and slaughter Tristan finds time to notice her “milky-white thighs” because he’s the horniest being alive.
Her dark, exotic, almond-shaped
Oh my god shut the fuck up
Sicciu decides to exposit for a while, doing a big evil “SURELY YOU ARE WONDERING HOW IT IS THAT I DID THE THING I’M DOING MWA HA HA”.
‘Just think,’ she continued nastily, ‘if you had been more observant, you might have been able to prevent all of this.’
No I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t even have taken that, all Wigg had to do is not ignore the book of prophecy he has access to and also not specifically instruct the king to set up the exact circumstances that allowed this to happen. Really, Wigg could have sat in his underground wizard palace stoned out of his gourd and everything probably would have worked out fine.
‘How did we get across the Sea of Whispers? How have we survived all of these years, and how is it that we have made the trip back? But the riddle you must be most curious about is no doubt the one concerning your own inferior abilities, and how it was that you could not detect my presence. Yes, that must be the question that most haunts you now. Very well, then. I shall show you.’
Oh my god just hurry up and kill him.
Natasha makes her presence known and MORE EXPOSITION
‘But there is more, Old One,’ she said, gloating, as she continued to show her centuries-old prize off to him. ‘Natasha has even more secrets than that.’
So earlier I guessed that Natasha was Wigg’s daughter; it turns out her father is actually someone named Faegan, who the rest of the wizards assumed was dead but who, as it turns out, is actually alive.
‘You wasted your time and energy in erecting a memorial to Faegan. Because he lives – in Shadowood, with his precious gnomes.’
With his…. gnomes.
Hey isn’t it convenient how she happened to announce this, for no reason, within earshot of Tristan? Anyone want to bet he traipses straight off to Shadowood after this to acquire a fantasy mentor?
‘Very astute of you, Lead Wizard,’ Succiu said sarcastically, ‘but it is really much more complicated than that. However, I shall not bore you with all of the details, since you have so little time left and there is still so much to do this night.’
“It totally made sense to explain all of this shit to you thirty seconds ago, but now we’re in a big fucking hurry”.
They turn their attention to Tristan and they’re all like “isn’t he hot let’s rape him mwa ha ha ha ha” and Kluge is all jealous and shit again. I don’t know why since he seems to desire some kind of actual relationship with Sicciu, and that sure as hell isn’t what the sorceresses want with Tristan.
Then they go over to the king and queen and they’re like “gonna totally kill you both real slowly now mwa ha ha ha have we mentioned we’re evil btw”, and then they go over to Shailiha and bow before her and they’re like “yo sister you’re like, awesome, come hang with us”. She goes along with them meekly, which I guess is understandable since she did just see her husband decapitated in front of her.
There is so much we could not tell you,
Well, you could have told him. You just didn’t.
Kluge forces Tristan to behead his dad, blah be blah, they string up a bunch of severed heads on a rope and do whatever with them, then the minions gang rape Morganna and the rest of the women there.
Yes, book, they’re evil. No seriously, I get it. Really. Yes I know, they’re super mega evil. They’re the most evil. Can we just- hm? Okay I guess you can tell me some more. Uh-huh. Yep. Yeah, I heard you the first time. I- okay, sure, I mean you already told me that but- no I do get how evil they are, honestly. It’s just- yeah, it was kind of obvious alre- what’s that? Yes, I know Kluge is evil as well. I guess you could explain it some more, but I really don’t- yes. Yeah. Sure. Okay. Hang on just a sec.
Yeah anyway Wigg does some sort of a magic thing and Tristan teleports out of the hall or something. In order to do this Wigg needs to stay in close contact with him; for some reason the sorceresses seem to temporarily forget that he’s there and don’t notice when he crouches over Tristan and grabs him.
AND THEN WE’RE OUT OF THE PALACE well thank christ the big scary attack finally happened. We’re probably going to get five chapters of slow explanation while Wigg’s mind drifts back in time.