You may have noticed that these posts have been coming slower than usual lately. The Fifth Sorceress, I’m afraid, has become a real slog as it trundles slowly toward its epic finale. Until we get to the end, expect a fairly lethargic update schedule.
Last time we saw Tristan and Wigg they were stepping into a portal to Sorceressland in order to boldly save the day. Unfortunately Tristan wakes up to find himself in a dark room with a hooded man holding his own extendo-sword to his throat. But after a protracted scene of not-tension Tristan convinces him he’s the Chosen One and the dude turns out to be Geldon’s friend Ian. Is it just me or does “Ian” seem really out of place in a fantasy novel? It would be like if one of the characters was named Bob.
The wizard’s infamous eyebrow shot upward.
Yes, I am going to continue driving this joke into the ground.
Wigg tells Tristan not to be an impetuous dipshit and get them into trouble, since he’s going to be tying up most of his wizardly power hiding their endowed blood from the coven and won’t be on hand to wizard them out of any dangerous situations.
He knew he would be able to make no promises as to his actions when the time came.
Or in other words, this is a plot coupon that can be cashed in to have Tristan do something stupid if it’s required for the story.
Ian has leprosy and Wigg tells him that the disease was created by the sorceresses (???) and that there’s a potential cure he can offer assuming they all survive. This would be a lot more affecting if we hadn’t only seen this character once before.
Anyway the world is ending in six days, but they need to wait for Geldon to show up so get ready for some furious, lightning-paced faffing around!
Tristan’s first day in Parthalon passed with an odd combination of maddening boredom and excruciating tension.
There sure is a lot of boredom, but I don’t know where this tension is supposed to be coming from. It seems like Tristan and Wigg have to wait around so we’ll be closer to the six-day deadline, but why not just make the deadline shorter instead?
Eventually Geldon arrives and there’s some more exciting talking.
Without further hesitation he demanded, ‘Tell me of my sister. Now.’
As you can see, Tristan shares Richard’s trait of becoming more and more of an asshole the more powerful and confident in his abilities get. Character development? Sort of? Geldon tells Tristan that Shailiha has gone Full Sorceress and Tristan throws a big violent tantrum and threatens to murder him.
As the prince demanded, Geldon left nothing out, even the most graphic of his knowledge. When he finally finished, the room was embarrassingly silent.
For the most part this book just has a sort of cosmic background radiation level of poor prose, but then occasionally you stumble on these jarring record-scratch moments.
Geldon’s plan is to take Tristan and Wigg into the recluse right through the front doors by having them pose as newly-captured slaves. Tristan is all like “wut” and Wigg is like “the fuq” but Geldon convinces them it’s the only way.
Either we can try to storm one of the entrances, alert the entire Recluse, and die immediately, or we can simply walk in through the front door, welcomed by the Minions, and let me escort you to your quarters.
Seems like a pretty good plan to me. Unfortunately there’s a catch: Wigg will have to widen the hole that Geldon swims through with wizarding, which could alert the Coven. Geldon treats this as just a risk they have to take, but it seems as if it would completely scupper the plan- think of it from the sorceresses perspective: they send Geldon to the GHETTO OF THE SHUNNED to get slaves, they detect wizard, then shortly after Geldon arrives back with two slaves wearing cloaks. It wouldn’t be hard to put that together.
Indeed, we then cut to Failee and see that she did in fact detect the magic. She sends Succiu and Kluge to lay a Cunning Trap for our heroes, and also does some smart manipulating by ordering them to stop boning each other, thereby increasing Kluge’s jealousy and rage at Tristan.
Then back over Tristan! He’s swimming blindly through the underwater tunnel leading out the Ghetto, but his Dreggan catches against a wall and he starts drowning.
This part is pretty tense in that it conveys how terrifying the situation would be, but come on. We know Tristan isn’t going to die yet. There isn’t even a “how will he get out of this” tension (pretty much the only sort of tension you can create when you put the hero in mortal peril before the end of the story) because the chapter ends with Tristan blacking out. Clearly Wigg or Geldon will save him, or something else will come along. The whole sequence would have been more effective if we actually saw Tristan struggle to free himself, only managing it at the last second.