I'm now at the part of the story where I can't put the book down. It was like this the first time, though I didn't realize how slow the beginning was until this re-read. Today, we're discussing chapters 11 through 24. If you missed week 1, week 2, or week 3 discussions, just click on the respective links.
Since we have quite a few chapters to get through today, I'm just going to hit the high points (for me) from each chapter. I hope you will share any high moments for you that I left out in the comments.
Chapter 11: Alitheian Meetings
We left off last week with Darcy stumbling into a strange place where there is a leather-clad man and a strange creature that has her wondering if she hit her head or fell asleep.
Like any 13 year old (or really anyone) she tries to run away, but the creature is too quick for her. And she is carried unceremoniously like a sack of potatoes to a gathering people which includes two princes.
When you got to this chapter, did you feel like things were getting good now?
I was already to take off with this story, but I was a new reader to fantasy. The first fantasy novel I ever liked was Harry Potter and I worried that The Six would delve to quickly or too heavily into the fantasy genre, leaving me bewildered.
I mentioned in my review that I was a bit worried when Darcy started rattling off fantasy creatures.
She took them in with a glance and moved her gaze around to the most impossible of all the creatures there: the nymphs. A dryad, a naiad, and an oread, to be exact.What? I didn't know what any of those where and even now I can't tell you much about which is which. Thankfully there was a bit of followup with descriptions so I relaxed a bit and hoped that I wouldn't get to confused going forward.
How about you? Did you know what these creatures were or were you just venturing into the fantasy genre like me?
While we still don't know exactly what kind of creature he is, we are introduced to Yahto Veli, well Veli at least. What did you think of him?
I'll admit that I kept picturing a creature like those in Avatar (I had seen the moving shortly before reading The Six the first time).
But I did like Veli from the beginning. He seemed to take to Darcy right away too. While everyone else is consumed with who is she, where did she come from, where are her clothes, he is concerned and focused on her. He even asked for a chair when she almost faints.
Chapter 12: The Council at the Pole
And the interrogation begins! I definitely felt sorry for Darcy here. Not only for all the questions, but she had to admit that she was mean to the others and they didn't really want anything to do with her. It was also a good reminder that she is just a 13 year old girl. I think as an adult reader, that I sometimes forget how young the main characters are in middle grades/young adult literature. Hoyle did a great job a bringing in these type of reminders throughout the story.
Again Veli comes to Darcy's rescue and I fell a bit more in love with this character.
Chapter 13: Going Back
So who wants to be in Darcy's position of convincing the others that Alitheia is real?
This is a bit reminiscent of Lucy's emergence from the wardrobe, but at least then she was facing her siblings. Darcy has to face a group of kids who don't like her very much and whom she's known for just a couple of days. I don't know if I would have been able to have done it.
Good thing it was Sam who she would face first. If anyone in the group would give her the benefit of the doubt it would be Sam. And even if Sam didn't believe her, she wouldn't make Darcy feel bad about it or hate her for making it up. I'm glad Darcy saw that too.
"No," Darcy stopped pacing and looked Sam in the eyes again. "I think you're the last person on earth that would laugh at me, and that's why you have to be the first one to know."
I wish Darcy had remembered in a few chapters how Sam reacted to the news and Darcy's response.
What [Darcy]'d done to deserve this girl's trust, she didn't know, but she intended to earn it from now on.
We also get a glimpse of a time paradox in this chapter. At this point though I just hoped it wouldn't be as confusing as figuring out time turners in Harry Potter.
Chapter 14: Convincing the Others
Now comes the really hard part. Did anyone really think Sam wouldn't believe her?
But I'm sure there were a few of us that doubted everyone would be on board. And hadn't this been a middle grades book, it probably would have been drawn out for more than a few minutes.
Then in true gnome fashion, they had a bit of fun with the kids. Were you worried that the gnomes weren't going to "come to life" again? As an adult I knew they had to otherwise this would have been much shorter fantasy novel or it would have been classified under mental illness. I wonder how children that read the stories feel at that moment.
Chapter 15: The Test of the Animals
Now the whole gang is in Alithiea and we get a bit more details.
When the jerkins of the princes' are described it is noted that there are 4 point stars on them. Later when we see the gang get theirs, it is remarked again about the stars. I can't remember the significance of the stars, if there was one, later in the series.
But first they must meet their animals. While there seems high significance placed on this "test", I'm not sure if their role is as great as throughout the series as it seemed here at the beginning. Maybe I'm not remembering correctly.
What do you think?
After an overly formal welcoming (the first time it was cool because I love seeing how other cultures do things, but this time seemed as tedious to me as it did to Darcy), it is declared they are The Six.
Chapter 16: Stuck
I think this might be the first chapter heading that doesn't clearly convey what happens in this chapter.
Now the group gets their jerkins and special items.
I love the scene with Tellius having to get get Darcy's things for her and give her the ring. He clearly knows what the "King's Intended" meant. I also found it funny that Darcy (or the rest of them) didn't fully grasp what the phrase meant. I blamed it on being overwhelmed by all the strangeness.
A lot of time when Rubidius speaks I hear the voice of Dumbledore (or more accurately the actor who played Dumbledore), but when he says this line after reciting the prophecy, I think of Hargrid.
"Yes," he said after a moment, "that should clear up everything."Speaking of the prophecy, what did you think?
Outside of the "King's Intended" there wasn't a lot about what they would do. It more described who they are. And I was with Perry. It didn't explain anything really.
Pateros has been mentioned before and I'm sure fans of the Chronicles of Narnia already say the parallels. What were you thinking about this character Pateros?
All the kids seems to have a bit different reactions to being (and staying) in Alithiea. Is there one character's reaction that most resembles how you would be feeling if you were in their place?
I do feel for Amelia. While I never experienced homesickness, I had a friend who couldn't even spend the night with me though she lived next door, because she was plagued with horrible homesickness. BTW, it is Amelia's response that gives up the title for the chapter.
Chapter 17: Escape
What an ominous title for the chapter!
While still disoriented about their abrupt arrival and learning about their role, the gang is swept into a sudden escape plan. Chaos soon ensues.
Readers take off with Darcy as she confidently rides her horse. The confidence is short lived once she realizes she has to swim out to the middle of the lake.
We meet another nark - Viotto Vesa. And I like her too right from the start. I think I would like to have a Nark as a friend.
We learn a bit more about the troubles that Alithiea is in while sitting on the raft with Darcy.
Chapter 18: Rendezvous
Poor Darcy. If she hasn't already had an overwhelmingly confusing day, she awakes to different Narks. It is pretty cool that there's two personalities in one body, I do wonder how their physical body doesn't wear out without rest.
If you were a nark, would want to be the day nark or the night nark?
Interesting tidbit about being cold and yawning. When I wake up from surgery I'm always cold, like teeth chattering cold. and the nurse told me to yawn to stop the shivers and chattering.
I love authors who answer even the little detail questions that readers might have and I was thrilled that Hoyle explained what happened to Darcy's shoes. It would have made me crazy wondering if she hadn't.
Of course, Sam is there waiting for Darcy. And I'm with Darcy on the whole chamber pot, Eew!
Chapter 19: The Lost Cottage
We get a look at what life is going to be for the gang for a little while at least. What if they have to spend their entire time underground? Would you be able to handle it?
Not everyone is thrilled with The Six, well that's not true exactly. And I can understand, they are impatient to reclaim their land and they have 6 clueless teenagers.
What did you think about the lost cottage? I love traveling but I love being home too. It would be the best of both worlds to be able to carry by door with me.
And then there is Eleanor Stevenson.
Chapter 20: History
What do you think of the "look of pity" that Darcy thought she saw on Eleanor's face when she saw the ring?
The kids finally get to ask some of their questions. What would have been the first question you asked?
Fantasy authors have different methods of bringing readers into the world they have created. Some just drop readers into the middle of the universe and let the reader figure out how everything works. Others have the reader following a character who is an outsider or also new to the world. I prefer the latter and I liked how we got an explanation pretty much right up front about the situation Alitheia is in and how it came to be. How do you like to learn about new fantasy worlds?
Chapter 21: Explanation
We see what magic is like in Alitheia with a bit of comical relief - lunch with Rubidius.
We get a good look at Rubidius between this chapter and the last. What do you think of him?
I had trouble deciding if he was just a grumpy old man or if it is because of all the stress and presumably late nights.
We also hear the prophecy a second time. Any new revelations for you?
Darcy definitely had a revelation. At this point are you just along for the ride or are you trying to figure out how being the King's Intended is going to work out?
Chapter 22: Training
We get an explanation of alchemy in this chapter. My basic understanding was, like Darcy, they were trying to turn lead into gold. But I also knew that it was a very early version of chemistry. If you are an adult, and like the alchemy story line, then I recommend reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Alchemy plays a huge role in that trilogy.
You know how earlier I said Rubidius sounded like Hagrid to me? Well in this chapter when he starts explaining the the six's gifts we sounds like Dumbledore in my head.
Which one of the gifts would you want?
(knowing how Tellius turns out, I would want the ring!)
Chapter 23: Musician
Amelia seems to be pretty negative at this point. I don't think I noticed just how long she was like this. Maybe because, though she doesn't fully want to be there and is upset, she is still a team player. Do you think it is easier for her to be a team player because she more connected to the group?
I found it kind of funny that the great hall wasn't the place for a horse, but it was okay for a lion.
What did you think about high animals and low animals?
It looks like Darcy is really warming up to Sam with eating her mushroom soup. But I'm a bit suspicious about Sam's meeting with Rubidius. I can't remember, but I think something important was discussed.
There is very little breaks in the action when the kids are in Alitheia and we see how things just keep moving in this chapter. Amelia is just playing around with her lyre and something big happens. I forgot that she found something so soon. I think I forgot a lot about Amelia through out the series.
Are you finding that you forgot about certain characters?
Chapter 24: The Grumps
As much I don't want to put the book down, this chapter marks where I start getting apprehensive about the rest of the story and kind of want to stop reading. I don't know if I can relive some of the heartache I know is coming.
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the straw mattress.
When they go to the cottage for lessons, all I could think was what a horrible way to spend their summer.
I always wondered if the gang had reached out to Darcy more during this chapter things wouldn't have gone they way the had. But then again they are just kids and they don't really know her. She may been giving off a "don't talk to me" vibes that we don't know about. But I feel badly that they are talking about her.
I wonder what I thought the first time about the wolf. This time around it gives me the NO feeling.
So what were your favorite parts in these chapters?
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