Fledgling – Chapter 42

Number Twelve Leafydale Place

In which Theo turns fifteen.

This is one of those cases where I don’t feel inspired to talk about any of the things I might have talked about if I were reading the novel for the first time, and there weren’t many new things I noticed. Although I did notice this time Jen Sar’s fishing trip in the mountains, which I suspect was at least partly intended to lay a foundation for a tale to tell anyone who asks where the idea of the old-style Gigneri came from.

I will note that this is another novel I like more after this re-read than I thought I did after I read it the first time.

It’s not easy to establish precisely when Fledgling takes place, due to a lack of outside referents. From Theo’s age we know that it’s more than fifteen years since Jen Sar came to Delgado at the end of Mouse and Dragon — but, as Theo points out in this chapter, that’s Delgadan years, and we have no indication of whether those are longer or shorter than Standard Years, let alone by how much. All we can say with confidence is that it’s after Jen Sar’s last scene in Mouse and Dragon and before his first appearance in Plan B. (The suggested reading order by internal chronology on the authors’ web site places Fledgling after Plan B, but that’s a clear case of bending chronology for the good of the story flow and reading experience, making it in effect an entire novel-length flashback; there is no possible way Jen Sar’s scenes in Plan B happen before Fledgling.) The positions I’ve given Fledgling and Saltation in this re-read are approximations achieved by starting at the end of Saltation and counting backwards based on my memory of what occurs in them; I’m taking notes as I re-read and hopefully I’ll end up with a less approximate idea of how much time they cover. (But when I publish my own suggested reading order by internal chronology at the end of the re-read, it’s likely I’ll be adopting the strategy of bending chronology for the good of the story flow and reading experience, the good sense of which becomes more apparent to me the further the re-read progresses.)

Tomorrow: Saltation

14 thoughts on “Fledgling – Chapter 42

  1. Paul A. Post author

    We eventually get a solid line on Theo’s age in Ghost Ship, where Theo learns Val Con’s birthdate and says he’s ten years older than her. Assuming that’s Standard Years and that she’s not rounding the number, that puts her birth around SY 1372 and makes her 21 years old at the time.

    My notes on Saltation suggest it covers a period of 4-5 years, in which case Theo is 16 or 17 Standard years old at her gigneri.

  2. Cassandra

    Thank you for this reread although I suspect I’m about to take a deep dive into rereading with your commentary which is not a good idea at this point in the semester. I’m not as diligent as Kamele, alas.

    I went back to Fledgling after reading the e-arc of The Gathering Edge which continues Theo’s story and it made me want to return to the beginning. I had only read this once when it was published and boy, did I miss a lot of clues as to what was going on. It’s really impressive how well this fits into the larger universe and Daav and Aelliana’s story. Aelliana was much more involved than I remembered with Kamele and Theo which makes me wonder how this relationship will be resolved in future books. I feel a little protective of Kamele, I suppose.

    So glad you took on this project and really appreciate your insights!

  3. Paul A. Post author

    Thanks for commenting!

    I feel the same about Kamele, and the resolution of this relationship is one of the things I’m looking forward to with interest and a certain amount of trepidation.

  4. Jami Ellison

    You write that Theo is 16 or 17 at her Gigneri. However, several times it is stated in Fledgling that Theo is 14 years old until the last chapter, where she turns 15 and celebrates her Gigneri. Win Ton is 16 years old, according to Cho.

  5. Paul A. Post author

    As I complain in the entry this is a comment to, Theo’s age in Fledgling is given always in local Delgado years, with no indication of how long a Delgado year is relative to a Standard Year. That’s why I was so pleased when Ghost Ship gave us enough information to figure out her age in Standard Years.

  6. Jami Ellison

    Yes, I do see that. The confusion lies in your final sentence: because it references a strictly Delgadian rite of passage, based in Delgadian years and ages of maturity. I query your decision to apply galactic standard years to a world-based maturation level. I refer to this line:

    “My notes on Saltation suggest it covers a period of 4-5 years, in which case Theo is 16 or 17 Standard years old at her gigneri.”

  7. Paul A. Post author

    I will say, in the interests of clarity, that the reason I was applying galactic standard years to Theo’s age at this event was that I was trying to figure out when this event occurs relative to other events in the series, most of which aren’t on Delgado and are dated, if they are dated, in galactic standard years. Knowing Theo’s age in standard years, for instance, establishes a limit on how long it’s been since Jen Sar arrived on Delgado.

  8. Jami Ellison

    Yes, I belatedly caught on to your purpose. I have seen various info on how long Daav was gone. In some cases, “two decades” and in at least one case “25 years.”

  9. Ed8r

    This book, while not ending on a cliffhanger, had what felt like a rather abrupt ending. Okay, Theo’s back home, Kamele’s been vindicated, Jen Sar has uncovered the Delgadan part of a conspiracy. However, note that Jen Sar identifies one as the off-world agent responsible for alteration of certain library records. So who would this be? And why do we learn no more about who was behind it? They had obviously already tried burning down the Delgado University library years ago, without succeeding in ridding themselves of the records it held. Do some of these records support the theory that Liadens, Terrans, and Yxtrang are all from the same stock? Is that why the information is dangerous? We are never told!

    Well, since this is my first reread, tomorrow I will be moving on to Agent of Change since that is what is next more or less chronologically. This will be my first time to reread AoC, which was the first Liaden book/story I read, so I’m kind of excited to go back to what—for me—was the beginning.

  10. Othin

    I had the impression that the burning happened in historic Delgadan times and there was no one who saw a relationship of that burning to the current conspiracy. Also I don’t remember any info hinting or saying that the burning was connected to offworld interests. Did I miss something?

  11. Paul A. Post author

    Othin, my impression matches yours. The first time the burning is mentioned, it’s said to have happened a long time ago, before the Wall was built. It’s made clear that it was the Chapelia who did it, but the impression I get is that it was something they did on their own without prompting from outside — in fact, Jen Sar specifically uses it as a baseline when he’s trying to persuade people that the current scheme must have come from outside, because when the Chapelia come up with schemes on their own it’s something simple like “burn the whole place down”.

  12. Ed8r

    It could be that the first attempt was from only on-world Chapelia, but within this story we also see that the Chapelia are willing to work with off-world elements to try to achieve their goal, so I think that leaves it open ended.

  13. Ed8r

    Just flying in here to say that, although I’ve read all the books at least twice, it was wrenching to leave Theo instead of immediately continuing her story (even though I knew that at the end of Saltation I would then wish I’d played catch-up with Val Con, et al.)

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