Monthly Archives: May 2015

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 21

In which Syl Vor’s mother Sees Kezzi.

Hey, it’s been a while since I speculated about something and was proven wrong in the very next chapter. Nova sounds very much as if she did do something particular to get the truth out of Kezzi.

In context, the lady’s assertion that she had “learned elsewhere” of Rys’s misfortune has a bit of a sinister ring to it. One wonders after the health of her informant or informants (and of the agents of Rys’s misfortune, if that’s not saying the same thing two ways).

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 20

In which Kezzi sees Syl Vor’s mother.

Despite their differences, there are some points of similarity between the Bedel way and the Liaden way. “No Balance nor keeping of debts between kin” is one of them.

It’s been said that most of Korval’s children, if they’re not full Healers or wizards, have some small gift, a touch of telepathy or a persuasiveness that goes just a bit beyond force of personality. I’m trying to remember if Nova’s been said to have anything in that line, because it would explain why Kezzi actually answers when Nova asks for her real name.

No, it came back to me as I was typing: Nova’s gift is Remembering. But then again, it wasn’t her who instructed Kezzi to answer truthfully – maybe it’s Syl Vor‘s gift.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 19

In which first impressions are subject to revision.

On the other hand, the location of the school, and considering that the bookkeeper is apparently on first-name terms with her, suggests another possible answer to the question of where Ms Taylor came from.

One of the things about all these geography lessons is that we’re getting a lot of names of Bosses and their turfs. So far it’s been a mix of new and old; as a case in point, in this chapter there’s Boss Cruthers, who appeared in I Dare, Boss Wentworth, whom we were introduced to at Syl Vor’s first geography lesson, and Boss Marriot, who’s entirely new (by the sound of it, his or her turf is some distance off from the area around the Road where the action has mainly been focussed).

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 18

In which Kezzi goes to school.

We learn quite a bit about Pulka in this chapter, without him ever appearing, from Kezzi comparing Rys to him and Udari, and Rys comparing Pulka to himself.

I don’t think the flash of memory Rys has is really him, even though it uses his name: as he says, it’s from the still-unremembered latter portion of his life – the portion when he was in the grip of the Department and even his thoughts were not his own.

It occurs to me to wonder where Boss Conrad found Ms Taylor. She seems to have a local’s knowledge of Surebleak, but she also seems to be an experienced teacher, of a kind that I wouldn’t have expected Surebleak to be able to produce. Maybe there was one turf somewhere that did manage to keep proper schools going, and now it’s sharing its pool of experience.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 17

In which Kezzi gets a lesson and Rys gets some assistance.

This being a re-read, I remember at least some of what is revealed later about the woman who is seeking something, and I wonder why she stopped to have her fortune read in the turn of a card; from what do I remember of her, it doesn’t seem like her to set store in such things.

Though perhaps there is something to the cards: after all, the card was right about her. Or perhaps that’s not the cards, but the person holding them, who sees things that others don’t. Or perhaps it’s just a coincidence; even if they operate only by random chance, the cards can’t be wrong all the time.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 16

In which Syl Vor and his mother discuss his first day at school.

It’s probably one of those things where, once you start noticing them, they’re all over the place: Pounce the house medic shares his name with a member of the Trealla Fantrol crew back on Liad. Definitely not the same person, though, because in addition to being male he isn’t a cat.

Back on the Rock, Syl Vor was held to a very high level of responsibility (higher than would be normal for a boy his age), because it was just a small group of them in a tight circumstance, and everybody’s actions counted. It wouldn’t be appropriate to hold him to the same standard on Surebleak, where there’s more people to spread the responsibility around and where he’s not familiar with the territory and can’t always know what effect any given action will have, and it’s clear that his mother isn’t holding him to that standard – but also that he’s holding himself to it still.

On the Rock, he was also held to a very high standard of behaviour, but that was just because the standard was being set by Kareen, who’s used to the company of well-trained adults and probably doesn’t know how to make allowances for children who are still learning (the more so since she got past that phase so quickly herself). It’s good to see that Nova is establishing a more forgiving standard in this area too.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 15

In which Rys cannot remember.

Or rather, Rys can remember quite a bit, just not anything recent or useful in figuring out how he got here. And so he’s stuck with a terror of dragons with nothing to attach it to except an old memory of something that, whatever it was, wasn’t a Dragon – and a hope that arises from happy memories that are themselves older than he realises.

I notice that where Kezzi referred to Rys’s destination if he hadn’t been rescued as “the World Unseen”, Udari speaks of “the World Beyond”. Too soon to say, of course, whether that’s a difference with any particular significance to it.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 14

In which Syl Vor goes to school.

Personally, I always thought Syl Vor’s objection to the bracelet was worthy of consideration, and his question about whether the other students would be wearing similar was on point, though not perhaps in the way he meant it. He’s already going to stand out from the rest of the group as it is, just by who he is, without making things more difficult by adding another obvious point of difference.

And isn’t it interesting that when trouble does happen, it comes from amiable Pete, and not – say – the more overtly antagonistic Rudy? (Rudy, incidentally, does come from one of the turfs that initially resisted the opening of the Road, though it’s suggested in I Dare that the people there came around once they understood what they stood to gain.)

I don’t remember if the novel goes into this later, but Pete’s reading trouble is a well-recognised dyslexic symptom, and there are some fairly straightforward things that can be done to mitigate it that would be within the reach even of someone living on Surebleak – the trick, of course, being finding someone on Surebleak who might recognise the symptoms and know about the remedies.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 13

In which Rys says a hello and Syl Vor says a farewell.

This book is Syl Vor’s big step into the spotlight, but it’s also casting new light on Nova, showing aspects of her other than the one who stays home being strait-laced while all her siblings hare around acting precipitously and making witty banter.

The bit where Syl Vor maybe-falls-asleep against the Tree reminds me – particularly with Kezzi talking about “dreaming together” in the other half of the chapter – of “Dragon Tide”, and the dragons that used to sleep in the branches of the Tree’s ancestors and share their dreams.

(I also note that somebody, presumably the Tree, is doing some pretty blatant manipulation to get Syl Vor out to receive his gift, and then back in as soon as it’s done. It’s interesting that Syl Vor’s hand enters the last override code without his conscious mind getting involved; is that just a limitation of the process, or is the Tree making an effort to make sure he doesn’t remember it and use it on some other less appropriate occasion?)

And the continuing emphasis on dreaming from Silain and Kezzi reminds me that I was reminded recently that the authors are fans of Janet Kagan’s novel Hellspark, which leads to the realisation that the luthia reminds me somewhat of layli-layli calulan from that novel.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 12

In which Rys awakens.

It seems that Silain’s guest is Rys Lin pen’Chala, agent of the Department of the Interior last seen heading for the warehouse district, where he apparently found something other than the safe hidey-hole he was looking for. He’s lost enough of his memory to be unsure where he is or how he got here, enough apparently to have lost the memory of working for the Department, but doesn’t seem to have lost all of his Department indoctrination with it – at least, assuming that his terror of Korval is an artifact of the Department and not part of either of the more peaceful-seeming life times he remembered as he woke. (And the irony is, it wasn’t Korval who left him broken-bodied on the doorstep of the Bedel; Korval would have tried to prevent it.)

Miri does Delm Korval really well for someone who’s come to it so recently and had little chance to practice. (Or is that true? It’s been nearly a year now since she and Val Con became delm, and they probably had to work it quite a bit during the Korval’s last few months on Liad.) In any case, we’ve seen people who’ve been delm longer than she’s been alive who don’t do it nearly so well.

I wonder what it says about me that I listen the story of Riva and what I think is: Okay, so horse twelve lost very thoroughly – but, just out of interest, how did horse seven do?