SF/F Read Alongs: Chimes at Midnight, Part 4

In the final part of Chimes at Midnight, things take a desperate dramatic turn as Toby confronts the impostor Queen…

Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog is hosting this week. Mind the spoilers!

 

 

So, Amandine – obviously the Luidaeg has gone mysteriously quiet whilst searching for her sister. How do you think that scenario is playing out? Has the Luidaeg found Amandine in her tower?

This particular plot thread is one that, if I recall, is/was spun out further than this book. There is a lot of history between these two, and with Toby at the heart of it now there are still some pretty big revelations coming. So on a re-read, it doesn’t surprise me so much that the Luidaeg goes missing here. Obviously I can’t say anything specific about what kept her away, but trust me. That’s coming…

 

When this all first started I thought Amandine was maybe slightly crazy at best and a neglectful mother at worst. It seems that I was wrong. Clearly something dreadful has happened in her past – any speculation as to why she would behave as she has?

In the print edition of this book that I’ve got (the US mass market paperback), there’s a short story included at the end of the book that may or may not answer a question or two about this. At the very least, it gives some insight into Amandine and why she tried to keep Toby away from Faerie the way(s) she did. I do know a thing or two about why she might have done it, but at this point what I think is more interesting is Amandine’s outlook toward her own people. She and the Luidaeg both know how dangerous Faerie is, and how dangerous it can be for Toby, but they’re taking very different stances on how to deal with that… I suspect, at least in part, that the reason Amandine has gone missing now, even when her daughter might need her, is that she can’t do less than stick to her guns now that her choices are made – which, when you think about it, is a very Fae thing to do. They don’t change easily, if at all, and I think Amandine might feel that she’s made too many difficult choices to go back on them now. I don’t sympathise with her, exactly, but I do feel for her, because it can’t have been easy to have to face the fact that the choice her daughter made ultimately means there’s no place for her in Toby’s life, even if Toby didn’t realise that at the time. Part of that outcome is on Amandine’s own head, but she does have her reasons…

The family drama here is just getting started, and that’s all I can say about it for now!

 

May – omg – I was so scared with the scene at the Knowe – literally, I cannot believe that she came through it. What exactly is May now. I know what she came from, I know what she then was, but I have no idea what she now is. Is she invincible? (I mean, I hope so because I love her)

MAY IS THE BEST.

And the best thing about what May has become is that nobody really knows the answer to that – so, with all of the usual rules not applying to her, so far as anyone’s aware, she could very possibly do anything she pleases. Which, if you look at it more broadly, can either be awesome or terrifying. I mean, what if something or someone comes along and sets May against the others somehow? She has amazing potential to either be an incredibly useful ally, which she is right now, or a wet-your-pants terrifying enemy. I have no idea what could tilt her away from her friends that way, but the question itself is always an interesting one to ask.

I kind of do hope she remains invincible too, if I’m honest. May kicks ass.

 

Toby – her blood magic. Well, I think we’ve seen maybe a touch of why Amandine was trying to protect her. How far and how powerful do you predict Toby will really become?

It is, at this point, probably very wise to remember that we don’t know why Oberon created the Dochas Sidhe in the first place. I would, having said that, bet my last penny that whatever that purpose is, it’s going to come down to Toby either choosing to fulfill it, or not. I don’t know what else makes sense when we consider the larger-arc plot hints that are being dropped, particularly where Amandine and the Luidaeg are concerned.

In fact, that original purpose, whatever it is, might go some way toward explaining why Amandine tried to take her daughter and run? If she’s already refused to have anything to do with it, then it would make perfect sense for her to want to stay as far from Faerie (or at least its politics) as possible. Not to mention what she did to the balance of Toby’s blood, while she was hiding them both in the mortal world…

It’s kind of terrifying to think about, because if Toby is set to take a fall for some higher purpose, then it stands to reason that the higher she climbs, the more the fall is going to hurt – and Toby’s a hero. Not just in Court status, but in her heart. She’s not infallible, but it is going to take something seriously epic to bring her down, and I dread to think what might convince her not to fight that. Heroes are, after all, just as much about noble sacrifice as saving the day and oh god, why did I make that point. WHY.

 

So many alliances were made even stronger here which is great – and we also learned of Quentin’s origins and in fact met his parents – what for Quentin now. Can a prince continue as a squire?

I WAS WAITING FOR THIS FOR SO LONG.

I know we covered the surprise thing last week, but really. I just love this whole plot line. I think Quentin can and will continue as a squire, at least for a while, because even though we got the dramatic reveal scene, it was cleverly played because not everybody will know now who he really is. The ones who do can be persuaded to keep it quiet, which might not last forever, granted, but it means Quentin can stay in the picture without upending his whole life or bringing his education under Toby’s guidance to an end. As it’s been pointed out, he is learning valuable lessons with her, and he’s going to need those lessons one day.

What will also be interesting is seeing how this changes the dynamic between Quentin and Toby, if it changes at all. I mean, it kind of has to now, but I don’t want it to? The real value in Quentin’s education and his life experience here relies on not being treated differently from anyone else. I think Toby gets that, though, so it’ll ultimately be fine. More sibling-esque banter, please!

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