In the second part of The Hanging Tree, everything is coming together much more quickly than I’m used to with this series – and I like it!
Of dubious bonus value is the Beatles earworm (see the title) I’ve had all week, though naturally that isn’t stopping me from sharing it with all of you. You’re welcome.
Spoilers below for chapters 5 to 8.
So much is happening here and I had not been expecting any of it. I am living for this! I am sitting up straight and wishing so hard that I could just eat up the rest of the book all at once. This flip over to “addictive” from “yeah, it’s all right” really is blowing my mind right now.
Let’s start with Lady Helena, and the surprise twist of an alliance between her and Nightingale. I am so deeply fascinated by her story, which gives us a completely different take on magic and the uses it can be put to, but also by Lady Helena herself and the things she’s used magic to do. I feel like it’s worth mentioning the rich lady who decides not to be completely useless and selfish with her wealth and/or talents. For some reason. Ahem.
But however good her intentions were, her methods were undoubtedly questionable, so it’s probably for the best that she isn’t still using them. That said, the scene(s) with her, Caroline, Peter and Nightingale do shed some long-awaited light on how, exactly, the Faceless Man might have managed to do the things he’s done – most notably, where Lesley is concerned.
It looks like Nightingale was wrong, or at least uninformed, about the potential for magic to be used to heal. This would be great news if the methods weren’t so ethically unsound, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t provide some awesome drama to chew on. Did Lesley work any of this out for herself before she crossed that line? Has she stayed with the Faceless Man willingly since, or is something more sinister going on there than a relatively simple case of her lying in the bed she made?
Beyond all of that, there’s the notion on the table of Peter and Nightingale having help from a source outside the Folly. I love the idea that things might change on that level, because it promises so much interesting character drama later. Lady Helena and her daughter, Caroline, are in many ways nothing like Peter and Nightingale – but their interactions here are clever about showing the common ground they do share. Particularly between Peter and Caroline, in a delightfully nerdy “let me show you my tricks” scene that entertained me immensely (Peter’s a Ravenclaw!), even while it got my mental gears turning faster.
Then there’s the appearance of the American spooks, the mysterious new drugs on the street, not to mention Reynard Fossman and the matter of Jonathan Wild’s ledger. It cannot be good that this is what brought Lesley out of hiding, whether she did it of her own volition or not. And all of these things appear to be connected, now? What the heck is in that ledger? If it’s even real (and I’m assuming that it is)? And how do drugs and the American spook squad factor into it all??
I am finally learning things, but I STILL HAVE ALL THESE QUESTIONS. SOMEONE HELP.