A certain element of the longer-arc plot starts bearing (terrifying) fruit this week, while the tension – and the stakes – are beginning to feel like they’ve never been higher…
Spoilers follow for chapters 28 to 41.
Here’s a quick reminder of the schedule – and I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end already! My nails. They are bitten.
Week 1: Prologue – Ch12, Sunday 14th Jan, hosted by @imyril at x+1
Week 2: Ch13 – Ch27, 28th Jan, hosted by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 3: Ch28 – Ch41, 4th Feb, hosted by @imyril
Week 4: Ch42 – End, 11th Feb, hosted by Lisa
OKAY LET’S DO THIS.
Singh grapples with his authoritarian impulses as his anxieties increase. Which instincts do you think will win out?
Singh is … not the character I was half expecting he would turn out to be. Rather than someone who has to adjust his worldview upon finding his boots on the ground, instead of having his nose in books (or, A Book In Particular), and seeing him struggle with that change, what we seem to have is someone who’s struggling not due to a forced change in outlook, but because no one on Medina seems to understand the situation as it is.
That is, The Situation According To Singh.
Rather than coming to the realisation that maybe, just maybe, the world doesn’t work according to the Book of Duarte, and wondering if maybe he’s been wrong all this time, Singh is troubled because obviously, everyone else is just so self-deluded that they’re a risk to everything Laconia (and High Consul Duarte, insert genuflecting here) is trying to build, to themselves, and oh yeah to his delicate flower of a person. He isn’t afraid that he might have been on the wrong side all this time, or that he’s about to be on the wrong side of history. He’s afraid that he might die horribly at the hands of evil terrorist extremists who don’t care that he has a wife and daughter he loves, or that he’s only following orders that are meant to be for the betterment of all their lives.
*Stares at camera*
The question of which of Singh’s instincts will win out is, sadly, probably not a difficult one to answer, because if there are any instincts in him that don’t fall in line with all of the indoctrination he’s been eating up with a spoon for most of his educated life, Singh isn’t paying them any attention. There’s one very, very painfully obvious comparison to a particular regime from our history to be made here, and Singh is a source of endless frustration to me as a person, but also as an example of everything that’s wrong with the Laconian regime. He’s essentially a Nazi, and he’s entirely all right with that, and it’s pretty fucking terrifying.
We Need To Talk About Amos
Well that was explosive. Thoughts?
DAMN YOU AMOS YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THE ONE WHO MAKES ME CRY.
For a man without subtext, it turns out there are ways in which Amos Burton can grow as a character, and they’re every bit as painful to witness as the beating he takes from Bobbie this week. That fight was brutal, and while part of me was hoping it wouldn’t happen, I can’t pretend it didn’t pay off, or that it worked as a pivotal moment for Amos. Something had to provide him with a means of letting off the steam he’s building up, and Amos understands violence and anger better than just about anything else in life. When faced with a dilemma that his closest friends are telling him violence can’t fix, he bottles up his anger (mostly) until there’s no other option. And when it can’t be bottled up anymore, he takes it out on the one person he believes without a doubt can withstand it. And he’s right.
And I’m broken by it.
And all of that’s before we get to the reason Amos was so angry. If there is a bond of love between him and Clarissa, it’s all the more fascinating to me because it isn’t romantic. It isn’t sexual. It’s entirely platonic, and nobody understands it fully – but nobody needs to, as evidenced by the way no one gets hung up on defining it. It’s just their relationship, and I love that about it.
… Damn it, Amos. You’ll never be a knight in shining armour, but as loyal attack dogs go, there’s nobody better.
You’ll have to excuse me I’ve got something in my eye.
So we have a traitor in the heart of the underground. What do you think will happen?
I’m conflicted about this part of the plot, to be honest. I mean, it’s a solid “let’s put all the planning at risk!” tension-cranking tactic, and I am definitely feeling it. But at the same time, with everything else that’s in play, it feels kind of telegraphed. Like the writers are painting this by numbers, while everything else is light and shade. But all in all, it’s a small criticism, because like I said, it’s still working for me! I hope Katria kicks his ass. God damn it.
As for what will happen, I honestly don’t know. I could guess, but even with my complaint about this part of the plot, I’m wondering if what’s in store is going to surprise me in some way. I hope it does! I’m ready.
I am so not ready.
At Last (The Shadow of the Past)
The mysterious antagonists are back! …or their (automated?) tech is. Where do you think Trejo picked up his passenger? What do you think is going on?
OH WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT, LACONIA WENT TOO FAR AND NOW SOMETHING MIGHT JUST ACTUALLY FUCK THEM UP. *Gets popcorn*
Look, I’m sorry, OK, but Singh? When you’ve got James Holden in chains and he’s so totally not afraid of you and then you tell him about this and suddenly the war and your enmity don’t mean shit because YOU’RE ALL ABOUT TO DIE, fucking open your ears, man.
*Takes a deep breath*
The karmic payback on this is going to be epic. It is, isn’t it? God, I hope it is. These Laconian bastards deserve it, at the very least because they were arrogant and foolish enough to mess around with the protomolecule and think they had it under control. SURPRISE, FUCKERS, YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT.
… But at the same time, I’m one more dramatic twist away from gibbering in terror, here. THAT THING ON YOUR SHIP EATS ENTIRE CIVILISATIONS, TREJO. YOU ARE SO INCREDIBLY DEAD.
But how? And when? And WHY?
Here comes our traditional readerly cry, folks. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING AAAAAAAH.