They were two knives, identical, their blades evilly sharp, with little iron rings along the grips for knuckles to go through and a slender pipelike spout underneath. Killer’s blades.
“Jesus,” whispered Alice, lifting one. “Where did you find these?”
“The Crimea,” said Mr. Harrogate matter-of-factly. “They were taken from a Russian scout. They will be of some use, perhaps, if we encounter Walter.
Mrs. Harrogate slid the blades into her belt. They sat well. Alice checked her Colt Peacemaker and pocketed a fistful of extra bullets like loose change. She saw Mrs. Harrogate take out a little silver-plated pistol from her handbag and check its workings and then tuck it back in and button it fast.— ordinary monsters, p. 420
There was a faint reek of soot in the darkness.
“Hello?” he said. “Is someone there?”
“Mr. Fox,” said a voice. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“These are my private quarters, sir,” replied Felix sharply. He wasn’t sure where the voice was coming from. “You are here from the Daily Almanac, I presume?”
He sat at his desk and fumbled at the lantern until he’d lit its wick and then he closed the little glass door and peered up. The stranger was standing in the darkness beside the filing cabinet, his face wrapped by a black scarf. Felix swallowed, uneasy. He looked nothing like a small-town reporter.— ordinary monsters, p. 97
The Daily Almanac? The Daily Almanac! LOL For that alone, the killer should . . .
Self likes Mr. Fox; she hopes nothing happens to him. Alas, self has a penchant for liking the character most likely to be bumped off. For instance, during Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers, self identified closely with ____ and halfway through, NOOOOOO!
Here we go, the climactic battle where, if self remembers her Greek mythology correctly (of course it’s nowhere near Madeline Miller’s level of expertise), Patroclus dies.
It’s so weird: this entire novel is told from his point of view. So if Patroclus dies, that will be the biggest, sappiest death scene in the history of all Greek mythology death scenes.
Anyhoo, self really wants to know how Madeline Miller pulls this one off. There’s only about 20 pages left, and she still doesn’t know if this will end with Patroclus dying and Achilles killing Hector and someone throwing a spear that hits Achilles in the heel (that part, she is 100% sure of)!
This novel, which left self rather unmoved for its first half, really kicked into gear when the Myrmidons got to Troy (a character in one of her favorite reads of 2022, Shards of Earth, is named Myrmidon Solace. Coincidence? Self thinks not!)
Here is Patroclus dressed in Achilles’ armor to try and trick the Trojans into retreating. Patroclus, unlike Achilles, is a very slender man. All he’s supposed to do is wear Achilles’s armor and let the Trojans see him. That is IT.
And off they go: Patroclus in the chariot, Automedon steering (After this, self swears she will name a character in one of her stories Automedon)
Madeline Miller really takes us into the moment:
- “I’m ready,” I told him. The chariot began to roll, Automedon guiding it towards the packed sand nearer the surf. I felt when we reached it, the wheels catching, the car smoothing out. We turned towards the ships, picking up speed. I felt the wind snatch at my crest, and I knew that the horsehair was streaming behind me. I lifted my spears. Automedon crouched down low so that I would be seen first.
Patroclus does this weird scream, and “a thousand faces, Trojan and Greek,” turn to him in shock. YIIIIIKES, self almost can’t look! That scream was a bit much, Patroclus. She is sure Achilles has a much manlier screaming voice.
There is a climactic confrontation between teens and killer bugs on a lake!
- “Be dead, be dead,” Sam muttered under his breath.
Trigger Warning: Killer Bugs, and Drake
So many characters in Plague. Each one has his/her/their own story arc, but she’s beginning to develop affinities.
The insects are coming! They’re led by this bad, bad boy named Drake who, even before the crazy time when all the adults disappeared from Perdido Beach, California, was mini-Jeffrey Dahmer, “burning frogs” and “microwaving a puppy” (!!!) He’s absolutely nuts and becomes a kind of Lord of the Bugs, with his own bug army, which he is leading back to town to kill all the kids.
Just then a rush of bugs, a new column of the creatures came over the ridge and poured into the mass of Drake’s army. Different. These had bloodred eyes.
They were not alone.
Brianna stood, arms on hips, glaring down at him.
“You!” Drake said.
“Me,” Brianna said.
To the creatures he said, “Red eyes, serve me! To the town. Kill everyone but Nemesis!”
“You talking to these bugs now?” Brianna said. “I have to tell you: I don’t think they speak psycho.”
“Blue eyes, with me!” Drake said. “Two columns, two armies: blues with me, reds back to town and kill. Kill!”
“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” Brianna demanded.
“Me?” Drake laughed loudly. “I’m going on an epic killing spree.”
“You’ll have to go through me,” Brianna said.— Plague, p. 308
Self has been reading Plague: A Gone Novel. She’s still less than a hundred pages in, but already she is grateful for the writing: when a book about southern California teen-agers trapped under an invisible dome and having to deal with urges and drinking and plague, not to mention insects that burrow inside them, turns out also to be well- written, she is all : Too much! First the Adrian Tchaikovsky space opera, then this! What are the odds? What has she done to deserve etc.?
The Gone books have two main protagonists: Sam and Caine. The two are twins who’ve been separated at birth: their single mother gave Caine up for adoption, but kept Sam. Caine, naturally, grows up to be a bad boy. Because of his malevolence, Caine has been exiled by the other kids to an island off Perdido Beach. He is accompanied in exile by a beautiful girl, Diana, who’s in love with him. On p. 70, Caine and Diana start making out and then they argue. Caine starts lifting boulders with his finger and flinging them around (so, magic powers!)
“Sometimes I hate you!” he yelled and with a flick of his wrist sent the boulder flying off the cliff and falling toward the water below.
“Just sometimes?” Diana raised one skeptical brow. “I hate you almost all the time.”
They glared at each other with a look that was hate but also something else, something so much more helpless than hatred.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
You’re barreling along on p. 380 of an Adrian Tchaikovsky novel and you’re feeling it, really feeling it, swept along by the dense prose and the unspace and the intense flashbacks to what happened on Berenhof, when . . .
OLLI: “Son of a bitch, I knew it!”
And Solace sends the message.
NOOOO! Airlock her now, Olli!
Self can’t even.
Self read her first Dr. Ruth Galloway book in April, when she was still at River Mill. And she’s been barreling along ever since. She bought # 7 at Waterstones in Oxford, then decided to order # 8. Though the books can be frustrating (many love triangles, “Secret” Fathers, etc etc), the series is addictive.
In Book # 7, our heroine is stuck in a creepy old house with two members of the British landed gentry who are both dotty. There’s a fierce storm, roads have flooded, so Ruth has no choice but to stay put. One of the creepy men enters her room in the middle of the night and . . .
Thankfully, nothing happens. This is Dr. Ruth Galloway, not Hannibal Lecter, lol!
In the kitchen, Ruth makes herself a cup of tea and puts some bread in the giant toaster, presumably bought with the B & B in mind. There’s no sound from upstairs. She hopes that both Georges will sleep late. For ever would be nice.— The Ghost Fields, p. 331
- “Then the next night, when you returned, one of the kitchen maids spoke to a dead man as she went home after dark.” — Mary Russell to Queen Marie of Roumania, Castle Shade, p. 235
Mary Russell’s been put into a box that’s barely larger than a coffin. Her fault: she’d been walking around the village in the dark, alone because Holmes had been called away on some urgent business by his brother Mycroft.
Self hates Buried Alive stories, so she is glad this is not that. Though the box Mary Russell finds herself in is very small, only high enough to allow her to squat, she puts all her strength into shooting upwards, and finds that the box she is in is not locked, so the top goes flying up, then flying down again, hard, on the top of her head.
After she recovers from the concussion, she climbs out of the box and finds her boots, her flashlight, her spectacles and most important her knife, lined up neatly next to the box. She secures these items, then goes flying up a village road, knife out to defend against any attackers, and she passes two peasant women who are so alarmed by the sight of her that they drop the contents of their baskets onto the road, which are onions.
And then she proceeds in that fashion up to Castle Bran, where three very handsome young men (servants of Queen Marie) are chatting against a Citroen and stop what they are doing to stare. Then on into the castle where the Queen’s butler (Florescu, he with the fang-like incisors) also stops what he is doing to stare. And past her husband, who has apparently just arrived back from his business in Bucharest, who also does nothing but stop and stare (in horror, Mary Russell notes). She finally recovers enough to turn and address the horrified spectators thus:
“I seem to have . . . had something of a turn, and woke to find myself in a rather grubby situation. Pardon me.”Castle Shade, p. 195
Self is enjoying this.