READALONG: Two Serpents Rise, by Max Gladstone – Week 1

I forgot to mention it before now, but I’m participating in a readalong for Max Gladstone’s Two Serpents Rise, book 2 of the Craft Sequence. I enjoyed the first book, Three Parts Dead, a while back, and this readalong gave me the perfect motivation to stop procrastinating and to read the rest of the series. And though I’ve only read less than a third of it so far, I’m not regretting that decision.

This week, we all read the first 15 chapters plus the first interlude, which sounds like a lot until you realise that the chapters are short and that this was less than 100 pages. Not too bad a requirement for a week, really, in between the other reading I do. As is typical in a readalong, we all have some questions to answer. This weeks questions are courtesy of Susan over at Dab of Darkness.

(Sidenote – Does anyone else in readalongs with questions like this ever feel self-conscious answering them? We’re all talking about speculation and unknowns and our theories when other people reading this may well have read the book and know what happens, and they’re probably sitting and thinking, “Haha, those answers are hilarious in their ignorance!” Seriously, am I the only one who feels this way?)


1) Poison in the Bright Mirror reservoir! What are your thoughts on the infestation? Then an explosion later on! Any ideas of who is the culprit yet? Are the two events related?

I think it’s safe to say the two events are related, though I’m not sure how yet. I don’t think Temoc is behind it, though. Someone like him, yes, and probably inspired by him, but not him. He’s too obvious a suspect to actually be the culprit, I figure. Ditto Mal. This is a mystery, and in mysteries, the truth is never so easy to spot. My money’s on the King in Red, just because it would be a twist and he could stand to gain a lot from events he controls like that.

2) Let’s talk about Mal and the sport of cliff running. Care to compare this sport to one here in our real world? What do you think Mal gets out of the sport?

Since cliff running is a thrill-seeking thing, it comes across very much like skydiving. You get the adrenaline rush, and if you screw it up, there’s the potential for massive bodily damage. Can you call skydiving a sport, though? Still.

Honestly, Mal may just be an adrenaline junkie looking for another fix, and that’s why she does it. But much like with the previous question, I don’t think so. At least, I don’t think that’s all of it. She seems like there’s more to her than just that thrill-seeking behaviour.

3) Are you enjoying the deities and culture this book is infused with? Has any of the architecture wowed or frightened you?

Absolutely. I love the way deities seem to work in this world, the way they’re powerful but not necessarily divine, depending on how you view the idea. They’re a hard thing to wrap my head around properly, and that’s part of what I like so much about them.

As for culture, well, I’m a culture geek myself, and I love seeing amazing worldbuilding like this. Real-world analogues that aren’t medieval Europe are awesome to see in fantasy, and generally speaking, urban secondary-world fantasy isn’t exactly common, so the novelty of it really interests me, alongside the awesome culture stuff.

Can’t say I’ve been wowed much by the architecture. I probably would be were I seeing it right in front of me, though.

4) The Red King is a pretty serious guy. Will he make the deal with Alaxic concerning the powerhouses known as Achel & Aquel?

Probably. It likely wouldn’t have been brought up as a plot point were it not going to develop further. I definitely think there’s more to that deal than meets the eye, though, but I couldn’t say just what that is.

5) Finally, Caleb has a wealth of scars, linguistic skills, and a complex relationship with his father. Discuss!

Caleb’s an interesting character. I like that complex relationship with his father, since there’s clearly a great deal of animosity there but the two are still very much on speaking terms, albeit a strained and mistrustful one. There’s clearly a lot of backstory there that hasn’t been revealed yet, and I’m curious to see the layers peeled back.

And being a language geek as well as a culture geek, I always love multilingual characters.

4 comments on “READALONG: Two Serpents Rise, by Max Gladstone – Week 1

  1. You’re definitely not the only one that feels that way. I deal with it by telling myself that if I’m way off base, at least I’m still entertaining in my off-base-ness.

    I think Caleb being multilingual is one of my favourite aspects of the story so far, but I know it’s partially because Gladstone handles it decently and I’m not used to seeing that in fiction at all. It’s a really nice development (and seems to be the theme of the month for my reading so far. Huh.)

  2. Last month I finished a very long (over 2 years) read along of The Wheel of Time series, and I had only read the 1st book before. So there were tons of questions where I had to speculate on where the story was going and at first I felt a little silly. But then I got a few right! Hooray! So, that occasional ego boost is awesome, and for the rest…. well, if I entertain someone else via my silly guesses, then I have brought some (questionable) joy to the world.

    I think some folks take skydiving very serious and it is a sport to them. I guess it can be like swimming. You can wade into the pool and paddle a round a little, maybe float or tread water leisurely, or you can dive in and do 35 laps in 5 different styles, all while practicing holding your air for up to 5 minutes. I’m a wader. :)

    ‘urban secondary world fantasy’ – Thank you! I have been wondering what to call this subgenre. It feels and reads like urban fantasy mysteries, but it’s not set in our world, so I was struggling what to call it when talking book geek.

  3. I usually come up with lots of very silly suggestions (well, I think they’re right at the time but they’re usually far off the mark – I just have to laugh though!)
    I also thought both links were related, and I think Caleb’s father is being set up for both – but, like Lauren said, and I hadn’t picked up, both were amenities – so electric and water – I think it’s possibly going to end up being whoever wants the deal most desperately – although having said that – maybe it’s somebody trying to discredit the deal – okay, I have no idea :D
    I think the Caleb and his father relationship is very interesting and i want to see how that develops.
    Lynn :D

  4. Pingback: April in Retrospect | Bibliotropic

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