READALONG: Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone: Week 2

It’s time for another Q&A session for the Full Fathom Five readalong! This time, we’re looking at chapters 14-32, and this week’s questions are brought to us by Lynn from Little Lion Lynnet’s.


1) So Margot too is hoping that Izza can lead him to the Blue Lady. What do you make of his vision? Especially in relation to the nightmares that Kai is having. Do you think they’re related?

I hadn’t thought about the two being connected until reading this question, but really, it wouldn’t surprise me. There’s definitely more going on here than either side of the triangle is seeing, though Margot comes closest to seeing it all. He’s talked to Izza about the Blue Lady, and he’s heard Kai’s tale that he somehow managed to siphon energy from the idol, though I suspect he hasn’t really put the two things properly together at this point.

But that’s the part of this mystery that’s intriguing me most of all. If Margot’s vision really did come from the idol, then it gained a level of sentience that it certainly wasn’t intended to, and not only that but was able to reach outside its very limited sphere of influence and give inspiration and strength to someone in need. Essentially, it was like a mini god.

Which brings up thoughts and theories I’ve been having since I read the premise of this book. What’s the difference between an idol and a god? If idols are just made things to hold soulstuff, which is essentially life and essence and all that comes with it, isn’t it entirely possible that an idol with enough soul would gain a degree of sentience and power and become like a small god, because enough people worshipped it and gave it the power to do so? Where’s the tipping point?

2) Teo! Did anyone expect to see Teo? What role do you think she’ll play in the rest of the story?

I didn’t expect to see her at all! This is starting to become the cameo novel!

Much like with Cat, though, I had a moment of wondering if this was a new character that coincidentally had the same name as another character. Not everyone in the world can have a completely unique name, after all. You’d think I’d have learned better by now…

Knowing Teo, she’s probably going to be the stubborn element that aids Kai in getting closer to the truth of the whole matter. Probably in ways that are less than safe and ideal. But therein lies the fun!

3) Kai is worried that Mara has set her up. Do you think it likely?

I’m not sure, at this point. It’s also possible that Mara planted some evidence for Kai to find. Not to set her up, but to give Kai a clue that there’s something going on that Mara isn’t in a position to investigate but that Kai is. I’m leaning more in that direction, honestly, though I couldn’t quite tell you why. Too little evidence in the story so far, and it’s just a hunch.

4) It seems everyone is having discussions of faith with one another. That’s not particularly surprising given the tenor of the books, I know, but still. How does what we’ve learned from Cat and Margot in these chapters affect your feelings on the idea of gods, Craft or Idols that Allie asked?

I’m mostly fascinated with the difference between gods and idols at the moment, and that hasn’t changed from earlier chapters. I do love how everything in this series gets revealed little by little, peeling back the layers until you have the whole picture. Or until you think you do, and then some other new piece of info is given to you that forces you to readjust what you previously were so sure of.

Much like real life, actually…

5) We’re getting a better idea of what Penitence means for the people of Kavekana. What do you think of their idea of punishment now that you have a better idea of how it works?

Penitence scares the ever-loving crap out of me! In a purely practical and unemotional way, I can see why it would work as a punishment. Rightminding while still being useful and productive to society. You commit crimes, you get punished, and you come out the other side as a more law-abiding citizen with plenty of incentive not to commit crimes again.

On the other hand, I’m not a fan of brainwashing or torture, which is exactly what Penitence is. It’s a twisted punishment, one that really doesn’t fit the crime, and it makes me feel a little bit sick to think of people going through that.

6) Kai has built up an idea of what’s going on, but what do you think happened? Did Margot really steal soul without realising it or is there something else going on?

Something else going on. Without a doubt. We only have pieces of the puzzle at this point. Margot definitely did get soul that wasn’t his to take, but what’s strange about that is that a) there’s a record of it, and b) it was directed by somebody (himself, the idol, or a third party). Even if it was a pure accident, that still leaves Margot in the awkward position of having done something that was supposedly impossible, and there’s got to be a good explanation for that. He may have taken it by accident, not meaning to, but the channel to do so had to be opened somehow. Malice or negligence: either there’s some loophole in the idol’s design and contract that allows this, or somebody with the authority to do so sent the soul Margot’s way.

There are questions unanswered (obviously, since the book’s only half done), and no good book gives away everything at the outset.

And we know this is a good book!

4 comments on “READALONG: Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone: Week 2

  1. Pingback: Full Fathom Five Readalong Week 2 • Little Lion Lynnet's

  2. I’m really curious to see Cat in action versus a Penitent again. Her role as a Judge is similar in many ways, and I wonder if they will touch on that. Izza doesn’t seem at all bothered by the fact that Kai was a silver winged woman when she first saw her.

  3. the Penitents seem so irrational and overblown to me. Like, how did anyone ever look at that system and think ‘Yeah. This is a GREAT idea.’ But then, the Alt Columb had Justice and now freaking Gargoyles, and Dresidel Lex had good old human sacrifice. The punishment mechanisms in this world are just insane.

  4. Pingback: July in Retrospect | Bibliotropic

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