Up and Writing Book Club
MELTING STONES, Week 1: Chapters 1-6 (p 1-85)
Welcome to Up and Writing’s first book club meeting. Let’s jump right in, shall we? I’ll start the conversation off with a few thoughts:
First, I’d just like to say I really enjoyed this book. The first six chapters are enough to let the reader know that this won’t be a run-of-the-mill YA fantasy. We’ve got a teen girl heroine with the cynicism of Greg House, a boy character who isn’t a love interest, a talking rock, and some pretty intriguing magery.
Let’s start with Evvy. What do you think of her? I’m not particularly drawn to cynical people, but I like Evvy because her cynicism is believable. It’s based on cruel life experience. Yet through her hard exterior we catch glimpses of an altruistic side–her concern for Rosethorn, the hints that she protected her friends during the war at great personal risk. Did any of you get that feeling about her? Also, where do you stand on the cynicism spectrum? Do you think Evvy’s right in thinking that people generally feel entitled and take advantage of others?
Despite Evvy’s growlings about the evil of human nature, she’s surrounded by noble people on this island. Oswin spends his life taking care of everyone else’s problems. Jayatin seems like the kind of guy any mother would be happy for her daughter to bring home (though, in an unusual twist for a YA novel, the subject of romance with Jayatin does not come up in Evvy’s mind. Did you like that, or were you disappointed?)
I found Evvy’s mage power quite interesting. We’ve all seen similar concepts in fantasy before–the mage who has a connection to plants, the mage who can control water, etc.–but Evvy’s power with the rocks is unique. Each rock has a different feel, she communicates with them, draws power and information. They entertain her much as one might be entertained by a book.
At first I had a hard time wrapping my head around Luvo. Is Tamora Pierce really asking me to accept a talking rock that walks around like a little animal? Ironically, every character has this same initial reaction, but we all come to accept Luvo as part of the story. Did you have that reaction at first? Did Luvo grow on you, or did you find the concept of a talking object too cartoonish to fit with the story?
Finally, how do you like the progression of the story? Is it too obvious what’s going on at this island with the mountain and the dying plants? Have the characters and story pulled you in? They did me. The only thing that pulled me out of the book was the constant discord between Evvy and the other two mages for all of chapters five and six. I got tired of hearing about it, quite honestly.
Favorite line for this week: “Then heaviness clamped around me: a suit of hot, thick meat” (p. 15). Yuck. What a great nasty description.
Now it’s your turn. Thoughts? Opinions? Answers to my questions?