Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘It’s the blade of a High Priestess,’ she said. ‘A sign that Mabb is watching over you.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I’m really interested in the presence of feminine power in this book. In the original trilogy, the centre of that was Audrey and the Starwife – working for good, and working for the Green. But here, it is the witches and the ratwives and the goddesses of evil who literally hold the cards.
The morning after Fleabee’s dream really shows this; Scabmona, too young and big-mouthed for Raith Sidhe-related doings, is bundled out, and Alf, no real Hobber and definitely not a Mabbist, is similarly banished. There’s an implication that Fleabee’s dream, like the visit to Akkikuyu a few chapters previously, is Secret Women’s Business Passed From Mother To Daughter, a little like the cottage remedies and folklore passed down in British villages in days of yore.
I also really like the tender moment between Klakkweena and Fleabee. In order for the rats to be relatable there has to be a little ‘honour among vermin’ in with all the screeching and belligerence, but the scene where Klakkweena admits she was actually proud of her daughter is something more. Without even realising, Fleabee has had the courage to be something other than just one more rag-eared villain, even if that something meant that she would never fit in anywhere. Klakkweena is right; that does make her braver than the whole accursed lot of them. Brave enough to sit at Mabb’s left claw? I do hope so.
Lastly, did everyone catch the mention of One-Eyed Jake and notice how antsy Morgan is at the end of this chapter? I’m not sure how long before the events of The Dark Portal this book is set, but I think I know what ‘summat’ Jupiter is plotting.
Matt’s Thoughts: I can feel the finale coming on here: Fleabee has a particularly nasty knife, Scabmona is looking forward to the night as if it’s going to be awesome and Jupiter feels Some Force that is moving against his power. It might be Mabb, but is it possible that there are other forces at work as well?