Night bright stars from out the void, shining up on high.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I did not enter the forktail fold for reasons of romance – I am one of the Scale out of devotion to Him Wot Kips Up In Them There Bright n’ Sparkly Heavens, and proud I am of my constancy in that regard. However, perhaps by chance or perhaps because the Dark Despoiler watches over His own, romance found me but a few short chapters after my rapturous conversion.
Permit me a soppy sigh at the mention of Dahrem Ruhar; love of my life, holder of my heart, my chevalier in shining talons. He to whom I was solemnly wed in the sight of Sarpedon the Mighty, and to whom I pledged an everlasting vow second only to that which we both swore to our terrible and most majestic Lord.
If any of you are still reading at this point (and frankly I wouldn’t blame you for skipping down to Matt’s section in double quick time) you may be wondering what in the very name of the nine stars I could possibly see in a snizzly little whippet of a mouse with the world’s most irritating disguise. I admit, his real voice is partly to blame, but let’s just say that there’s more to this vile villain than meets the eye.
Matt’s Thoughts: I know my blogging colleague has a great love of all things Scale but I will be honest – this chapter got under my skin a bit more than I expected. Obviously, I think a lot of us saw Dimlon coming from a while back. But I think this chapter gets to me because, even six or seven years ago when I read this book, things like ritual beheadings and bloodthirsty cults were mostly a thing of fantastic fiction. There was a certain distance to it.
Whereas, nowadays, I feel like we live in bleaker times, where that line between fact and fiction is not so clearly defined. And so I find the Scale just that bit more dark and dangerous relative to other Jarvis villains. (Except perhaps for the characters in the Dancing Jax series, but we’ll talk about them next year.)
But then, by the same token, I think the reason I have been drawn again to Robin Jarvis books in my late 30s is because he does tackle the issue of evil head-on. The world does contain people and groups who sometimes do act in cruel ways – and even if we don’t encounter people who are that bad, we all have to deal with the fact that life throws us curve-balls a lot of the time.
The question is: are we going to be brave? Are we going to stand up, even at great cost to ourselves and do the right thing? And this chapter, with the brave final actions of Mulligan and Neltemi, is a terrific example of that noble sacrifice element that runs through his stories and thrills all his fans.