Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Leaping from his seat, Brindle threw his hands forward and caught the plate, just inches away from Her Majesty’s face. Fragments of shattered sugar paste exploded across Elizabeth’s pearl-encrusted gown, and every voice in the room was stilled.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Before the finale really gets its teeth into us, I’m going to briefly digress and talk about the chapter headers for this book. My goodness, those chapter headers. I can look at my favourite in-book artwork in Robin Jarvis canon; all six books of the Deptford Mice and the Hagwood trilogy, and still say with complete honesty that the headers for Deathscent surpass them all in my esteem.
As Matt pointed out, everything about the look and feel is this book could be described as ‘exquisite’ without overdoing things too much (and that’s not even considering the hardcover edition in all its crimson and gold glory) and as always, Robin’s black and white illustrations serve to compliment the book design and bring the world of the story to life.
For me, though, the Deathscent chapter headers are special because they kept me drawing at a time when I might’ve left art behind. For little Aufwader in her early teens, they were a set of miniature masterclasses in character design and visual worldbuilding; they taught me more about art than the weekend class I was attending ever could, and they showed me that ink and wash, a rather staid medium as far as I had seen, could be dynamic and engaging and fun. I started experimenting with inks to copy the Isle of Havering at the beginning of Part Two, and though my wobbly efforts never quite looked like a proper Uplifted Isle, I had discovered a method and medium that I felt at home in, and one which, with some alterations and a lot of expansion, has stayed with me to this day.
Matt’s Thoughts: Well, I’m not sure if I was right to be predicting that Henry would survive when he’s getting them all into trouble like this!
We’ve got another rogue mechanical, political intrigue, Richard going out of his way to get himself executed, and now a kidnapping. In all of this, I feel sorry for Adam, who never even wanted to be dragged into any of this!
And most compelling of all is Brindle’s inner struggle against his darker side. Will he hold out? (We bloodthirsty Jarvis fans are all hoping not…)