Warning: Contains Spoilers!
She rose like a spectre from a ruin. Her gown was torn and the knife she still clutched in her hand rained a scarlet drizzle into the grass.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: If we’re counting Belladonna in Deathscent, that makes two horses having died gruesome and undeserved deaths in Jarvis canon so far. What do you have against those noble beasts, Robin?!
Aside from the gratuitous equine violence, I do love the description of Rhiannon transforming into a hind. I would’ve thought her maybe a raven or hawk sort of person, but at this point it’s established that she, like the High Priest of the Scale, can wear pretty much any form she likes. So why not a sable deer? It’s an elegant look.
After that blood-soaked stampede through the forest, we swoop right into Intrigues of the Hollow Hill with the wily Lord Fanderyn and the arrival of poor old Grimditch, beset by spriggans. It’s fascinating that in this final book, we’re allowed a glimpse at the lives of other fair folk than the highest of high or lowest of low. We have to wonder what fae of the middling sort must have been thinking of Rhiannon’s reign this whole time. If Waggarinzil’s conversation with Fanderyn is anything to go by, it’s nothing good.
Matt’s Thoughts: Horse decapitation! Has there ever been a more gruesome beginning to a Jarvis novel? I feel like it’s designed to send a message to readers everywhere: This novel is pretty violent and probably NOT suitable for young kids, but you should read it anyway because it will be great fun.
And so we’re back to the Hollow Hill, but this time with some new expanded treacherous characters. This does make things interesting, because it means that as well as the basic conflict between Rhiannon and the forces of good (wergles / Land Lubber / Meg), she’ll also have to take care of all the intrigues of the court as well. Though if I was taking bets on the outcome of a conflict between Lord Fanderyn and Co vs Rhiannon, my money would be on Rhiannon!
Finally, eagle-eyed supporters of the Robin Jarvis Universe theory might have been interested to note two things: a) the mention of the ‘twin serpents’ when Rhiannon curses her dead horse – a throwback to the Scale and Morgawrus? And b) the placement – in the opening section of Chapter 1 – of Hagwood as being a sort of faerie land separate but close to the world of men. Thus indicating that all of this could very well be taking place in a corner of England somewhere. But as to when or where, who would know?