And we’re back to the sweary Celts. I’m just enjoying how thoroughly readable this series is (and not just because it’s helping me claw my way back to being on target with my reading goal*). It’s so restful, especially after reading a load of Nebula nominees I wasn’t super interested in.
That said, it’s not going to be a long post, because I’m not really going to say much about the book that I haven’t said about the previous two. She continues to be solid and consistent in what she’s chucking out, and I’m thoroughly here for her characters and the setting, and I really just want to carry on going to see if it all turns out alright in the end. Possibly not all the way to the end of the series (there are… how many quartets again?) but definitely to the end of this group of four, if not the next one too. Which says I’m at least invested in them as people.
However, one big difference for this book, and a massive trigger warning for rape.
I did not like the use of magical rape as a plot point. At. All. It also very much looks like we won’t get all the explanation of exactly why that plot point was a thing until the next book or later, so it feels very much “well, that happened”. It was especially grim because the whole thing was done using some sort of magic that made the character “want it” in the moment, which was just… gross. That being said, after she gets out, the people she speaks to absolutely treat it as violent and coercive, and there’s been no attempts at excusing it except by the rapist (whom everyone is treating as the shitbag he is). So it could definitely have been handled worse… I just don’t like having to wait to see all of the point. Because some of the point we get is that it makes her partner doubt her (he’s elsewhere and just gets told she’s run off with this other guy). And that’s not a particularly enjoyable set of two threads to watch.
Much like the gay paedophile evil magicians in the previous book, it’s casting a pall over the rest of the story.
But I’m still willing to plough on because I do ultimately care what happens to the protagonists, and I have faith that there will be a point to it in the end. And I was at least sort of expecting it, given how much this series is leaning towards grim semi-realism of medieval Celtic culture. But it got a lot of page time and I just… I wanted better for Jill. Which is why I’ll keep on reading, more than anything. I want her to get a good ending.
*It’s not. I’m now six books behind schedule. Coincidentally, I’ve not read any graphic novels this year. I wonder if there might be some connection here… maybe I should see about buying the next WicDiv…