Quick review: Let’s see….oh yeah! Everything was terrible and wrong and nothing was going right. Ok, let’s get to it!
Isi you can’t do this to us! No way!
Hale, were you just crying your eyes out when you wrote this? How can you stand it?
“How did these things happen? How did living become dagger-sharp and dangerous, and everything so murky and cold, no way home, no light, just wandering and wandering and being locked away and killing and dying and pain?” (page 279)
I feel like that all the time and it is so easy to feel like this in the world we live in right now. The best way for me to shake out of it is to direct my attention else where. Engaging with friends or stepping away from whatever it is I’m doing for a bit truly helps. Sadly, the Bayern girls can’t do that.
Oh, please Rin! Please be able to help Isi!
Wait a minute. That’s right! It hadn’t been that long so she shouldn’t be icy cold.
Let it work! Please, please, please, Hale, let it work.
Come on, Enna!
Oh my gosh, girls! This HAS to work! I can’t stand it!
YES! Breathe, breathe, breathe!
Oh thank goodness! I think we can all start breathing again, too! How I loathe Selia.
So much love! These girls are truly blessed to have one another.
That’s a mighty big hope, Rin. I’m not sure that’ll work. Of course my big hope is that it didn’t happen at all.
At least being mostly dead didn’t rob her of her humor!
Oh no! I wondered if that’s what they had done to her! Fire-Speaking is a truly scary gift!
Thank you, Hale, for being such a master of timing and humor! I really appreciate Enna’s joke after Isi’s description of what happened to her.
I love this tidbit of an afterlife that Hale includes here. It sounds amazing!
Oh, these girls are so brilliant! I so love Hale’s characters!
Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Rin is out! Come on, Rin, you can do this!
Rin is sooooo smart! Also, it pays to get to know your coworkers. More villains should host meet and mingles amongst their minions.
I just positively hum with happiness over how smart Rin is. She’s figuring out she can use her People-Speaking without actually talking. I love Rin; she’s so clever!
Oh my gosh, I’m getting so nervous!
I know that she’s upset that Tusken isn’t there, but I’m holding out hope that that means my big hope could still be true! So, yay pillow! Also, some maid should be fired. That is not how you make a bed.
Oh no! Selia knows and Isi is still captured and Rin is about to be in a whole lot of trouble!!
Where were we? Oh yeah! Rin’s captured, the others are imprisoned, and Razo has no clue what has happened! Better start reading so Rin et all can find a way out of this pickle!
Oh no! Selia’s coming!
Ok, I want to know how she got so many Fire-Speakers in her command. Did she place an ad or something?
Tricky minx making everyone fawn over her.
Valiant effort, Rin! Too bad Selia is well-learned in the ways of People-Speaking.
Ugh! I really can’t stand to be around those false people who assert that it is such an honor to be near them, so don’t do anything to displease them. I’ve had several “friends” like that and I try to keep those types out of my life.
Selia made no mention of a girl missing when she “welcomed” Isi, Enna, and Dasha into her castle. I wonder if she were truly expecting her or if she sought out information of her after Tusken and Razo went missing. Admittedly, Selia may not want to have remarked on Rin missing because she could have lost some control over her victims.
Wicked, wicked Selia.
Oh, Rin, fight her! You can do this!
No, no, no! Selia is lying! Don’t believe her! (Please let her be lying. Please let Tusken be safe.)
Nooooo! Razo is ok. Razo is ok. I won’t listen to Selia. I will keep reading because I know that she is wrong. I am willing it to be so.
Finally, we learn why Selia has caused so much trouble for everyone! She is pure evil.
Ha! “Once that happens, everyone goes home hale and healthy” (page 266). I googled “hale” and it means: strong and healthy. First, I love that Hale included her last name here in this evil tirade–it’s a bit like Hitchcock making a cameo in his films. Second, proof that Selia isn’t perfect! Redundant much, you sly, manipulative, scheming, horrible, moldy crust of bread?
Yes, yes, yes! Small act of defiance! No let’s make bigger ones!
Split second viewing of the real Selia! The toad!
I will not feel sorry for Dasha because it is not true! Razo is fine. Razo is fine. Must repeat until it appears in print.
Oh the heart wants to break for them, but Razo is fine.
Ooooo, but Selia is evil.
Starting to lose hope, but I’m keeping firm in my mantra. Razo is fine.
I love Isi for keeping a stiff upper lip and bringing so much love to her friends!
It would have been too easy for Rin’s attempt to have worked, right? I wish it had anyway.
Does Isi know about Rin’s ability? I mean…her other ability? She told her to keep them safe, so maybe she does.
I genuinely hope Rin isn’t spending her birthday in prison.
More culture from Hale! That sounds like a wonderful celebration!
Yes! Nothing like Selia not getting her way to lift my spirits!
WHAT!!!! NO! This cannot be true! I refuse!
The first paragraph feels every bit as antsy and itchy as anyone who is waiting for a dreaded moment to hurry up, but never come at the same time. How does Hale do that?
Well, their luck was bound to run out eventually. Please, let Razo be ok and for them all to escape successfully.
Any chance none of the other soldiers heard their comrade and our heroes will go unnoticed?
Ok, I’m worried about Razo. Perhaps he isn’t injured and he isn’t taking Tusken in case he needs to be free to fight. Moby wrap vouchers for all my favorite characters who promise not to die!
A little warning before you scare your sister half to death would be nice, Razo!
I had completely forgotten about the flint she had packed. Rin is so smart to have saved her pack from the burning inn and to have kept it with her this whole time!
Razo is a gem! Just don’t tell him I said so.
I appreciate that Razo is taking a death seriously. I don’t understand people who can brush aside the ending of any life as if it were nothing.
Poor Razo lived through such an intense horror. Sword fighting and death are one thing, but burning people alive–from the inside out–is a whole new breed of terror. It’s actually amazing that Razo not only keeps his wits about him, but shows off his sense of humor, too. War seems like a plague mankind is cursed to experience. However, it isn’t a curse at all. A curse strips power from the affected in any number of ways. The victim has no choice. Humans have a choice. Over and over again we make the same stupid mistake and choose war.
“…if I made a mistake so big that if I even think about it, it’ll drag me down and suffocate me.” -Razo (page 233)
Rin knows a little something about that. Razo chose very well in his confidante. (Ahem! There’s no need to curse her. Really!)
Yay! Finally, someone using People-Speaking for good!
Ha! I love these siblings! More siblings in more fantasy adventures, please!
My, these pages make for a happy heart!
Yes! Squash all the nagging doubt from your brother’s mind, Rin. Such good work with your People-Speaking. The deaths are still horrible, of course, but Razo needn’t suffer for saving his friend and serving his country to the best of his ability.
Finally, some recognition for Rin! There is nothing better for someone who constantly feels overlooked than to have a bit of praise. To hear even if for just a moment: I see you. I appreciate you. You are worthy.
Razo! You are not allowed to be injured. Move along, bruises, this kid’s got an adventure to finish!
I knew Rin was going to have to do the rescue mission! She’s got to prove to herself still that she is capable and has merit. I just don’t Razo to be hurt.
I hope Isi, Enna, and Dasha–aka the fire sisters (ha ha)–have been ok this whole time. I’m really anxious for the rescue to begin so we know how they’re doing.
Oh, Rin! YOU are important, too! Stop letting your depression tell you otherwise. (Easier typed than done.)
Yes! Acknowledging the “problem” is the first step to dealing with it! Go Rin!
Oh, this is all so heartbreaking and familiar.
I’m just taking a moment to appreciate this diction:
“I’m not the smartest boy, I know that. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing–smarts seem like a load of fancy clothes that you have to wear all the time, and they’re heavy and rip easily even though you’re supposed to keep them clean. A hassle, that’s what that is.”–Razo (page 242)
Razo is so wonderful. Way to go, big brother!
Ah, here we harken back to what Rin told us before: Razo never asked her to do anything he didn’t believe she could handle. He is going to be such a good parent!
I fear Rin is going to have to do more than just climb a wall and shout.
Ha ha! “She wondered if her knowledge of tree-speaking somehow endowed her to be better at sneaking, if it was just a matter of practice, or if she was just so boring no one noticed her” (page 244). Hale is so funny!
Razo would include kitchens as part of his plan!
Rin is so brave. I’m so proud of her!
My heart is aching from all the love written on these pages.
Shouldn’t the pack…perhaps…maybe stay with Razo? He could use the flint for fire; also the bulk and weight might hinder her stealthiness.
Ahh! I’m all nerves for Rin!
Her body experienced so much stress that it couldn’t take anymore. Still…unintentionally falling asleep on a rescue mission is less than ideal.
Yes! Rin! Forgive yourself for what you did and save the girls!
For once I think Rin is more afraid of the rider than the horse. I think after this adventure she won’t be as scared of them as she was in the beginning.
Smart move, Rin, with the mud! Reminds me of a certain prince and his men in another favorite book of mine: Ella Enchanted.
“She’d taken herself so far the castle was out of sight before she realized that she was running away” (page 251). Ha! Got to love those survival instincts.
I love Rin harnessing her Tree-Speaking!
Ok. Ok. Rin’s got this. She can do it. Everybody just breathe.
“…took a deep-as-knees breath…” (page 253) Man, I love Hale’s writing!
Oh my gosh. She’s in!
Rin is so brilliant to find laundry and change so she would better blend! I really just want to hug her!
I bet the wall to the kitchen was made thick so that if the kitchen ever caught fire the flames would be slower to spread. I wonder if Hale learned that in her research or if she came up with that herself.
No, no, no. Don’t let Rin be caught. Please, please, please.
Really? Did you have to take the mud away? I mean, how essential is it really that your prisoner’s have clean ears. (Extremely essential, silly. Haven’t you paid attention at all?)
Nooooo! What a cliff hanger to end this chapter! Rin’s in trouble, the fire sisters are locked up, Razo has no idea what is going on, and we’re expected to wait until tomorrow to find out what happens?
Well…ok. Only because I am sticking to my schedule!
Hale is giving us a moment to catch our breath and I really appreciate it!
Rin is delving so deep into the trees that I’m worried we might lose her forever. In each sequel to Goose Girl Hale has driven home the importance of balance especially when it comes to the girls’ gifts. Another thing to note is that we have only definitively seen Wind-Speaking in women. We’ve seen many with Fire-Speaking, Dasha and her grandfather are known for their Water-Speaking, People-Speaking has presented itself in both sexes, and I’m fairly certain Rin’s father had Tree-Speaking. As far as I can remember only Isi and Enna share Wind-Speaking.
Finally, we learn what Rin said to Wilem to make him stay with her. She’s been afraid of this memory for so long and now she has to face it to maintain the safety of their hiding spot.
Interesting how Hale switches tenses here from past to present! (I personally prefer past tense–third person, past tense to be precise.)
Oh, Rin, just because you can emulate someone that doesn’t mean you know how they feel.
It’s unfair that the burden of helping with so many children falls on Rin. She deserves a childhood, too. It’s also really unfair on how much of it falls on Rin’s ma. She’s raised seven children; you’d think she’d get a break from mothering for a second.
No, Rin! Don’t be manipulative and mean!
My heart is breaking from this moment. Not only is she lying to Wilem, but she is also lying to herself. How sad that both of their first kisses were founded on lies and manipulation.
This is the least swoony kissing Hale has ever written and it is all because of how false it is. He doesn’t love her–and I highly doubt she loves him. This scene is so sad.
Amazing how different Rin is once she allows her People-Speaking ability to take over her. She’s cruel, distant, and selfish. She suddenly believes that everyone is malleable and there for her benefit.
Ma! Yes! Bring Rin back down to earth and help her to see reason!
I’m so glad she didn’t try to manipulate her mother! I hope that she would have seen right through Rin’s lies and pinned her down to the ground with truth…but I don’t know. People-speaking can be a dangerous gift.
Finally, Rin’s conscience catches up with her. Instead of working through the guilt and shame, she clothes herself in it and hides away any part of her that could make herself proud.
I love the imagery of Rin going through her memories through the Tree-Speaking. It’s calm and interesting. Also, it’s a perfect reflection of a tree’s core.
Rin’s realization is completely horrifying to her, but not to the reader. We’ve had enough experience to know what to look out for in regards to People-Speakers. Now maybe Rin can fight fire with fire! (Figuratively speaking since neither Selia nor she can conjure a flame.)
Ha! Can you imagine being up in a tree with someone sleeping so hard that you decide to poke them while you’re hiding from soldiers below? Not only that, but you decide to play tricks while you wait? Razo is a hoot!
Ok, ok, Rin. Don’t freak out over your newly-learned ability. Everyone is counting on you!
Good! Nothing like loved ones to put things into perspective.
All right! Tusken is some kind of crazy, grade A sleeper. Nothing is waking this kid up! Are we sure Selia didn’t talk him into a coma?
Oh my goodness my heart is mush at the thought of how good of a father Razo would be–and Dasha as a mother? Oh–oh! Finn and Enna as parents! All of the heart-eyed emoji!
I would really love to know how Razo plans on rescuing Isi, Enna, and Dasha. In fact I would buy him a moby wrap for that information.
Ok, I finally decided I needed to know what a “wattle-and-daub” house was and upon very little research I have learned that it’s one made of woven sticks with mud/clay.
I’m picturing Razo and Rin’s little sanctuary as being a great weeping willow hiding them with a curtain of leaves. I’m also worried that Hale is giving lots of time to shore up our feelings of safety because we are going to need them.
Rin falling back into her memories through Tree-Speaking shows how much she distrusts herself and what a burden Rin places on herself. Can anyone use People-Speaking for good?
If the tree truly does nothing but reflect Rin to herself, then she has a great deal of self-thoathing coursing through her.
(I accidentally kept going and didn’t realize what I did until the next day. Hale’s writing really sucks in her readers!)
Supposing Hale’s book were a parable, page 212 contains one of her lessons. I’m sure there are more to come.
It’s awful sneaky when people get to the heart of things without even meaning to do so. Rin’s in great hands because Razo is an excellent listener–maybe not as good as Isi, though.
Aww! Poor Razo wants to be special, too! I love this moment between the siblings! Bears and wolverines indeed!
Ok, Tusken. Really? You want to sleep through a war of dirt clods, sticks, grass, and pebbles? What kind of kid are you? One that experienced a trauma on the preceding day–obviously!
I love how Hale writes capable female characters and each of them feel so filled with heart. The words absolutely shine off of the page because they are all golden.
Aha! A plan! Not the best sounding plan, if you ask me. Sucker! Didn’t even hold out for the moby wrap!
Yay! A refresher course on Selia! Let’s relive her horribleness!
Suddenly feeling the loss of Talone! I wonder if he originally had scenes that had to be edited out for the sake of the story. I have always loved how trustworthy, noble, and loyal he is.
Selia’s contrived punishment has always been abhorrent to me. I sincerely hope that wasn’t inspired by true events!
Razo resisted against Selia’s orders! A glimmer of hope!
Careful with what you say, Razo! Generalizing a group of people never did anyone any good.
Oh, Razo, I love your sense of humor! Some might argue that it is ill-timed, but I know you’re just doing what you can to reassure your sister while you pass the time until you can actually do something.
How is a raven like a pig? The original riddle!
Hale’s ladies aren’t feeble damsels in distress! I love how the men they’ve chosen know exactly how strong and smart and brave and capable they are!
Tusken is finally awake! I hope he doesn’t make the rescue mission more difficult!
How wonderful that Rin and Razo are making a terrible situation fun for Tusken! Keeping those ACEs down, down, down! Oh! What a smart way to train a small child to stay quite in a time of trouble! I wonder how much parenting advice Hale is providing on these pages.
Oh my gosh my heart is melting! I can just imagine my nephew hunting mushrooms like this!
Uh, wrong, Rin! If you are captured or killed, it is a great loss!
Rin, I am a lot like you. Perfectly able to talk myself into and out of anything…but I do think that you will have to be the one to save your friends.
Part Three: The Castle
Hale is perfect with diction! With a few carefully placed words she has her readers conjure an image of an unwelcoming castle and have us draw up our guard.
“Gods in the wood are good luck. Gods roaming free get involved in people’s lives.” (page 170)
I can think of at least three ancient civilizations that would agree whole-heartedly with this sentiment.
My goodness I love Hale’s observation on religion here. I have often felt like the traditional Christian depiction of God is more likely incorrect than we’d like to think. Perhaps what shape or characteristics given to God are just a placeholder so that our minds can grasp the unimaginable.
Ah! The tension of an impending attack is killing me!
Isi, Enna, and Dasha make quick work of the attack, but it isn’t enough this time!
Not Razo and Tusken! Noooooo! (All my comments will be reactionary for the foreseeable future.)
Did she intend to rhyme at the start of her speech?
I remember being absolutely shocked when I read Forest Born for the first time. We hadn’t heard from her since the first book and suddenly Selia is back–worse than ever.
Ugh! She is still using that hateful, spiteful title of “Crowned Princess” when Isi is a queen! She is really in control of her People-Speaking abilities! What a low blow!
What slime! What filth! How dare she threaten to kill an innocent child!
I would liken Selia’s awfulness to some political people that are making headlines right now, but she is far too cunning to be lumped in with them.
Snap out of it, Rin!
My whole body is in rebellion for what Selia is doing. I just can’t even fathom the words right now.
Rin, run! Find help!
Oh, Selia, you snake!
AHHHH! Selia a true queen! What a loathsome outcome!
Selia and Celie! That’s it! I’m never trusting anyone by either name ever again! I knew Celie was trouble.
UGH! Children are never accessories! I know she’s just tormenting Isi, but I can’t stand it.
This. Hurts. So. Much. Leave Tusken alone!
Oh, Rin! Please break her hold and help your friends!
Come on, Rin!
Beat it, Rin! You can do this!
Selia is just like Killgrave from “Jessica Jones”. I’d like to see the two of them try to take on one another.
Thank you, Hale, for breaking some of the tension by telling us of one of Rin’s pranks. My nerves can’t take much more!
Just now realizing that Selia isn’t addressing Dasha at all. So, Isi and Enna must be the two girls she had been hunting when she sent men to burn the inn. (Also, she really doesn’t seem to care about foreign affairs! Possibility of war from two kingdoms here!)
Don’t lose heart yet, Rin!
Yes, Rin, you’ve got this! Save your brother and the prince!
My heart, Hale! My heart! First, it’s bursting through my chest from all the tension and now it’s melting.
Ah, now we see why Hale mentioned how hard a sleeper Tusken is. It really wouldn’t help for him to wake up right now and cry out from unfamiliar surroundings.
Rin, you are so brave.
How on earth–or up a tree–could anyone sleep at a time like this?
Is there a chance that this whole time she just needed to push through the rotten feelings she sensed from the trees? Will Rin’s efforts work? Are the three-in-a-tree safe or will the soldiers find them?
I hope we’ll find out tomorrow!
I always get excited when Hale introduces a new town or culture. She always remembers to include so many little details that are important in creating a new world. She paints Cathal as a place that is small and existing–not exactly thriving–but could be peaceful and happy. It has bright fields, healthy animals, and homes that are close to one another.
Enna is so amusing! Instead of responding in a grumpy manner to Dasha about her cursing she makes a joke of how much worse it is in her head. Some times you just gotta let people deal with bumpy roads the best they can.
Cathal’s residents show kindness and welcome to travelers by placing a lit candle in a window. First of all, that is a really interesting custom; I wonder if Hale borrowed it from another culture. Secondly, how brave and open-hearted these people must be to be known for hosting travelers instead of having an inn to house outsiders. Think of all the stories they hear and share from practicing this custom! Thirdly, this system would work really well for those of us who always do a mad dash of cleaning before company arrives.
I would really love to see someone’s vision of Kelish garments! They sound really interesting. I love how Dasha takes a moment to appreciate the clothing of the people who are all melancholy and unwelcoming.
I think Mistress Mor may be of the same stock as Enna. I love that she is throwing her own anarchy against a soldier she is being forced to house. I can totally see Enna doing whatever she could–going completely out of her way–to make some menace’s life harder for being forced upon her. In fact, I’m pretty sure she did in her own book, Enna Burning.
Rin, I do so love bread, too.
Striking wording from Hale: “Like ants they are crawling all in houses” (page 145). Right now the mercenary soldiers are pests. Bugs too big and too many to step on, but not yet enough of a threat to Cathal’s people to be called a plague.
I just don’t understand how someone could throw a chair at anyone–let alone an old woman flanked by four young, unarmed women. A town whose nerves are shot and are waiting for some sign of what they should do suddenly snap at the mistreatment. Isi orders Rin to stay with Mistress Mor and through Rin we don’t learn much of what happens. It’s a very interesting device Hale uses. By keeping her protagonist in the dark her readers are also left with little knowledge of the conflict and are caught up in the suspense eager to continue reading.
Rin finally joins the foray. Immediately she is caught up with a hateful soldier threatening the life of a child. Rin, struggling against her body reacting to intense stress, manages to save the girl from senseless killing. I liken it to the moment in To Kill a Mockingbird when a mob comes to kill Tom Robinson and Scout not wholly understanding what is going on picks out one man and reminds him of who he is. True empathy and compassion comes from understanding people and remembering that we’re all the same; we’re all people. This soldier for a moment forgets his anger while envisioning the future Rin lays out for her. Thanks to Rin he spared the child because she reminded him that the girl is a person.
This chapter ends on a cliffhanger…so let’s keep reading!
Thank the Lord for Dasha! Oh my goodness, I was really worried for Rin there. Sudden loss of air supply is really scary for me–and a bit triggering–so I completely understand why the soldier ran away from Rin.
Rin isn’t the only one shaken up here! Excellent writing, Hale!
Got to love a queen who is willing to take care of not only her people, but everyone without even thinking about what she might be losing in the process (i.e. looking respectable, warmth from her cloak, needing that material for something else).
I love Mistress Mor’s humor. It’s gruff, but there’s warmth there, too.
How very odd that a king marries without fanfare–and the marriage instantly brings turmoil to the kingdom. Also, the queen is residing in a castle apart from the king. This is very peculiar.
Enna is a very interesting character. Here she reminds me of Reepicheep from The Chronicles of Narnia who also has a fiery spirit and a high sense of honor.
“The cowards. They love a midnight attack when there’s no one to fight back, but one little push and they run away. They make me want to spit in their eyeballs.” (page 157)
Ok, maybe Reepicheep would have phrased it differently.
Yay bread yay! Hale masterfully weaves in funny moments to break up the somber ones and keeps this reader very happy!
Dasha is very level-headed and maintains a firm eye on the future. Queens and ambassadors getting directly involved in another country’s affairs could spell disaster for both Bayern and Tira.
I love Isi showing her playful side as she bucks up her friend.
I always feel it’s important to be around different people. When you see how they interact with each other you end up either seeing how something in your own life needs to change or becoming really appreciative of what you have. Rin realizes that her mother does a great deal without having an ally (though personally I think she is discrediting herself).
Ha and moo! Oh my goodness how I love it!
Isi and Enna and Dasha and Rin. Squad goals if there ever were any.
Hale quickly gives us a peek at Kel as well as the interests of Bayern’s royalty before delving into one of their stories which we would probably call a fable. Woah, Enna, what are you saying about women here? I would really like to know what Hale thought the wolf from the tale is. Perhaps she agrees the most with Rin, but knowing Hale she probably wouldn’t tell us. She has on many occasions stated that once the novel is out in the world it isn’t hers anymore and it’s ok that it means different things to different people. I like Isi’s idea of professions, but I can’t think of what job would coincide with the destruction of the others.
I really wanted Rin to connect with the tree, but she’s probably not ready yet.
Hale, you do an excellent job with diction and anticipation!
The best writers remember to include even the smallest detail to shape their characters throughout their work and make them feel real. Hale gives her girls life by including what they are like first thing in the morning. Enna is silly and a bit whiny. Dasha is incoherent. Isi and Rin are the most consistent. Isi is calm and measured while Rin is ever watchful.
Hale has beautiful diction. She likens the worry in Isi’s face to weather which isn’t the first time an author has done this. Some say you could see a dark cloud hanging over someone’s head or how someone is as gloomy as a rain cloud. Hale, however, says: “…Rin could see the worry in Isi’s face, thick as a rainy sky” (page 132). Her phrasing is simple and elegant. She conveys her meaning without getting too bogged down by or wrapped up in metaphor.
I love when the girls wax on philosophically about their gifts. Fire-speaking like a monster that if not controlled, consumes the speaker. People-speaking a monster that could to be your friend, but could also guide you to destruction. Wind-speaking would be the monster that wears you away until nothing is left while water-speaking would be a monster that wants to engulf you. I wonder what kind of monster tree-speaking is.
No matter what Dasha says the food options are one of the bigger reasons I’m not about to run off into the words and live My-Side-of-the-Mountain style.
Enna and Dasha are great comic relief throughout the book. I guess Razo isn’t the only one who can lift spirits!
I love seeing Rin be useful to their mission. The more that she learns she is needed and unique the closer she will be to finding herself.
Rin’s moment in which she tests out her tree-speaking is very jarring. Hale sets it up perfectly to be that way, too. First, she describes the forest as being young and vibrant, beautiful and alive–safe. Then, Rin is “blasted with a sensation of loathing, filling her like maggots bursting from an animal corpse” (page 138). Talk about imagery!
So what I’m learning is tree-speaking is a monster of self-loathing? Is it that way for everyone or just for Rin who feels so out of sorts with herself that she decides she is no more than a mirror and continues to act that way?
Such a heartbreaking end to a chapter!
This chapter starts off with a bang! Or…with a blaze! Enna, Dasha, and Isi are extremely handy to have around in case of fire. Something that Hale doesn’t mention in this chapter that she did in the last is the many mice inhabiting the roof. (I am now sorry I pointed that out.)
Rin proves that she is also handy in fires. Without second guessing herself for once she saves two lives. She brings focus and ability back to a panicked mind. She really, really needs to talk to Isi. Isi has an extremely kind and patient heart; she would take Rin’s trouble and guide her through it.
I’m just going to take a moment here and really appreciate Rin’s attention to detail. In all the chaos she has enough foresight to stop and collect their belongings.
“That could’ve been my grave right there,” someone said. “I sleep like a tree most nights. Good fortunes, that could’ve been my grave.” (page 115)
Also, a small insight into the culture Hale created. Many people would call upon a higher power (e.g. God(s), angels, saints, or stars), but this person says “[g]ood fortunes”. S/he could be calling on something akin to the Fates of Greek mythology or it could be superstition. Very interesting choice of diction there.
After the fire Rin seeks calm and reprieve from the tumult. She ends up noticing a suspicious character. I didn’t understand what Hale wrote at first because I thought she was saying that Rin notices a suspicious man, decides he wasn’t that suspicious after all, and then immediately points him out to her friends. What Hale is actually saying is that Rin decides the calm which seemed to slow down what was going on around her was imagined and Rin redirects her thoughts to the suspicious man.
If Rin’s friends had had more faith in her, I wonder if they would have gotten caught. This is not the first time that Enna’s determination has gotten her into trouble, but she has an amazing knack for getting right out of trouble, too.
I love love love the interrogation scene. How amazing and powerful the girls are when they are unimpressed by the man’s spitting. They take away whatever power he’s hoping to achieve and hit him with fact…and then his own spit. I want to be as strong and confident as Hale’s characters.
The queen of Kel wants them dead. The queen of Kel? “Not ringing a bell” (page 121–hee hee). Well…really she wants two of them dead, but which two?
I love that Isi asks Rin for her input and then Rin completely misses the plot. Perhaps not completely, but she certainly doesn’t get the question the first time. Hale is excellent at writing charming moments between her characters like this. She really knows how to make people feel like friends. Not just with each other, but with the reader, too.
Following a rude man’s information the quartet decide to go to Kel, a land of orange soda and people saying, “Uh…no?” Just kidding! It would be kind of cool if Hale had the kingdom partial to some sort of orange-based drink though. Finn is forced to depart from the company and although I love his character dearly, he wasn’t lending much to the story and was feeling a bit wooden in this chapter.
I love the ease that Enna and Finn show their hearts to each other. To say that they make each other whole isn’t quite right. In this departure they continue on without one another, but neither is any where close to home without the other.
The four girls have continued on their journey and come to the burned village of Geldis. I can clearly see Enna being enraged by the ruins and demanding the culprit to step forward.
Love the throw back to Goose Girl with the hair being covered and eyebrows darkened!
Rin being overwhelmed by the inn with all the people “eating, drinking, singing, laughing, pushing, shoving, yelling, weeping” (page 102) compounded with Hale’s tweet yesterday makes me wonder if Rin has sensory processing and integration issues. She also had a hard time adjusting to the bustle of the city back in Chapter 3. It does make sense that the difference of a forest and a city can be quite jarring to anyone. The point to which Rin has difficulty in both the city and the inn, however, makes me wonder if she and I share yet another trait.
I love the banter between Enna and Dasha. It’s like being amongst sisters or old friends and buoys the heart.
Ugh! Will there ever be a time in real or imagined history that doesn’t include blind hatred towards others? A certain green puppet said it the best:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”– Yoda
This man lays it out very simply: he is afraid of being weak, he’s angry that he’s defenseless against an unknown threat, and he’s turning all of this into a hatred for Tiran people. One man (or woman) feeling this way is just ignorant and sad, but a horde of people sharing this mindset leads to unnecessary warfare.
The next scene with the two men and a woman is very intense for me. I know the girls can handle themselves, but I can’t and I just go into a panic thinking about it. It’s one of the major reasons why I don’t go anywhere without my husband. Enna, Isi, and Dasha have faced worse, but I feel just like Rin: completely helpless to do anything.
I love Finn. I really do. I also truly love Hale for giving her readers strong, capable heroines–and Enna for not letting Finn off the hook for treating her like she might need rescuing. Look, there’s a really good reason Hale is one of my all-time favorite authors–several actually!
Part Two: The Wood
Rin may be terrified of horses, but I really appreciate how she still remembered to unsaddle and brush Gladden before allowing herself any rest.
*Humming to self*
*Casually pointing to the yellow dream snake*
Rin handling a horse on her own is exactly like how I would do it. Only I’m not sure I could climb a tree and drop down from above.
Interesting, isn’t it that Rin shakes off her self-pity once she rests against a tree? Have the trees forgiven her? Is she starting to forgive herself?
I love that Gladden led Rin to the girls instead of turning right around and heading back for the camp. Also, I really love all the pranks Hale supplied the readers while Rin is up in another tree. (How naturally did it come to Hale to write a Squirrel Girl novel after this book? Note: I know nothing about Squirrel Girl–sorry!) Isi catching Rin! Ha!
I love love the girls just being around each other. I really appreciate this moment in which they can be friends and not worry about battles or politics or murder! I do wish Rin could have seen all of the talents on display, but 1. they aren’t 100% likely to whimsically play with their gifts and 2. it’s a good idea for them not to draw too much attention to themselves.
I found it interesting that Hale didn’t write the story of the three gifts the same way she wrote it in Goose Girl. Maybe it’s because she didn’t want to have to read the same story in this book’s edits. Maybe she wanted Isi to mold the story to her own experiences. Maybe she reworded it so that readers wouldn’t just skip most of page 95. Whatever the reason, thanks for the extra effort!
Personally, I like Hale’s story about a girl and her forest better than Rin’s…but Rin is still writing her version.