In the fourth chapter of In the Hand of the Goddess, George makes his feelings for Alanna clear just as she is sent to fight in very first war. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read In the Hand of the Goddess.
Chapter Four: A Cry of War
Well, shit. I didn’t expect any of this. I SHOULD HAVE, though. Duke Roger is really desperate to kill Prince Jonathan and Alanna, and I would not put it past him to have somehow ignited the war with Tusaine in order to do so. HE WOULD TOTALLY DO THAT. The Duke Roger was willing to use Alex to achieve the throne, so it’s not out of the question that he’d manipulate two entire nations to get what he wants.
I was also shocked at how much time passed between chapters three and four. It’s April, now? I admit that this time, I thought this was too much. I understand that this quartet is moving through Alanna’s life rather quickly, but it just seemed weird that nearly a year had passed and we didn’t find out anything that happened during that time. At the same time, though, that does make Duke Roger look like one hell of a patient villain.
Despite that Alanna is still keeping her suspicions about Duke Roger to herself, I was very pleased that Pierce had her immediately go to Myles and spill the beans regarding Tusaine. Granted, it’s some crucial information, but she just openly tells him she knows that he has “friends” in the City. BASICALLY, SHE PUTS HIM ON BLAST ABOUT HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH THIEVES. Bless her. Oh gosh, Myles knows about George, too? I shouldn’t be surprised. Myles has all kinds of secrets.
And so Alanna must mentally prepare for war. At sixteen. This wouldbe stressful enough just on it’s own, but when Duke Gareth’s horse throws him to the ground and he breaks his leg IN THREE PLACES, she’s suspicious. His horse is normally good-natured. Why the sudden freakout? Alanna seeks out Stefan in the hayloft, and it’s not long before she finds out that a large bur was used to scratch Duke Gareth’s horse, that a “newcover” saddled the horse, and that Duke Roger was put in charge of command. I AM 0% SURPRISED ABOUT THIS. It’s weird that no one else sees that this is not a coincidence. To me, it’s so obvious that Duke Roger is orchestrating these events. Of course, I’m being a SPOILER BIGOT. But not one person is suspicious? Not even the Prince, after learning where Roger is going to station him?
This is going to be a disaster.
Alanna also has a final conversation with George before she’s sent off to war. I believe that Pierce does a great job of not only addressing Alanna’s fears about love, but showing us just how confusing this sort of experience can be. I do tend to react strongly to aggressive romantic pursuits, so let me first say that I’m biased in this regard. I wouldn’t say I’m triggered by them, but I’ve been stalked very aggressively multiple times in the past, so it’s hard for me to deal with people being forceful and violating my personal space. Initially, then, it was hard for me to get past the fact that George was being a little to invasive for my tastes. I got the sense that Alanna made it pretty clear that she didn’t want a relationship beyond friendship with George.
Still, I don’t want to ignore something awesome:
Alanna had not forgotten the last time, and she had discovered that she liked his kisses. Relaxing, she let her friend hold her tightly.
That is great. I like that Pierce doesn’t draw a correlation between enjoying being kissed and wanting a relationship. Alanna can like this sort of physical affection from her friend, but it doesn’t mean it’s a confirmation of anything more. She’s still free to keep George as a friend and nothing more.
Oh god, let’s talk about Duke Roger.
“Raiders would have to escape the notice of every lookout above the fort; but with a foggy night and cunning, there is a danger. I have decided to place Prince Jonathan and his knights just below the falls.”
YOU’RE NOT EVEN HIDING YOUR DIABOLICAL PLAN. Well, since Alanna is the only person who suspects something is wrong with Duke Roger, he’s basically hiding his ulterior motive in plain view of everyone. Oh my god, I can’t believe this. Jon is pissed by this decision, but it doesn’t seem like he’s ready to sway from the belief that Duke Roger is his friend and ally. DAMN IT. Even worse, no one is allowed to cross the river. DOESN’T THAT MEAN JON AND HIS FRIENDS WILL BE TRAPPED???
The Drell River Falls are going to be messed up. I mean, there are thousands of enemy forces sitting a river-width away, and Jonathan and his knights have to make camp on the other side. There is no way this will end well.
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