Mark Reads ‘Battle Magic’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of Battle Magic, Evvy reveals her secret, and the trio begins their escape. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Battle Magic. 

Emperor Weishu is the worst, and I haven’t even gotten to the shit that will definitively make me claim that.

In hindsight, Evvy’s secret from Parahan is really obvious. Like, OKAY, MARK. I don’t know! I imagined something weirdly absurd or something? But with Weishu leaving his palace, and with the need to inform the characters about the invasion of Gyongxe, it just makes too much sense that Parahan warned her before he left. Plus, the reveal itself also explains that bizarre scene where Weishu allowed Evvy to handle the Master General’s beads. He distrusts his generals so mcuh that he’s willing to openly embarrass them in court.

Obviously, this is a big development that shifts the focus of the novel. Even if I didn’t know anything about this invasion, I’d be able to tell that the characters were no longer concerned about escaping Yanjing. The weight of it all weighed heavy on Evvy’s conscious, and she knew that it was a huge deal. And for what it’s worth, I think she picked the best (and safest) time to tell Briar and Rosethorn. She couldn’t discuss on the way back to the pavilion, and she certainly should not have said anything while they were either on the palace grounds OR in the presence of imperial guards. Then, they had no idea if there were any listening or spy spells within the caravansary! Look, Evvy is a fiercely clever when it comes to protecting herself, so I trust her instincts here.

Like this instinct:

“I’ll be glad when we leave Yanjing,” Evvy told him. “I’m scared we’ll trip over something really bad. It hasn’t happened yet, but I keep expecting it.”


And it’s through this fear that Evvy brings up an interesting point. Since gods are real in Emelan (I assume so, since that’s how it was in Tortall, but I could be wrong), that means that the gods of Gyongxe and Parahan’s gods were important to the fate of their people. Who prays to them? Evvy doesn’t know how, and her concern is that her own prayers are useless because they’re to the wrong gods. So how exactly does that work in Emelan? Is it safe to assume that there’s a realm of the gods like in Tortall? IMPORTANT WORLDBUILDING QUESTIONS, MY FRIENDS.

Other important worldbuilding questions: When will cats not save the day in this book? It’s already happened twice now! THIS BOOK IS CAT PROPAGANDA, AND I SUPPORT IT.

But I wanted to close this review by talking about Weishu. When his soldiers come looking for Parahan, the bannerman says one of the most horrifying things I’ve read in this series:

“Any who do shelter this Parahan of Kombanpur will receive the utmost of the emperor’s displeasure – those persons, their parents, grandparents, families, cousins, to the third degree of relationship both older and young, no one will be spared.”

The. Actual. Worst. Crimes are paid for by a generation in his eyes, which allows him to stay in power even longer. This is what he does to his “enemies”? My god, no wonder people are terrified of him. But it’s not just the threat of wiping out an entire family that keeps folks in line. He’s so much more insidious in his actions than this. We learn at the end of this chapter that numerous foreign temples – including Living Circle ones – have been “protected” because it’s apparently best for them. That protection means that no one is allowed in or out of those houses of worship. It’s a devious method to guarantee that people feel disconnected from their beliefs, but if gods are real, then that means he’s keeping them largely powerless, too. Right???

My god, I despise him so much. And I know that these three characters will all turn back to warn Gyongxe, and they’ll get embroiled in this nightmare, and no amount of spoiling is helping me feel better about it. In a sense, it’s almost worst. I don’t have most of the details, but what I do know from the previous two books fills me with dread. And it is not getting any better.

Let’s just be sad here at the end of this:

Mila, my goddess, I want to go home. I want to see my lover again.


Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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