In the sixteenth chapter of Battle Magic, Briar grieves, and Evvy gains a new friend. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Battle Magic.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of grief, warfare, arachnophobia.
It was still difficult to experience Briar’s grief, even though I expected it, and even though I’ve never been more aware that Evvy is alive and headed back to him and Rosethorn. Briar weeping? I am done. DONE, I TELL YOU. Briar curling up with one of the stone tigers, thereby revealing that they are not thoughtless magical creations? BURY ME RIGHT HERE.
But life goes on. It has to. Rosethorn is still out there somewhere, and the war against the invading Yanjingyi forces is only going to get worse. I think that’s why Souda goes to such great lengths to get him involved again because she knows he’s going to need to be focused again. Perhaps she’s being a tad insensitive, too, since she has no relation to Evvy. I can admit that. But Briar has a war to fight, not because it’s the moral thing to do, but because he’s surrounded by it. He doesn’t have much of a choice, does he?
So, he’s headed up to Melonam to support Sayrugo, which worries me because it sounds like this is where a great deal of Yanjingyi soldiers are header. Or are already there! I’m scared. ANYONE BUT BRIAR COULD DIE, Y’ALL.
I wanted to focus most of this review on Evvy, though, because I’m so pleased with the real introduction of Luvo. Guess what? EVERYTHING IS JUST AS WEIRD AND SURREAL AS IT WAS FOR ROSETHORN. Deep inside a mountain, Evvy meets Luvo and Luvo’s friends. Like Diban Kangmo, who is a “peak spider,” also known as “my eternal nightmare.” All of this helps to show us how life is different in this world, which illuminates Luvo’s behaviors in Melting Stones. When Evvy wakes up from her healing (HEALED BY YOUNG PEAK SPIDERS’ WEBS! THIS IS SO COOL), she discovers that Luvo speaks in a very unique way. She has to constantly teach him what she means when she speaks! But I was most pleased by how fascinated Luvo was with Evvy. It was obvious! He was eager to talk to her and learn more about meat people. (Did anyone notice that Luvo purposely asked for a word to refer to humans because he could tell that Evvy didn’t like the term “meat people”? Funny, because by the time we get to the events in Melting Stones, Evvy is calling humans “meat people.”)
But most of all, he wanted to help her because she was unique. Evvy is the very first ambient stone mage that he has ever met, and after an untold number of centuries of existence, Evvy is the most surprising thing to ever come into his life. In a way, I find that empowering because Luvo tells Evvy that she’s special. That she matters. That this old mountain heart had been bored for so long until she came into his life. Of course, he also facilitates her healing. He sends Diban to fetch food and clothing for her! I had said earlier this week that Luvo’s presence was a necessary catharsis for what happened to Evvy, but I’d also add all of this to it, too. Luvo helps heal Evvy’s physical body, and then he agrees to accompany her to find her friends so that he can heal her spirit, too.
HE GETS A YAK NAMED BIG MILK FOR HER. What’s a better sign of support??? Wait, I have to quote this, too:
“You cannot understand what a joy my moments of speech with you are. Each one presents me with a new idea or a new problem, when I have seen nothing new in ages. I have not felt so alive in millennia, Evumeimei.”
I am just so happy that Luvo exists.
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