In the fourth chapter of The Amazing Maurice, I AM ABSOLUTELY INTO THIS, LET’S GO. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
You know, I was already pretty intrigued after what the last chapter did for this story, but THIS? Oh, the addition of Malicia as a means of moving this book forward was brilliant. I’d still like to learn more about Keith, who is treated cruelly by Maurice and Malicia. Both of them are so dismissive of him! It’s a little heartbreaking because Keith comes off so pure to me. He’s an orphan who grew up in the Musicians’ Guild, and it explains why he’s just so happy to play his instrument. It’s his first love; it’s what he’s best at; it’s what makes him feel joy!
And he’s a major contrast to Malicia and Maurice, who are absolutely nothing like this kid. I more or less have Maurice figured out. He’s a complicated character if only by virtue of the fact that he’s a cat who can talk. His characterization is one of a person who is greedy, manipulative, and self-serving. He doesn’t really look at the longterm, does he? If he can get that milk or those fish heads, then damn it, he’ll do whatever to get them! If he was more of a longterm thinker, I imagine he might have heeded all those red flags.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Malicia, on the other hand, feels a little familiar to me. You ever met someone who had generally had it good in life, and the second that things take a down turn, they behave as if they are the most destitute human to ever live? I sense that there’s a bit of a parody of that within Malicia, but I also wonder if this is related to the sense of imagination she has due to her love for books and stories. She is an interesting take on Pratchett’s longstanding motifs of the power of stories and the concept of destiny. Stories rule her life, and it seems like that’s all she’s really got. She’s alone when we meet her, and she’s talking to a cat, a rat, and an orphan child in this chapter. Her father, the mayor, is nowhere to be found, and she openly admits that she’s a “special” kid because of… well, I don’t think it’s just that she loves stories. Her grandmother and great-aunt are the famed Grim Sisters, who wrote (apparently) really dark fairy tales. Is she considered special because her father doesn’t want her to continue on in this family tradition? Is she being rebellious? WHAT IS HER DEAL, I WANT TO KNOW.
And it’s just one mystery at the heart of The Amazing Maurice. Because guess what I ACTUALLY PICKED UP ON SOMETHING BEFORE IT WAS SPELLED OUT. That red flag about the lack of rats is now front and center in this book. Of course, that means I got cliffhanger’d before I could find out anymore, but y’all. Even Malicia recognizes that something weird as hell is going on, and if her imagination is as unleashed as I think it is, she knows this is prime territory for some greater story. Because why the hell are the ratcatchers faking the rat tails they display? Why are they lying about this? Why do the people of this town believe there are rats in their homes? Oh my god, is all of this a trick?
WHAT HAVE MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS STUMBLED UPON?
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