In the fifth chapter of The Amazing Maurice, Malicia readies herself for a mystery, and Darktan accepts that this town is their deadliest venture yet. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Discworld.Â
AHHHH SO MUCH IS HAPPENING ALREADY, I HAVENâ€™T FIGURED THIS OUT YET.
Itâ€™s clear Pratchett is having a whole lot of fun with the heist-like nature of these scenes. Twisted through the Discworld lens, though, theyâ€™re just so delightfully strange. These rats devised a complicated system with RATS AS COUNTERWEIGHTS in order to lower Darktan into traps, and thatâ€™s just the start.
But rather than geek out over the details of this whole system the rats have, I found myself way more intrigued by the ratsâ€™ growing sense of self, by their transformation into something resembling humanity. Despite that we didnâ€™t see the Change actually happened, since it occurred before The Amazing Maurice even started, Pratchett is still managing to put much of the transformation on the page itself. In the first scene with Darktan in this chapter, we watch the disabling of the trap, but we also see how he uses his expertise to try and impart knowledge to Nourishing. And itâ€™s not just that heâ€™s trying to give her wisdom, but the manner in which he does is significant. He uses sarcasm. He toys with her specifically so that she knows not to be flippant about traps, and itâ€™s in response to her saying that Little Snapper traps are â€œeasy.â€
Itâ€™s all so very human. Darktan has more options available to him due to his newfound intelligence, and itâ€™s fascinating seeing how they manifest along with each ratâ€™s personality. The same goes for the second major scene with Darktan at the end of the chapter. Darktan is both a bit of a jokerâ€”he clearly has fun taunting Nourishingâ€”but then he gets deadly serious once heâ€™s brought to the new, unknown trap that claimed the life of Fresh. And for what itâ€™s worth: yes, this book is making me feel incredibly sad about rats dying. Freshâ€™s death is also particularly gory, especially for a Discworld book. (It doesnâ€™t help that the rats have multiple conversations about which part of Fresh they can eat. OH MY GOD HELP.) But Darktanâ€™s reacton to Freshâ€™s death helps the reader understand how dire this situation is. The rats are used to death, but not this kind of death. Theyâ€™re also not used to having to think about what death means and what might come afterwards. So much has changed for them, and that was BEFORE they ended up in one of the strangest towns imaginable. What the hell is happening in Bad Blintz???
I am way into Mauriceâ€™s parallel journey, since heâ€™s also adjusting to the change. Aside from turning into one of the shadiest cats ever, heâ€™s also experiencing guilt. Guilt! He feels guilty about eating! Heâ€™s lived with a sizable pack of rats who can all talk to him and think like him. So what happens when he has to eat and his meal happens to be a mouse?
Oh lord, does he EVER overcompensate. I love how completely uninterested Keith was in this display. He doesnâ€™t care! He know Maurice needs to eat. Why would he judge? OH GOD, HOW MUCH MORE RIDICULOUS WILL MAURICE GET.
I love that Iâ€™m getting more of a confirmation of Maliciaâ€™s relationship to stories. She is obsessed with them, her father is concerned about her because of this, and itâ€™s absolutely going to play a part in how this mystery unfolds. I mean, the fact that she even recognizes that this is a â€œmysteryâ€ to be solved is significant, especially because she immediately begins to project her expectations over reality. She knows exactly how this is going to go because sheâ€™s read all of it in books! Itâ€™sâ€¦ disconcerting, yes, and I am definitely worried that Malicia will be disappointed to find out that while stories might be based on reality, reality can and often does deviate from these norms and tropes. And to get a little meta here, itâ€™s why I love doing what I do. Talking about tropes, archetypes, narrative structures, and stereotypes allows us to see these patterns both in the media we consume and in real life, too! I think theyâ€™re helpful, meaningful tools to have!
Soâ€¦ how are they going to deal with Maliciaâ€™s certainty? Iâ€™m worried. Iâ€™ll say it again: What is going on in this town?
Mark Links Stuff
– My YA contemporary debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now available for pre-order!Â If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.