In the third and final part of the seventh chapter of The Book of Night With Moon, I WAS NOT READY FOR WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feline Wizards.
Oh my god, oh my GOD, I just… dinosaurs. Dinosaurs.
D I N O S A U R S.
I am not entirely surprised by this because that’s what the Wise Ones seemed like in some sense? But the confirmation that saurians are the Wise Ones in the old Downsides was.. awe-inspiring. Terrifying. INCREDIBLY OVERWHELMING. I know I have written about my early love for dinosaurs, and I admitted that Jurassic Park was part of that. And I love that Duane references both that and the sequel as a means by which the cultural obsession with dinosaurs was reignited. It’s true! Both those films changed a lot of our lives, and I spent many years obsession over these creatures. I remember reading Crichton’s book, checking out countless books from the library, watching all the documentaries available, building (terrible) dinosaurs out of LEGOs… it was a LOT, y’all.
But one thing that stuck through all of it—and trust me, there are a lot of things, as I was certainly one of those kids who got super pedantic about how dinosaurs are represented in popular culture—was how ferocious many of these creatures were. And not by our understanding of that term! We’ve literally never seen many creatures who were as fast or as large as those that used to live on Earth, and that’s what I thought about as I was reading this sequence. Actually, there was a lot going through my mind, y’all. I truly felt bad for Arhu throughout this because that poor kitten has had a ROUGH life so far. He survived the attack at the beginning of the novel—barely!!—and now, his Ordeal has revealed itself through this horrifying experience. Do I understand what that Ordeal is? FUCK NO. It’s related to the symbol in his name that Rhiow notices, something she later refers to as The Eye, but I am not certain at all what that is supposed to entail.
Even worse, as Saash struggles to complete the wizardry that will fix the gate in Grand Central, the onslaught is so overwhelming, so complete, that Duane seemed to have crafted a truly impossible situation. Rhiow’s back-up spell, the one that could have worked best against the saurians, only had a chance if Urruah dropped the circle shield, and there was no way Rhiow could deploy a wizardry instantaneously. Meanwhile, WHAT THE HELL IS ARHU CHANNELING? Why does he keep doing that? My guess—which I know is incomplete—is that this voice, the symbol, and Arhu’s cryptic warning about “the greater one,” “the Father,” “the son,” was all Rhiow and the others needed as confirmation of what Arhu’s Ordeal is about. Maybe that’s the manifestation of the Lone Power within the Wise Ones??? That’s possible, right?
I also wanted to talk about Saash’s solution to the problem. The Young Wizards books were certainly not devoid of violence. Particularly in the last few books, there were some grisly sequences. (Much of the stuff on Hesper’s world was… A LOT.) But since this book has a more adult slant, I can see how Duane can use violence in ways that felt decidedly different from the Young Wizards books. The fact that they basically roast all the saurians alive was shocking to me, though understandable. What else could they have done to survive? Still, I am really interested to see what other devices or themes that she’ll use because she’s not writing in a young adult space. I notice there’s far more talk about sex, too, which also wasn’t absent at all in Young Wizards! Just something I picked up on, though, and felt it worth noting.
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