In the sixteenth chapter of Melting Stones, EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT ONCE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Melting Stones.
Holy shit, WHAT A CHAPTER.
Y’all, let’s just get right into it, because a lot transpired here, and I have to yell about all of it. This chapter opens with MYRRHTIDE BEING NICE AND RESPECTFUL TO EVVY AND SAYING REALLY COOL THINGS ABOUT HER AND WHAT IS GOING ON.
But it really isn’t something that comes out of nowhere. There’s a reason for it. Over the last ten chapters or so, Evvy has continually proven herself to be competent, powerful, creative, and necessary. The situation has crafted her into the mage she is now. But I’d say that’s the case for her time in Chammur and her time in Gyongxe. So, repeating Evvy’s words: What can she learn from this experience?
I think that’s a pretty neat theme of the book, especially since so much of this hinges on a mistake made in earnest. Evvy ends up opening up to Myrhhtide in this chapter because of his acknowledgment of her mistake and its worth. No one here denigrates Luvo and Evvy from trying to do what was best, and I think that plays a huge part in the emotional aspect of the development here. Which is important because what happens after this point relies on Evvy’s mental state.
In quick procession, there’s a big quake, some panic, AND THEN A SECOND QUAKE, and then Evvy has to contend with the churning, angry quake spirits that are searching out for Flare and Carnelian. This happens in a matter of just a few pages, and when Evvy comes back into her body, Myrrhtide is by her side, preventing her from drowning. There’s almost no sarcasm or rudeness from him, and HOW IS THIS THE SAME CHARACTER??
“Ah.” He said it like he would have gotten to dry land first. Probably he would have, too. “Then the exercise is valuable, if you learned from it.”
Just like that, he drops the condescension and accepts that Evvy is learning by doing. He supports her – both academically and literally!!! – and that means the world to me. Unfortunately, this lovely moment is upstaged because Pierce apparently cannot let us just enjoy something in its purity:
He never finished. Miles off, in the direction of Moharrin, we heard something explode.
NOW? THE ERUPTION WAS HAPPENING NOW? Thankfully, that’s not the case, but Pierce had to scare the daylights out of me in the meantime. Still, it’s not like this is a chance for me to rest or get comfortable. Even if it’s just steam and air that made Mount Grace explode, that means that an actual eruption is even closer than ever before. GAH, the waiting game in this book isn’t fair at all!
But there’s more to Melting Stones than the dramatic tension. Like I said before, the events here are a learning opportunity for Evvy. She can learn from her “fumble” with Flare and Carnelian, and I think she can also learn from the people around her. We see that in her interactions with Myrrhtide, but I also think that it’s in her scenes with Tahar and Oswin. Both of them possess wisdom that can help her, yet neither of them is a great mage. What can she learn from that? Well, knowledge doesn’t come from just one single source. You can find paths to guide you anywhere you look, as long as you keep an open mind and an open heart.
So where does Oswin fit in with this? Well, he provides a new way of thinking of this problem. Up to this point, Luvo and Evvy have been concerned with one thing: stopping the eruption, even if it’s just a temporary delay. It makes sense why anyone would think to approach this conundrum with that solution in mind. Yet Oswin posits that delaying the volcano is futile; the real solution is in finding a way to give those spirits exactly what they want:
“Flare and Carnelian were smart. They’re looking for faults that will take them close to the surface, so they can save their strength until the last moment. You know they’ll break free eventually. Why not do it where they won’t kill thousands of people and make whole islands unlivable?”
IT’S SO BRILLIANT, HOLY SHIT. Difficult, of course, because it involves Evvy convincing Flare and Carnelian that they weren’t in a trap, and leading them to the fault that runs down to the ocean. Is it impossible, though? No. And does it provide a solution that would definitively end this nightmare? YES. I knew that once Evvy realized what Oswin proposed, she’d be on board. But I love that there’s that little moment where she knows she has to do this because she promised Briar that she’d take care of Rosethorn. I MISS BRIAR A LOT. Which is not the point right now. Evvy is doing something that’s admirable, scary, and charitable, and I LOVE IT. It’s a touching thing to see happen, and the whole exchange between Myrrhtide and Evvy at the end of the chapter? It’s just the cherry on top.
I think Evvy’s gonna pull this off. I really do. Combine her own fantastical powers with the spell that’ll link her to Luvo, and I think she’s got a fighting chance.
Mark Links Stuff
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