Monday, October 13, 2008

The fascinating minor planets in the Windflower system

Great moments from last night's reading
Book: The Windflower
Author: Laura London (a.k.a. Tom and Sharon Curtis)
Page left off at: 412/spoiler level: HIGH HIGH HIGH. DANGER DANGER
The last part especially WILL ruin the book for you.
Part of the Windflower World TOUR!
Sorry, I know I am now hitting the wall of my allotted two weeks on this book, but it is very dense and rich!

I continue to not know what to think about it. I've become way more fascinated with the secondary characters than the main characters, which I suppose could be a bad sign, but these are some of the best secondary characters I have ever read in any romance/fantasy sub-genres.

I think that's because part of the deal with this book is that the center of gravity isn't the romantic pair. To me, The Windflower is more a sweeping, almost epic portrait that simply includes the pair. In more recent genre offerings, nearly everything orbits around the romance, and you may get quirky secondaries or whatever, but nothing at the richness and depth of these. I think there's a sort of 'deliver the goods' mentality out there today that I'm not immune to, but it doesn't exactly increase quality.


My great moment from last night was between Cat and his estranged father, Cathcart. I loved this. They are both so tentative with each other in their own ways. Cathcart "had learned to keep his phrases simple. In the past, anything more had sounded surprisingly insincere, even when it was meant from the heart."

Some ways into the conversation, Cat starts crying, and you really get how upset he's been about Merry, and that generally he's this young boy who's led a pirate life where you can't cry.
"Of all times, of all places for this to happen - he thrust his face into one callused palm with a sound somewhere between a gasp and a groan. In a moment he felt himself being drawn into the warm oval of his father's arms. He would have cast off the hug because he usually hated being touched, but this clasp was startling in its strength and tenderness, and the darkness around him began to recede though the sobs came harder, painfully racking contractions in his esophagus. He murmured, "This is so bloody embarrassing."
Later in the hug...
"He [Cathcart] felt the slight gather of tension in his son's well-muscled shoulders, and he stepped back, gently releasing the boy, not with regret but with grateful wonder that he had had this brief first chance to hold his unchildlike child."
And later...
"As he [Cat] took the comfortable chair Cathcart offered and settled into its velvet upholstery, it occurred to him that there was one thing Cathcart offered the people around him that Morgan never gave to anyone. Peace."

Seriously, it will RUIN the book for you.

Which brings us to Morgan, who is such a complicated and delicious character. There's one point where somebody mentions that all along, Morgan has just been performing a pirate's version of matchmaking, and that was so interesting, to sort of think of him as the pirate's parallel to some old dowager trying to get a couple to cross paths at teatime, only he does it all in a sort of brutal piratey way.

And I know I made him seem sort of harmless in my 'memos' post, like he's all image, but it really isn't true. I think it's a testament to the authors' skill here that he is so compelling - you're drawn to him, but you know to be wary of him. Like one of those weird creatures at the bottom of the sea, so colorful and unique and amazing, but with a painful sting.


Ana said...

You are approaching it so differently than the way I did - it is rather fascinating. I am loving your posts so far although to be honest I am not entirely sure if you like it or not - and it seems you aren't either?

With regards to your post today: you are experiencing an enthrallment with the secondary characters which I never allowed myself to, because I was so disturbed with the main characters, everything else paled in comparison; Plus the fact that Cat turned out to be a lost son of a member of the aristocracy was way too much and I was rolling my eyes so much, I probably lost all the subtlety of his encounter with his farther . And the thought that Brand Morgan who was this supposedly gruesome pirate that was matchmaking was so ludicrous - but at the same time, I can see how people would see them as the best thing about the book.

I think what I am trying to say is that for me, the premise of who Brand ( a matchmaking pirate) and Cat (a "sexually ambiguous" (thanks!) pirate who was a long lost son of an aristocrat) were was so out there, I ended up not being able to enjoy the development of their characters? Does that make sense?

Carolyn Jean said...

Ana, you're right, I'm not sure what to think yet, and I'm currently pretty bummed at the TSTL turn Merry is taking, so I guess in my mind I'm throwing in with other characters, but they are good ones in my mind.

And you're right about the ludicrous elements. I actually sort of think your review prepared to me expect the whole titled aristocracy/pirate bit. Because, if they'd come as a surprise, I don't know how I would've reacted.

Jill D. said...

not looking, not looking, not looking!!!!!

MK/Kati said...

Rand Morgan is among my favorite secondary characters ever written -- mostly because he's such an operator. I love that he manipulates outcomes and does what he "deems" best for everyone and feels no compunction about it whatsoever. Now sure, those are all negative traits, but when I read his actions, I understand them. He's completely non-demonstrative and it's how he shows his love. Now sure, would I want him in my life? Absolutely not. But I love the way he was written. Just completely ambiguous.

And he has one of my favorite lines in the book, which is: "One must suffer a little adversity to be truly interesting."

Many, many readers yearn for Cat's HEA, but for me, I always wanted them to write Rand's HEA, because I thought it would be so interesting to find a woman who was his match.

It's not to be, but I still wish they would.

Ladytink_534 said...

Okay I didn't read the spoilers but I do like your pictures!

Sayuri said...


I so wanted to read this post and you have spolier written all over it.


Debby said...

this isn't really on your topic- I do enjoy lurking on your blog, but I haven't read this book! I just came over from the Garden and I wanted to wish you good luck on your draft.

Brie said...

I didn't read it, but I really wanted to.

Carolyn Jean said...

Jill, LT, Sayuri & Brie: Sorry!! I won't write any more spoilery posts! I was burning to talk about these scenes.

MK: I would love to see Rand's story SO much. I agree, he is just such a fine character.

Debby: Well thanks so much!!!!

Kristie (J) said...

I will be doing a 'filler' post on The Windflower while it's on route to it's next destination. I read it a number of years ago, but I figured I needed a fresher perspective on it so I'm doing a reread. I just LOVE the scene you quoted between Cat and his father.

naida said...

I havent read this, but glad you are enjoying it :)

Jessica said...

I am so looking forward to getting this book in the mail, because I cannot read any of these great posts until I do!

(By the way, I absolutely adored Megan Hart's Dirty. I can't wait to know what you think of it)