(join in the discussion here!)
1) Kai kicks off the story by risking her life in an attempt to save the idol Alpha Seven. Why do you think she chose to try? Do you think idols truly non-sentient?
All of the main characters of the Craft Sequence so far seem to be risky, impulsive people. I think that’s what makes them so much fun to read about, to an extent. I would have thought Mara would have to be a hugely important person to Kai to make Kai take such a risk, but so far she seems to be just another coworker. Which says its own things about Kai’s personality. She’s really, really sure of herself, or really reckless, or both.
The idols seem to have some sort of consciousness. Maybe it has evolved or developed through years of the process. It seems like people in this world make a lot of assumptions about magic that then turn out to be wrong.
2) I think this is the first time we’ve seen idols, and they have their similarities and differences to gods and craftsmen. Do you think they serve a useful purpose? If you were in this world, would you prefer faith, Craft, or idols?
The soul-as-finance stuff is such an original concept, and Gladstone keeps adding layers to it. I like that. I feel like in this world you’re hampered a bit by your upbringing: you don’t have much choice over the path you take because it depends on where you were born. Or maybe it’s a class issue: the people relying on faith are the masses and the underclass, while the wealthier people are, the more they can turn to Craft and idols to keep their souls secure.
3) I found it interesting that priests/priestesses are able to change or reform their bodies in the pool, during their initiation. If it were possible, would you want to make use of this power or not?
I would totally do so. Kai mentioned people fixing their vision problems, implying that was small-potatoes magic, but I would definitely do that! It’s dangerous, because to an extent I believe you have to learn to be happy with what you’ve got, so maybe I wouldn’t fix much cosmetically. But definitely my vision and maybe my creaky knees.
4) A few familiar faces show up from Three Parts Dead, Cat and Ms. Kevarian! Is this how you would have expected them to be living, after the events of that novel?
I was a bit surprised how excited I was to see both Cat and Ms. Kevarian. I didn’t think Cat made that much of an impression on me in Three Parts Dead, but it was cool to see how she’s evolved in the wake of that book. I hope she continues to be trustworthy. Kevarian is an awesome character. I feel like she was probably in a “cameo” role here (I believe she is back more heavily in Last First Snow), but she’s just so creepy/cool to me, I loved seeing her.
5) Izza is in a difficult situation; she wants to take care of the other street children, but she also wants to protect herself. What do you think of how she is attempting to meet both goals? Do you think she was right to stop leading the stories and rituals for the other children?
Izza is the most interesting character to me so far. Her problems seem the most real and costly…Kai kind of has brought everything on herself so far, but Izza is trying to navigate outside forces that are really dangerous. She seems strong in a way that could be reckless like Kai, but it is tempered so far with empathy, however reluctant. I like that reluctant push-pull relationship she has with the kids, the way she isn’t really at home in that role but could be, if she let herself. In the short term I think she was right to stop the stories for her own personal safety, but there will probably be some significance to them down the road.
6) There is a lot that is hinted near the end of this section, with the line “Howl, Bound World” and the poet Edmond Margot. What do you think it is that ties together Seven Alpha, Kai, Izza, and Margot?
I’m intrigued to see how all the story threads intersect because I don’t really have a clue at this point. Something about Margot…I’m probably entirely off base on this, but I have this weird feeling he’s like Kai in a trans sense. Maybe I’m thinking this because his last name is so tied in my head to a female name, but something about his interaction with Eve and on stage…I’m wondering if he is seeking to be “remade” in some way. Izza, I’m thinking, will bring gods back to the island in some form and maybe Seven Alpha/Kai are that god…obviously, my head’s bouncing around quite a bit with different possibilities right now!