Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Read-along: Chapter 17

Again, a little later posting this than usual! Will try to get back on track tomorrow and the next few days. This time of year is so crazy, as I'm sure all of you know.

But, things are heating up in the world of Heartless, and it's certainly getting to be an exciting read. Let me know your thoughts!


Back to Felix: It's been a little while since we had a scene from Felix's perspective. It's kind of nice to go back to him and see some of this intense action from his point of view. He's quite a young lad, but very brave, all considering. He doesn't let himself simply get pulled away with the tide of people, but breaks out and tries to find his father. Felix definitely has the makings of a true prince!

The original scene: This scene of Felix on Goldstone Hill, struggling to find his father, is almost word-for-word how I wrote it in the original draft. And that original draft was penned in a leather journal while I sat in the middle of the woods. There was a park with a lake and various walking trails near the apartment where I lived with my beloved roommate, Charity, the year after I finished at university. I liked to go walking there for inspiration most mornings and evenings. I often took my journal (shades of Una?) in case inspiration struck.

But on that particular walk, inspiration struck and hard . . . so I climbed into the dense woods off the trail, sat with my back to a tree where I was certain no one passing could spy me, and wrote Felix's adventures on Goldstone Hill.

Oddly enough, I thought it was a pretty poor piece of writing when I first penned it. I seriously thought it was unusable. But I trotted home, typed it up into the manuscript, and told myself I'd revise it someday into something decent.

I never did.

So, good, bad, or indifferent, what you see in your copy of Heartless is a slightly polished-up version of what I penned in the woods that day.

The city in flames. So not only was Oriana Palace attacked that night. Sondhold City itself is under surprise invasion. By whom? Well, it doesn't take a great deal of puzzling to work that out . . .

We must save Una. Fidel, though scarcely conscious, is obviously terrified for his daughter. I wonder if this is more than fear for her imprisonment. I wonder if Aethelbald warned him of Una's coming fate . . . 

Monster! We knew the brave Sir Cat wouldn't abandon his charges to their fate. He cannot help Una at this point--we've already seen that he is no match for the Dragon--but he finds Felix on that darkened hill and leads him through the dark.

I wonder if Felix might have briefly walked a Faerie path while he followed behind Monster? I never say as much, but it's not impossible . . .

Captain Durand and the king's men. Thankfully, the armed men who find Felix and Fidel on the hillside are soldiers of Parumvir, not the Duke's men. But they do bring word that it is Duke Shippening who has attacked Sondhold, the very capital city of Parumvir! And during a time of peace, with no declaration of war! Does the duke's odiousness know no bounds?

They cannot rescue Una, trapped inside Oriana as she is. But they can get the prince and the king away to safety.

Fidel's harshness. Fidel, full of dragon smoke, is very harsh to Felix in this moment. I think the harshness is born from love; he doesn't want his son to risk his own life to save him. But it comes out rather cruel in that moment, and Felix probably doesn't understand.

Felix and Monster. Despite their uneasy friendship, Felix shows a moment of soft-heartedness by hopping off his horse and picking up Monster, carrying him away to safety.

My Personal Favorite Lines

1. His steps slowed unwillingly, for a terror hitherto unknown rose in his breast as he neared those familiar walls. It was most like fear of the dark; a fear  not of what the darkness could hide, but of everything the dark represented and the very absence of light. (p. 178) I am scared of the dark myself, so I sympathize with Felix here!

2. "I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "You're blind, stupid."
"Mreaaa!" the cat squawked and sank a set of dagger-like claws into Felix's leg. (p. 181)

Questions on the Text

1. Did you guess who had attacked Sondhold the same night as the Dragon's coming? Would you have believed that Duke Shippening and the Dragon were allies?

2. Do you think Felix picked up Monster for Una's sake? Or do you think he might secretly care about the cat?

3. Favorite lines?


Hannah said...

1. I thought the city was on fire because of the Dragon. But when we learned of the Duke's treachery, it really was no surprise.

2. In such a horrific and terrifying part of his life, Felix needed comfort and familiarity. He was alone, and when he finally found his father, his father was rough (understandably) and Felix was hurt by his roughness. In that dark time, Felix needed a reminder of hope, life, and love. Monster was a picture of that. The kitty that belonged to his imprisoned sister. Felix might have picked Monster up using Una as an excuse, but he needed a warm kitty desperately.

Emily Bennett said...

I agree with Hannah, but, having brothers, I find it easy to believe that perhaps Felix did like Monster, though he'd never admit.

Clara said...

1. I knew that the Duke Shippening was of course, very very bad. But I didn't think that even HE would sink so low as to be an allie of the Dragon!

2. Oh that Felix! He definately cares for Monster. Definately.

3. "I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "You're blind, stupid."
"Mreaaa!" the cat squawked and sank a set of dagger-like claws into Felix's leg.

Clara said...


yeesh! I can't spell today!

Hannah said...

Oooo, forgot about favorite lines.

Monster came back rubbing and purring frantically. Felix scowled at him. "Fine," he hissed. "You can come. But don't think I'm going to coddle you, creature."

"Liars!" Felix cried.
"Indeed not, prince," the speaker insisted, quickly pulling back when Felix tried to bite.

Good ol' Felix. You're right, Anne. He'll be a wonderful prince someday.
Considering he already killed an evil dragon at age 15 in "Moonblood", I'm sure he will be a fantastic hero all grown up!

Beka said...

1) To be honest, I was actually a little surprised to learn that the Duke and the Dragon were working together, though it made sense. I just thought of him as more ridiculous and annoying than really evil at the start, but boy, did he show his true colours!

2) I think Felix likes Monster, but like any young boy might do when dealing with fuzzy *little* creatures that belong to their sisters, I think he just doesn't want to admit it.

3)"I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "You're blind, stupid."
"Mreaaa!" the cat squawked and sank a set of dagger-like claws into Felix's leg.

I love how Felix talks to Monster as though he were a person (which he is), but doesn't know it... love the irony of it!

Meredith said...

1. Like Hannah, I thought the attack on Sondhold was the Dragon's work alone at first. However, learning that the duke was involved did not particularly surprise me.

2. Love Felix! He's a lot like my brother, all brabado yet ultimately kindhearted. I think he secretly liked Monster, and that the cat was his only link to Una. Therefore, he wanted to make sure Monster was safe.

3. Lines:
"I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "Your blind, stupid."
"Mreaaa!" the cat squawked and sank a set of dagger-like claws into Felix's leg. (Ha!)

And Felix, rather to his disgust, realized that as he followed the cat, he found better footing in the dark. (This is so great and one of my absolute favorite scenes in the whole book!)

Rebekah said...

Wow, I can't believe you didn't like this chapter. I think the directly following the Dragon popping up are some of the best written in the whole book.
Will we ever have any books entirely about this dashing prince-to-be Felix?

2)He secretly like the cat. That is the whole reason he torments Monster.

Anonymous said...

1)I kinda knew it was the Duke.
He is so hediously odious!
He needs assainated. Then someone else can be placed in control of Shippening. (This is supposed to be funny.)

Oh, what happens to the Duke after all this?
It might be a spoiler to answer this, so don't if it is.

Anonymous said...

1. I agree with Hannah; I thought it was the Dragon who attacked the city. Not until I read it.

2.Yes to both.

3. "Monster!" Felix muttered.
"I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "You're blind, stupid."


Camryn Lockhart said...

I have a question concerning something in Starflower, so I'm not sure you'll want to answer it on here. Nevertheless, here it is.

How long was Starflower in the enchanted sleep? Was it for a decade? Or did she merely step out of time when she went on the Faerie Path and when she returned, she merely stepped back in time that many years later?

#1 - I was surprised that it was the Duke. I thought perhaps it was because of the misunderstanding with Una.

#2 - I think Monster had proved his mettle in Felix's eyes and he had softened up to him in that moment (though he truly cares for Monster all along).

#3 - I absolutely loved,
"I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "You're blind, stupid."
"Mreaaa!" the cat squawked and sank a set of dagger-like claws into Felix's leg. (p. 181)

And I loved how Felix runs out to distract the soldiers from his father and it turns out to be friendly forces. :)

In Christ,

Anna said...

2. Nah, Felix likes Monster. Who couldn't? But he's a boy, so all affection has to be secret.

Anna C. said...

^That name should be "Anna C." Sorry!

Courtney said...

2. Of course Felix likes Monster! I think he cares about him in a begrudging sort of way. Does that make sense?