Kudos to Danielewski for skating right past the cliffhanger at the end of Into the Forest
. The events are revealed, but told naturally in the course of Xanther, Anwar, and Astair's routine. As readers in-the-moment it was a shocking, near-thing, but like with most crises (the good kind?) once they're over people are too relieved to dwell on what could have happened. This also allows Honeysuckle & Pain
to progress on its own terms instead of being stuck in high gear from the get-go.
Characters are still drawing closer together. Some of the viewpoints don't have a whole lot going on, cooling their heels and gathering characterization before going onstage - but Jingjing and Tian Li set out to recover the cat that went missing, which gives much-needed focus to that story-line. Luther, still awful, gets a lot of attention, from us and the narcons, but also from his boss. He's being groomed for a big job and a bigger place in the organization. What is it exactly?
Anwar and Astair experience more financial setbacks and struggle to understand what's going on with their daughter, whose becoming unusually withdrawn and difficult. Xanther herself is learning more about herself and theorizing about what's going on with the Little One, who still refuses to be named, and what it means for the future.
Cas and Bobby (Apollo), our revolutionary hackers have the most satisfying story, their world becoming more defined as they find a way to strike back against the organization, at its heart one man, who has had them on the run for months.
This series gets better and better, Honeysuckle & Pain
is the middle book of the first "season" of The Familiar
, so I'm expecting bigger things to come in Hades
. The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the ForestThe Familiar, Volume 4: Hades