Warning: Spoilers nigh.

I have a confession to make. Yesterday I came very close to telling Lori I wanted to DNF The Priory of the Orange Tree, but now I’m kinda glad I didn’t because I just finished the second quarter of the book last night, so I am now halfway through and I’m starting to think I’ll be able to see this through to the end. Unfortunately I procrastinated heavily, as I procrastinated heavily in reading the first quarter, and ended up reading all of this week’s 19 chapters last night, with the result that I finished around 2:30 in the morning because obviously I have no respect for my own time. For this coming week I’m going to try to read five chapters a day, so theoretically I should be done with the third quarter in four days, but we’ll see.

The main problem is that I cannot get around the issues with the East. All my grievances from last week still stand except for the part about the rice, because rice has finally made an appearance on a couple of dinner tables. Not really sure what took it so long, but as long as it’s there I’m good. The other problem is that I was diligently trying to read yesterday afternoon and the book put me to sleep after a couple of chapters. I wish I were joking. I got through Tané becoming a dragon rider and Loth escaping Yscalin, and then I got to Sabran’s wedding and promptly conked out for an hour or so. I normally hang onto my books till death us do part, but I have a feeling this one’s going to get booted as soon as I finish it cus gods know I could use the extra shelf space.

The good news is that things have been getting more interesting. I still love Ead, who is the most sensible, badass person in the book. I love that she outwitted and escaped all of Combe’s soldiers using nothing more than her innate badassery. I love that she evaded them long enough to get to Meg. I love that Meg didn’t even ask any questions, she just gave Ead the means to escape the capital in disguise. That’s a ride-or-die friend right there. I love that while the good Inysh soldiers were running around screaming during a dragon attack, Ead was busy shooting down the High Western leading the charge. I do wish she would listen at least a little bit to Truyde, who does have some notion of the trouble they’re in. On the other hand, Truyde is a dumb brat who just got a lot of people killed in an idiotic plot to make Sabran Listen to Reason, so I probably wouldn’t listen to her either. On the other other hand, I’m not sure why Ead is so quick to dismiss Truyde’s theory about the comet and the dragons when there is clear historical precedent. It’s unproven and I sure as fuck wouldn’t put Truyde in charge of anything, but surely it’s worth at least considering as a possibility.

As far as romance goes, I’m sliiiiiightly more amenable to Ead x Sabran than I was last week because Sabran has actually been listening to Ead and letting her speak her mind a bit more than she did in previous chapters, but I’m still not really onboard because, again, their relationship is not equal. However, Ead just narrowly escaped arrest and is now on her way back to the Priory, so my opinion on the equality of their relationship may not end up mattering because I don’t know if they’re ever going to see each other again. I want to say probably, but I really did not see Aubrecht’s death coming, so who fucking knows anymore. I did anticipate Sabran’s miscarriage, but I thought it was going to happen as a result of the attack in Ascalon and turned out to be wrong because it in fact happened during the High Western attack. Since Dearn Tower was the one that got hit I was like Well Truyde’s screwed, but I didn’t expect it to fall on top of Sabran. And I feel terrible for her – I may not have liked Sabran, but miscarriages are horrible and I would never wish one on another woman. I feel even worse for her because she wasn’t keen on marriage but came to love Aubrecht and also came to terms with the baby she had always been afraid to conceive, but then both Aubrecht and baby were snatched away in an eyeblink and now she’s in a really bad spot. In a way, I think this could be good. The marriage and the baby were crutches she was using to try to prop up her kingdom, but now she’s more or less on her own, given that her council is full of schemers. I hope she comes out of this stronger, especially now that Ead’s not there to prop her up either. I hope she uses her barrenness to do what needs to be done instead of relying on the mystical House of Berethnet bullshit everyone’s been swallowing for a thousand years. I don’t know if an alliance with Hróth is the answer but I kinda feel like it isn’t, though this is mostly because I really really want Sabran to become the queen her people need her to be. (Also up until Aubrecht got a bullet in the chest I was semi-convinced that either he or his advisers were trying to bump off Sabran so he could assume the Inysh throne but then he got shot and he really seemed to have genuinely loved Sabran so bang goes that theory, though I suppose that doesn’t rule out conspiracy by his council. Sorry, Aubrecht. I actually liked you.)

On the other side of the world, Tané’s just been kicked out of the dragon riders and banished to Feather Island and her dragon’s been kidnapped by pirates and I am royally pissed because I wanted them to conquer the fucking world and now it doesn’t look as if they will. I’m going to be so mad if this ends with the dragon getting butchered and sold for parts. I wish I could say I have faith in the author, but I don’t. Part of me is holding out hope that Tané will storm the high seas and get the dragon back for herself because I fucking loved that dragon but the other part is crying because I still remember why Leelynn hated this book. I’m literally going to lose my mind if Tané doesn’t get this dragon back. It’s a good thing this isn’t a TV show, because I would’ve been that person screaming “TRUST YOUR DRAGON YOU THOUGHTLESS TWIT” at the screen. I’m so glad that she finally did trust her dragon enough to confess to what she’d done, even if she only confessed because she was trying to say goodbye. I’m okay if Tané never rejoins the dragon riders, I just want her and Nayimathun to kill all the bad guys and then live happily ever after. Is that too much to ask? Who do we have to sacrifice to make this happen? Can we sacrifice Niclays? I don’t care about Niclays. He is a cowardly, dysfunctional little alcoholic schmuck, and if he dies on the pirate ship it still won’t be soon enough. I hope Nayimathun eats him. The best part of him seems to have died with Jannart, and present-day Niclays is whatever’s left over. I still can’t believe he had the nerve to ask Tané to bleed and scale Nayimathun, knowing that dragons are sacred in Seiiki and what he was demanding amounted to sacrilege. I wish Tané could have found some honorable way of dismembering him and throwing his remains into the sea, because absolutely fucking nobody would’ve missed him (except Dr. Eizaru and Purumé, but they wouldn’t need to know what happened). Maybe she could’ve spun it as a spur-of-the-moment execution for high treason. I would’ve supported it. If Niclays comes out of this with a working longevity potion and his life still intact this book is getting one star, because Niclays is the fucking worst and I don’t see any reason he should be rewarded.

P.S. On the subject of things I didn’t see coming, I wasn’t expecting Kit to die as quickly as he did and now I’m wondering what the point of him was. If he was just there to make sure Loth wasn’t talking to himself on the way to Yscalin, I feel like he could’ve just stayed behind in Yscalin and there was no need to kill him off.