Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey: Reading Part 4

We continue reading Mercedes Lackey’s Beauty and the Werewolf. Today, we finally meet Godmother Elena and get a few hints about Bella warming to Sebastian’s unintentional charms.

To catch up or review, check out Parts 1, 2, and 3.



Chapter 7

Sebastian howls all night as if his heart is breaking and gives Bella nightmares, so by supper the next day, she’s in no mood for polite conversation, especially when Eric joins them. But Eric mostly ignores her and leaves early to purchase a mule for her to ride. Sebastian gives Bella a magic mirror from Godmother Elane to look in on her family.

Reader Comments: Eric said he would show Bella the more “challenging” paths to ride the mule he’d get her. I bet challenging equals deadly.

Writer Comments: As a human, Sebastian shows little hint of falling for Bella. He’s sweet and a bit bumbling and eager for company, but there’s no strong suggestion of amorous emotion. However, Lackey uses his wolf state and his mournful howls to show that he feels something deeper and more powerful deep inside. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Bella takes the magic mirror to the privacy of her room and looks in at her father, but she only sees him haggard and worried, which makes her feel not one ounce better. After, out of pure curiosity, she uses the mirror to look in on Godmother Elena. To her surprise, she reaches her, and unlike the connection to her father, Elane can communicate with her through the mirror. Bella asks a string of questions and get the godmother’s forthright answers: her father has been told the truth, the unusual nature of Sebastian’s werewolf infection suggests the work of an unknown but powerful magician, the invisibles speaking to Bella and saying they’ll protect her from the werewolf curse is news to and crucial to Godmother Elena. Now, Bella having to remain with Sebastian at Redbuck Manor for three months does not seem quite so terrible as before.

Reader Comments: Part of me wants to accuse Eric of cursing Sebastian out of jealous fraternal “love,” but that’s too easy. Maybe Sebastian’s father cursed him before he died. Beyond that, I’m out os suspects, which probably means I’m missing the most obvious possibility.

Writer Comments: For many new writers and some established, the urge to conceal information from characters and the audience is tempting. Creating suspense can feel like it requires such. However, Lackey having Godmother Elane and Bella speak so bluntly together and reveal so much shows that often revealing everything actually does a better job of creating good tension.

Chapter 8

On a mission to find out more information about the invisibles to discover the truth behind Sebastian’s werewolf curse, Bella starts tossing out her wardrobe to draw Sapphire to her. The creature appears, most distraught over Bella’s seeming strange desire to pitch out all her overly fine clothes. While Bella distracts her with the process of ordering more suitable garments be made, she questions Sapphire about who and what they are. Apparently, at least some of the invisibles existed at Redbuck even before Sebastian started summoning them.

Reader Comments: Poor Sapphire.  I hope she doesn’t get in trouble for all her little slips of information.

Writer Comments: It is amazing what Lackey can convey with the description of a floating arm band and the words sketched upon a single slate. Sapphire is a unique and sweet character, one that must have presented Lackey a special challenge to write.

After dinner, Sebastian invites Bella up to his magical workshop to explain to her the finer points of summoning magic and the creatures he’s called to him. She’s attentive, meets his elemental spirits, and bombards him with questions. By the end of the evening, to her surprise, Bella doesn’t feel nearly so lonely as before.

Reader Comments: Oh, how sweet, Bella is finally starting to open up to Sebastian. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out the next full moon when Bella is locked in the cell next to Sebastian the mournfully howling werewolf.

Writer Comments: Unlike a lot of stereotypical romance plots, Bella does not fall instantly in love with Sebastian. Instead, Lackey uses other clues to suggest that change is occurring in Bella toward the duke. Sebastian’s mournful calls were just the beginning. Now, Bella not feeling so lonely after being with Sebastian moves a romance along further.

I hope you enjoyed todays reading of chapter 7-8 of Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey. Join me next Monday for more and Wednesdays and Fridays for more journeys into the speculative and life.

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