Welcome to our second to last segment of Stina Leicht’s Of Blood and Honey. To catch up or review this novel of the fae and the fallen, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, and Part 12.
Kathleen receives a note requesting she meet someone at the corner that night. It’s signed B. though nothing about the note fits Bran, she can think of no one else it could be and, making the excuse that she’s visiting her mother, slips out to meet him. Instead, the Redcap meets her at the corner, and he and his cronies kidnap her. When they reach their destination, he introduces himself as Henry son of Bran.
Reader Comments: Most of this chapter was like watching the girl run upstairs in the horror movie while chanting, “No, don’t do it. You’re going to die.” Kathleen hasn’t died, yet, but I’m very afraid for her. Henry the Redcap clearly has no limits in how far he’ll go to get what he wants.
Writer Comments: Much of this chapter also deals with Kathleen’s reflections of her life, choices, and mistakes. She also acknowledges the absurdity of Bran leaving her a written note to set up a meeting, contrary to all previous experience. There’s a crucial trick here that takes Kathleen from acting stupidly to understandable. Simply, she consciously acknowledges her own foolishness. Even when she chooses to ignore her better sense, as readers, we know she’s at least intelligent enough to see what we see. And since we’ve all made dumb decisions in full awareness of our foolishness, we cannot entirely fault her for making hers. Self-awareness is a vital aspect of sympathizing with and tolerating a character’s mistakes.
Father Murray rouses Liam, who has fully healed, to rescue Kathleen. The Redcap left a note for Murray to bring Liam and Bran to the stone circle that night. They inform Bran, Liam tears into his father about ruining his family, and Murray and Liam drive off alone to meet Bran at the circle. Unfortunately, there’s an army checkpoint along the way, and Murray has a whole duffel bag of weapons. Liam walks the weapons to the checkpoint, hoping to avoid detection while Murray drives the car. But something’s wrong, something smells and feels wrong. Things don’t go as planned. Liam opens fire, but one of the BAs disappears and reappears behind him before punching him in the face.
Reader Comments: Okay, current theory: the Redcap is far cleverer than all of them, something I like in a villain, by the way. He sent them to the stone circle as a diversion, planning to ambush them along the way. Liam and Murray just walked into his ambush, and I honestly am not sure how they’re going to survive it. This is a time when Liam really should have listened to the monster inside him.
Writer Comments: It would be easy to give Liam and Murray just a little difficulty while going through the checkpoint. Tension could be applied as the BAs search the car and give them a hard time, but off they’d go to the stone circle to meet Bran and the Redcap. But that’s easy and far from impactful. Rather, all hell must break loose, and in a way, that’s the final twist of the story. The climax comes swifter than expected, sneaking up on the reader just as it sneaks up on Liam. Don’t let your characters off easy or even with just a little discomfort. If you do, you’ll miss your chance to grab your reader by the scruff of the neck and declare, “Pay attention. You don’t want to miss this. You don’t want to forget this.”
Thank you for joining me for these chapters of Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht. Next week, we’ll finish the book, and I’ll announce what story we’ll tackle next for entertainment and to learn from a talented author. Until then, join me Wednesday and Friday for further forays into fiction, books, the speculative, and life.