1) What did you think of the solution to the nulrej shields? How do you think Samantha’s captivity affected her?
A: I came up with it, so obviously, I think it’s cool! New technology being defeated by old is a fun trope and I enjoyed having them look to the past to save their future.
I think her captivity made Samantha more fearful but also increased her determination. We see the latter as she encourages the scared civilians sheltering in the Old City.
2) In the Museum of Vexador, Kaity is out of Form and has to kill someone. How does this tie in with her overall arc and set up the Jizdrakk scene?
A: Kaity hates violence and is reluctant to kill, so shooting the male out of Form shakes her. But she does it to save Nancy’s life. This speaks to Kaity’s confliction about her calling as a Starganaut and builds toward her breakdown later in the chapter.
3) Why did Valora burst into tears in the Jizdrakk battle? Have you ever faced an impossible situation?
A: She was overwhelmed by the chaos and insanity of war. The Jizdrakk are more powerful than the average battalion and blasted the team with plasma waves. That was hard enough, but when a shell exploded close by her, Valora lost it.
Several times. One that particularly comes to mind is the year my husband was unemployed. He got laid off in January and then spent 9 fruitless months looking for work. Though he applied to 100+ places, he landed only a handful of interviews—none successful. I’d launched my tutoring business just before he lost his job, so I was still building up my client list and didn’t make nearly enough.
When unemployment ran out, our bank account shrank rapidly. We were facing running out of money and losing our apartment. It seemed impossible we’d make it, but we prayed and trusted God. In September, someone at our church approached my husband about a job, and he got it! God made a way where things seemed impossible, and that is simply one of many examples of His amazing goodness in my life.
4) How does Jixa react to Tazen and news of a respite? Would you say the Trylithians are evil or misguided, and why?
A: Grunn is furious, and he vows to kill Tazen. L I would argue the Trylithians of Duskrealm are duped, not evil. They have a surprisingly strict code of honor and they only attacked Vexador to avenge a perceived wrong. The respite also shows their humanity. In contrast, Jixa and his cronies are definitely evil. As established in Book 1, Lidexid was a wicked colmit that conquered those surrounding it. The evil of Lidexid is carried forward by Grunn.
5) Two worship services take place after the dead are buried. Compare/contrast Vexador’s with Trylithia’s. Why can’t Jixa stand Vexador’s?
A: Vexador’s worship service is massive, sincere, and focused on God. It’s spirit-fueled, with Samantha delivering an inspiring message and the entire crowd following her lead by singing “Amazing Grace” together. Trylithia’s service is smaller, ritualistic, focused on Kroth, and just includes chanting. As Vexador’s is led by Samantha, so Trylithia’s is led by a priest, but similarities end there.
Jixa hates hearing Vexador sing because he hates them. He recognizes their sincere faith, which contrasts with his lack of belief. Moreover, he’s growing desperate as his carefully-laid plans continue to unravel.