Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Margrave

by Catherine Fisher

Grade: Good
Story: The Master, the Apprentice, the Spy, and the Cat-Person continue the adventures started in The Dark City, The Lost Heiress, and The Hidden Coronet.

I was immensely satisfied with this ending. For some reason, I thought it would go a similar way to Sapphique. In other words, I thought Raffi would stay stuck pretty much forever with an entity that was mostly evil, in a similar way to Jared and Incarceron at the end of Sapphique. Also for some reason I thought that there would be a sort of not-really-romantic pairing of Carys and Raffi, as with Finn and Claudia. I don't know why.
But nooo! Carys got pretty much the best ending I can think of, and so did Galen. Raffi was never my favourite character, but his ending is absolutely perfect too, in my mind. The only one I would have liked more for was the Sekoi. But he got his grand part in the climax, so I'm not too disappointed. I like the amount that was left undiscovered about the Sekoi race. And how much trouble there was going to be in the future, as they still had to get rid of the Watch and all that. In fact, it pretty much had that "And then they went off and had a lot more adventures just like the ones in the books you just read, only BETTER!" ending, which I LOVE. Pretty much my favourite type of ending. I can't think of many books or movies with that type of wonderful ending right now, except maybe the first Pirates of the Caribbean, but I know there are many.

I am mostly as immensely satisfied with the characters as I was for the first book.
--Carys is still awesome. I would have liked the uncertainty around her to last a little longer, though. I'm glad she went definitely on the side of the good--I do always want that for all the Liars I love--but I so much love that period of uncertainty where you really have no flippin' idea what she's going to do next, or which of her many lies are less untruthful than the others. Ben Linus managed that until pretty much the end of his series. I know I shouldn't compare all Liars to Ben, because it's slightly unfair for them, but I'm afraid I'm going to continue. Because I like Ben. And he's the Ultimate Liar. Anyway.
--Galen continued to be all dark and broody and tortured, and I loved him as much by the end of the last book as by the end of the first. In fact, probably better, especially with that lovely part where he's terribly nasty to Raffi and then feels terribly guilty. And his ending and part in the climax was perfect.
--Raffi wasn't made much more interesting to me through the course of three more books, but his ending was good enough that I'm left with pleasant, happy feelings for him.
--The Sekoi! Was awesome! I wish there was more of it! Or him! Or whatever!
--The Margrave (the character) reminded me of Incarceron (the character) too much. Except Incarceron was better.

Now for issues.
Mostly there aren't any. Because this is such a Middle Grade series, I wasn't bothered by the lack of Romance. In fact, I'm not really ever with Fisher. It's mostly just her attitude on her website FAQ towards Romance that bugs me.
Anyway, as I was saying, there aren't many. But, as with the Oracle Trilogy, the main problem is philosophical. It wasn't as bad here as the Oracle Trilogy, I think. But there seemed to be a lot of Gnosticism  going on. Plus...well, I guess this wasn't really an issue. Religion was treated very respectfully (and Galen, the religious fanatic, was one of the best characters), but just not as true. Which I guess it wouldn't be if this story really did take place, but...I dunno. I've stopped being coherent and logical now. So let's just say "I have a bad feeling about this" philosophical element of all of Fisher's books, and leave it at that. I could be dead wrong. I probably am.

Just as an interesting side note, it's funny that the second Romance found so far in all the CF I've read is AGAIN between one pretty totally evil person, and one extremely flawed and on the evil side, but not actually evil person. Ok, I'm not sure if that makes sense, but compare Quist and Scala in this book with whatever-their-names-are from the Oracle trilogy--you know, the principle evil character and the Speaker lady he loved. They're very similar. And THE ONLY proper Romances in the entire Oracle series, Incarceron series, and Relic Master series.

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