Recent Reads: HANDS OF FLAME

It turned out re-reading HANDS OF FLAME was somehow slightly less weird than re-reading HOUSE OF CARDS, although it was ALSO full of things I either barely remembered, didn’t remember at all until it came to the moment of it happening, or remembered when something else triggered the memory but it turned out I was wrong about when it happened.

This is just full of spoilers, obviously, and so I’ll cut this entry here instead of letting most of it dangle out like I’ve done with the last two.

For example:

I would have bet on the whole “Alban caught on a random rooftop at dawn” thing as having been in HoC (I kept waiting on it!), and also I’d totally forgotten how he ended up there. I’d forgotten Biali’s role in that…whole thing. I just thought he and Margrit were being idiots and he stayed out too long. I was wrong!

I then forgot that it was Grace, not Daisani & Margrit, who rescued the gargoyles off the rooftop. I had *not* forgotten Grace’s role in freeing Alban from the chains, but I swear, practically the entire rest of the book was news to me. Cara’s return as Kaimana’s right hand woman? Ffffsht. Nope. Didn’t remember. The entire first djinn/selkie/Margrit confrontation at the House of Cards that ends with Janx’s quite literally explosive return? I HAD NO IDEA.

I loved the following scene, with Margrit and Janx below the city in his knockoff speakeasy. I loved her realization that he actually trusted her. (I mean, obviously he’d still eat her, but he trusts her!) I found it fascinating!

I’d forgotten quite a lot about the trial, which I think worked pretty solidly. I remembered what the result of the big physical fight part of the trial was, but I thought the djinn came after Margrit RIGHT AWAY once they found out she’d had a hand in killing Malik. I got to the end of the trial stuff and was like “…but don’t they try to kill her? O.O”

I remember the *difficulty* of writing the trial scenes, too, holy carp. Getting the Serpent right, and getting…the final part of the trial, where the gargoyles judge them all on their actions, rather than actually holding a third Event…I remember that was hard work. I wonder how many times I wrote all of those things. A lot. :p

*waves hands in air* I loved Cam learning Alban’s secret, but even more, I’d forgotten *Tony’s* reaction to learning about the Old Races. I forgot he’d coped really well. I’m not sure I planned for him to handle it well, but I thought the whole sense of regret he and Margrit shared there had a nice note to it.

I’d forgotten Kate and Ursula come to Margrit’s rescue, in the second djinn/selkie/human confrontation scene, and that Janx shows up because Kate transforms and he senses it. I’d forgotten Cara sold Margrit out! Even though I saw it coming while I was reading, up until then I’d forgotten! Whoa! Cara! Who knew she had it in her! Also, I was like “Oh THIS is where the djinn go after Margrit, I KNEW they tried to kill her at SOME point…!”

(There was some point early in the book—the Margrit and Janx scene, probably—where I muttered, “You hypocrite,” out loud, and Ted said, “Which one?” and I said “Janx” and he just laughed. :))

The end of that book—not the epilogue, but the last scenes with Daisani’s tower burning—was so hard to write, OMFG. Like, I re-wrote it on every edit pass, including the GALLEYS, which is the stage where you’re not supposed to be making any kind of major changes at all, just, like, looking for spelling errors. And I knew I’d FINALLY gotten it right that time, but holy carp, yeah, I rewrote it like four times, trying to make it work.

Know how I know it worked? Because I didn’t remember until just now, as I was typing up this blog post, that I’d had to do that!

This has been really, really interesting to do. And I actually really kind of want to re-read BABA YAGA’S DAUGHTER and YEAR OF MIRACLES now, just to see how I put all those pieces in place. In fact, I probably *will* do that before starting to write KISS OF ANGELS, so there may be a few more of these blog posts this month! <3

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