Some mornings you have a dream that’s so wonderful you don’t want to wake up. It’s full of unanswered questions and ideas that need to be followed. The remnants of those thoughts cling to every moment of your day, but dreaming once more brings no relief. Ah, the dream is lost forever!
The ending to The King’s Bastard reminded me of this feeling. I ached to know more, yet that door was closed, and will remain so… for now. During my day, I kept remembering, as one does after a dream, some unfinished task that demanded immediate attention and was of the utmost importance. On further inspection, it would turn out to be the feeling that I had yet to finish the book, and must certainly do so right this instant. Alas, but the book was already finished, lying on my bedside table with my bookmark between the front cover and first page. Can there be no sadder moment in a reader’s life?
So I will have to wait, and hope for an advance copy of the second book of the Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin. Even if I’m lucky, it will be at least another month. It’s for this reason that I usually don’t read trilogies until all three books are released. I have the first two books of Robin Hobb’s new Rain Wilds trilogy, but damned if you’ll catch me sneaking a peek at the first chapter of the first book before the third is safely in my grasping hands. I remember the moment I first saw Ms. Hobbs’ new book, at Target, of all places. I literally stopped breathing. I get the feeling The Uncrowned King will give me the same reaction.
Shall I tell you of the ending of The King’s Bastard? There are unlikely heroes, declarations of the most damning sort, misconceptions, misunderstandings, misappropriations, sword fights, the clashing of cultures, deaths, murders, antagonism, ambition and betrayal. And throughout all, as the distant reader, you’re utterly helpless. All you can do is turn the page. I say this not with defeat, but relish. Even in my helplessness, I was aware that I felt helpless. I could see the strings that were tugging on my heart, but they didn’t matter so much as the emotion. I wrote previously of how to assure your reader’s fealty to your characters – make the reader feel as your characters do. In this, Ms. Daniells is masterful.
Like the last note of an unfinished refrain is The King’s Bastard to my sense of story and love for these characters. As I reach out for that last note of reconciliation, I’m met only with silence. For now. In the meantime, I watch the blurred horizon between sea and sky, and refuse to believe certain characters are dead. Time, and Ms. Daniells, will tell.
And if you believe I write this patiently, you have a far more flattering image of me than is truth.