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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I suppose it's not like nothing happened in the earlier chapters, but a LOT happens in these chapters! The end of chapter 16 also brings you to the end of Book One, and things will get shaken up a bit (surprised?) as you start chapter 17/Book Two. ;D

Now, I came up with these questions (Jan just read through like a speeding bullet and kept going - bad girl!), so if they're not all that good, help me out with some of your own - and remember the Robin rule! Ha!

So, for the two or three of you who haven't already blitzed past chapter 16 (<grin>), here we go (and you fast-burners come on back and post! LOL!):

Chapter 11

- This chapter gives us some of the first significant insights into the Kreelan Empress. What were your impressions of her?

Chapter 12

- Did you think it was wise for Esah-Zhurah to confide in the old armorer, Pan'ne-Sharakh?

- What were your thoughts as you read what happened between Esah-Zhurah and Reza at the grotto during their free time before their final Challenge?

Chapter 13

- Okay, raise your hand if you would've just run like heck from what appears in this chapter! <I have both hands up>

Chapter 14

- Were you surprised at what Esah-Zhurah asks of Tesh-Dar, in order to give Reza a fair chance in the Challenge? And what did you think of what happened to Esah-Zhurah on the Kalai-Il?

- We also get a very significant glimpse of the power of the Empress in this chapter after Esah-Zhurah's punishment is given. What did you think of this?

Chapter 15

- Okay, what did you think of Reza's final Challenge??

Chapter 16

- What did you think of the time Reza and Esah-Zhurah spent at the temple of the Desh-Ka?

- Were you surprised at what happens at the end of the chapter? And what do you think *did* happen??

- And if you were in Reza's place, what do you think you would have done??
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
gertiekindle said:
What a heavy burden the Empress has to bear. She holds the knowledge of all past Empresses, as well as each of her Kreelan children. First surprise ... she and Tesh Dar are twins. Second surprise ... Esah-Zurah is her daughter.
Yeah, and I thought being the president would be tough! Oh, and those were surprises? ;D

I was a little surprised that EZ shared her blood with Reza. It seemed like that would be a huge violation of the Way, not to mention mating when it was forbidden to her, and then mating with a human/animal.
It's a paradox: what she did was against the Way on the one hand, but on the other dovetailed with the Prophecy.

I was also a little concerned about the talons and the fangs, but I think that was part of the reason she took control. Of course, EZ was always the one in control, and this was no different.
Oh, those domineering women... ::)

Pretty intense. The battle with the genoth was quite good and, I think, necessary for Reza to learn how the bloodsong affected him. Of course, you killed off Goliath (boo), but he was old and, like Wiley, he died to save Reza.
I cried (okay, I sniffled, didn't ball my head off) when I first saw what my fingers typed about Goliath. I hate it when good animals get it. :(

EZ has already showed the lengths to which she will go to save Reza. No, I wasn't really surprised. The beating was brutal (worse than Jamie), and Tesh Dar didn't hold back one whit. That sort of surprised me, but then this is a brutal society. There is no room for sentiment in these warriors.
Yeah, that was rough. If anything, Tesh-Dar probably hit her harder. I don't think she had any choice: it was a matter of honor, as she had already given the least punishment she could between the two of them.

The Empress' power doesn't surprise me at all. She embodies her entire race and all that went before. Did you see the Disney movie Atlantis. Her power sort of reminds me of that.
Atlantis? Hmmm, I think we saw that some time ago, but I can't remember much from it. May have to check that out again on Netflix...

I think it really brought home to me the essence of this warrior culture. Reza fought tresh that he had lived and trained with, and some he had trained, and still there was no question it was kill or be killed. He doesn't hesitate. Very much like the gladiators withvone major difference. The gladiators fought and died for entertainment. The Kreelans use the Challenge as part of their training both in the Way and as warriors to serve the Empress.
I think the core of Kreelan civilization, beyond the purely martial aspects, is perfection in whatever they do; I think that's where their honor truly stems from, because in pursuit of that perfection they glorify the Empress. And in the case of the warriors, obviously, it's personal combat. Reza's situation in the final challenge is fairly unique, as challenges aren't normally fought to the death, but that just makes it more of an opportunity to demonstrate the perfection of their craft - in this case, killing. :(

I'm guessing that the time they made love in the temple while Tesh Dar slept, EZ became pregnant as part of the fulfillment of the prophecy.
<<
Crickets chirping
>>

I wasn't surprised at what happened to Esah-Zhurah. I figured her hair would turn white, but the crimson talons and green eyes were a surprise. Esah-Zhurah is now the embodiment of Keel-Tath.
The body, at least. The spirit is still missing... ;)

Reza was the first the Empress could call her son. Any sons she had would have been taken away from her at birth and placed in that ESPN room with Lazy Boys and a diet of subs, chips and Dr. Pepper. This is a major change in the Way.
You are SO bad!! LOL!! Unfortunately, that's so true here. I'm glad I didn't inherit any sports genes...

I was surprised. I thought that back in the grotto before EZ shared her blood with him, Reza had let go of his past. His time in the temple of Desh Ka should have burned out those memories and feelings. I think the Ancients transported him back to a human planet, just as they transported him in the arena. I think Reza is going to have a hard time adjusting and an even harder time explaining what happened to him in the last dozen or so years.

If I had that same experience, I might have stayed. I don't think I would have fully known my mind and heart until faced with a battle against humans. It shows that although Reza thinks he has accepted the Way, he truly hasn't.
Hmmm. I think he has accepted the Way in his heart, but he still had to be true to himself. Even though it was a long time before and he probably hadn't thought about it consciously for years, that vow was largely guiding his interests in what he dreamed of doing if he survived his training (exploring the frontiers, etc.). As soon as that realization struck him - that he would have to fight humans - that vow popped right to the surface of his mind, and his sense of honor at that point simply gave him no choice as to what he had to do. :(

But if it had been me? I can't claim to have his moral fortitude: I think I would've stayed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
gertiekindle said:
Here's another thought. Can Reza, once he returns to be with humans again, fight against the Kreelans? He has absorbed the Kreelan Way; has heard the bloodsong in himself and others. Can he put all that behind him? Maybe so. In the final challenge, he killed his fellow tresh as part of his training.
He's under no restrictions morally or otherwise to fight the Kreelans. The way of their warriors is to glorify the Empress through their prowess in combat, so I expect that's likely what we'll see...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
gertiekindle said:
My Dr. Pepper comment was sooooo insightful, wasn't it? ::)
Actually, that was *almost* good enough for me to consider giving back the Kool Atomic Hat. Almost...

Now if Mike would only stop blaming his fingers for the upsetting parts (faithful ole' Goliath :'() ... I mean, didn't he read his own writing about the synapses and the Command Center? ;D ;D
Yes, but with Reza the synapses actually fired and the Command Center had some control. As Jan will be happy to tell you, all of my synapses (well, there's actually only one) are filled with glue and I'm absolutely uncontrollable. Well, threats of bodily harm or withholding food occasionally work. But I'm sticking with my claim that it's the fault of my fingers! That's gotta be at least as good as the Twinkie Defense...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Anju said:
Gerties answers are so good, don't think i can add anything -
Well, how about this: what did you think overall? What part(s) - if any - hit you the most emotionally?

Bonus question for the brave: did anybody cry (or at least sniffle) at any point?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Neekeebee said:
- What were your thoughts as you read what happened between Esah-Zhurah and Reza at the grotto during their free time before their final Challenge?
I was thinking: I hope they're not found out, and if they are (as I figured they would be at some point) I hope the punishment isn't too severe!
Well, now you know what happened there! ;)

Chapter 14

- Were you surprised at what Esah-Zhurah asks of Tesh-Dar, in order to give Reza a fair chance in the Challenge? And what did you think of what happened to Esah-Zhurah on the Kalai-Il?

Wow! Those Kreelans don't kid around when they punish someone! I wonder, what did Tesh-Dar do to deserve the same punishment?
I wasn't too surprised at Esah-Zhurah's request to take Reza's portion of the punishment at the time I read it, but it took reading about the actual punishment to recognize its significance.
Well, hopefully at some point later on in another book we'll see what Tesh-Dar did to get into that sort of trouble! And yeah, no kid gloves in this civilization, that's for sure! :(

- We also get a very significant glimpse of the power of the Empress in this chapter after Esah-Zhurah's punishment is given. What did you think of this?
She wields great power. It makes me wonder if she can, but just isn't allowed to, reverse the curse on her people.
As you'll see later, this is part of the underlying story: the living Empress does *not* have the power to lift the curse. Only the First Empress does... ;D

Chapter 15
- Okay, what did you think of Reza's final Challenge??

Again, they really don't kid around with training their warriors! One thing I didn't understand-and it is probably b/c I missed it-is why would the Kreelans set up a Challenge in which a great number of their best warriors are maimed or killed? It just seems like a system that is self-defeating and unsustainable. To survive the Challenge without winning it, does one have to voluntarily give up or is it always a fight to the death?
Well, just to elaborate a little, the Challenge is normally judged: it's still very brutal and hard-fought - and can sometimes be accidentally lethal - but each fight is presided over by a judge who calls the match to an end before (normally) anybody gets hurt too badly.

I have to admit, it didn't seem like Reza earned the win in the final Challenge. Without the Ancient Ones' help, he would have been killed, so it seemed unfair that his competitor then died.
Really just an unfortunate twist of fate for his competitor more than anything else. But the Ancient Ones intervened precisely because he would've lost...and died. And they knew that couldn't be allowed...

- And if you were in Reza's place, what do you think you would have done??
Being Reza, I don't think he could have done differently. Maybe if he were taken younger and had no recollection of his parents, or if he had never met Nicole or Wiley on Hallmark, he would have chosen to stay with the Kreelans. Still, it is hard to believe he would give up Esah-Zhurah.

Also, I'm surprised the Empress let him go instead of killing him when he decided he couldn't betray their soulless human enemies.
Well, giving up Esah-Zhurah obviously wasn't easy! :(

As for the Empress letting him go, he was by then one of her own, and was following the most honorable - if painful - course of action. He had done no wrong to the Empire, and in fact probably would have been in trouble had he stayed, because the Empress (and certainly Tesh-Dar and Esah-Zhurah) would have known that he was in emotional conflict. And that no doubt would have caused serious trouble on down the line..
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
gertiekindle said:
Yeah, but your fingers are. Hey, if your fingers can take the blame, they can take the credit, too. ;)
So true!

And OMG! I was digging around in our junk room and found the three-ring binder with some of my original stories in it, including the one that spawned In Her Name. Will have to read through it - it's probably gonna be really bad! LOL!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
PraiseGod13 said:
Okay.... I just finished chapter 16 and I'm totally drained! I am WAY more "invested" in this than I realized. First I was upset with Reza for being able to leave his loyalty to humans behind (I thought)..... now I'm reeling because he can't. Chapter 16 about tore me in half and I wasn't sure what I wanted him to do.... and yet the decision he made - walking away from what he had struggled so long to gain (and then some).... left me cheering for him and crying at the price he was paying.... along with with the Empress, TD and EZ. It made me feel like he's experiencing a "death" (and me along with him... thanks, Mike! :'( ) because the man he has become has decided to "die" to everything he has come to love and honor.... in order to not bring death to those of his heritage. It's a self-sacrifice.... he cares more for the lives of other humans - that he doesn't even know - than he does for what his own life is and sharing it with those he's come to love.
I totally agree with Gertie that the scene when he loses his bloodsong was the hardest for me to take.
I've been doing really well with sticking close to our reading schedule but that's going out the window for the rest of this week-end. I have to read more immediately! Supper will have to be leftovers - I have no time to cook. For some strange reason, I have a major craving for Dr. Pepper...... ::)
Yes, he definitely has a difficult path to walk. Keep your seatbelt cinched tight, though - you fell down the rabbit hole when Reza was taken to the Empire, and you're about to fall down a different one with the next chapter...! <evil grin>
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Neekeebee said:
While I am looking forward to reading more, I realize now that I have not yet jumped into Book II b/c there is a part of me that is not quite ready to leave the Kreelan world behind. I don't know that Book II will go back to the humans or Reza finding his way there or what, but I'm sort of reluctant move out of the realm of Reza in Kreelan-world.

N :)
Tiny spoler:
you'll be leaving the Empire behind...for now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Ann Von Hagel said:
I'm barely skimming the posts because I'm behind in my reading. . . .gotta go to work some, ya know. . .but I have finished through Chapter 14 where EZ is whipped. . . .excellent writing Mike. . .I may have to purchase a paper copy to give to my son as I think he'd really enjoy it. . . .

Ann
Ann - glad you're enjoying it and doing some catching up! Yeah, that whole work thing is really a pain in the butt, isn't it?? :(

And that'd be cool if your son would enjoy it, too - the more, the merrier! LOL!! ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
bkworm8it said:
Hi All,

Ok I've made it to chapt 23. With just a few issues, i'm really enjoying the book.
Well, if they're mechanical things that can be corrected (or even if something else), feel free to let me know by PM or whatever - constructive feedback is *always* welcome! ;D

I feel so bad for Reza. What a very hard decision to make. I think no matter which way he chose would be very hard. Talk about between a rock and a hard place!! :eek:
theresam
Yeah, the transition from chapter 16 to 17 and what comes after isn't easy... D'oh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Ann Von Hagel said:
I felt the same way. . . .there was a sense of disorientation as I started chapter 17. . . .moving on now. . . :) it's good the book Klub threads stay because I'm way behind. . . .

Ann
Ann -

Hey, good to see ya! ;D And no worries about being "behind" - that's the beauty of a virtual book club like this: anybody can join in at any time!

Yes, chapter 17 - the start of book 2 - is disorienting, because it looks at the story from a completely different perspective than the end of book 1. Once again, Reza is a stranger in a strange land...
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Britt said:
I know I'm far behind, but I thought I'd pipe in anyway!
Hey, Britt! Glad you dropped by! ;D

- This chapter gives us some of the first significant insights into the Kreelan Empress. What were your impressions of her?
She seems like she has a lot of burdens to bear, with the knowledge of thousands of generations of Empresses past, but she seems to accept her role with dignity and grace. She doesn't let the power go to her head and seems to value her sister's input greatly.
Yeah, it's impossible, I think, to appreciate the load she bears. But then again, the Kreelan race is far, far older than ours...

- Did you think it was wise for Esah-Zhurah to confide in the old armorer, Pan'ne-Sharakh?
I think so. I mean, what could she do, tattle to the Empress? ;D I suppose she could have, but she saw promise in Reza back when others still called him "animal." I felt that she would be sympathetic (as much as a Kreelan can be) toward Esah-Zhurah's and Reza's predicament. She also has the knowledge of age, so it seems natural that she would be able to offer advice or help in some way.
Yeah, it's not like any of the Empress's children can exactly do a parental appeal type of thing! D'oh! But I think better than any of the others, Pan'ne-Sharakh was able to get past the otherwise very xenophobic nature of her species.

- What were your thoughts as you read what happened between Esah-Zhurah and Reza at the grotto during their free time before their final Challenge?
The scene with the ritual (and its aftermath ;)) was very powerful and emotional!
;D

- Okay, raise your hand if you would've just run like heck from what appears in this chapter! <I have both hands up>
Oh, yeah. I don't think I could take on a genoth (or that I would have the guts -no pun intended!- to pry out its eyestones).
Yeah, that's like when one of our boys said one time, "It'd be so cool if there were real dinosaurs!" I said, "No it wouldn't. Guess what they'd eat?"

- Were you surprised at what Esah-Zhurah asks of Tesh-Dar, in order to give Reza a fair chance in the Challenge? And what did you think of what happened to Esah-Zhurah on the Kalai-Il?
Not at all. It's clear that they would do anything for each other, including risking death. They have done it before and they would do it again. The irrational side of me was hoping that the Priestess would go easy on her, but the rational side of me knew it wouldn't be possible. Especially with the peers watching... she has a rep to protect, after all. 8)
Yeah, I can't imagine how much that would've hurt. Ow!

- We also get a very significant glimpse of the power of the Empress in this chapter after Esah-Zhurah's punishment is given. What did you think of this?
I was surprised, actually. I knew the Empress must have great power but I assumed Time and Death were beyond even her power. I was wrong. :D
Oh, just you wait... ;D

- Okay, what did you think of Reza's final Challenge??
To me, his disappearance seemed a little unfair, but I did not think that the Kreelans would see it that way. The Ancient Ones wanted Reza to win, and I doubt any Kreelan would even think to go against Their wishes.
It was unfair in a way. But you also have to remember that he only started his training in his early teens, while his competitors had been training virtually since birth. So he needed a little help...and it won't be the last time as you read on...

- What did you think of the time Reza and Esah-Zhurah spent at the temple of the Desh-Ka?
It totally reminded me of Narnia! The kids go into the wardrobe, months pass, they come back and it's only been like five minutes in real time. Lol! I figured Esah-Zhurah would emerge with white hair and ebony talons, but the green eyes and crimson talons (Christmas Kreelan? LOL) were definitely a surprise, since I don't think it was mentioned before that the Keel-Tath was the only one who ever had red talons.
Ha! I never even thought of that, but you're right: the wardrobe!! It's funny, because I had never read any of the Chronicles of Narnia until years after I'd written IHN!

- Were you surprised at what happens at the end of the chapter? And what do you think *did* happen??
I am very upset with Reza right now! Honor, schmonor, what about everything Esah-Zhurah has done for him? She's risked her life and her honor to help him survive, and he's worked so hard to get where he is--freakin' priest of the Desh-Ka!--and he's going to throw it all away for a life he barely remembers? And what about the Prophecy? Maybe there's a hidden part that says something like this is supposed to happen? I understand that he must feel conflicted and obviously isn't taking the decision lightly, but still! Grr! And if I were Esah-Zhurah, I would feel so betrayed. I am happy that the Kreelans still look upon him with honor, though. That would be horrible if he changed his mind and had to earn their respect all over again! Since he disappeared like he did in the Final Challenge, I guess the Ancient Ones took him somewhere to be among humans.
Well, I think it all boils down to being true to oneself. I think it's simply part of his inner character, and he simply couldn't reconcile that with his Kreelan sense of honor. As you'll soon see, it was not a sacrifice he made lightly.

And what happened to him was from the power of the Empress. She has lots of tricks up her sleeve (robe?)... ;D

- And if you were in Reza's place, what do you think you would have done??
I would have stayed. I love someone as much as Esah-Zhurah and Reza love each other, and I can't imagine my life on any planet without him :)
Awwww... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Ann in Arlington said:
Incidentally, apropos of nothing in particular, my son is home for Easter. . .he's enjoying In Her Name which I got for him in paper version. He had a couple of friends over and mentioned it to them. One asked who the author was and when I said "Michael Hicks" she said. . . ."I've heard of him!" I gather she worked for several years in a book store.

Ann
What a crackup! Glad your son's enjoying the book!

Interesting about his friend knowing of a Michael Hicks. It's quite likely she isn't thinking of me, though (as cool as that might be for my little ego!): there are a ton of Michael Hicks's running around, including some other authors (although none of those "other guys" write about blue-skinned sword-wielding vixens!). In fact, there are four more of "me" at work! So I try to blame one of the others when I do something bad, although that never seems to work very well... ::)

One time a number of years ago I got an email. It was from Michael Hicks, addressed to a whole slew of other Michael Hicks's (including me, obviously). There must've been something like thirty or forty of us on there. He was trying to drum up interest in forming a "Michael Hicks Club". No, I didn't join - nobody else was interested in wearing underwear on their heads... ;D
 
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