Book club – The Eye of Night

Hi and welcome to the first book club discussion. By now you should’ve gotten your copies of The Eye of Night and have read them. I hope you’re all ready for a great discussion. eye of night cover

Here are some questions to get us started:

What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?

What did you think about the love story between Jereth and Hwyn?

How did you feel about the ending?

What was your favorite part of the book?

Do you think the author gave Hwyn such a lovely voice to compensate for her lack of physical beauty?

Did the book make you cry? *g*

Feel free to post other comments as well. I’m going to refrain until the discussion has really gotten started. I don’t want to make anyone feel they must agree with me. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you all have to say! If you haven’t gotten a copy of this and read it, do it quickly! We’ll be talking about this all week. Then on Friday, we’ll decide what book we should read next.

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26 Responses to Book club – The Eye of Night

  1. Kerry D. says:

    I still haven’t quite finished – I’m about 60% done – but I’m loving the book all the same. I’m looking forward to the discussion and will keep on reading to finish as soon as possible.

    My first comment, which relates to the front of the book, is that I thought the map was incredibly sneaky. I was a decent way into the story before I finally figured out why it was confusing me so much. We just assume north is at the top and turning it around tricked me very efficiently.

    I’ll comment more on the book as I get futher through it.

  2. MeganS. says:

    I really enjoyed The Eye of Night. It’s not a book I would have chosen to pick up for myself; epic fantasy has never really been my thing. But I’m SO glad to have read this, because the characters were AMAZING and their emotional journeys were what made their quest riveting.

    What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?
    There was a lot going on with the idea of appearances being deceiving (or at the very least not telling the whole story), and about the consequences (and sometimes necessity) of picking and choosing what you tell others (knowledge shared, knowledge hidden). Hidden Goddess, indeed.

    What did you think about the love story between Jereth and Hwyn?
    I was completely wrapped up in it. :) Their insecurities about themselves made their journeys to love themselves (and love each other) all the more powerful.

    How did you feel about the ending?
    I’m torn, actually. The last pages from Hwyn’s death onward, I devoured really quickly (because I refused to believe this story could end so unhappily) and was quite relieved when Jereth reunited with the Holdouts of Larioneth and seeing how they were saved, and really seeing how a new world was born. And then Hwyn’s return! (!!!) Though I was sort of disappointed that she came back so so pure/beautiful/untouched, when Hwyn’s imperfections really shaped who she was, and Jereth had always loved her even without perfect beauty. I can understand that it was part of her rebirth, but I was still a little taken aback.

    And I’ll give other people a chance to talk now. :)

  3. Kerry D. says:

    I’ve finished the book now and was very impressed with it. I’ll let my thoughts mull away overnight and hopefully I’ll have something to say tomorrow.

  4. Ann Aguirre says:

    What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?

    For me, it was rebirth: of the world, of the protagonists, who find a second-chance at happiness together. I’m a sucker for the underdog or misfits, and this book had both in spades.

    Love story between Jereth and Hwyn:

    OMG. It’s like she was speaking to a personal fantasy of mine, where the ugly girl gets the guy. And it doesn’t particularly matter whether he’s specially handsome. It’s just so important to give that message that everyone is worthy of love. Everyone. When he confessed his love to her at the prison, it was perfect.

    The ending:

    Megan, I was a little ambivalent about the end as well. I was so relieved that she brought Hwyn back, but at first I took it as a simple Beauty and the Beast style transformation. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve come to consider it in a different light and I see it as a reward for Hwyn’s faith and sacrifice. I mean, if the gods can bring her back, born in the womb of the sea, why couldn’t they heal her too? I think it’s enough that Jereth loved her as she was — and mind you, he was actually disappointed at first that she wasn’t his Hwyn– but he loves her so much that he’ll take her in any form.

    Damn, now I’m sniffly again.

  5. Kerry D. says:

    A comment on Hwyn’s rebirth, which I’ve been thinking about…

    I was ambivalent at first as well, because so often the ugly girl turns out to be beautiful after all and it kind of reduces the love of her hero. But then I thought about it a bit. If Hwyn had simply survived, I would have been very annoyed if she’s suddenly been turned beautiful. But she didn’t survive, she was reborn. And after all she had been through, if she was going to reborn she deserved to be able to see, to stand straight and to live a life without pain and limitation. Sure, Jereth didn’t need those things to happen to her, but if getting a new beginning, why should HWYN be limited all over again. This is about Hywn, not Jereth.

    I have CFS/ME and it significantly limits my life. If I was going to get a chance to be reborn, I would really rather not have it again as there are so many things I can’t do. Sure, my husband and son would love me anyway, but shouldn’t starting over mean without those pains and limits.

    Hwyn earned her rebirth and she earned a chance to live that new life pain-free and unlimited.

    So I guess basically I’m agreeing with Ann.

  6. Susan says:

    What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?

    One that hasn’t been mentioned yet is
    names. A person’s true name is powerful. Truth itself in EON is a powerful weapon; Hwyn’s truth-telling is her most frightening ability for the various bad guys. Jereth’s gift of naming is akin to this–he can see who people truly are.

    I think truth and love are the central powers in Eye of Night.

    What did you think about the love story between Jereth and Hwyn?

    I love unlikely matches, and I love it when the ugly girl gets the hero.

    How did you feel about the ending?

    I thought it was perfect. I agree that Hwyn’s rebirth as someone no longer deformed was not a reward of beauty, but a reward of health. She was born again as she should have been in the first place. The beauty was within her all the time.

    Do you think the author gave Hwyn such a lovely voice to compensate for her lack of physical beauty?

    I think it made Hwyn more of a paradox, and pointed to that beauty hidden within her.

  7. Ann Aguirre says:

    Susan, you make a really good point about the naming.

    Which brings me to something I liked a great deal — Pauline’s magic in the world. I loved that there weren’t wizards running about, casting spells. I loved that it was more mystical and subtle, like Jereth’s gift of naming.

    I loved the mythos of the four gods. I found it some of the best world-building I’ve seen, both complex and well-articulated.

    So where’s everyone else, I wonder? I sent out ten copies of this book. We should be having a cracking discussion by now.

  8. Brandy W says:

    Hold on I’m almost there. Hubby got to come home from training for a short break and derailed me a bit.

  9. Kerry D. says:

    Okay, I’ll throw in another comment, this time on theme.

    It’s been interesting to see the comments about that, as I saw the theme of the book as something else again. I saw it as about needing balance, that day needs night, light needs dark and we need endings to get new beginnings.

    I thought the gods of the wheel showed that, and Hwyn basically said it several times. That’s what I picked up on first and foremost.

    I’m currently trying (emphasis on the trying as it is so hard to articulate all the good things about this book as well as not forget something I want to say) to write my review of the book for my blog. I’m hoping that will help me get my ideas in order and I’ll have more to say. I do know I have a few more things to say.

  10. Cynthya says:

    I’m still thinking about it. Yes, it did make me cry! I agree about the magic, I liked how that was done. Actually reading the comments has made me happier with the ending.

  11. Brandy W says:

    I agree with Kerry about the balance theme. I think in the beginning when Hwyn talked about light and dark it really, ending become beginnings it struck a chord with me. You have to have one in order to have the other or chaos reigns.

  12. Ruth says:

    I apologize that I have not finished the book. I managed to get a spectacular case of cold/flu and have not finished.

    I will try to get at least my thoughts pulled together by tomorrow of what I completed and maybe finish reading.

  13. Susan says:

    Thanks, Ann.

    The magic in Eye of Night strikes me as organic, if that makes sense to anyone but me. It’s not what the people do, it’s part of who they are. I like Hwyn and Jereth much better being magical than I would possessing magical abilities and waving wands around and arguing over how to pronounce alohomora.

    I like what the previous posters said about balance. I loved what Pauline did with the gods, as well.

  14. Jennifer says:

    What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?

    The one that struck me right away while reading it was that things are not always what they seem and not to judge people based on appearances.

    What did you think about the love story between Jereth and Hwyn?

    I’ve read a lot of romantic SF and fantasy and this was one of the best love stories in a speculative fiction book I’ve ever read. I’m also a complete sucker for “imperfect” heroes and heroines.

    How did you feel about the ending?

    Normally, I don’t like stories in which the disabled person gets cured in the end (like Kerry, I have a chronic illness, Crohn’s in my case), but this time it worked for me because Hwyn was reborn and I have to agree with others about her being rewarded by being free of pain and disability.

    Did the book make you cry? *g*

    I got a bit teary-eyed, but I didn’t cry, which surprises me a bit.

    I also loved the subtle magic and the religion in this book. I’ve found over the past few years that the only type of fantasy that really works for me has a unique magic system instead of the same old wizards, elves, etc.

  15. Pauline Alama says:

    Hi, everyone, and thank you so much for reading my book!! I’ve been a little hesitant to chime in–I don’t want to be a conversation-killer, like, “author comes around and explains everything, end of discussion.” I definitely think the meaning of a story is something readers as well as writers create. But I did want to throw in something about the ending. We know Hwyn is beautiful at the end because…because…because…her man says she is. I love first-person narrators. They’re so biased.

  16. Ann Aguirre says:

    OMG!! I -never- thought of that.

    Never.

    Guys, that’s amazing. Coz, see, he thought she was beautiful before.

    Daaaaaaaaaaaamn.

  17. Ruth says:

    One of the interesting items as well is the love/hate relationship with water that Jareth has. His family is killed by the water, the floods destry many lands (and he thought Larioneth but at the end, the water returns his lost love and the other dead as needed.

    What did the beginning brokeness of the hidden goddess say? So, one part of her is in Eye of the Night Stone and the other in Trenara. When we are hurting, confused, angry…have we left a part of ourselves somewhere and thus feel these broken emotions?

    The relationship between Hywnn and Jareth is so bitter sweet. As Hywnn laid dying and Jareth wanted to take her place…such love made me cry all the more.

    The ending…I love the thought that certain people are born as the world needs them. I also thought of the ones that were not reborn or miscarried. How much more would the world have changed if they had been brought back?

    With the rebirth of Hwynn, do you think that is when the Mirror of St. Fiern was found by Warfast or was it ever found?

    Okay, I have a bad cold/flu and have been blowing my nose consistently. You throw this book in there that made me cry…my nose is doomed to be red for days but it was worth it.

    Sorry for the thoughts going all over the place…I will blame it on being sick.

  18. Brandy W says:

    I get ya with the love/hate water thing with Jareth. Water was his life and home until his family died. Then it eventually gave him back his love. The water was pain and happiness.

  19. Brandy W says:

    Oh and I liked that we heard Jareth through the book. I always enjoy the man’s perspective. And yes no matter what Hwyn was beautiful in Jareth’s mind. I didn’t even occur to me that the reason she is beautiful was because he said so. I love it Pauline.

    Okay going back to my hole now. Must clean house and make cake.

  20. Kerry D. says:

    I have finished my review of the book for my blog. It’s long, so I’ll only provide the link at this point. I can post it here if people want, but otherwise, take a look on my blog if you’re interested.

    The Eye of Night – Pauline J. Alama

  21. Ruth says:

    Kerry, I really enjoyed your review. I liked your thoughts on needing balance in the world.

    Thanks Ms. Alama for the great insight into the first person.

    Susan, You are right about the naming. It is even more pronounced at the end of only through the naming that the rebirth occurs.

    Thanks Ms. Aguirre for the book. I appreciate reading a great book that I would not have found by myself. This is what I have become addicted to the reading blogs to expand my reading materials.

  22. Susan says:

    Awesome review, Kerry!

  23. Darby Lohrding says:

    Was the next book posted????
    What is it? Sorry I seemed to of missed the announcement!
    Thanks
    Darby
    darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

  24. AJK says:

    ….OH MY GOD THANK YOU GOOGLE SEARCH FOR DIRECTING ME HERE.

    I’ve been looking for online discussion of this book ever since I first read it years ago. My mother brought it to me one day when she returned from shopping. I never even bothered to ask her where she bought it…I just started reading. I’ve read it over a dozen times since then. I’m so excited to find this post :D So here is my review!

    What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?
    It’s been so long since I very first read it that I can barely remember my first impression. I think I was too busy wishing really, really hard that Jereth and Hwyn would get together to notice any themes in the beginning :P I will admit that the first theme I noticed was definitely the whole ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ thing. I picked up on the fact that Hwyn was the smart one and Trenara was the simpleton almost immediately. After reading it so many times I’m much more able to see the underlying themes of balance and unity. The Gods on the Wheel, the water that took Jereth’s family but gave him Hwyn, even Jereth and Hwyn themselves–neither was whole without the other.

    What did you think about the love story between Jereth and Hwyn?
    Man I was rooting for that to happen the whole time–from the moment he dove on Lord Dannoth to protect her! The first time I read his confession of love in the prison, I’m pretty sure I said “YES!” really loudly.
    How did you feel about the ending?

    What was your favorite part of the book?
    I loved the time they spent in Folcsted for some reason. Maybe because that was when Jereth finally let himself realize how crazy he was about Hwyn.

    Do you think the author gave Hwyn such a lovely voice to compensate for her lack of physical beauty?
    Sort of. Think about it…if Hywn didn’t have that voice, she’d have no way to earn her way in the world other than laboring and stealing. Times would have been a lot harder for her, her life a lot worse than it already had been. Singing was, very obviously, her escape from the crueler parts of the world. She must have been so much happier when she could sing AND have Jereth with her :)

    Did the book make you cry?
    I don’t think so…but books rarely do.

    • AJK says:

      Wow, missed the whole “How did you feel about the ending?” part. My baaad.

      How did you feel about the ending?
      The part that I thought was the ending or the ending ending? Haha. I threw the book and refused to read it for the rest of the night after Hwyn died. Of course, I picked it back up again. Trenara being the Hidden Goddess boggled my mind a little, but it made sense. I was just so happy that Hwyn came back to Jereth–if that’d hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have reread the book so many times.

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