The Grotto – The Bloody Cheekbone
(p194 – p277)
Steerpike’s evil plan actually worked! I thought that something would go wrong with his fire setting, so was quite surprised that everything went like clockwork. It is quite appropriate that things seem to be unravelling for him now though – Fuchsia is giving little hints about the convenience of the pre-cut ladder and those evil twins are demanding their reward. I like the way these seeds of trouble are spreading throughout the castle – it is giving the plot a fantastic sense of foreboding.
Despite his misdemeanors I still love Steerpike and this was especially evident when I felt sympathy for him during the cat attack.
Throughout the library fire I didn’t care whether any of the other characters were killed or injured. Steerpike is still the only character I connect with. Do you feel empathy for any of the characters?
I was never a big fan of Keda, but this week I realised that I don’t like her character. She seems out of place in this novel and the scene in which her lovers battled with each other made me think I was reading a different book. I had to stop and re-read the beginning of this chapter to remind myself who these strange men were, and once I realised, I found the whole episode a bit bizarre. It was like something from a Western and the outcome was so convenient that it reduced my opinion of the section even further. Did anyone else have a problem with the lover’s battle?
This week everything seems to have stepped up a level. The plot is getting more complex, the language appears to be increasingly dense and there is a greater frequency of events that make no sense to me. I am used to reading books based in reality and so I am finding some of the plot a bit strange. I am hoping that everything will be explained at some point as I don’t like this feeling that I’m not quite getting it. One example of this is the Sourdust’s burial. Why was he buried with the calf’s head? That seemed very weird to me.
Another is the Earl’s transformation into an owl. I feel as though there must be some symbolism behind this, but I haven’t quite worked it out yet.
This all sounds as though I’m being a bit negative, but that is not the case. I am still in love with this book and actually like the fact it is making me think; living in my thoughts long after I have closed the pages.
I’ll finish with the best quote about Titus Groan that I’ve found this week:
Titus Groan is not so much a book as it is a sensual feast for the brain. The Night Land Journal