(Apologies for getting this post up a day late. Things have been hectic this past week, but I should be back on track and can catch up on everyone’s comments now.)
For the second week of this summer reading program, we will discuss the second act of The Isolator (volume 1) and Twilight-Colored Song User (volume 1). For The Isolator, you need to have read chapters 5, 6, and 7 (ending at page 138). Meanwhile for Song User, you need to have read the “interval play” and “third play” chapters.
If you have read further ahead, please refrain from spoiling anything past the points in the stories mentioned above.
Act two of The Isolator featured the Biter Takaesu kidnapping Tomomi, then Minoru and subsequently Yumiko intervening, then Takaesu escaping, recovering, and finally kidnapping Norie in hopes of having his revenge on Minoru. It’s a pretty straightforward series of events, but I’ve found it all engaging enough so far. I’ve continued to appreciate how the protagonist’s character is being developed, and have also been a bit surprised by what’s been revealed from the antagonist’s point of view.
Throughout the story, there have been times where we follow events from Takaesu’s point of view. At first I felt this was just a way for the author to convey information that Minoru wouldn’t be aware of, but at this point it seems there’s more to it in a thematic sense. What purposes do you feel the author is aiming to fulfill in regularly sharing the thoughts and aims of the antagonist?
I think this story is set up in such a way that encourages a comparison to be made between Minoru and Takaesu. Though their actions and general personalities are as different as night and day, it could be interesting to look at what similarities exist in their lives. Both suffered tragic childhoods, grew up as loners, and would eventually receive a “third eye” from space. The power each obtained relates directly to how they have struggled to cope with said tragedies: Minoru attempting to mentally sever his connections with everyone else in the world, and Takaesu furiously lashing out against the world in retaliation. I find it interesting to note how while Minoru has hoped for a state of “non-existence,” Takaesu’s reforming of himself as a shark has fulfilled a similar function (i.e. no longer considering himself a human being–but with the caveat of also seeing himself as something innately superior).
The arrival of Yumiko and DD has advanced the main plot of the story, though their conversation with Minoru has mainly raised a lot of questions. What are the “third eyes” exactly? Why have they latched on to people and granted special abilities? Why are some intent on killing humans, while others aren’t? Just how much of an effect do they have on the minds of those they are tied to? Why must the existence of the “third eyes” be kept a secret from the public? Do you expect Minoru will join Yumiko and DD’s organization by the end of this volume?
Twilight-Colored Song User
Act two for this story dealt with preparations for the recital contest, and then the recital contest itself.
While Kluele managed to perform a successful Recitation, I found it interesting that Mio and Neight both failed in theirs. I don’t have a lot to add to this thought, other than finding it nice that time is being taken to show the difficulty behind the magic system of the story, and that major characters are not immune to such setbacks.
What is your take on the story’s message regarding lofty goals? How important is the effort to push yourself in self-improvement, in comparison with achieving safe results? The conversation between Kluele and the lizard familiar Arma is the scene that stuck out to me the most during this act. What do you make of the lizard’s words and Kluele’s subsequent decision?
Xins (the rainbow reciter) has revealed to Neight his connection with Evhemary (Neight’s mother and mentor), something that happened sooner than I expected. Where do you imagine this will lead, and how will it affect the rest of the book? How do you predict things will go down for the final act of this volume, what with the tampering of the “egg” catalyst that has taken place?
As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you’d like to analyze are all fair game.