“Disgrace doesn’t last forever.”
In this chapter we meet a friendly face, Ky’s former flight instructor Gaspard. He lets her co-pilot despite her uncle’s wishes, establishing Ky as a competent pilot as well as someone who is pretty patient and follows orders well. We’re into regret in Ky’s head at this point, further drawing us into the emotion of the character that helps us to relate to her further. It’s a great tactic in Ms. Moon’s writing that displays her mastery of character and evoking emotion in the reader.
The quote above comes from Gaspard, and it hits on the theme of a number of Ms. Moon’s novels. I’ve noticed that several open with a character in disgrace or a contrived disgrace of some form, and a redemption story unfolds where the character gets to display they’re not only competent, but often the cream of the crop in their field. I take this comment by the supporting character to be a foreshadow of what’s to come in the novel.
Ky gets dropped back into family life, where we meet an old war vet who works for the family, her father and her brother back on her home islands. Ky is swept into a whirlwind of emotions to deal with, and we fall into a familiar familial pattern I see in a lot of books where the family “knows whats best”. They’re trying to help, but annoyingly so as they’re being overbearing. This works great with characters who have prominent backgrounds to spur the character into some independence, and gives us a secondary cause to root for. It also drives the main plot of the story as it sends Ky on a hero’s quest.
Another great thing Ms. Moon has done here is gave us a looming sense of dread of talking to Ky’s mother. In Ch1 Ky told the reader how she didn’t want to call her mother, and in 2 there’s been a build up of “your mother wants to talk to you” which adds another personal gravity to the situation. When we get to her, her mother is immediately overbearing, doesn’t listen, concerned with trivial things, and certainly doesn’t “get” Ky. We learn this within a page of reading about her, in a very poignant matter, and quite well relate to why the character wouldn’t want to talk to her mother in the first place. Ms. Moon uses this bit with her mother picking out clothes for a secondary task as well — giving some physical description to the main character without infodump.
The end of the chapter has Ky preparing for her hero’s journey, and gives us some cool sci-fi, an implant that interfaces with her mind to give her access to databases. Her implant gives enhanced memory, and also gives an array of data about day to day life. I’m sure we’ll learn more of its functions later. The chapter ends with another reminder of overbearing family doubting Ky’s capabilities, despite the fact that she seems rather competent to us readership. At this point, I felt it was a little bit over the top of a reinforcement, as we’d already gotten that from her family preparing her near-term future and her mother’s actions, but it was only a couple of lines so it doesn’t overburden the reader too much.
Onto adventure in chapter 3, or more waiting with the family? We shall see!