“What I have to propose now affects us both.”
I continue with my read through and analysis of Elizabeth Moon’s Trading In Danger.
This chapter is quite the roller coaster. High emotion, high conflict, and a big twist to the plot. I can’t speak for certain, but a little bit past the halfway point, this is where you’d expect to see a turn of events in the novel. I doubt we’ve reached peak conflict yet, which will probably hit us around the 80-90% point, but this leaves a reader begging for more.
When writing a plot, it’s good not to give a sense that things are too easy, and to leave a mystery for readers. We met the mercs and have heard about them for several chapters now. Here, we have their perspective reinforced again with a near full chapter of Cally, who’s been tending to Ky and her ship. This perspective was very worthwhile to delve into, in my opinion, and in the transition to Cally and back really shows Moon’s mastery of being able to dance around in writing styles to form an epic plot.
Ky has been shot, injured far worse than we expected in the last chapter. In fact, she’s come close to death and brain damage. Talk about a shock to the reader. Fortunately, the mercs have some better medical capabilities than our protagonist’s ancient boat. Cally is very cautious about obtaining information about the Vattas, this ship, what’s going on, without giving out too much information herself. The fact that she is compassionate enough to assist Ky despite the fact that it gives her no reward connects us with this character, and makes her imminently sympathetic to us.
What we do learn is that the mercs understand that Ky & Company are not a threat, despite the failed attempt at heroics of one of the crew members. We also learn that this particular man had a crush on Ky, to which she was oblivious — immersed in her work. It’s a nice character angle that she doesn’t see the potential romance right in front of her face.
When Ky awakes, she first doesn’t quite know who she was or what’s going on, a testament to the brain damage that’s discussed later. We find out more on the full extent of her injuries, and it’s nice to be back in her head after such a wait. The trick of perspectives here did a lot, even knowing that this is a series, to psychologically play with the reader’s emotions to feel real concern for Ky.
We end with the twist, as Ky is brought before the merc commander: a call to action for Ky to work to find out who was responsible for destroying the ansibles. This is exactly the type of turn I like to see at this portion of the book. Trading In Danger has lived up to its expectations and exceeded it so far at this halfway point. Let’s see if it continues!