Chapter 6- Getting Down From a Tree

In this chapter we’re abruptly introduced to a new POV character named Kyja. If you’re guessing that she’s the girl Marcus meets up with in his dreams, then you’re absolutely positively wrong. It’s morning, she’s still in bed, and is being harassed by a creature named Riph Raph, who seems to be acting as her alarm clock. Their interactions I think are supposed to be humorous, but like everything Savage has written thus far, it’s dull and bland.

“Okay,” the voice called. “You asked for it.” All at once, a sharp beak closed on the tip of her big toe.

“Ouch!” Kyja shouted. She sat up to find a teal-blue, reptilian face staring at her from the foot of her bed. Pointed leathery ears wagged back and forth as a pair of bulbous, yellow eyes blinked owlishly.

“Let go, Riph Raph!” she shouted, trying to pull her foot away.

“‘Ot until you ‘romise ‘o gee’ up,” the skyte said around a mouthful of foot. It wrapped its scaly tail about its glistening blue body and flapped its small wings.

“I can’t understand a word you’re saying.” Kyja pulled her foot again.

Riph Raph released her toe. “I said, not until you promise to get up.”

Riph Raph is supposed to be a sort of mini-dragon which is called a skyte. I actually like the idea of a dwarf dragon. It’s obvious that, given that there’s a dragon in Kyja’s bed, we’re not in Kansas (Arizona) anymore. But if he really is a miniature dragon, couldn’t Savage have just written that and spared us the excess description? I think we all know what a dragon looks like. Riph Raph is called an “it” in this first exchange, but then later on the same page he’s called a “he.” Also, the word “shout” has been used twice in half a page to describe Kyja’s way of talking. It makes me wonder if an editor really looked over these pages. It also makes me wonder if Kyja is supposed to be really spunky or just bitchy.

The two engage in friendly (tedious) banter as Kyja gets ready for the day. Riph Raph belches fire. Then we get this lovely sentence.

The small, dragon-like creature blinked and licked its foreleg.

If he looks like a dragon, why didn’t you just say so in the first place?! That makes about as much sense as me describing a Shetland pony in as detailed a way as possible and then moments later describing it as a “small, horse-like creature.”

This is a miniature version….

……of this.

There are differences, but for the sake of description, calling both a horse is easiest. Same for the skyte and dragon. They’re both fire-breathing, flying reptiles. One is just smaller than the other. Also, after it’s already been established Riph Raph is male, why is he being called an “it” again?

We get a quick infodump on Kyja’s backstory. She, like Marcus, is also an orphan who was discovered abandoned at birth. le gasp What could this possibly mean? She’s been “taken in” by Mr. and Mrs. Goodnuff, a couple who own a farm. And yes, she wasn’t adopted, just taken in. In fact, she lives in the upper level of the Goodnuffs’ barn. Which is a great place to keep a child.

And they’d never once looked down on her or treated her badly because of her… differences.

Differences? So nice of Savage to not tell us what these differences are.

Riph Raph reminds Kyja that she has an appointment with a wizard by the name of Master Therapass that morning. Kyja, who completely forgot, gets all flustered and decides to yell at Riph Raph for not reminding her.

I’m leaning more and more toward thinking she’s just a complete jerk. It should be HER job to remind herself of her appointments, not the skyte’s.

The two exchange some snarky comments, then Kyja goes down to the lower level of the barn. It’s her job to take care of all the animals, who can talk.

And they tell really bad jokes. Really, really bad jokes.

“What did the veterinarian say to the shrinking cow?” the horse asked, over her protest.

When Kyja ignored his question and moved on to the next stall, Pepper, a black filly with a white patch on her forehead neighed, “What did he say?”

“I guess you’ll just have to be a little patient,” the stallion answered. “A little patient.” All across the barn, the horses whinnied laughter and stomped their hooves.

Oh, Savage. You so funny. There are more jokes, but it would kill me (not from laughter) to put them in this spork. Kyja claims to usually be amused by the animals’ jokes. Sigh. The pigs, who are busy grubbing about in the mud, hate the jokes and disdain the other animals, calling them “[l]owbrows” and “[h]eathens”. I’m with the pigs on this. Not on wallowing in mud though. That’s not all that fun.

Kyja gathers up the eggs from the chickens, ignores the cows’ full udders, and then leaves in a hurry for her appointment.

I hope these animals don’t end up being important characters.

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Comment

  1. LoneWolf on 21 April 2012, 15:33 said:

    I hope that Riph Raph will say nothing about ‘food affect’ing your Mood’!

    Differences? So nice of Savage to not tell us what these differences are.

    According to the reviews, she’s anti-magcial – can’t be affected by magic or use it herself. It’s actually better then “OMG I have magic and everyone hates me”.

  2. swenson on 21 April 2012, 15:45 said:

    And now we’ve gone from “bland and uninteresting” into full-on “stab me in the eyes with a fork” territory. I loathe talking animals. The only book for people older than three years old that I’ve ever read that could pull off talking animals was the Chronicles of Narnia, and then it only worked because it was an animal-dominated society with very few humans and there was a clear distinction between mere animals (which could ethically be milked, ridden, butchered for food, etc.) and talking beasts.

  3. LoneWolf on 21 April 2012, 16:23 said:

    Well, there’re quite a lot of books with talking animals with a relatively adult fanbase, but you’re correct in pointing out that most of them are about animal-dominated societies with little or no humans.

    I don’t think that talking animals are bad in itself, however, the “talking animals in a human-dominated society” plot usually has problems with reconciling the sapience of talking domesticated animals with their animal function. If these horses are sentient and sapient, why do they still need humans to take care of them and don’t resent being locked in a barn? It’s easier with wild animals, though.

  4. Mangraa on 22 April 2012, 03:34 said:

    I’m partly expecting some kind of twist, like she is schizophrenic and believes the animals talk but they don’t. Can’t use our be affected by magic takes care of reality-testing magic.. A weird named Therapass, eh? Sounds close to therapist, oddly enough. Long-lost sister vibes resonate strongly from this one…

  5. LoneWolf on 22 April 2012, 04:02 said:

    _Sounds close to therapist, oddly enough. _

    Reminds me of Humbert Humbert from Lolita: “I am not the rapist, I am the therapist”.

  6. Erin on 22 April 2012, 22:15 said:

    Oh man. That joke is bad enough. Repeating the punchline just makes it worse.

  7. Betty Cross on 23 April 2012, 07:32 said:

    The only book for people older than three years old that I’ve ever read that could pull off talking animals was the Chronicles of Narnia, and then it only worked because it was an animal-dominated society with very few humans and there was a clear distinction between mere animals (which could ethically be milked, ridden, butchered for food, etc.) and talking beasts.

    I think it’s a safe bet Gloria Tesch will never read this.