Welcome to the final post in the read-along of James S.A. Corey’s Persepolis Rising! Beware below of spoilers of the series to date. This week’s questions are provided by Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow. I’d also like to report that I’m back to my usual schedule, and once again working happily on upcoming reviews and short fiction spotlights. This read-along has been a lot of fun, and I certainly hope we can all team up again to community-read the final two novels of the series when they’re out!
1. There's no hope for some people... What was your response to Singh's ultimate failure, and his fate? Does anyone feel sympathy for him at this point?
I don’t feel sympathy for him, but I do feel bad for his wife and daughter. It looks like he was set up for a fall, though I think he was given room to either rise to the challenge of leadership or crash. He was doing a spectacularly terrible job of bringing Medina together as a community, but I am glad he was stopped before he started just indiscriminately killing people en masse. I’m wondering if his wife will be a main character in the coming book, as she tries to make sense of her government uncaringly sacrificing someone she loved. It’s possible this could be the crack through which she really starts to understand the horror of her society.
2. Naomi has The Hardest Decision to make - to save Jim, or to save the rest of her family and the resistance. How do you feel about her actions, and her perspective, in the final chapters?
I think she did what she had to do. I admit I was wondering if she would take the Rocinante to Laconia, and try to do some kind of a stealth rescue. I don’t think it would have been possible to pull something like that off, though, so I’m glad she went with the others to Freehold. Also, it was ultimately very important that she was there to back up Clarissa. Without both of them working together, those sensors would not have been deactivated.
3. So. Not everyone on Team Rocinante made it to safety... What did you make of Clarissa's sacrifice?
I am sad that she’s gone, but it was a meaningful sacrifice. She and Naomi both had to be there to make the plan work, and there’s no way they could have beaten the guards without Clarissa using her implants one last time. I feel like there’s kind of a contrast and a parallel between how her and Singh’s lives ended. She chose to sacrifice herself, she saved many people, and in the end she was not afraid. Singh chose to sacrifice other people, his life was discarded by his government, and in the end he was terrified. I think both of their deaths will leave a lasting mark on history, though Clarissa’s will be more positive and less well-known.
4. Holden meets Duarte, and we finally learn his ultimate goal, if not precisely his plans for achieving it. How blown was your mind? And is Duarte a madman, or could he just maybe be onto something...?
Oh, I still think he’s meddling with things far beyond his ability to control. I also think there’s bound to be some terrible eventual side effects of having incorporated protomolecule into his own body. I don’t think provoking a confrontation with the civilization-killers is a good idea at all, and I think we could have just avoided the situation indefinitely. Humanity does need to learn to make smarter collective decisions about their future, but a dictator is not going to be able to help with that.
--It was pretty amazing that Bobbie and Amos were able to take Singh’s ship. With that, I feel like they do have a chance for the future. The technology gap was just too much otherwise, and Drummer’s army didn’t have enough information to win.
--Speaking of Drummer, the battle and surrender was pretty painful to read. It was also sad to see Avasarala saying that all of her life’s work was irrelevant (for the record, I don’t think that’s true). I’m hoping we’ll at least get to see Holden and Drummer working against Laconia from the inside in the next novel.
--Did I hear a hint that Elvi might be back in the next book? Her adolescent-romance angst annoyed me in Cibola Burn, but I’d be really interested to see how she’s doing after 30 years. I bet she’s a pretty established and respected scientific expert at this point.
--I’m also wondering if we might see some new viewpoint characters in the next books. Our only viewpoint character from the new generation (Singh) is, well, no more. I’m hoping either for Singh’s wife or Duarte’s daughter to become a viewpoint character for the next one.