The Thaw Begins

Alice Glass, Crystal Castles The melt has started. Our snowpocalypse has been of short duration. I’ve enjoyed having the kids home, but I’m also looking forward to going and rescuing my computer from the ice-locked city. I miss my faithful brute servant, even though this one is perfectly adequate it’s not as nice. (I should probably refrain from saying that until I’ve got the other one back and it works, but living dangerously, thy name is Lili.)

I did go out in daylight and found out what was making the heat pump sound like a badly loaded washer. It was simply a little ice–moisture whipping off the fanblades that froze as part of the thaw-refreeze-thaw-refreeze thing we’ve had going on since yesterday. A few minutes with a pair of screwdrivers got the grill open and the ice knocked off…and once more, glorious heat. I am feeling particularly victorious because this all happened before coffee. FEAR ME.

The Facebook fan page has been seeing some action lately, too. In particular, lots of people are still asking me about the ending of Reckoning. Normally I simply point people at this post, when they ask. Very rarely, I respond to other questions.

One Reader in particular on the Facebook fanpage had this to say:

I get when people want to know who Dru chooses, which, sure would be great, but that’s not why it felt unfinished to me. I kinda feel like the ending was punking out, or unable to deal with the fallout of from fans swinging either way and so just going for the safe road in the middle. For me it’s not about knowing who she ends up with it’s about the lack of development of their relationships, you feel like nothing has changed and she hasn’t grown up at all. Right up till the last pages there is still the same old stuff about how she feels strongly for both, same old indecision, none of the winding down toward the farewell of characters. It’s like she still has no self-awareness or idea of what she wants.
Why would it have to be either? Why wouldn’t the relationships be able to develop in different directions? Maybe it’s neither for good, but we never see any of that developing.

It seems kinda cruel, perpetuating the love triangle and the imminent decision the entire way throughout a 5 book series only to end with no resolution.
Hooking up with one and then the other, and then getting mad when they hate each other. All it did was make me disgusted with the character (who I had loved up till this point). She doesn’t have to be built around who she decides to be with but making her a cruel and selfish game-player completely disregarding the consequences of her treatment of people didn’t make me think she had grown up at all. Seemed less like Dru and more like Anna…I know too many girls like that, they’re not true blue and we got a certain name for them where I’m from.

And why would that decision define her, is she really that two-dimensional? Surely women can still be their own person and grow regardless of the relationships in their life?

And considering the critique of her options, hey, they’ve both got problems but in the real world no one’s perfect.
There’s a difference between unanswered questions about intriguing matters of the story and failing to address something that was a pretty major thread, leaving it unresolved. To be honest I stopped reading fiction after I finished this series when Reckoning came out, not on purpose, just happened…. Thanks while it lasted.

I figured I’d post my reply here as well as in the fanpage thread.

What an interesting viewpoint.

While I was writing, sticking to a “safe middle path” was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I thought often about how Dru, as a teenager, was abandoned and thrust into several life-or-death situations that certainly confused and possibly traumatised her.

As a sixteen-year-old who openly admits she hasn’t dealt often with the “boy situation”, I think she acquitted herself rather well. Especially since there was the not-inconsiderable problem of her trying to protect Graves–and maybe not wanting to piss off Christophe, who was a good protector. Between the two of them, no wonder a teenage girl struggling with grief and abandonment ends up confused. Many adults could not have handled the situation any better–in fact, I think often an adult would have done worse. (I’ve SEEN adults do much, much worse.) As for calling her a “cruel and selfish game-player,” well, if you’d like to believe that of her, you are free to. That’s not what I saw when I was transcribing her story at all. *shrug*

The decision between Graves and Christophe does NOT define her, either to herself or to me as the writer. I did not leave the major plot thread “unresolved”, I simply didn’t resolve it in the standard way we’re told such situations have to resolve in fiction/song/movies.

Thank you for reading.

I think that about covers it. In the end I have no control over what Readers get out of the book, or what they put into it. The only thing I take a bit of exception to is the accusation that I “punked out” or took the middle safe road. I had to fight for that ending. I had to dig my heels in and wade into the fray for it, because I believed so strongly it was Dru’s ending, it was the right ending. I took that route in the face of immense pressure from several quarters to have Dru “end up with a boy” instead of where I knew the story ended–a girl sitting with her best friend on a window seat, watching the night come in. Still, Readers don’t see that sort of behind-the-scenes pressure, which may be a good thing. It allows them to engage with the book, to project into and get things out of it that they need, which is the whole point.

photo by: chriszak
  • I loved this series from beginning to end. And while I don’t feel I did Reckoning justice in my review of it, I do know that I was happy with the ending and felt that it was where Dru needed to be at that point of her life. The *only* thing I wished for was Dru’s full name! hehehe! xoxo

  • Stephanie

    I don’t even put on my shoes without coffee. All hail the conquering homeowner!

  • *takes victory lap*

  • Mel

    I know too many girls like that, they’re not true blue and we got a certain name for them where I’m from.

    Wow. Slut shaming a fictional character because she had some very good reasons not to leap right into a relationship. Classy, commentor, classy.

  • martianmooncrab

    its nice to get a Happy Ever After right out of the gate, but to me Dru has a whole lot of life left in front of her, and a lot of other growing up stuff to do. To have an ending that is more concrete in relationships takes away from that.

  • Sandra Lord

    I totally bought into the ending as you wrote it. She’s 17 for gods/goddesses sake. She’s also liable to have an extremely long life ahead of her. Why oh why do all these readers want her to close all her options off like that. Most 17 year olds want to live a little, experiment a little, find out what will suit them long term. At 17 you do not know what that is, no matter how fast you had to mature or not. So yes I am totally with the ending you wrote.

  • Kurt

    I can see the way it ended as a legitimate way to resolve the story. Not all love triangles have to end by choosing one or the other. I will say that your line above, “The decision between Graves and Christophe does NOT define her, either to herself or to me as the writer.” is true, but her not choosing between them felt like a decision in itself. Since it is the end of the series, the future is left up to the readers imagination. The ending left me imagining Graves finding a nice girl at the retreat to date, and Christophe realizing he should stop obsessing over the daughter of someone he loved and find someone his own age. Seems as likely a result of that ending as anything else.

  • I wanted Dru to end up with one of the boys in the end as well but I wonder how much of this desire is from conditioning. I’m glad Lilith Saintcrow didn’t use the same template as every other author out there. I love the ending of this series, it was original. It is the only book I have ever read where the woman/girl decides working toward her own mental health is more important than being in a relationship. How can you have a strong healthy relationship when you are not strong and healthy on your own? People always bulk at change but I was happily surprised with this ending. I’m not saying I would turn down the opportunity to read about these characters again, say maybe as adults but for now I’m content with this series and plan to re-read it again. Thank you for so many wonderful stories Ms.Saintcrow .