Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, still inspires much of Meggie’s writing. Consequently, a tabby representing the Cheshire Cat always appears in Meggie’s books to symbolize and pay homage to her link with Carroll’s creative spirit. Can you find the ur-cat in this book?
Do you believe Seth’s assertion in Roan’s Story that contemporary Western women are less liberated than women in, say, the 1950s? Why?
Suicide after a spouse’s death may shock some, but Mayhem culture isn’t alone in this practice. Which Mayhem cultural practices do you approve?
What would you do if you were a “human woman” who joined Mayhem society?
What are the books’ criticisms of contemporary Western gender roles? Is the Mayhem system better? How?
Western culture dichotomizes the sacred and the profane. To what extent is this dichotomy valid for Mayhem spirituality?
On the first page of Roan’s Story, Tolkland mentions a collegiate mascot, Cathy Crusader, which begins constructing the argument that Roan isn’t to blame for his Machiavellian behavior; he has one chance at achieving eternal life and will exercise all his powers to get it–an attitude his culture sanctions. To what extent do you influence your idea of deity, and to what extent does your culture shape your behavior and beliefs?
The books’ eroticism may shock some readers, though all the manuscripts carry deeper meanings. What are literary precedents for this kind of work?
What do the books say about God’s role in their workings? Do you agree?
How much free will do Mayhem demons or their wives have? For which of their crimes would you convict them in a court of law?
What are the significance of numbers in the books?
The Rhame sword’s reactions to Seth and Roan are significant. What do they reveal about character development? While you’re exploring this question, you might wish to consider if different standards of right or wrong exist for demons and humans, considering the demons’ perception God has given up on them.
Repeatedly the question arises whether God is just. For example, Roan’s younger brothers were killed and innocently sentenced to eternity in Hex. Have you given up on lost causes like demons? Do you believe God is omnipotent? If He is omnipotent, is He right to give up on the damned?
If God did give up on the damned, does this give them the right to give up on God? Perhaps because of this belief, the demons consider Satan a creative force in their lives. If you believe in a devil, do you believe he/she/it is also a creative force?
Most Americans deeply believe, romanticize, or at least entertain the idea of redemption, a belief encoded in our criminal justice system and borne out by celebrities. Meggie Tolkland is American. If she were born in another culture, would she have written these books?
Can humans be better than God?