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Literature: Murderess

‘…And listen: now they know who you are. They think you’re here and will look for you obsessively, so it is dangerous for you to come back here. You must be careful, because you mustn’t be caught. And there is something of utmost importance you must know: the war will exterminate everyone. You might be the only one able to stop it. When you come back here again, go north straight away, to the Refugee Camp. Do not delay, and most importantly: let no-one know who you are.

Murderessnote  is a fantasy novel, and is the first novel by Israeli writer Daya Marnin, the first in The Exiles of Greywall’d Saga series of six parts in total; Marnin started writing it over two years ago when she was 13, and is currently working on the next book in the series, Priestess.

Lu Killer is a teenage orphan girl from England, who’s been transferred from one boarding school to the next throughout her life, having learned to care little for anything or anyone. One day, when travelling to the next boarding school, James Centre Boarding School, a young boy comes into her cabin and gives her some cryptic instructions, then walks out. She doesn’t think much of it, but then she notices after he’s gone that he knew her name without her ever telling him what it was, but he’s long gone somehow, leaving only his blood-soaked hat for Lu to find.

Once she’s arrived at her boarding school, Lu feels strangely compelled to befriend a group of Essex girls, despite her deep contempt for them. She quickly discovers the group leader, Bridget, is holding the girls in line by bullying them using magic, and, more importantly, she has some formidable magic powers herself that she needs to learn how to control, and fast, once she encounters a few people who, strangely enough, call her a murderess and try to kill her.

As it turns out, to her horror, she hails from a lineage with the questionable reputation of being horribly, murderously violent. Not only this, but when she meets the boy again, she finds out she has a crucial mission to save the magical world of her ancestors, Greywall’d, and possibly even this one…

You can find more about the book on its official website here.

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  • Karma Houdini: King Roythebrune in the Dark Ones’ narrative poem (see Show Within a Show below) narrowly averts this, as the end of the poem implies he will get his comeuppance eventually.
  • Kick the Dog: After The Makeover Bridget arranged for Lu goes utterly awful, with Lu accidentally breaking every window in her room by fury-fuelled Power Incontinence, Bridget starts threatening and taunting her with her Girl Posse.
    • The Dog Bites Back: Lu, who has so far tried to ignore and circumvent Bridget and her posse and retaliates only by accident, eventually goes to fight back when she and her posse throw snowballs at her window one day, throwing snowballs at Bridget and turning it into a full-on warlike Snowball Fight when she notices Bridget somehow can’t see her, ending in a massive Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Lu’s decisive defeat of Bridget in a Snowball Fight. Bridget is so widely despised that everyone around her joins in, and Lu becomes immediately popular.
  • Killing In Self Defense: Lu kills the two men who try to kill her.
  • The Kingdom: Ciaró, home to Hallwad and Aucasis.
    • Founder of the Kingdom: King Roythebrune, who is mentioned in the Dark Ones’ narrative poem (see Show Within a Show below).
    • Princess Incongnito: Cleareye was the Ciaró Crown Princess daughter. When she was only twelve, she found herself stranded when Ephalius wolves attacked her and her friend, killing him just after he urges her to run. Like Lu, she reached the Moonfolk Forest, and stayed there for a while before Shadow sent her to the Refugee Camp. She came to call it home and enjoy her incognito life there, seeing it as her home, but two years later, rumours of the Ciaró princess’ disappearance came in; two years after that, once she felt mature enough, she decided to return and reclaim her royal status, but on her way back to Ciaró she became a Lavrice while wandering through the Moonfolk Forest again, and has been living in anonymity since.
  • Knife Nut: Lu, who apparently has an abnormal amount of natural talent for knife-wielding.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Professor Cole, who first reveals Lu’s heritage to her.
    • Signus, in a sense. From the very little information given about him, it’s clear that his return must be prevented at all costs, lest both worlds might end.
  • Large and in Charge: Downplayed with Gleaborne, king of the Dark Ones, who is taller than most of his subjects.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Mrs. Eastry Cairns, headmistress of James Centre Boarding School, who cares only for money and her own image, agrees with Lu when she says Bridget is not entirely sane and might need some counselling. Shortly after, Lu leaves Earth for Greywall’d, presumably leaving Mrs. Cairns with a PR nightmare.
  • Last of Her Kind: Professor Cole is certain all Killers were killed before he meets Lu. He’s apparently very wrong, as ‘Hat Lad’ mentions a Killer camp.
    • There Is Another: The last two chapters reveal that not only is Lu not the only Killer left, but Hallwad and Aucasis are adopted Killers as well, and a fourth Killer, named Tyler, is on her way to the Refugee Camp.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Hallwad resorts to this when he sees the Dark Ones tormenting Aucasis, but then runs out of the room to make them follow him and leave her alone.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang:
  • Little Miss Snarker: Lu, but mostly in inner monologues. She mostly loses this tendency once she moves to Greywall’d.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Lu, who knows less about magic and Greywall’d than anyone in Greywall’d, obviously, and Bridget and ‘Hat Lad’, the only people she meets on Earth who practice magic, refuse to give her sufficient information. While she does gradually learn more about both, she gets barely any reliable information about the Killers.
    • The Priestess, mentioned in the penultimate chapter. Déaspor tells Hallwad and Aucasis who she is and that she has no idea who she is yet—the Grand Prime Priestess, the Priestess of All Gods. The only detail aside from this she is willing to give is that she’s ‘some ginger’.
  • Long Lived: The Lavrice, who live till they’re roughly 2,000 years old.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Eleonora, whose relationship with the couple Lu sees in her dreams is undetermined, went with the royal groom, Rus. When they failed to return from a ride for supper, they looked for them and found his body and found it dismembered and covered in blood.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Hallwad and Aucasis Killer.
    • The last chapter reveals Shadow and Déaspor are related to Lu.
  • Lunacy: The Moonfolk, who worship the moon (the Nightdaughter, or Lady Lias, as they call it) and drink a fluid extracted from its light.
  • Magical Land: Greywall’d. People who survive the trip often gain magical powers.
  • Magnetic Hero: Lu, while starting off as being reluctant to other people’s company, crosses over to Greywall’d and befriends Hallwad, a boy she meets at the Myles Mountains (and his sister Aucasis after they rescue her), and Cleareye Fullmoonnight, a Moondaughter she meets in the Moonfolk Forest.
  • The Makeover: Bridget and her Girl Posse choose a girl every Monday to give her one, and they welcome Lu by choosing her to be it, while Bridget makes sure she can’t bring herself to decline the ‘offer’. Lu is horrified at the result; while acknowledging it is beautiful, it clashes strongly with her personality.
  • Man Child: Shadow and Déaspor. Given that they are twins, and that Shadow sent Cleareye to the Refugee Camp when she was twelve and he was sixteen (or at least looked like it) and that Lu meets her when she’s 30, they have to be at the very least in their thirties at the beginning of the book. Justified somewhat by their Vague Age.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: The narrative poem about King Roythebrune mentions that ‘many wives did he husband, as proof of his might’.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • All of Lu’s classmates have a last name indicative of their familial history. Lu’s name, however, naturally stands out as particularly ominous…
    • King Bagid (roughly translated to ‘betrayable’ in Hebrew), in the poem recited at the Dark Ones’ banquet, who slept with his soldier’s wife; his name was translated as Roythebrune (from the Icelandic rauðbrúnnnote , ‘red-brown’), whose complexion was copper.
    • In the English translation, Cleareye Fullmoonnight’s father, Kuningas, the Ciaró Crown Princess’ consort, whose name derives from Proto-Germanic *kuningaz, ‘king’. The Hebrew version names him Konigs, although the orthography is unclear, and the translator seized this opportunity to be creative.
  • Meanwhile Scene: Chapter I, in which a Moondaughter prepares for a Moonfolk ceremony, happens at the same time ‘Hat Lad’ first contacts Lu.
  • Million to One Chance: One of the ways to become a Lavrice, one has be inside the Kingdom of Myles, inside a perfect circle, and have a beam of moonlight shine on you at a 90° angle (which is what happened to Cleareye).
  • The Millstone: After her famous decisive defeat of Bridget in the Snowball Fight scene, Lu becomes to popular other students constantly want to be around her in various ways, including laughing at anything she says, partnering up with her in P.E, and writing papers for school with her. The first two make sense, as a lot of her snarky remarks are legitimately funny and she is the fittest student in her class, but they seem to ignore how she never contributes anything to writing the paper. All in all, she hates all of this attention.
  • Mind Manipulation: Bridget manages to get Lu to join her posse against her every instinct. She is very disturbed by her mindless agreement to join them and even undergo a makeover, while feeling a strange mist clouding her mind.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The Makeover scene, mostly playing Lu’s deep discontent with the situation for laughs, ends with all of the windows in Bridget’s room breaking at once by Lu’s rage-fuelled Power Incontinence, deeply scaring everyone in the room.
    • Professor Cole’s lecture, starting off pleasant and somewhat dull, takes a turn for the far more intense as soon as Lu mentions her name.
    • A minor one during the massive Curb-Stomp Battle Snowball Fight against Bridget: Lu suddenly notices her Blood Knight tendencies at some point and starts reflecting in horror on her heritage.
    • Lu enjoys a pleasant walk around London, when suddenly a knife is thrown at her direction by one of the two men who try to kill her.
    • Shadow and Déaspor, who appear in Lu’s dreams twice, exchange childish Volleying Insults and comical near-fatal fights, exaggerating their Sibling Rivalry for laughs, suddenly turn in the end of the second dream into the two men who tried to kill Lu in London and stab her in the heart.
    • Lu laughing with the Dark Ones at the narrative poem (see Show Within a Show below) before she suddenly realises what danger she, Hallwad, and Aucasis are in, and struggles to breathe in fear.
  • Moses in the Bullrushes: Lu was sent by her parents to Earth just before they were murdered.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: Averted. Marnin started writing the book when she was 13, and it shows: the characters act and talk the way teens would. On the other hand, Lu’s extensive vocabulary, especially after crossing over to Greywall’d and discovering she’s now an Omniglot, was somewhat amplified in the English translation by the 22-years-old N. L. Lumi, who felt that it would make sense for an omniglot to be well-versed in their native tongue.
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: The book interchanges between being told in the first- (from Lu’s perspective) and third-person.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Lu is the fittest girl in her class, despite constantly losing weight. Justified (probably) by her magical abilities; when she crosses over to Greywall’d, they are amplified, along with her ability to jump high and far to the point it feels like flying and running much faster and for longer periods of time.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lu develops a serious case of this after killing the two men who try to kill her, despite it being in self-defence.
    Lu: I’ve committed murder. I murdered two people. I murdered them. I am a murderess.
  • Mysterious Waif: Once Lu crosses over to Greywall’d, she becomes this herself.
  • Mystical Waif: Lu fits this trope partially—she had sandy hair and Green Eyes and a cynical, sarcastic demeanour, but she wears only black clothes, is vulnerable and prone to hating herself Beneath the Mask, and is sought after for her ancestry by the villains.
  • Mystical White Hair: The Dark Ones and the Moonfolk.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Lu, who is sent to Greywall’d with barely any information about it and has to learn on the fly.
  • Nature Lover: ‘Hat Lad’ is implied to be this, grimacing in disgust at the sight of smoke coming out of the train he boards as it crosses the beautiful scenery around it.
  • Near Death Experience: Happens to Lu twice, when one of the two men in London almost kills her before a strange magical cat intervenes, and when she almost drowns in the lake she falls into trying to avoid a persistent Ephalius wolf.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: Derobus cats have near-human levels of consciousness. The one that saved Lu’s life seems to understand Shadow and Déaspor talking to it.
  • Nerd: Lu’s Butt Monkey classmate Mike, who is awfully dressed and has No Social Skills. Lu still prefers him to her Essex Girl classmates.
  • Never Found the Body: Eleonora from Ludicrous Gibs above.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: An unusual case, as Lu sees her infancy flashbacks in her visions from a third-person perspective, implying that they’re the result of something other than this trope being played straight.
  • Never My Fault: Lu blames ‘Hat Lad’ in her mind for not pointing out to her that she’s not immune to her own fire, despite having noticed the dry skin on her hands and the burn marks on her sheets from practicing the use of her fire-igniting spell. Granted, she was too busy fighting off the Ephalius wolves to think it through.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Bridget, trying to keep Lu from undermining her position in the school, threatens and taunts her until she winds up making Lu learn about her magical powers and suffering a humiliating defeat by her that leads to the loss of her position.
  • No Pronunciation Guide:
    • Most names in the English translation are pretty straightforward in following English spelling conventions, but there are still some ambiguities.
      • Ciaró is pronounced ‘KEE-ah-roe’ and Lias is pronounced ‘LEE-us’, following Irish-language spelling conventions.
      • Roythebrune is pronounced with th as in ‘this’; the two Es are silent. The accent is on the final syllable.
      • Eurey is pronounced ‘ewe-REE’.
      • ‘Lavrice’ rhymes with ‘grease’.
    • In the Hebrew version, Cleareye Fullmoonnight’s father’s name is pronounced ‘Konigs’ (with a voiceless /s/).
  • No Social Skills: Mike, Lu’s classmate. He stares at her awkwardly and doesn’t take the hint when she gives him a Death Glare.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: The girl who helped Lu after fainting on the train goes on to talk at length about the dress her school formal and the summer collection by the company that made it, while Lu, who has no interest whatsoever in fashion, is wondering who Hat Lad was. It takes the girl a while to notice Lu isn’t listening.
  • Not Quite Dead: ‘Hat Lad’ loves pulling this.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Hallwad and Aucasis, who are in fact Killers.
  • Oh Crap: Shortly after Aucasis is rescued from the Dark Ones’ tunnels:
    Aucasis: I was walking about, looking for some game, and I climbed a small cliff. From there I could see the entrance to their tunnels. They came out. And… they brought the wolves with them.
  • Older than They Look:
  • Omniglot: Lu is surprised to find out she is one once she reaches Greywall’d.
  • One Girl Army: Lu becomes this when she burns down groups of Dark Ones easily to escape their tunnels with Hallwad and Aucasis.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Eleonora, of undetermined relation to Lu’s parents, and Eleonora from the Dark Ones’ narrative poem, are most likely two different people.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • The boy from the train. Lu calls him ‘Hat Lad’, Hallwad calls him ‘the Wizard’; near the end of the book, he tells Lu she can call him ‘Shadow’.
    • Eurey (derived from the Biblical Uriah) in the Dark Ones’ narrative poem (see Show Within a Show below) was simply called ‘the Eastern Emorite’ (as opposed to the Hittite Uriah) in the original Hebrew.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: ‘Hat Lad’, who usually has a rather smug and somewhat condescending yet benign attitude, becomes very serious when talking to Lu about her mission, and both he and Déaspor become very angry when Lu or Hallwad and Aucasis refuse to do it.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Lu. Despite being an orphan and very apathetic, nothing about her comes off as particularly out of the ordinary until The Makeover scene.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Lu’s quest is clearly related to the murder of her parents.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Lu has several mementos from her past beyond the point she can remember, that her parents equipped her with all of these before sending her to Earth, shortly before they were killed and were given to her by the headmistress of the first boarding school she attended, who refused to tell her where they came from:
    • a bracelet with seven green leaves made of metal welded onto it, which turn out to be special stones used to cross between Earth and Greywall’d;
    • a pair of black earrings she never wears, each with long, bluish-grey coloured feathers connected and a fine silver string tied to a small, blue diamond hanging from them by beads, one of which has the letter K engraved on it;
    • an old leather scroll, sealed with red wax she has never been able to open, that even her mother, who gave it to her, didn’t know its contents, only that she should give it to her; and
    • a vial-shaped crystal bottle containing a constantly moving golden liquid, which she could never open, but will open when the time is right.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Lu sees a group of them at the Chopped Tree Inn and described them thus:
    Lu: […] short and stout, wearing resilient brown-coloured work clothes; axes, hammers, and work tools dangle off their trouser belts, each of them has impressive arm muscles, and when they talk to one another their expression is grave. I presume they are men, due to their long, brown beards growing on their face that reaches their bellies. Their faces are furrowed, but their light-brown eyes indicate joie de vivre and exuberance. They drink out of their wooden mugs, and their coarse laughter roars across the room.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The little information given about them seems to indicate that they’re of the Wood Elves variety. Lu describes them thus:
    Lu: […] short, thin figures in warm green cloaks, with fine cotton clothing underneath them. I examine them curiously: they all have dark complexions, men and women alike, and long hair reaching the middle of their backs. Their green eyes are slanted, and their pointed ears reach above their heads. They are beautiful.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Very little information is given about the Vampires of Greywall’d, except that they feed on blood and have their own domain, the Kingdom of Caminore, which is implied to have diplomatic relations with Ciaró.
  • Party Scattering: Lu, Hallwad, and Aucasis do this to confuse the Ephalius wolves that the Dark Ones send after them.
  • Pet the Dog: ‘Hat Lad’ hugs Lu and tells her he believes in her wholeheartedly when he tells her she has to leave the Moonfolk Forest behind for the Refugee Camp.
  • Pillow Fight: Lu and Cleareye have one to show how relaxed Lu became once she’s moved in with her.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • ‘Hat Lad’ teaches Lu how to do this.
    • Fire is needed to open the gate out of the Dark Ones’ tunnels.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure/Pop-Culture Isolation: Lu tries to order some hot cocoa at the Chopped Tree Inn in Greywall’d, only to find out that they have no idea what that is over there.
  • Power at a Price: Hallwad explains to Lu that magic costs the wielder stamina at the least and memories or years of life at worst.
  • Power Incontinence: Lu has trouble controlling her powers at first. ‘Hat Lad’ helps her with this, teaching her a spell for igniting fire.
  • Precision F-Strike: Up to Professor Cole’s lecture, the novel is fairly tame and comes off as a rather typical teen drama with some fantastic elements. As soon as Lu tells him her last name, however, things take a turn for the darker, and he openly calls her a bitch.
  • Prepare to Die: Professor Cole and the two men who try to kill her in London openly tell her that they intend to kill her.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Every now and then.
  • Pursued Protagonist: The prologue opens In Media Res and seems to imply this.
  • Race Against the Clock: The last phase of Aucasis’ rescue, when their Invisibility Potion is about to wear off.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Cleareye Fullmoonnight, formerly a princess of Ciaró.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Lu’s would-be killers both have terrifying red eyes.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Stuck in the Dark Ones’ tunnels with little hope of escape, after Hallwad jumps at the Dark Ones who torture his sister Aucasis and starts running to get them to leave her, Lu simply sits on their royal throne in the main hall, tells them exactly who she is, and outright lies to them that she came to renew the Killer’s ancient pact with them. Lu realises out they don’t buy it, or at least their king doesn’t, but it gives her enough time to rescue both Hallwad and Aucasis.
  • Relative Button: Lu’s would-be killers tell her they killed her family to taunt her.
  • You Killed My Family: She kills them both in retaliation.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: Lu forgets she can use her fire spell twice: once when she’s freezing at night on her way, and once when she’s fighting the Ephalius wolves sent after her, Hallwad, and Aucasis.
  • Rescue Arc: Lu and Hallwad team up to rescue Hallwad’s sister Aucasis.
  • La Résistance: The Killers are this, rebelling against the Kingdom of Ciaró’s Royal House.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Professor Cole is so blind with rage he outright tells Lu to her face that he will kill her. This makes her so overwhelmed with emotion she defeats him fairly easily, instinctively channelling her emotions to produce powerful magic. The two men who try to kill Lu make the exact same mistake and wind up dead in her stead.
    • Hallwad charges at the Dark Ones when he sees them torturing his sister.
  • Rightful Queen Returns: Subverted with Cleareye, who was going to claim her status as the rightful Queen of Ciaró, but accidentally became a Moondaughter and has been living in anonymity since.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Aucasis’ rescue turns into this near the end.
  • Robbing the Dead: Reluctant as she may be, Lu does this to the two people sent to kill her.
  • Robinsonade: Lu, after crossing over to Greywall’d, with a brief break at the local Chopped Tree Inn, up until she meets a boy named Hallwad Caurn on the Myles Mountains and helps him rescue his sister, and briefly after the Rescue Arc until she meets the Moondaughter Cleareye Fullmoonnight in the Moonfolk Forest and moves in with her.

  • Sanity Slippage: Lu thinks either this is happening to her when she discovers that magic is real or that it’s All Just a Dream.
  • Saving the World: Apparently, Lu’s mission is this.
  • Scars Are Forever:
    • Gleaborne, king of the Dark Ones, has many scars from a war that took place long before the book’s beginning.
    • Lu notes that her injuries from her quest, while healing neatly, will leave scars.
  • School Is For Losers:
    • It’s implied that Brandon, Lu’s and Bridget’s classmate, doesn’t take school too seriously.
    • Lu herself shows little regard for her education, as part of her general apathy.
  • Scotland: It’s implied Lu is coming from there at the beginning of the book: it takes her a few hours of travelling south by train to get to London and the weather outside is a few degrees above zero. It’s implied that ‘Hat Lad’ boards it in a very rural area, seeing as no-one noticed him fall out of a big vortex in the sky, as everyone is indoors to avoid getting frostbitten.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Hallwad tries to tell Déaspor he’s had enough of her attitude and wants out, expecting her to say that if he wants to go so bad, so be it. Instead, she reacts violently and tells him that his mission is far too important for him to be in any position to do anything like that.
  • Secret Legacy:
    • Lu, who grew up not knowing about her relatives’ reputation as violent murderers. As a child, whenever she would ask about her family, whomever she asked simply avoided the question, until she eventually stopped asking; she finally finds out only when she meets a victim of theirs.
    • Hallwad and Aucasis, who have been adopted and raised in Ciaró, find out at the end of the book that they are in fact Killers.
  • Self-Deprecation: Lu suffers from this, increasingly so with the course of the plot, at least until she moves in with Cleareye Fullmoonnight.
    • Heroic Self-Deprecation: She suffers from this even after heroically saving Hallwad and Aucasis from the Dark Ones’ tunnels.
  • Sequel Hook: The book ends with the introduction of a character named Tyler Killer, who is apparently very evil and probably not too bright, but extremely dangerous nonetheless, and the Grand Prime Priestess, Priestess of All Gods, who has no idea who she is. Both of them are heading for the Refugee Camp, and Aucasis is instructed to guide them there, protect the Priestess, and try and kill Tyler, or at least injure her severely.
  • Shoot the Dog: Lu tries to hunt a rabbit to avoid starving on the Myles Mountains, which are notoriously difficult to survive in. Subverted, as she has no idea how to cook it, has to bury it, and feels horrible about the whole thing.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Enchiridion’s title, while a rather faithful translation of the original Hebrew, is indeed a reference to Adventure Time by the translator.
    • The Dark Ones’ narrative poem in Show Within a Show mentioned below is clearly a reference to the Biblical story of (copper-complexioned) King David’s conquest of Canaan and establishment of Jerusalem as his capital, and his affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a Hittite officer in King David’s army. However, unlike in the original, in which King David pays horrifically for his transgressions, Roythebrune never does, but the poem implies he will one day: he might get a free pass for being ginger (see Blue and Orange Morality above), but of course, ‘Every man, bold and humble alike, must go bald!’ Also, very much unlike the original story, the whole thing is Played for Laughs, and the in-universe audience roars in laughter after the poem is finished.
    • The Rescue Arc features a few homages to The Hobbit.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • At the Dark Ones’ banquet, a bard recites a poem about the ancient King Roythebrune, who founded the human kingdom, Ciaró, by war, and made Orce-Blatt its capital. He sleeps and impregnates a woman named Eleonora, who’s married to a soldier named Eurey (the original simply refers to him as ‘the Emorite’); he tries to escape trouble with a plan he manages to think up, but it fails, and he resorts to making sure he dies in battle instead, and marries his wife. The poem implies that while he never suffers any consequences, his luck will eventually run out.
    • Cleareye Fullmoonnight sings a song about a girl who takes bloody revenge against a former lover, sneaking into his room, cutting his throat, and telling him how happy she will be knowing he’s dead.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Bayrone, or the ‘Wild Regions’ past the River Trocus, and the ‘Lands Beyond the Sea’ past Kelt Ocean.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Shadow and Déaspor, who appear to Lu from a distance in her dreams after she crosses over to Greywall’d. Their fights border on the lethal and are Played for Laughs.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Obviously a recurrent theme in everything Moonfolk-related, given their deep reliance on the moon and moonlight.
  • A Simple Plan: Lu and Hallwad’s plan to rescue Aucasis is to drink the Invisibility Potion, break her free, and kill anyone who stands in their way. They realise just how poorly thought of this plan is, but they can’t think up anything better.
  • Skeleton Key: Castor, the Dark Ones’ warden, is stupid enough to tell Lu he has one.
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: A minor recurrent theme. Lu kills on three separate occasions in the book: in London, where she kills two men who try to kill her in self-defence; on the barren Myles Mountains, where she kills a rabbit she wants to cook and eat, and finds out she can’t; and in the Dark Ones tunnels, where she burns to death a few of them when they try to keep her, Hallwad, and Aucasis from escaping. The first occasion shocks her, filling her with regret; the second makes her feel awful and remorseful, but only briefly; and she barely feels anything about the third.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Mrs. Eastry Cairns, the headmistress. She is a Corrupt Corporate Executive, ugly, and displays intimidating mannerisms, and, obviously, her breath smells of cigarettes.
  • The Snark Knight: Lu, before crossing over to Greywall’d. She has become very jaded and indifferent over the years, and she mocks practically everyone around her in her Inner Monologue, until she crosses over to Greywall’d.
  • Snowball Fight: Bridget throws snowballs at Lu’s window to taunt her. Lu goes outside and starts one of these in retaliation. It quickly escalates into a school-wide Curb-Stomp Battle against Bridget.
  • Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography: Played with. The notorious Myles Mountains are about halfway through Lu’s journey, followed by the pleasant Moonfolk forest; Doubly Subverted, as it turns out Lu’s prolonged stay in the forest could make her stay a Moondaughter permanently and unable to finish her quest. The road from the forest to the Refugee Camp is fairly calm and beautiful (and brief), while the Refugee Camp itself is where Lu has to get a Training from Hell.
  • The Southpaw: Lu, who takes it into consideration when hiding the knives on her clothing to draw more easily. Whether or not this is means anything remains to be seen.
  • Space Elves: The Moonfolk, who are beautiful, live in houses carved into trees, worship the Moon, and live to be roughly 2,000 years old, seem to be inspired by the Wood Elves variety.
  • Spanner in the Works: Hallwad pulling a Leeroy Jenkins in the heat of the moment, ruining The Plan he made with Lu, when he sees two Dark Ones torturing his sister, then running off to keep them away from her, leaving Lu behind, forcing her to think up a new plan from scratch.
  • Stay on the Path: ‘Hat Lad’ tells Lu to keep going north and not delay, and later reprimands her when she does. Which is somewhat ironic, given that he misdirected her; it’s implied that he and Déaspor foresaw that she would do that, and actually relied on it.
  • The Stoic: Lu, until she’s exposed to magic and her burden in general. Then she gradually becomes Not So Stoic, particularly after she winds up killing two people in self-defence.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Déaspor meets up with Lu, who stopped at the Chopped Tree Inn to wait until the heavy rain stops, and gives her some ominous guidance before she later goes into the Myles Mountains and putting her life on the line in the Rescue Arc. May or may not be an Invoked Trope or an Exploited Trope.
  • Stupid Evil:
  • Super Senses: Lu acquires this ability after crossing over to Greywall’d.
    Lu: I feel every little detail, every sense of touch and feeling, from the fabric on my clothes to the necklace that boy gave me. I feel the stitches on my socks and the scrunchie holding my hair together. I open my eyes, then I blink, and I open them wide again in amazement: I see EVERYTHING. It’s already dark, but I see every detail easily, and much further than I’d ever seen before. It seems even my sense of smell improved, and not just that: I hear everything, from the wind whistling through the tree branches to large animals galloping on the grass apparently miles away.
  • Surprisingly Good English:
  • Take That: Before leaving for Greywall’d, Lu stops to cross Bridget’s name off the sign she put on her door, changing its writing to from ‘THIS ROOM BELONGS TO BRIDGET SLAVE’ to ‘THIS ROOM BELONGS TO A PSYCHOTIC SADIST’.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Cleareye’s mother was only 16 when she gave birth to her.
  • Telepathy: Déaspor has this ability. She has the audacity to scold Hallwad for thinking curses about her.
  • Those Two Guys: Shadow and Déaspor, whom Lu can see in dreams from a distance after crossing to Greywall’d.
  • Thwarted Escape: Subverted. Lu and Hallwad kill the Dark Ones standing in their way just before they reach the exit and manage to escape the tunnels.
  • This Means War!: Lu says that in jest before she starts a Pillow Fight with Cleareye.
  • Title Drop:
    • The book title: several times, either as an accusation thrown at Lu or as part of her Self-Deprecation.
    • Individual chapters: in some cases.
  • Torture Cellar:
    • Lu thinks of Bridget’s room as this, looking in horror at all of her various beauty products and the abundant amounts of pink.
    • The Dark Ones have some of those, and Lu and Hallwad find Aucasis in one.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lu’s is dark chocolate, and later on bloodberries from Moonfolk Forest.
  • Training from Hell: The Refugee Camp, where fighting and survival is taught. Hallwad tells Lu it’s a horrible place and that she should avoid going there.
  • The Trickster: ‘Hat Lad’ and Déaspor.
    Déaspor: We should make a list like that, of people whose lives we should mess up… It will make ours simpler.
    • The Chessmaster: They planned for the Derobus cat to save Lu from the men who attacked her, and are implied to have been those men in disguise, and have sent to the Refugee Camp not only Lu, but also Hallwad and Aucasis, and, eighteen years before the book’s beginning, Cleareye.
    • Trickster Mentor: ‘Hat Lad’ for Lu, giving her cryptic directions and pulling off Not Quite Dead on her twice.
    • Trickster Twins
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Lu has several, starting after she’s met ‘Hat Lad’ and moved into her boarding school.
  • True Companions: Lu and Hallwad become this on the Myles Mountains, when Hallwad gives Lu some important advice and she in turn offers to help him rescue his sister, Aucasis. After the rescue, Aucasis joins their pact.
  • Try Not to Die: Shadow tells Lu to ‘try and stay alive’, and Hallwad tells her he told him he will meet ‘someone in the mountains’ and advised him the same.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Bridget, when meeting Lu for the first time.
    She had long blonde hair, blue eyes, a slim physique, and pink lips covered with enough lip gloss for at least three girls.
  • Underground City: The Dark Ones tunnels, inside the Myles Mountains.
  • Unfortunate Names: Lu sniggers at Bridget’s last name, Slave, ignoring how unfortunate her own name sounds.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Minor example. Lu mentions many characters by name, most of them minor and non-crucial to the plot, and admits while listening to the poem recited at the Dark Ones’ feast that she has trouble following the different names, so presumably some characters she names actually have different names.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When Shadow makes his first appearance, he falls out of a vortex in the sky that no-one notices. Granted, it was a gloomy, rainy day, and people had other things to care about.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Narrowly averted with Cleareye, who lets Lu drink Moonfluid every day and almost makes her transform into a Moondaughter without realising it, which could have made her unable to continue her quest. Fortunately, ‘Hat Lad’ points this out to Lu before the transformation is complete.
  • Uriah Gambit: King Roythebrune in the narrative poem (see Show Within a Show above) resorts to this when his original plan to avoid his affair with Eleonora, a married woman, being discovered. The whole story is actually a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer.
  • Vague Age:
    • Professor Cole, who can transform into a teenage boy and back.
    • Shadow and Déaspor, who are at least in their thirties at the beginning of the book (see Man Child above), but still look very young and often behave very childishly.
  • Valley Girl: Bridget and her Girl Posse are the English equivalent, Essex girls.
  • Volleying Insults: The two characters Lu sees in her dreams from a distance, Shadow and Déaspor, engage in a very puerile versions of this that often deteriorate to (apparently) almost fatal physical fighting that come off as either impressive in technique or hilarious, sometimes continuing the tirade of mutual mockery.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Dark Ones in Myles Mountains, en route to the Refugee Camp. Their defeat strengthens Lu’s connection with Hallwad and makes Aucasis a part of their pact.
  • Walking the Earth:
    • The woman in Lu’s visions is afraid this will be her infant child’s fate.
    • The Wizard race (as opposed to other magic-wielders), unlike other races, have no fixed domain and simply wander from one place to the next.
  • Weirdness Censor: Lu’s fight with the two men sent to kill her, the deep cuts she endures, and her changed eye colour are implied to be this.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Lu, being Locked Out of the Loop, starts to think she’s this at the beginning of the book.
  • Wham Episode: The penultimate chapter reveals that Hallwad and Aucasis are a pivotal part of Shadow’s and Déaspor’s plan on their own right; There Is Another Killer heading for the Refugee Camp and she worships Signus, and Hallwad and Aucasis Caurn, nés Killer, were actually adopted. The next one reveals that Shadow and Déaspor are also related to Lu, and that the Derobus cat that saved her life was a part of their plan too.
    Aucasis: Killer. We are Hallwad and Aucasis Killer.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: An interesting case. Lu mentions individual and mostly plot-irrelevant Dark Ones by name, but has no remorse for killing the Dark Ones who try to stop her and Hallwad escaping with Aucasis.
  • When It Rains, It Pours:
    • The book begins on September 1st, 2011, and Lu leaves Greywall’d on February 14th, 2012. Naturally, the rain falling during that period has a tendency to be heavy.
    • The rain in Greywall’d becomes so heavy at one point that Lu has to stop her quest and stay at the Chopped Tree Inn until it passes.
  • White Magic: Bridget is a case of Light Is Not Good, using Mind Manipulation in the form of a creeping white haze.
  • Wicked Cultured: The Dark Ones. Their king, Gleaborne, is an accomplished scholar and is particularly eloquent in English, and they have a narrative poem about the history of Ciaró (see Show Within a Show below) recited for them at the banquet.
  • Window Pain: Lu’s fury-fuelled Power Incontinence makes her break all the windows in Bridget’s room when she sees the end result of The Makeover.
  • Witch Species: Lu learns that Wizards (unlike other magic-wielders) are in fact a race, and, unlike other races, have no fixed domain and just wander from one place to the next.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: Lu enjoys the newfound powers she gains after crossing into Greywall’d, running to feel the soft grass, jumping freely up treetops to look at the view, and enjoying her newfound sense of freedom.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Hallwad tells Lu he knows she’s not a native of Greywall’d because he met her on the Myles Mountains, a place that every other native would steer clear ‘at least a day’s walking worth of distance’ away from. She comes out practically unscathed. Cleareye Fullmoonight is astounded by this feat.
    • The Castle of Bayrone is in a place Shrouded in Myth that’s impossible to reach that Wizards tell each other tall tales about. In the last chapter of the book, Déaspor casually mentions that she’s going to spend some time there.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Lu resorts to this after Hallwad ignores The Plan and charges at the Dark Ones torturing his sister and quickly runs off to make them follow him and leave her alone, leading to his capture. She tells the Dark Ones she wants to renew the Killers’ ancient pact with them, then, realising they’re probably onto her, talks to their warden, Castor, and gets him to reveal that he has a Skeleton Key and keep her door slightly ajar, allowing her to slip out using the Invisibility Potion and rescue Hallwad and Aucasis.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The English translator had some fun with coming up with stylised (yet mostly legible) spellings for characters’ and places’ names, as Hebrew orthography barely allows any flexibility in that respect. The most obvious example is the names of different currencies, derived mostly from existing metals.
  • You Are Not Ready:
    • ‘Hat Lad’ tells Lu she will ‘find out soon enough’ she asks him for more information at one point.
    • Invoked by Cleareye, who decided to go back and claim her title as the Queen of Ciaró only when she was sixteen, when she felt mature enough.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: ‘Hat Lad’ tells Lu she has to leave Earth for Greywall’d after her fight with Professor Cole, as more people will follow and try to kill her. She listens only after she winds up killing the next two people who try to kill her and is horrified at what happened and her own actions.
  • You Killed My Entire Family: Professor Cole holds Lu and every other Killer responsible for the murder of his family, and tries to kill Lu for it when she tells him her last name.

May your endeavour prove successful, Troper, and fortune your ally.
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