'Hotel Magnifique' Book Club Readalong Day 1!By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @anovelkingdom
Welcome to the first day of our book club readalong for OwlCrate's April book, Hotel Magnifique!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 1-5 of Hotel Magnifique, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCHotelMagnifique for another chance to win!
The story begins...
A courier is tasked with taking a boy to a strange address, delivering him to what was once an alley, but is now home to a strange thin building. A man appears, lighting a candle that emits a golden smoke and striding through it he takes the boy. When the courier tries to stop the man, the smoke restrains her and just like the smoke, and the odd thin building, disappear.
Jani presents her sister, Zosa, with a newspaper as a birthday present. It’s not just a newspaper though, inside the Hotel Magnifique has placed an ad for new workers. All the girls of the boarding house gather round and Jani takes the ad to their matron, Bézier, who decades ago was one of the lucky few to get invited. The only trick is, once your stay at the hotel is over, you sign away all your memories, only to be left with an ecstatic feeling. The maître d’hôtel had greeted Bézier, and all that she could remember was that he did not age - and he is said to be the greatest suminaire (magician) in the world. Outside of the hotel magic is considered dangerous, and children suspected of being suminaire are often killed. But inside, somehow the maître enchanted the hotel so that suminaires could perform magic that wouldn’t hurt a soul.
Jani and Zosa head to the hotel the next day, and not seeing any other way Jani ducks under a rope stating “guests and staff only”, running directly into a doorman. Instead of telling her where the interviews are being held, he warns Jani to go home and pretend the hotel never came.
After waiting in line for interviews, Jani is rejected, but Yrsa, the one hosting the interviews, offers Zosa a contract to sing for guests.
That night Jani tells Zosa she isn’t allowed to go, not alone without her. Jani is worried about being left alone. After Zosa goes to bed Jani heads to the kitchen where she is cornered by the man she met earlier, Bel. Zosa was supposed to report to the hotel but failed to show so Bel has come to get her. Being persistent, Jani refuses to take him to her sister unless he gives her a job in the hotel as well. She imagines they can work in the hotel and have it drop them off close to their former home of Aligney when they are done. He eventually gives in, agreeing to give her a two week trial run, and taking Bézier’s old framed invitation, Bel, Jani and Zosa run to the hotel, needing to arrive before it leaves at midnight.
They arrive at the hotel just in time, but as the clock starts to strike midnight, all of sudden Jani starts aging drastically, breaking a glass orange in the process. Bel runs to get a contract and pricking her finger with his knife Jani manages to sign it with blood just before the 12th strike, turning her back into her normal self. Bel seems concerned about something in the contract, but promises to explain more the next day. Yrsa appears, and Bel tells her that Jani will be his responsibility. Yrsa shows Jani and Zosa to their new room.
They awake the next morning to find new clothing has magically appeared for them in the night. Scrubbing herself clean, Jani puts on her new maid outfit, which of course fits perfectly, and goes in search of Bel.
In a room filled with umbrellas making their own rain Jani is discovered by Béatrice, the head housekeeper and Jani’s new boss. Béatrice takes her to the salon when Jani tells her she is in search of Bel, and along the way explains some of the magic of the hotel. Each day the guests are told their next destination via an itinerary they keep on them, and a female voice that speaks to them. Béatice thinks it’s odd that Jani can hear the voice as it’s only for guests. Leaving her at the salon, Jani finds Yrsa, who is revealed to be an alchemist. Yrsa gives her some juice, which Jani drinks, before she is found by Bel. Bel asks her some questions about her life, and Jani eagerly tells him her story. In fact she feels compelled. Bel tells her that Yrsa gave her some Truth in the juice she drank. He doesn’t explain what concerned him about her contract, telling her they will talk later, and sends her on the way to staff orientation.
- What do you think is different about Jani’s contract?
- Why do you think the hotel makes people forget their experiences before they leave?
- Why do you think Jani is able to hear the voice usually just for the guests?
- Did you enjoy the first section of the book?
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