'The Plentiful Darkness Book Club: Day 4By: OwlCrate Jr
Welcome back to the final day of our book club read-along for OwlCrate Jr's August book, The Plentiful Darkness by Heather Kassner!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 29-37 [End] of The Plentiful Darkness, so make sure you read these chapters before continuing.
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box! We’ll be selecting four winners this time around, so make sure you join in for every session! We'll be selecting winners early next week!
The story concludes...
The darkness seems to be pressing in from all sides, swallowing all but winter. Rooney and her friends let Sorka know their sort-of plan for escape, and in the end she agrees return the lunar mirrors and try to help them. She agrees to contact the magician through the mirror and asks her to come tend to the encroaching darkness. Wanting to help, Devin also asks Sorka for a lunar mirror, which she has stashed away. The next step is to ready the other children for escape which they willingly agree to.
At torchset all the children gathered silent and still, hiding in the trees around where Sorka will meet the magician. Rooney, Trick, Bridget and Devin all go their separate ways so that they can attempt to catch the most moonlight possible, but not before Rooney apologizes to Trick for her past behavior. To Warybone!
The magician descends as planned, wrist wrapped three times in the moonlight, connecting her to Warybone as the four children point their mirrors just so at the its glow. Sorka asks the magician to take her away from the plentiful darkness and something in the way she says it unsettles Rooney. The magician refuses, but uses her magic, breathing dark fog from her very heart into the darkness to try to push back it’s encrouchment. But the darkness resists, and after breathing out her last bit of fog magic, the moonlight takes the magician out of the darkness against her will. The darkness was just too strong.
Back in Warybone, the magician thinks about how the darkness should have been hers to command, somewhere quiet and beautiful, but something with her magic had gone wrong. She walks back to the Tower of Thistle, roof glowing star-bright. She thinks that the darkness should be hers to tend to, along with those inside.
With the magician thrown out, the darkness is taking over faster than ever. The children run, trees falling into the darkness around them. Unsure what will happen, Rooney leads everyone towards the river and plunges in. Rooney’s plan works—the river has a different sort of magic than the darkness and stops it from creeping in. When they emerge from the water, the darkness again feels different. Summer is now gone as well.
That night, sleeping in the overlap of autumn and winter, Rooney wakes up to hear a child crying. Going to investigate, she finds Sorka leaning over a boy who seems to be increasingly consumed by the darkness. It seems he may be the first of the kids to succumb. Rooney makes a new plan—continue to shrink the darkness so that Warybone will be in reach! Looking at Sorka’s once again lost locket, she considers how one may catch stardust—so different and more illusive than moonlight. Finding Sorka in the woods, Rooney again returns her lost locket, and it’s revealed that Sorka is more than the magician’s apprentice: she’s her daughter! Knowing now that Sorka has magic, Rooney tells her her frightening plan.
They start plotting to bring down the darkness and open the seam to Warybone, while Trick experiments with mirror positioning to try to catch starlight and Sorka starts practicing harnessing and controlling her magic. With all her cooperation, Sorka still refuses to tell them why her mother has trapped her, and the rest of them, in the plentiful darkness.
On the seventh day of planning, Sorka announces she’s made a mess of the darkness and they’re ready for what comes next. Trick, Devin and Bridget round up the children, while Rooney goes with Sorka. Rooney figures out that the other children were sent in the darkness to keep Sorka company. When they come to the edge of the darkness, Sorka warns her to back up and she uses the blue light from her locket to attack the darkness, fracturing it and revealing a sliver of Warybone’s sky. Bridget, Rooney, Trick and Devin get in a four-point star formation to try to catch starlight, and as they do so the darkness spasms.
The magician startles awake, darkness calling to her. Snatching up the black silk scarf, she flees the Tower of Thistle into the night.
Their plan isn’t working! They’re not able to gather starlight OR moonlight. Just then, the magician crashed into the darkness. She starts pushing back against the damage they have done, saying that Sorka won’t find her way home but a grave instead. To Rooney’s shock, their plan starts to work—a thin thread of golden light is trickling into Trick’s mirror: stardust! But it won’t be enough. Having an idea, Rooney stomps on her mirror and breaks the glass. Maybe many tiny shards can catch many stars? The magician immediately reacts, saying they don’t know what they’re doing, and uses the moonlight to rise in the darkness and cut off any chance of escape. Knowing they are short on time, Rooney angles her mirror and is able to catch starlight! Bridget, Devin and Trick do that same, with Sorka joining in.
Quickly they start wrapping the streams of starlight around the wrists of the children, sending them up to the sky above, but they still need to counter the efforts of the magician who is trapping the children in the trees. They work together to climb up and free the children. As the last child disappear on a beam of starlight to the world above, it is just Sorka and Rooney left behind. They slowly go up together, the magician close by.
The magician tries to stop them, moonlight and stardust colliding, but when it is evident that they will escape into Warybone, she pleads for them to stop. She tells Sorka how much she loves her and that she never should have left her when she was ill, but the townspeople needed her. Sorka tells the magician she loves her too as they continue rise into Warybone, but at the last minute as Trick grabs Rooney’s hand from above, Sorka lets go. Back in Warybone, Bridget calls down into the darkness, and together Sorka and the magician rise up, and Rooney wonders if this grey girl standing before her is in fact alive.
Sorka’s image starts to falter and the magician asks her if this is what she really wants. She says it is. Rooney and the others make their goodbyes, and as Sorka leaves them, the magician swears to herself she will make up the wrongs she has done to the children if they will let her.
With the children before the magician, Rooney gathers herself and tells her that they’re sorry for the loss of Sorka and comes to the realization that it was the magician who crafted the lunar mirrors and gave them to the children as a memento of hope when she wasn’t able to save their parents. They need to try to reconcile this magician with the one consumed by darkness and grief. When the magician pleads to make amends, the children allow her to try. First up, a midnight supper of anything but grimace fruit.
There we have it, my friends. A poignant end to a wonderful story! I hope you enjoyed the ride!
1. Were you surprised by the ending? How did it make you feel?
2. What would be your perfect midnight supper?
3. Who was your favorite character in the book?
4. And of course, did you like the book? Would you like to see more of this world?
Thank you for joining in our book club read-along! Don't forget we'll be picking four winners next week to receive a FREE OwlCrate Jr box for participating in the discussions!