The Were Chronicles is a trilogy set in a world in which Weres live in an uneasy relationship with normals.
The three books of The Were Chronicles cover some of the same core events – but from three different point-of-view characters — Jazz, in “Random”; Mal in “Wolf”; Saladin, or Chalky, in “Shifter”. How do these different points of view change your perception of the story of Celia?
In the world of the Were Chronicles, Were Kind are either hidden and hunted (in the more traditional Old World referred to in “Random”) or living out in the open and free from direct threat, but under draconian laws which cover every aspect of their existence (in the New World.) Was it worth trading that small measure of security for their freedom? If faced with a similar choice, what would you do?
What kind of Were creature would you be if you could? Would you ever choose to be a Random Were? Why – or why not?
I am a Random Were, which means I am a Were of no fixed form – Random Were can become any warm-blooded creature which is the last thing they see before they Turn. For me, when my time came, that meant… trouble.
I was quite young when I lost my older sister, Celia, and my family never spoke about her. It was only when I found the secret diaries that she had left behind that I began to discover the truth behind her life and her death.
I never understood what drove my moody and dangerous older brother until I began to get an inkling about his part in Celia’s death… and until, driven by to the edge of patience and understanding, he finally had to face his own Turn problems… and disastrously took matters into his own hands.
One thing is clear.
Everything I thought I knew about Were-kind was wrong.
1. Random Were have a primary form – but they will involuntarily Turn into the last warm-blooded creature they see before their change comes upon them. What are some of the positive and negative aspects of this ability? How do you think it could be used against them?
2. Jazz Marsh Turns into… a Were-boy. Discuss how a change in gender would affect her opinions,, her worldview, her physical interaction with the world around her.
3. Celia Marsh was a victim of bullying. In her case, the consequences were extreme. Did you ever share such an experience? Or observe it? How do you think bullying by peers could be dealt with? What about persecution from grown-ups in positions of authority who might be abusing their role in their relationship with more vulnerable individuals (for example, Barbican Bain and his role in Celia’s persecution)?
4.Discuss the Turning Houses – are they a necessary evil or are they absolute hell for the unfortunate Were kind forced into them by the decree of the law of the land?
5. In the world of science fiction and fantasy, Were-creatures are usually cast as the monsters. Do you think they are, simply by virtue of what they are? Who are the real villains in “Random”?
I was the oldest unTurned Were of my generation, waiting Turn after Turn for my own time… which never came.
Until the day, driven by desperation and by the guilt I still carried concerning my sister Celia’s tragic death, I decided it was time to stop waiting… and made a dangerous choice in the name of pride and fury.
Instead of remaining the Random Were that I was born… I enlisted the help of a friend, a creature beyond the strictly drawn boundaries of Were-kind, and chose to become a Lycan, a true wolf.
I thought it would give me a chance to take my revenge on those I believed to be responsible for what had happened to my sister.
Right until the moment I realized that things were much more complicated that I had ever believed possible… and that my choice might have far more repercussions than I had thought.
One thing was clear.
Everything I thought I knew about my family was wrong.
1. Mal chooses to take his life and his destiny into his own hands. Do you agree with the choices that he makes?
2. Lycans are a very special subclass of Were-kind – and they are very aware of this. How do you think this has shaped their attitudes, their actions, and their opinions?
3. Mal’s own reaction to the discovery of his sister Celia’s true fate is inevitable and understandable. Do you think he was right to involve others in his dangerous attempts to rescue her? Do you think he was entitled to do that? Do you think he betrayed the Lycans, his new ‘family’, by choosing not to abandon the loyalty to his own sister?
4. What is Mal’s relationship with his younger sister Jazz? How does the loss of Celia factor into this? Do you think Mal’s way of dealing with these relationships is healthy?
5. Mal is the youngest Lycan Alpha to ever sit in the Council. Do you think Asia was right to trust him with so much responsibility?
And yes, there is a story behind that name.
I was not an accident; I was a chimera, both in name and deep into my DNA.
I was created.
I did not know for what purpose, and the secrets that surrounded my past were too well guarded for me to break through.
So when my friend Mal offered to take the chance of becoming a Lycan in order to infiltrate their ranks and find out the truth for me, I agreed to help him in any way I could.
We both learned far more than we had bargained for. And one thing was clear.
Everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong.
1..Saladin van Chalkwyk, the ‘shifter’ of the title, starts out in life with any number of disadvantages. How does he deal with his problems? Do you think that he was born ‘precocious’, or that his upbringing and surroundings made him grow up rather faster than he should have?
2. He and Mal ‘name’ each other – Mal is the one who bestows the name ‘Chalky’ on his friend, because of that impossible name, and Chalky is the one who seals the ‘Mal’ identity for the young Random. Do you think this incident – their giving each other their secret names, or ‘true’ names, seals their relationship?
3. In “Shifter”, Chalky is envious of Mal’s family (because he himself has never really had one) and Mal is envious of Chalky’s freedom. Do you think either of them has reason to be jealous? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each situation – and which one of them do you think is really better off?
4. Changing into different creatures ‘wears’ the Shifter out, shortening his life considerably from the average span. Do you think he should have been aware of this fact when he was still changing into anything he chose whenever he chose it? Do you think a price like this is paid willingly and knowingly, or was he shocked by the revelation? How do you think he might have lived his life differently if he had been absolutely aware of the effects of his changing shape right from the beginning – would he have been more careful, less free with his gift?
5. The Shifter – by his very existence and nature – starts a war. Everyone wants him, for their own reasons, alive or dead. Do you think there is anything he could have done to avert the ultimate consequences? That he SHOULD have done? How do you think he felt when convinced that he must have been the only one of his kind out there? How do you think that changed when he met Grayson Garvin?