This was it. Lily was really nervous about Lynette's fate. She didn't really have any commentary until the ritual was already underway, and then she was the audience every author wants, gasping and cheering at all the right times.
Cheer Moment: He seized hold of the girl's left shoulder with his teeth and dragged her down from the altar. With that rapid backing motion I had seen him employ before, he dragged her quickly before us toward the north, whence he had come, to my right.
Gasp Moment: The report of a gunshot filled the air and Larry staggered, a dark blot appearing and spreading high upon his left shoulder. The vicar held a smoking revolver, pointed in his direction.
Lily really liked the Count, I think, in part, because she's on a vampire kick. She doesn't otherwise like villain protagonists.
She was worried when the vicar attacked the Count, though confused about the mechanism.
"Dirt from one of your own caskets," the vicar replied, "mixed with pieces of my church's altar stone relic, left over from more papish times. Fingerbone of St. Hilarian, according to the records.
Lily: What's he talking about?
Me: You'll see. Listen to the end of what he's saying.
You require your consecrated soil, but overconsecration is like the difference between a therapeutic and a debilitating dose of strychnine. Do you not agree?"
I do love that line, because it seems so characteristically Zelaznian, but it's certainly confusing to a little kid (though, she's not the intended audience, so it's hard to fault him for that).
Me: Okay, that's probably no clearer. You know how you'll get sick if you take too much medicine? It's like that.
Cheer Moment: The Count muttered a reply in a foreign language, as the wolf disappeared with Lynette; and I realized that, from all his talks with Larry, plus his knowledge of drugs, and the samples he had obtained, he had succeeded several days ago in developing his own ideal dosage, and I had just witnessed the Great Detective's greatest disguise yet. I howled a "Well done!" into the night. Later, a "Good luck!" came back to me.
Another Cheer Moment: "Pret-ty kit-ty," he repeated. Then he turned and walked away in the direction whence he had come.
"Put me down!" she cried. "I can't leave now!"
He sat down just beyond the firelight and commenced petting her.
I needed to spell out the deal with Carpe baculum, but she dug it once I did.
Not strictly relevant to this specific readthrough, but a friend suggested the top ten best/worst Zelazny puns and Jack had braced himself. Then his arm moved, hand dipping into the satchel and out, emerging quickly, casting the wine bottle of slitherers into the Gateway, to gunk it up. He grinned at me. "Any port in a storm," he observed. certainly belongs there.
She really appreciated the ending, which I do think was the perfect conclusion to the story:
I turned and looked back in time to see the experiment man start down the southern slope, carrying the Count.Great book and great experience reading it. I wouldn't change a thing about either. Thanks for reading along with me.
"Hi, cat," I said. "I'll buy you that drink yet."
"Hi, dog," she said. "I think I'll let you."
Jack and Jill went down the hill. Gray and I ran after.