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I was recently interviewed by Becca Anne’s Book Reviews where she asked me about my Top 10 favorite Crash/Sora moments from The Cat’s Eye Chronicles. It was such a fun list to make, I thought I’d share the article here with you guys on the blog. Enjoy!
T. L. Shreffler’s Top 10 Crash/Sora Moments from The Cat’s Eye Chronicles (in chronological order.)
Note: SPOILERS for books 1-3.
1) Sora’s Quest: When Crash saves Sora from drowning.
This early part of the story is fun because Crash and Sora are still at major odds with each other. Sora and co. escape into Fennbog Swamp with the king’s soldiers on their heels. They cross a rickety bridge over a flooded river. The bridge breaks and Sora goes under. The current is too strong to swim against, and she almost drowns until “someone” dives into the water and uses a rope to drag her back to shore.
I love the surprise Sora feels when she looks up and realizes her rescuer is Crash, the dreaded assassin. She feels disconcerted to find herself in his arms, but “too exhausted to protest.” She isn’t sure if Crash rescued her out of ruthless practicality or if he might just care about her wellbeing. To paraphrase Dorian the thief: “Careful, Crash. You almost seem concerned.”
2) Sora’s Quest: When Sora saves Crash from drowning.
An ironic role reversal! In an attempt to escape the Catlin colony, Sora and Crash take a plunge from a very high bridge into an icy lake below. Crash becomes trapped under the bridge as it sinks into the lake. Sora has to dive into the icy water and rescue the assassin. For the first time, Crash begins to see Sora as not just a burden, but someone of personal strength and courage.
The words hung between them, silent, a shade awkward. He frowned, still staring at her, as though she was not quite what he expected. He cleared his throat. “I…well, thank you.”
Sora felt speechless. Gratitude? From this assassin? Not bloody likely, she thought, and yet there it was. Loud and clear.
“Of course,” she said solemnly. Then she couldn’t help it. She cracked a smile.
To her surprise, Crash let out a quiet chuckle. He stood and gave her a hand up, helping her to her feet. He picked up her cloak and threw it around her shoulders. “Come on.”
3) Sora’s Quest: The Mud Fight.
I needed an innocent reason for Sora and Crash to grope each other (lol just kidding…well partly kidding.) We spent all of Sora’s Quest receiving dark glares from Crash, then finally at the end, we see that mask slip. Lo and behold, a heart resides beneath!
Perhaps the most touching moment is right after the mud fight when Sora returns to her cabin to open Crash’s gift. “For the first time I felt fear.”
4) Viper’s Creed: When Crash and Sora first meet again after a year apart.
At this point in the story, Sora has trained for a year with her mother and I wanted to show off her skills a bit! Mostly though, I just wanted Sora and Crash to roll around on the ground together. I thought it would be a fun way for them to reunite: an epic battle, a dynamic power struggle, and then (of course) lots of awkward staring when they finally recognize each other.
5) Viper’s Creed: “Date night” in Delbar.
We get drama, romance and dinner, just like a Saturday night date! 😉 First Crash and Sora argue outside the weapon shop, then they have a sweet bonding moment in the backstreets of Delbar. They discuss their strange friendship for the first time. And finally, they meet up with Burn and Laina at a fancy hotel for dinner.
I can imagine the city of Delbar so vividly in my mind: colorful paper lanterns strung across cobblestone streets, long alleys full of eccentric shops, and the wharf lined with massive seafaring vessels. Sounds like a place out of a dream. What I love the most about this magical night in Delbar is that, for the first time, you see Crash and Sora interact without some immediate threat nearby. We can take a breather from the journey and sit down on a bench to watch the ocean.
And of course, let’s not forget this extremely flirtatious moment from Crash at dinner (like a 10 on the “assassin” flirtation scale):
Sora looked at Crash curiously after the waitress was out of sight. They were sitting next to each other, so she leaned in close to speak. “I take it you don’t like seafood?” she asked quietly.
She leaned a little more toward him. “I said, so you don’t like fish?”
“Not especially,” he replied in an equally soft voice. Then a wicked glint lit his eyes. “Unless it has long, slimy tentacles and suckers, with tiny black eyes that have been boiled in soup….”
“Oh, hush!” Sora laughed. “Are you describing yourself? I think I’ve seen a few tentacles under that cloak….”
The assassin grimaced. “You’re very clever.”
“I learned it from you,” she grinned.
“We’ll have to put a stop to that.”
Sora’s grin widened. “You could always throw me to the sea.”
Crash laughed. “That wouldn’t work. As I recall, you’re a very good swimmer.” The compliment was unexpected. He had adopted a deep tone that Sora had never heard before. It sent shivers across her skin and she shifted in her seat, strangely excited.
“I could teach you,” she said.
“Why don’t we have our first lesson in the bath?”
Suddenly Burn cleared his throat from across the table. Crash quickly backed away from her, saying shortly, “Another time, then.”
6) Viper’s Creed: Sora cures Crash from a Kraken bite.
This was just an excuse to get Sora and Crash snuggling in the same bed. Lol! I love it when Crash takes hold of Sora’s wrist and doesn’t let her go. Almost makes me wonder if he did it on purpose…? 😉
7) Volcrian’s Hunt: Crash and Sora reunited on the island.
There is nothing more entertaining…than when one character thinks the other is dead! I’ll confess, these were the most fun scenes to write. We get to see a great wealth of emotion from Crash, along with the resurgence of his demon. And then, finally, that climactic reunion when Crash saves Sora from being choked to death. (Wow, who writes this stuff? So pulpy!)
That all leads up to the sweetly poignant scene where Crash and Sora hold hands by the fire. As my beta-reader put it, “Aww they’re cuddling! And it happened so naturally, too!” So much can be said through a simple touch. Crash vows never to “die again.” Sora expresses her fears about the future. And finally, our budding lovebirds promise to fight side by side ‘til the very end. Aw shucks, guys! I’m getting teary!
For a moment, she saw a hollowness inside of him that was too great to bear. She looked away, unnerved. He obviously thought the worst. Expected it.
“And if I don’t survive?” she asked quietly.
His grip tightened on her hand. “Then I will go with you.”
She raised her eyes to his, looking him fully in the face, shocked. “What?”
“You won’t die alone, Sora,” he said quietly.
8) Volcrian’s Hunt: Crash and Sora in the Crystal Caves.
Finally Sora knows who Crash really is. Finally! Finally!
9) Volcrian’s Hunt: Crash and Sora in the jailhouse.
More than anything, this scene reminds us that Crash is strong. Even while being tortured and imprisoned, his control doesn’t break. Yet his vulnerability bleeds through when Sora appears. “You’re beautiful,” he says as he touches her face. And the rest of us get a little choked up. 😉
Crash’s hand touched her face. He stroked the back of his fingers along her cheek…so incredibly gently.
She flinched in surprise and looked at him. He was staring at her, his expression hard and solemn. She knew that look: fierce and calculating, like a caged wolf. It was the face of a warrior—someone much stronger than she could ever be.
“You must convince the Harpies to set me free,” he said hoarsely. Then he lightly pressed a finger to her forehead. “Use your head,” he murmured. “You’re good at that.”
Sora felt a small smile on her lips. He ran his finger down the side of her cheek again, then pinched her chin, giving it a light squeeze. “Yes, smile,” he murmured. “You must look…like you don’t care.”
But I do care, she thought. The truth of it resonated throughout her body, her eyes widening fractionally. I care a lot.
His touch lingered on her face, a silent connection that slowly warmed her blood. She had never felt so close to anyone in her entire life. She didn’t want to leave. No, she wanted to stay in the darkness, gazing at him, listening to his ruined voice.
“What?” she asked softly, trying to understand his expression. It was fiery and soft all at once, as though she had spoken her thoughts aloud—as though he had heard every word.
“You’re beautiful, Sora,” he said.
10)Volcrian’s Hunt: Crash and Sora “kissing in a tree.”
Okay, so maybe “under a tree” is more accurate, but you get the idea. We’ve waited long enough for this moment–finally, some snogging! Not that I regret taking so long to get to this point. The fire burns slowly when you’re an innocent noblewoman paired with an extremely antisocial assassin.
I love this scene for the obvious reason: all that built up tension finally released in a single explosive, passionate kiss…or series of kisses…or several hours of kissing. As the author, I’m not sure how long it lasted, since after a while I felt the modest need to look away.
And, for less obvious reasons, I love this scene because it deepens the complexity of Sora and Crash’s relationship. Their undeniable attraction to one another is contrasted with the danger of their journey. Crash is aware of Sora’s inexperience and wants to protect her, both from their enemies and himself. He feels that he is not a good enough man to “have” her; that he would only put her in danger; that he would complicate things beyond reason. This passage best sums up that depth of feeling:
She buried her face in his shirt. He made it sound so simple, so easy. “Then take away my fear,” she said, her voice small, muffled by fabric. She didn’t want to be afraid. She had tried not to be. But when he was this close, she felt completely undone.
He reached between them, tipping her head up. For a brief moment he searched her eyes, looking for something, she didn’t know what. But he must have found it, because he set his lips against hers again, softly this time, gently. He kissed her with a sense of controlled power, as though holding back something monstrously strong. She could sense the shadows shift around them, moving on their own accord, clasping her in a dark embrace, an extension of his own body. She felt completely consumed.
He broke away again, muttering against her lips. “I will do this,” he said, “until you can’t think anymore.” He trailed his lips across her mouth, tendrils of fire slipping through her body. “Then we will go back,” he murmured, “and you will sleep.”
She began to tremble, barely able to stand. His arms clamped her to his chest, strong and secure, sliding across her back. One traveled up to her neck, cradling the back of her head, adjusting her position. He opened her mouth easily, capturing her tongue, controlling her.
After a long moment, he finished his thought. “Tomorrow we will fight, and you will be safe, and this will have never happened.”
Why? she wanted to ask. Why can’t this happen?
Because he’s an assassin, her inner voice answered through the foggy cloud of her mind.
I don’t care, she thought.
You do, the voice murmured. And he knows it.
She couldn’t argue anymore. Crash’s hand wove into her hair, and then she was truly lost.
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