Book Club or Classroom Discussion Questions
Below you will find suggested discussion questions for use in your book club or your classroom. If you have additional discussion questions you would like to share, please feel free to submit them via our Contact Us page.
1. Two different belief systems exist in the world of Melt. Which system would you fall under if you were a character? Would you be a Senebal or an Erlender? How can these different belief systems be compared to belief systems in our world? What’s the difference between a belief and a fact? How do you decide what’s a belief and what’s a fact?
2. Two groups are at war over beliefs and territory in Melt. Who has the right to the Gottermund River: Erlenders or Senebels? Why? Compare this to one of the ethnic wars currently going on around the globe. What similarities or differences do you see? What do you think is more important in the fight between Erlenders and Senebals: the different belief systems or the struggle for resources? What’s more important in the different ethnic wars you are discussing?
3. Child soldiers are used in various conflicts throughout the world. Mala is seventeen, Alba was recruited at fourteen. Ges is a child worker in the archive. Discuss the use of child labor and child warriors in our world today. What defines a child and is that definition variable? When is it acceptable to push children into adult roles? Is there a limit to the adult roles children can take on? What are those limits and why? What is acceptable in terms of the treatment of children in Melt and what is not?
4. Is the story driven by the plot or the characters?
5. What plot twist was most shocking to you? What part of the book did you love? What part did you hate?
6. Plots often have red herrings- clues that lead readers in the wrong direction. What red herrings did you find in Melt?
7. What motivates each character’s actions? Mala? Lowe? Alba? Ein? Whose actions do you think are justified? Whose are not? Why? Which characters have both justified and unjustifiable actions? If a character has both justifiable actions and unjustifiable actions, is that character a hero or a villain? How do you decide?
8. Which characters grow or change during the novel? How do they change?
9. To be Kreis and give in to emotion can lead to a meltdown. Is emotion a weakness or a strength? Does it depend on the emotion? What emotions are weak or strong? Mala’s powers are tied to other people’s emotions. In what ways is that a strength? In what ways is it a liability? Which set of powers would you rather have, Mala’s or those of a normal Kreis like Lowe?
10. Describe the relationship between Kreis and Typicals. How does the power dynamic between them work? Is this a parasitic or symbiotic relationship? Can you think of any relationships in modern society that have similar traits? What about throughout history?
11. Mala makes a choice regarding her final trial. Lowe disagrees with her choice. Is there a right choice for this situation? What is it? Why is that the right choice? Who defines right and wrong?
12. Who was your favorite character? Why?
13. The Kreis make a deal with the enemy. Countries often make treaties or deals with people with vastly different views. Sometimes these are arms deals regarding weapons. Sometimes there are hostage exchanges. How would you define the situation in Melt? Are Mala and the Kreis weapons or a hostages? Can you think of any other comparisons in our recent history? Do you approve of the Senebal deal with the Erlenders? Why or why not? Should Mala have been told? Why or why not?
14. What do you think is going to happen next?
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