The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 1

The Shadow of the SunA group of us bloggers are participating in a read along of Barbara Friend Ish’s The Shadow of the Sun. nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness is doing the hosting and if you’re interested in joining us (and you are, you just don’t know it, but now that I’ve informed you, get on it) you can find a schedule here and more stuff here.

We’re also spreading of a bit of bloggy love for Mercury Retrograde Press so there will be giveaways, interviews, reviews, and some other interesting stuff this year.

This week, chapters 1 – 7.

Straight off, our hero Ellion Tellan insults one of his few friends, Coran Mourne, the new righ of Ilesia, by refusing his offer to become his War-Lord. What do you think of Ellion’s choice?

I understood why he said no. He is technically royal, even if he does his best to avoid having anything to do with his lineage, and I can see how it would have caused problems for him. I think he would have been great at the job though.

Also, I find it sort of amusing that one of the reasons he uses to say no to the War-Lord position is his royal standing but he goes out of his way not to act royal and travels as a bard. However, when someone doesn’t pay him due respect, he might not show any particular annoyance externally, but internally he remembers when someone doesn’t note his standing. It’s an interesting conflict.

Throughout these first few chapters, we have hints of Ellion’s past, which are wrapped up in his desperate attempts to avoid the summons of the Aballo Order for the Grand Moot. Any guesses about what is driving him to avoid the Moot?

I have no idea but I have a feeling it’s going to be good. Ellion is an interesting character and the little bit you see of his past only alludes to something much more complex than he wants people to see or know about. Also, I want to know more about the Order because that promises to be good.

In many ways, Letitia is the most approachable of the Tana. Yet, still Ellion feels like he is swimming through foreign territory, never certain of where the taboo sink holes are. As a reader, how is this working for you?

Amusing and very humanizing. I’m the type of person that can’t walk out of a place without knocking something over (I’m a joy to shop with) and his blundering all over the place, even though it’s more socially than physically, it’s entertaining. Also, I sympathize. There were a few cringe worthy moments in there and I predict more.

Two assassination attempts in 7 chapters, in the same house. First, what do you make of Tanaan security? Second, it’s early, but what are some of your guesses as to who or why someone wants Ellion dead?

Why, why is he still there? Ellion’s self-preservation mode needs to kick in! When someone attempts to kill you once, you run. When it happens twice, you run really fast! Also, Tanaan security kinda sucks.

The Tana have telepathy. Ellion is left to guess whether or not Rishan and his daughter Letitia are broadcasting on purpose. What do you think? If our society had the same ability, do you think you would get caught up in a telepathic shouting match across a crowded room?

I would so eavesdrop on everyone. This is the main reason I don’t write in coffee shops. I end up pretending to type so I can listen to all the people. I’m not even a nosy person but I can’t help myself in situations like that. If I could hear telepathic conversation I’d be done in. No work ever from me.

It’s funny because at first I thought that maybe Rishan and Letitia didn’t think anyone could hear their conversation. Then I thought it might be something other Tanaan block out as a general rule. Social courtesies, if you will. If everyone is able to speak telepathically then it wouldn’t seem odd to have the conversation the way they did. Now I’m wondering if they wanted to be overheard, specially Letitia. Although, no one knows Ellion can listen in so forget that theory. Unless maybe Letitia can sense he can hear. Or maybe I should stop with the zen typing and move to the next question…

The Tana have a different reproductive cycle than us humans. How do you see this affecting Tanaan-human relationships?

This is an interesting aspect of the Tana and I love that the women aren’t shy either. If this only happened once a year, um, yeah, lots o’ excitement.

Although, if one of the assassination attempts takes, Ellion’s not going to be in luck, in any way, where the Tana are concerned.

Letitia and her retinue are attacked twice by Basghilae – the walking dead – once near the river on her way home and second at home as she is readying to depart. Are you convinced that they are the work of Banbagor due to some nebulous, unknown grievance?

I don’t know where these things are coming from but they happen to be creepy. They’re the zombies of the fantasy world. If Banbagor is to blame, they are obviously pissed about something. What? I have no idea.

As part of the read long, a few of us are throwing out questions for the author. My question for Barbara: I ‘see’ this world very clearly in my head. In fact, I tend to read in pictures, active imagination and all that, when reading fantasy. When you’re writing, what do you picture and how do you keep the world so vivid? There is a map at the beginning of the book as well. Do you use maps to picture the world?


15 thoughts on “The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 1

  1. Actually reading your answer to telepathy makes me wonder if everyone in the room could here the conversation except for Ellion!
    Ah, eavesdropping – you see I never considered that – even though I do that on the bus on the way to work! It’s better than tv to be honest.
    Lynn 😀

  2. I eavesdrop in cafes and restaurants too. I know, I shouldn’t. But on the other hand, the only person who hears about these conversations is my man, so it’s not like I am spreading gossip. Not really. 1 man doesn’t count as gossip, does it?

    Yes, Ellion’s social blunders do make him very human. I mean he is this bad-ass royal uber harper warrior dude, who might not seem that approachable. But throw him in with some Tana and watch him stumble around socially for a few hours and you realize he is just as human as…well, the humans reading the book.

    • Nope, not gossip. When I tell my husband that I think the people sitting across from us are stating a cult, or possibly a pyramid scheme, he thinks nothing of it. It’s impossible to get him interested but I keep trying. 🙂 I hate to admit that but it’s true.

      Bad-ass royal uber harper warrior dude – love that! Also, so true about all the social stumbling making him human.

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  5. Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in the Read-Along! I so enjoyed reading your thoughts on the questions—and I truly appreciate your kind words about my work.

    In answer to your question for me:

    Because I like to write close, intense point-of-view, I experience stuff through the character’s eyes: in this case, Ellion’s. I picture pretty much everything as I write. I don’t do it in the way a camera does, though I understand some writers do: for me it tends to be glimpses, details arising on a moment-by-moment basis. Other sensory stuff comes up in my head just as strongly as the visual. Which is essentially how I experience the world: sights and other sensory stuff interspersed with, overlaying, and sometimes interrupting a crazy amount of thinking.

    I think it feels vivid because it recapitulates our experience of the world: it feels *real*. And because I’m a worldbuilding fanatic, there is so much planning behind every location that I’ve got a wealth of detail to share about every new place we visit.

    As you note, maps are definitely one of my tools for imagining the world. I use a mapping program called Campaign Cartographer, which was originally designed for role-playing games—and those maps become essential not only to the development of the world but the development of the story. In fact, I geek out so hard over the geographic aspect of worldbuilding that rather than hijack your entire post, I wrote a post about it on my own blog:

    As always, everyone is invited to stop in and geek out with me in the comments there.

    • I love, love, love the worldbuilding! Your writing style description makes so much sense to me too. I enjoy a book so much more when I can experience the story, the emotions, and the places along with the characters. Now, off to read about your take on worldbuilding.

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  7. 1. I can see how his drop in status would be a problem for everyone who had to deal with him: they would be constantly worried about getting the right tone, and that is never good if you have to give them orders quickly.

    3. I am also enjoying the differences in their cultures. It makes a nice change for them to be shown by one person stomping all over the delicate sensitivities of the others! 😀

    4. So true, although I think Letitia’s emerald eyes might have something to do with it . . .

    5. That’s a good point about Letitia wanting to be overheard . . . that seems so like a teenaged human that you might be right!

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