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?

The Sunday Salon – thoughts on writing and respect

Lately, I’ve been slow on the blogging. A writing slump is mostly to blame but there are a few other things bothering me; bloggy things that have in their own little way kept me from writing.

First, and I’ve said this before but to be clear, the books I review are books I purchase, borrow from the library, and a few are ARC copies that I’ve either asked publishers to send or have been offered and accepted. I do reviews for another online site called The Book Reporter, which I started doing reviews for before I decided to get into the whole blogging thing. I don’t get paid to write review for The Book Reporter although they do send me the books for review. So the reason for the previous sentence is to point out that I’m not doing this for money or for free books. I don’t get many free books and turn down more than I ever thought I would have the opportunity to turn down. I do this because I want to read and talk about my books — the books I buy, the books I borrow from the library, and the books I have discovered on my shelves. I want to be able to read whatever I want and say whatever I want about that book. I don’t love or even like very book I read but I try hard to be honest and fair. I don’t see how anyone can do this any other way.

There was a little kerfuffle about bloggers getting paid this week and, while I don’t care about what other people do or how they make their money be it on their blog or by any other means, it was slightly annoying to read that people think this is a normal practice. I’m a book blogger, yes. I read and write about books, and yes, some of those books are given to me for free, but I’m not getting paid in any way. I don’t talk about anything other than my opinion about the book. I like helping readers discover new authors and books. That’s why I do this. I’m not getting rich off it. In fact, I’ve never made a cent. Not a single one. There are many others like me in that category. Making money is not a bad thing but I don’t do this to make money.

I guess maybe where I’m going with this rather inconsistent post is that I think the book blogging world is changing and I’m not sure what to think of it now. While I still feel it’s a very vibrant community, and there are many people I talk to and share books and thoughts with, it just feels different in a way that’s causing me to be a little sad about it. Everyone these days is so quick to point out things they feel are wrong and what ends up is a mess of hashtags ridiculing people. I can’t get with that. It’s wrong. All I’m saying. People aren’t always right but they deserve a chance to explain and we all need to move on with other more important things. Life is more than books. Really it is. I can attest to that.

There are many things going on in my life right now and the time I would normally spend blogging seems to be getting slowly chipped away at. I need to find a way to mesh blogging with everything else that’s going on. You see, I want to continue writing about books and I will but I also think I needed to get these thoughts on paper so I don’t feel so weird about the blogging thing. I’m not sure that’s really helped other than forcing me to write which may have been part of the big plan anyway in getting over the slump.

Sorry for the ramble today but it was nice to get words down. Sometimes we just need to write for the sake of writing. Maybe that’s what I need to do more of. I’ll call it Zen writing from now on and if you happen to see posts like this from me every once in a while, please bear with me until regularly scheduling programming returns.

Thanks for reading and listening. It’s appreciated.

Happy Sunday. I’m off to go hiking.