The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 5

The Shadow of the SunIt’s week five of The Shadow of the Sun read along. Also, the end of the read along so I’m writing this post with a glass of wine to celebrate the conclusion of a good book. This week, we’re covering chapters 29 – end. Once again, thanks to nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness for putting together the questions.

As a side note, this has been a fun read along and I’m looking forward to book two more than ever. I’ll be doing a review soon and tying together a few of the posts because if you haven’t heard of this one, I’m going to try and make sure you do.

1) These final chapters show us much more of Iminor’s character and his growing Talent. What stuck out the most for you about how he handled the various exploding aspects of his life?

It’s hard to say. On one hand, he’s calm about all that’s happening to him and seems to be taking it in stride, as if he knew something like this might happen along the way. The seething hatred he’s nurturing toward Ellion may be a side effect of the stress he’s feeling (and Ellion’s night activities with Letitia which he has to know about) and I think he’s channeling that stress into not dealing with the problems with his growing Talent. As with the other Tan, he’s pretty good at hiding some, not all, of his feelings and I think he’d doing that and putting up a front so no one really knows what’s going on with him. I don’t see good things for him though in the future though.

2) While Rohini is a late addition to the party, she is an interesting one. What aspect of her character or objectives would you like to see more of in forthcoming book(s)?

I want her to kick more ass. That is all. Thank you. 🙂

3) Amien has been managing and maneuvering Ellion quite a bit in this last section. What do you think his motivations are?

Amien. I don’t know what to think of him. I want to like him, and in some respects, I can and do appreciate his skills, but I don’t trust him. He’s incredibly manipulative and that shows in the way he’s been treating Ellion. I don’t know what he’s up to and maybe he doesn’t know either which is why he’s pushing Ellion so hard. Or maybe he knows something that no one else does and that’s his motivation. Secrets, secrets…

4) Letitia continued to learn more about her abilities, but everyone agrees she still lacks the ability to go toe to toe with Nechton. What more would you empower her with?

Confidence. Loads and loads of it. I think she’s got some skill but having been groomed for something all her life, she’s not confident in the end goal. While she certainly has her convictions and very distinct lines of right and wrong, as well as a healthy respect for duty and responsibility, she’s not mentally equipped to deal with what she has to face. Does it sound like I’m worried about her? A bit. Not sure she has what it takes, although I’m hoping she pulls out all the stops in the end.

Also, another thing that sort of worries me, she makes bad choices. I won’t name him, oh why not, Ellion! How many times can she keep showing up naked with this boy.

As a note to clarify, I complain because I like it. 🙂 I’m totally enjoying all the bad choices they’re gettin’ on here.

5) Throughout this entire book, the deities have played an important, if a backseat driver, role. As a reader, how has this worked for you in the world-building/plot department?

I’ve enjoyed the way the gods have been interacting with the characters. On a larger scale, it’s set a tone for the book and shows just how important the gods are in the characters’ lives and the driving force, even on the sidelines, they can be.

Ellion’s making choices based on what he thinks the gods want but he doesn’t really know what they want, and no matter, he’s still guessing. In many ways, for as prominent as the gods are, they’re still not telling anyone what to do and that I do like.

As for the world-building, it’s an inventive way to show this world. I read in pictures and this book has been a great stream of images for me.

6) We had yet one more assassination attempt in the hot water baths of Sucello. Now that we are at the end of the book, what are your insights into who is behind these attempts?

I still have no idea. I want to say it’s Nechton but I’m not sure about that theory any more. Maybe it’s Carina back from the not-so-dead out to stop everyone after having gone crazy from the battle with Nechton.

7) Bealtan reveals much about our narrative hero, Ellion. From his reuniting with Conar, to the revelation of Amien’s intentions, to his argument with Letitia, and his own internal recriminations about himself. Here at the end, what are your lasting impressions of Ellion?

He’s still not sure of who he is or what he wants to be. I’m good with that actually. I’m enjoying his folly and I don’t think badly about him because I like him. Yes, I’m willing to gloss over some major flaws in his character because I think he’s a good guy at heart even if he isn’t so sure.

Some of you might disagree with me about this but sometimes a character like Ellion is what makes a story. Stories don’t move along when everyone gets along and everything happens according to plan. Bad choices make the story go round.

How long until book two? 🙂
Question for Barbara this week: Have you ever thought of a graphic novel adaptation of The Shadow of the Sun? Maybe Ellion’s early life or a spin-off dealing with the gods, or the Deluge, the battle between Nechton and Carina? nrlymrtl’s question about illustrations got me thinking about this one. There are so many great scenes that I think it could easily work in that form.

The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 4

The Shadow of the SunIt’s week four of The Shadow of the Sun read along. This week, we’re covering Chapters 22 – 28. Once again, thanks to nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness for putting together the questions. I will be around to discuss with everyone this week.

1) Ellion and Letitia finally have not 1, not 2, not 3, but four trysts in this section of the book. What insights into the characters did you gain from these assignations?

Umm, that they need to learn to keep their pants on. OK. That’s obvious.

Actually, it occurred to me that these are two very hurt people looking to assuage guilt and be assured by someone, or something, even if that something is sex, that what they’re feeling is normal, and that it’s OK to feel they way they do. Letitia has no idea what she’s up against and has no faith in her abilities. Ellion is running so fast he’s bumping into every wall, real and imagined, that he can find as if he’s doing it out of some need to punish himself. Ignore this. I seriously have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m not going any further with my analysis than that.

2) Letitia’s retinue has diminished even further. How did this affect you as the reader and how do you think it will affect the dynamics of the remaining Tanaan?

It’s making me nervous! Barbara, please stop the killing! 🙂

Are they going to make it is the question that keeps rattling around in my head. Also, I’m beginning to think Amien is slightly useless on the wizard front. I want him to do more than throw green bolts. For god sakes, he a wizard! Also, I want him to get off Ellion’s case. Ellion needs some tough love but there’s too much guilt being passed between them to help matters.

I do think it’s starting to stress the Tanaan though. They’ve watching so many of their friends die that it has to be hard to them.

3) We’ve learned a bit more about the missing Carina in this section. What do you think is in her grimoire that has Letitia so secretive?

I think Letitia’s embarrassed because she doesn’t understand what she’s reading. She’s obviously had no training, believes that she’s supposed to know and understand everything on her own, and doesn’t want to admit this to anyone. I think she’s also terrified of what she has to face.

Letitia said she was willing to die if needed, so she seems to understand on some level what she’s up against, but I think she’s truly misread everything and it’s not her fault at all. It’s almost as though everyone expects her to know. How can she understand, be capable, if no one can or will help her? I’m feeling bad for her but also — keep ya pants on!

4) We’ve heard plenty about how much Ellion’s vow not to draw power means to him. But then we also see him finding several ways to feel, touch, smell, and use someone else’s power. What do you make of this and where do you think it will take Ellion?

Oh, all the wrong places. Totally off topic, is that a lyric to a country music song because it feels like it? Also, it fits with Ellion right now. This boy. I like him, I want him to finally come around and be what he’s supposed to be but, can he do more to make me question his judgement? Can he make a good decision here? He’s such an addict when it comes to power and I give him some credit for holding himself back but he’s cheating. He knows it too but doesn’t seem inclined to stop at all.

5) Nechton also played a larger role in this section. Which aspect has caught your attentions so far?

That he’s pretty much a badass. Although, Ellion’s description of Nechton when he sees a vision of him while touching the Spear is kinda eye opening. It’s a rather sexual description too which for Ellion is all normal. I mean, really. Pants. On. Ya just had sex too…it’s impressive but…not a race boy.

6) The mummers were in and out of this section, turning up in city and on the river. What did you make of their antics?

I found them disconcerting. They know entirely too much. Each time they showed up I was waiting for trouble. Although, they have been amusing and let’s face it, the death toll is a bit high not to laugh at something.

7) So far throughout the book we have gotten maps as we read. How is this working for you as the reader?
I like it. It helps me visualize the setting, where they’re going, and how they’re getting there. While I’m awful at directions, and honestly can’t read a map to save my life, (While in California last year, my husband asked where we were and I told him somewhere in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. That was all I could come up with.) I appreciate seeing the terrain. Although, if it’s possible to drop a temple on a corner where they need to turn, that would help me so much.

The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 3

The Shadow of the SunIt’s week three of The Shadow of the Sun read along. This week, we’re covering Chapters 16-21. I’ll post some links to other posts later in the week. Once again, thanks to nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness for putting together the questions.

1) Up to this section, we believed the Basghilae could not cross water, but we learn to the detriment of our heroes that this is not so. What further hidden abilities do you think might crop up from these walking dead?

I think maybe they’re learning as they go. The puppeteer, that’s what I’m going to call whoever is controlling these things, is figuring out as he/she goes and has figured out a way to get them into water. I’m waiting for them to fly now.

2) As the party enters the human lands, they come up with a cover story and request that Letitia remove her torc. She refuses. Do you think her decision was the correct one?

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer. Letitia thinks she’s doing what’s right and believes that she bears the burden, always. She can’t simply remove the torc and pretend to be something she is not. I understand that devotion and sense of ownership but I think she also put the group in danger, and in her quest to not run from who and what she is, she doesn’t stop to think about the group as a whole. These people have sworn to protect her, and many have died trying, and while I do see her point, she could have given in for a short time. People are learning to compromise for her; she needs to compromise for others too.

3) At one point Ellion lingers over the warding process, specifically warding Letitia, and how a person must be completely nude for wards to be put in place. I’m going to leave this one wide open for comment ;).

He he. Ellion has got an imagination and knows how to use it. That boy has lots o’ sex on the brain.

4) Ellion makes a tough decision to leave the Tanaan and while he watches them leave he has a huge epiphany about his inner motives. How do you think this will affect his actions and motivations the rest of the book?

Oh Ellion. I so like him but I do wish he’d think a moment. He’s so worried about what his being there will mean that he doesn’t think about what his not being there will mean.

Letitia couldn’t take off her torc because she understands what it means to bear responsibility. Ellion likes to run and he thinks this is going to be the right answer in this situation as well. I don’t. Obviously, he has some power that’s going to be needed and he needs to stick it out and see what happens.

5) We saw the Tanaan and Ellion in some interesting situations of a more personal nature in these chapters, from the Night Butterflies to cutting in at a dance. What did you make of these instances, what further cultural differences along these lines do you foresee happening, and have you ever been a part of such a situation?

I’m going to tell a story here.

A few years back I had to go to Las Vegas for work. I invited a friend who had never been there to join me so we could explore. One evening, we took a stroll down the Vegas Strip and stopped in front of Treasure Island to watch the show. I’m sure it’s changed over the years but when we were there the show consisted of two pirate ships, one full of pirate women and one full of pirate men. They taunted each other something along the lines of:

Male pirate: “Surrender women!”

Female pirate 1: “Never! Why don’t you come over here and board us, boys…”

Female pirate 2: “Yes, boys, we’re all wet and hot from all the fighting. Come and board us.”

Not too raunchy, I mean Vegas is trying to be a family destination, but enough raunch to still be Vegasy. It was nothing too memorable until the following day when we ran into a few people I knew and they asked if we had the chance to see anything. We mentioned our walk down the Strip and watching the Treasure Island show. The following was said to us:

“That show is so cute. The boy and girl pirate flirting like that.”

Yeah. My brain kept yelling at my jaw to remain shut. Cute. Flirting. Um, I should also point out that all the pirates, women and men, looked as though they stepped out of a strip show soaking wet. Not the way I would have described it. It was slightly awkward and we had a great laugh after. Then again, maybe our brains just go to the dirty faster.

6) Once again, we were treated to some fight scenes. What stood out for you about these scenes?
I’m always amazed how fast everything happens in a fight scene. When I’m reading, it feels like it lasts forever but it’s minutes and people are dead and others struggling to survive when it’s over. I sometimes skip over fight scenes because they can be too violent. These scenes are adding a lot to the book and I haven’t once felt like any of it was too much.

The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 2

The Shadow of the SunWeek two of The Shadow of the Sun read along. nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness is hosting and if you’re interested in joining us, the schedule is here.

This week, chapters 8-15.

1) Ellion has quite a mystery on his hands with yet the third assassination attempt. The assassin is the same dude, and once ‘dead’, he proceeds to disappear once again. What do you make of this elusive, reappearing, dead guy assassin?

The reappearing dead guy assassin is starting to freak me out. Ellion needs to whack off his head the next time he appears, because obviously, he’s coming back for him. I want to know what Ellion did because he seems to have really annoyed someone for them to go through the trouble of sending this guy after him, repeatedly. They obviously want him dead and seem more than willing to try, try again.

2) Throughout this section, Ellion and Amien have several exchanges of words. Did you have the urge to ask them politely, yet firmly, to step out back and settle the matter for the duration of the trip?

Or swat them upside the head. Obviously, these two are living a bit in the past and what happened between them.They really should share this with the group, and by sharing with the group I mean me, so that way we can all move on. Actually, I’m really curious about what happened between these two. I feel as though Ellion let Amien down but I think it goes slightly deeper than that as well.

3) The Tanaan suffered a great loss in the past, calling it The Deluge, believing it to have been brought upon them by a wrathful goddess. Do you believe this Deluge was due to a goddess striking a disobedient people? What could the Tanaan have done to warrant such action?

I greatly dislike the idea of a god this vengeful but it makes for interesting reading. Would a god do this to its people? I don’t know but let’s just say that if I were the Tannan, I’d avoid this place and never bring up anything having to do with it. Ellion, blundering his way onward, brings it up and can’t seem to let go until scathing looks are sent his way — the only clue as to his social inadequacies. I actually wanted him to keep asking questions because there’s something very interesting about a god like this one but he was stifled, after stepping on a few toes.

4) The Tanaan are use to fighting in tourneys, one-on-one, and not in formations with team goals. How do you think they will take to Ellion’s attempts to school them in real combat tactics?

If he can convince them that learning fighting tactics will help them protect the Mora, then I think they’ll be open to learning. Of course, that’s if Ellion can keep his mouth shut and treat everyone with respect while doing it. I’m not so sure he’ll be able to keep his mouth shut. It opens before his brain starts the processing.

5) Letitia has been wearing her mother’s diamond on her torc, which turns out was a gift from Amien. He crafted it himself and says it is a tool. What kind of tool do you think it is?

I’m suspicious of Amien and Letitia’s mother. Obviously, they had a close relationship but now I’m wondering how close. Amien thinks Ellion isn’t being honest but he needs to knock off the games too and come clean.

6) What is up with the Tuaoh Stone having a strong reaction to Ellion?
Ellion is much more powerful than he lets on or, me thinks, understands. I’m not sure he can handle the power either and maybe that’s why Amien is pissed at him. Obviously, Ellion has some power not even he’s aware of at this point or he’s aware and trying to avoid. I think he’s hiding a lot.

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?