Friday, March 29, 2013

The Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey Read Along: Week 3

If you haven't read the book, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Snobbery.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 18

1. Shana is taken in among the other halfblood Wizards as an apprentice.  She's never lived with two-leggers of any variety before this, but seems to have adjusted rather quickly.  Do you think you'd be able to do the same in this situation?

I like to think that I have managed to adapt to life here in the US fairly well, but somehow I doubt that I have had to overcome as many challenges as Shana! :)

I suppose that one thing in her favor was that she was vaguely familiar with the whole two-legger concept because she had seen Keman’s shifting practice. Also she had that period of time in the city to get accustomed to being surrounded by non-Kin whilst in a situation where nobody was really paying any attention to her or her reactions. As for me: I like to think that I am adaptable, but I am not sure that I would adjust as quickly as she has done.

2. While she's wandering through the Citadel, Shana learns more about the first Wizard War than any of the living Wizards have so far.  Why do you think none of the others have bothered to explore?

I keep finding myself saying this, but I think that it is down to complacence. The wizards are far more interested in their own continued survival than they are in learning more about anything. I would imagine that most of the magic they practice and teach is useful in hiding them and providing what they need: any other magic would be somewhat pointless to their way of thinking and will have been overlooked and forgotten. We see the same attitude in their total refusal to save humans who have powerful magic. There seems to be a whole lot of selfishness going on in this world.

3. We found, along with Shana, hidden rooms that were created by a dragon in halfblood form.  Do you think Kalamadea is a dragon we already know?  If so, any idea of his/her identity?

Shana thinks of it as male, so we can assume that she is correct in interpreting some of things said in the journal.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it is Father Dragon. I am not too sure my I think this, as I cannot think if any clues, but I feel it in my water . . .

4. Alara went to visit Father Dragon to ask for advice on how to handle events that have recently happened in the book.  Father Dragon says he thinks it's a good thing that "the world at large is about to discover their existence," because the Kin have grown "complacent and fat."  Were you surprised to hear this from him?  Is he, personally, about to come out of hiding?  What will the repercussions be if the Kin reveal themselves?

I was not at all surprised when he said this and not only because it is my own assessment of the Kin. I get the impression that the Shamans are supposed to think outside the box and say what needs to be said, rather than what the Kin want to hear. I am only surprised that it has taken him so long to do anything, but he might have been waiting for the right time to give them all a big kick in the backside.

I would not be surprised to find that he helps Shana and Keman, although I am not sure that he will reveal himself to the elves just yet as the first sign of the Kin will trigger an all out war between the two groups. I am fairly sure that the Kin will support a human / halfblood rebellion, but keep themselves in the background.

5. Huzzah for finally meeting an elf that is sympathetic to humans/halfbloods!  And even better that he's the son of that bastard, Dyran!  Were you surprised to learn about Valyn and Shadow's relationship?  Do you feel like they're equals, or does Valyn still think of Shadow as his inferior?

I guess in a world with so many individuals it is not too surprising that at least one of them is totally different from the others. However, I was surprised that they had been able to keep Shadow’s identity hidden for all this time, even though the Citadel shows that the elves are not controlling their world as much as they think.  I think that Valyn sees Shadow as his brother and equal as I have not noticed anything to suggest otherwise.

I think that it makes sense for Dyran to have created a son who is sympathetic to humans. Some parents push their own beliefs and agendas onto their children so much that they cause rebellion instead of compliance. I have seen this before with highly restrictive religious groups: sixteen years of no fun or personal freedom and suddenly the kids become raving hedonistic anarchists! :D

6. Shana was able to use her "treasure horde" to scry even further and into the mind of a young elf maiden, Sheyrena an Treves.  She even planted a suggestion in the girl's mind that maybe her "minor" power could be used to do some very big things.  Will anything come of this?  Either with this particular girl, or with the elven women in general?

It is difficult to tell, and I was rather unsure of Sheyrena’s importance in the story, as we do not have much time left for her to do something significant. However, I can see the female elves as powerful potential allies for the wizards if they are not too conditioned to seize the opportunity for more personal freedom. I hope that they rise up and give the men a good kicking!

7. What is going to happen with these rescued magic-having human children?  And is Keman going to be able to pull off the halfblood thing when they return to the Citadel?  Will Shadow and Valyn be welcomed?  WHEN WILL THEY REALIZE THAT VALYN IS SHANA'S HALF-BROTHER?!  Did anyone else "ewwwww" at that?  EW.

I really hope that the wizards finally decide to do something to help the humans, but I am not sure that they will, which means that the Kin may become the guardians of a growing number of humans, perhaps . . .

Of course, Shana may never return to the Citadel as asking the wizards to accept a bunch of humans, her mysterious ‘step-brother’ AND an elf might be just enough to make them finally decide to kick her out. In that case, Keman has little to worry about, although I am fairly certain that he could fit in without too much of a problem. Somehow I suspect that they will be much more concerned about assessing the elf in their midst and both Keman and Shadow will be overlooked in the rush to KILL THE ELF!!!

Oh yes! I was totally “EWWWW!!!”


  1. Are you going to read the next two books? I think I remember the second as being my favourite. I've only read the third once or twice.

    1. I'm not sure: it's not that I am not enjoying the book, but I am a little put off by the fact that the planned fourth book was never published.

  2. I think the halfblood wizards in general are selfish too. Why not get out more? They live out in the middle of nowhere, have powerful enchantments to keep themselves hidden, etc. Why not garden, hike, etc. And that Citadel is HUGE! They could totally take in some humans for apprentices.

    Raving, hedonistic anarchists unite! Or at least get together for a picnic. I totally agree with what you say about Dyran being so strict that he actually encouraged his son to not be like him. I am still not sure how Shadow managed to be undiscovered for so many years tho....

    1. I'm afraid that the races in this book mostly make me want to slap them about a bit because they are so inward looking and boring! :D


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