Monday, April 29, 2013

The Shadow of the Sun by Barbara Friend Ish Read Along: Week 5

If you haven't read the book, why not give it a try? You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.

This week we read through to the end of the book.

Before I answer the questions I would just like to thank Barbara Friend Ish for the chance to read her book for free and nrlymrtl for organizing the Read Along.

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?

I was constantly amazed that he did not stab Ellion in the eye when it became obvious that the human was bedding Letitia. He seems to be remarkably tolerant of her choices and able to restrain his jealousy well beyond the point where I would have expected at least a well-placed knee in Ellion’s dangly bits. Ellion has some inkling that he is considered so far beneath her as to not really warrant jealousy from her designated Consort, but I was still very impressed.

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)?

She reminds me very much of Brienne of Tarth from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, although Rohini is not supposed to be as ugly or manly. I was very impressed by the way that she fulfilled a traditionally ‘male’ role with great ease and commanded such loyalty and respect from her soldiers.

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

I think that he has always wanted Ellion to take over as his successor and this plan is now even more important as he is being overwhelmed by the death magic. I do not think that he has any other motive behind this wish other than seeing the strongest, most Talented man take over his position.

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?

I think that what she really needs is information. She needs to know what her mother could and could not do and how they differ in their Talent. More importantly, she needs to know why Carina failed to destroy Nechton. This could all be in the journal that she uncovered, otherwise I have no idea how she can hope to survive the encounter.

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

I am still rather ambivalent about the deities in this world. Ellion seems to believe that they are real entities, and he certainly escaped that mine explosion by some sort of divine intervention. However, they feel very distant and somewhat unconcerned with anything other than their own desires and needs. I see a lot of similarities with the Greek / Roman pantheon, especially with the overthrowing and imprisonment of the old gods by the new. It is unfortunate that we have only Ellion’s internal monologue to inform us as his wandering exploration of the dark forces has identified several potential sources of that power. At the moment I am not certain which dark god is the most powerful or the identity of the one calling to him.

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?

What insight: did I miss a clue? As far as I can tell, we are no wiser now than we were with the first one.

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?

Erm, this is going to sound rather harsh, but I have trouble liking Ellion or developing a great deal of sympathy for him. I have spent most of the book wanting to give him a good slap because so much of his problems are self-inflicted. He has made things so much worse by trying to hold to his vow, unless it involved subtle breaks in it to get into Letitia’s knickers. He could have resolved so much of his angst by talking to Amien and the others. He is basically narcissistic and selfish: personality traits that I struggle to find appealing.


  1. Ah, thank you for using one of my favorite terms - dangly bits. hehe.

    I too enjoy Rohini. I like how it may be less common than a man to be fulfilling that role, but not necessarily comment worthy, as in GRR Martin's series.

    Last week Lynn and I were chatting in her comments about how Ellion is one of those characters that you may not like but he does provoke an emotional response - like Brave New World or Wuthering Heights. Food for thought.

    With the assassination attempt, I was focused on the methods - knife, garrote, Basghilae, mine, and then finally poison glass baubles. So, all one source? Multiple folks wanting Ellion and/or Letitia dead? Anyway, that was where I was going with that and I could have phrased the question better.

    1. I have to admit that I haven't read Brave New World, but I did slog through Wuthering Heights a few years ago and I was totally unmoved by Cathy and Heathcliffe: she was spoilt and he was a bully (in my opinion). I know that a lot of people find it all terribly romantic, but I just wanted to slap her and throw him in prison! :D

      With the assassinations, I was looking for a pattern, or some hint as to who was behind them, but I couldn't spot anything useful. I hadn't considered the mine attacks might be done by the same person, so that just adds to my confusion! :(

  2. Iminor does have restraint! Most people would've hauled off and decked Ellion long ago.

    Rohini is like a less manly Brienne. I'd love to see more of her in book 2. She may be the one who finally smacks Ellion.

    Ellion can be infuriating. He doesn't think, acts badly, makes poor choices. He can be a tough one to like. For me, I sort of like all those things about him. He might be an idiot but I find him a likable one.

    1. I can totally see Rohini losing her temper and giving Ellion a much-needed slapping! :)

  3. I must confess that I was really harsh about Ellion last week, plus I wasn't exactly gracious about Letitia - in fact I thought I'd probably made everyone cross with me because I was so outspoken! I tried to be a bit calmer this week. I wouldn't say I like Ellion, because it would be a lie, perhaps he'll improve in the next book but I find myself liking Iminor a lot more - talk about restraint. I mean, even if Iminor does think he's superior (which he does) you'd still have to be pretty restrained. And, like you said I could have joyfully smacked him about the head on numerous occasions.
    I begin to wonder if all the assassination attempts are by Nechton (as well as the Basghilae - I just seems a bit of a coincidence that both enemies seem almost unable to be destroyed.
    Lynn :D

    1. I think we are perhaps supposed to come to love Ellion, even though he is frustrating, but I agree with you that I don't find him likeable. I'm not quite sure what more he could do to insult Iminor apart from setting him on fire . . .

      I like your suggestion that the lack of success suggests the same person behind all the attempts. I just can't work out why the all-powerful Nechton is so ineffective.


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