Friday, March 22, 2013

The Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey Read Along: Week 2

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 Dab of Darkness.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 13

1) We finally learned of at least one power Shana is capable of - throwing rocks with her mind! If given the choice of any 1 power we have seen so far in the book (whether dragon, elven, human, wizard, halfblood, alicorn, etc.), which would you pick?

Although I can think of a few people that I would love to throw rocks at, I think I would most like to be able to shift like the dragons do. I was very impressed by Keman’s use of this ability to heal himself and then morph his shape to survive the sandstorm. That young dragon is getting more impressive every time we encounter him and I hope that we will see more of him in the rest of the book: I will be very disappointed if we do not.

2) In the first few chapters, we learned that the dragons want to remain unknown to the elven and humans. But in these chapters we see that they haven't been as careful as they would like. Do you think all the dragons are united on this wish to remain anonymous?

I think they all want to keep their secret, but have underestimated the effect of their ‘tricks’ on the individuals who have seen them in the past. We see that Lord Berenel has not discounted his encounter as a delusion, and I am sure that he is not the only one. Just like the elves, I think the dragons are guilty of being complacent and far too smug about their own abilities.

3) Alara kept her foster-daughter ignorant about her own heritage and about the larger world. Did Alara make the right decision?

No: I think it was a huge mistake. I do not understand why Alara did not explain her origins to Shana once the child discovered that she was not Kin. To leave her ignorant when dropping her in the desert could have caused disaster, not only for her, but also for the Lair and still could. It would seem that they have been very lucky that she has remained silent about them and is now in possibly safer hands.

4) In the last few chapters of this section, we get a more intimate look at human life and how it is intertwined with the schemes of the elven lords. What stood out for you?

I suppose, as a female, I find the callous use of many women for only breeding or pleasure to be particularly difficult to tolerate. I know that we keep getting glimpses of female warriors, gladiators, traders, etc but even the human men seem to view women as property and expendable. I was particularly appalled by Kel’s response to Megwyn’s death: he was just mildly annoyed because he fancied using her himself and was soon imagining who else could warm his bed. Grr!!! :(

5) Chapter 13 leaves off with the Wizards Zed and Rennis spiriting Shana away. Care to guess if their motives are benign or malignant?

I would hope that their motives towards Shana are benign; although I have no doubt that they see her as a powerful potential asset in their struggle against the elves. I think it is fairly clear that she will be leading them into battle soon enough, so I guess that their motives with regard to the elves are malignant in the extreme.

6) Throughout this section, there have been several acts of bravery. Sometimes they are motivated by greed, simple bodily need, or friendship. Which acts pulled an emotional response from you?

I loved Shana’s attack on Rovy: all that righteous anger with just enough control to prevent serious injury was awesome. He thoroughly deserved it and I think that she and Keman were both right to criticize the adult dragons for allowing him to continue as a bully for so many years: that was truly shameful. I am totally invested in the love that Shana and Keman have for each other even though they are totally different species. When he went through so many trials to get to her and then stay with the caravan I was cheering for him to succeed, because he placed himself in such danger and yet tried to be intelligent and remain hidden . . . unlike Alara, who I am now very angry at!

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya about the use of females by the human and elven populations. I am kind of surprised that so far Shana and Alara are really it for main female characters and that the vast majority of minor female characters are enslaved in one form or another. Where are these female warriors and gladiators? While I am enjoying this book, I think it is a little lacking on kick-ass female characters.

    Rovy totally deserved to have his butt zapped. If these dragons are so capable of overhearing other's thoughts and feelings, then it should have been pretty cut and dry what had been going on, even if Keman's injuries weren't enough. When I read this as a teenager, I totally felt the teen angst against unjust adult authority reading that section.


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