Friday, April 5, 2013

The Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey Read Along: Week 4

If you haven't read the book, you should seriously consider it. You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.

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

1. Valyn makes any interesting decision about how to handle Shana's infatuation. How do you feel about how he handled it?

I felt that it was rather cool and calculating, as if he did not really empathize with her. I thought that he would have been more successful if he had simply told her about their blood relationship and explained why he couldn’t see her in ‘that’ way. I always try to go with honesty, so to lie by omission is something that I find difficult to do.

2. Finally, out of illness and being on the loosing side of a desperate pursuit, Valyn suggests they seek refuge with his friend Triana. What did you find most interesting about Triana's little world?

I liked the fact that she was not like the other powerless elf women that we had seen: she was living life exactly how she wanted to and under her own terms. However, she was a horrible psychopath, so I cannot say that I actually liked her. In fact, I would say that she was rather repellant.

3. Shana made a wee little mistake in using a transportation spell directly to the Citadel, which can be traced. Comments on her mistake? Have you ever made such a huge blunder (unknowingly)?

Oopsie! I doubt that I have ever been in the position of holding so many peoples’ lives in my hands like that, so I have never messed up on such a monumental scale myself. I have made numerous embarrassing mistakes that have made me look like an idiot . . . but I think you were wanting something a bit more important.

For example, a friend of mine tells a story from when she worked as an insurance agent. One day the managing director of a bank rang her and asked her to refund a payment which had been made in error and had actually used up all of the bank’s collateral . . . someone had accidentally transferred £10,000,000,000 rather than £10,000 from their bank account! :D

4. Alas, all the wizardly guerrilla war tactics aren't enough to keep the Elves from finding them. If you had been in the same situation, what additional tactics would you have brought into play?

I had expected them to deploy the dragons, shifted as humans, to go into the camps and slip a bit of dragon nail into each of the elf leaders’ backs. Simple and very effective, I would have thought, and I do not remember any comment suggesting that this would not have worked.

5. Keman does a very brave thing going to fetch dragon help. What is the most memorable to you about his efforts?

I love Keman: he is willing to try even when he knows that he is likely to lose and I was so pleased that some of the dragons were persuaded by his courage and determination. I think we spoke about Father Dragon waiting for the right time to stir the Kin last week, and I could have cheered when he showed up and was so happy with them.

BTW: how cool was it that he was Kalamadea?

6. In the end, we have a dead Elven Lord and his heir, and a treaty. Did the ending surprise you? What do you make of the treaty?

In a way, I was surprised that Valyn sacrificed himself, but then he had always had that emo vibe about him, so it was sort of predictable as well. He had come to realize how cold and disconnected he was, with no real family or friends, so it made sense that he would not worry about giving up his life for the people he admired and cared about. However, I did feel as if it was a little bit convenient and sudden, from the point of view of a plot choice.

I doubt that the treaty is worth the paper that it is written upon, but we can always live in the hopes that the elves will honor it. I expect them to be busily trying to circumvent it in about a week’s time when they have got over their initial shock.

Once again, this has been a great read and I would like to thank nrlmrtl and sj for organizing this event and bringing my attention to a wonderful story.


  1. Haha! That's a pretty big numerical mistake. Someone was probably happy for a very short time, while the bank was very unhappy and stressed until the money was returned.

    I like your idea of sneaking into the camp and delivering some dragon vengeance. Why not? Perhaps 1 or 2 elves suspect dragons exist at that point in the story, so the majority of elves would be completely unaware.

    Kalamadea/Father Dragon rocks! And Keman too. I am glad Alara got her wings under her and supported Keman, even if it meant supporting him against his sister.

  2. Although I am pleased that Alara took Keman's side, I am still concerned that she seems content to let her daughter grow up to be an evil bully . . . this does not seem like goo parenting to me! :(


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