Monday, April 1, 2013

The Shadow of the Sun by Barbara Friend Ish Read Along: Week 1

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 7.

1. 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?

Well, apart from it being rather rude and possibly politically dangerous, I thought that it was rather petty. We learnt that Ellion had this Grand Destiny but then messed it up to the point that he is an exile, and yet he still seems to see Coran’s offer as rather demeaning. Unless there is some reason that we have not be shown yet that gives a realistic hope of his return to his previous status, I simply do not understand why he would reject this offer. It seems a case of “cutting off your nose to spite your face” as my Mother would say. I have to assume that Coran was taking a bit of a risk to offer the post to a pariah like Ellion, so it was ungrateful as well.

2. 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?

He seems to be rather hung up on his fall from grace. This could be genuine remorse over a truly terrible mistake, but at the moment it seems that he is more bothered by his drop in status and the loss of his Grand Destiny. Perhaps I am judging him a little harshly, but that is how he reads to me so far.

3. 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?

Given the first person perspective and the sudden immersion into this world, with its terminology, religions, races, etc. I think that it works rather well. There is obviously very little contact between the two races, so it would be very easy to make unintended mistakes, especially if your vocabulary is not quite adequate. For example, my husband took a business trip to Japan a couple of years ago and was surprised to be told that pointing is extremely rude in Japanese culture. 

4. 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?

Tanaan security? What Tanaan security? Ahem, it would seem to be somewhat minimal and not very effective.

At the moment I would guess that it is someone who was directly or indirectly affected by his disastrous mistake. Although I am not sure why they have waited this long, this seems like the best explanation so far.

5. 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 was wondering about this. I think it might be fairly rare, as Letita only mentioned them embarrassing Tiaran. Also, if it were widespread, you would not expect such an argument to be broadcast wholesale, or to begin that way but then flicker out as they made it private. It seems much more likely that so few have the talent that they do not really need to learn how to develop a privacy setting.

6. The Tana have a different reproductive cycle than us humans. How do you see this affecting Tanaan-human relationships?

There was a definite suggestion that they can interbreed, so they must be similar enough. However, the less frequent reproductive cycles of the females would make them able to enjoy a much freer sex life in an age with no medical birth control. Of course, they might have herbal or physical forms of protection, but I imagine that pregnancies are rather welcome if they normally have trouble conceiving.

7. 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?

That would seem to be a little too obvious at this point. I would hope that any political maneuvering would be a bit more subtle than that, especially in a race that is so long lived.


  1. Yes, I think Ellion is a little hung up on his prior status too. And his exile is self-imposed, so it seems he hasn't really let go of his previous life.

    Yes, I really like how the female Tanaan are not afraid to show their interest in bed partners. And if conception is not an issue, or welcomed whole-heartedly when it does happen, sex would lack that 'big possible inconvenient side affect called pregnancy'.

    1. I guess we will get a better understanding of his issues once we know precisely what his mistake was. However, I did appreciate the way that he responded to the idea that his destiny was NOT written in the stars, but actually something that he could influence. If had genuinely not thought about that aspect of things, then no wonder he assumed that he would somehow return to his predestined path.

      Yay! Lots of guilt free sexytimes! I wonder if they have STDs? :D

  2. I never cottoned on to Ellion and the fact that he's a bit hung up on his previous status, I think Amy also made a similar suggestion and it's actually a very good point. After all he has exiled himself! I thought that he didn't accept the offer because he was keeping a low profile - made me wonder if he's trying to avoid attracting attention (although it clearly hasn't worked) - but, maybe it was because he was affronted. Maybe I should revisit that conversation. Nothing like somebody else's perspective to open up a totally different meaning.
    'cutting off your nose to spite your face' it's a great phrase.
    Lynn :D

    1. I was just surprised that he thought about the fact that accepting the offer would prevent him from ever accepting the higher-ranked position: if that position is blocked anyway, what is the problem? Of course, I might just be reading it differently from you because I'm a grumpy ratbag . . . which is why I love the different perspectives that I get from read alongs! :)

      My Mum has lots of great sayings that are good at criticizing behavior! :D

  3. Ellion seems to have some lagging issues with who he is and what his fate/destiny is. I'm looking forward to this playing out and also seeing him step on more Tana toes with his social blundering. I'm finding that so amusing!

    1. I am also looking forward to finding out just what he did: will we judge him as harshly as does himself? It is funny to see someone else making a mess of things though, isn't it? :D


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