The Elvenbane Read Along Part I

Yes, Smudge does want to bite me.

Yes, Smudge does want to bite me.

Welcome everyone to The Elvenbane read along. Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton were favorite authors of mine when I was a kid and teen. It sure is a pleasure to return to them with this excellent spin on Elvish fantasy. sj over at Snobbery is going to be my copilot for this bookish adventure. While I am kicking it off by hosting this week, make sure to stop by her blog for snark and insight all rolled into one.

If you are just joining us, this week covers Chapters 1-6. Click HERE for the entire schedule. There will be spoilers ranging free – beware!

You can join us in the comments and if you have thrown a post together leave your link in the comments so I and others can hop on by.

The Questions:

1) Serina gives us our first glimpse into not only elven society but also the upper echelons of human society. What stood out for you?

The over all ignorance level of the humans pervaded everything. As we move forward, we learn that they have no written language of their own, so that definitely explains much of the ignorance. Also, Serina was not use to the open sky, which kind of blows my mind being a country girl myself. Even big cities get to see the sky usually twice a day, right – entering the work building and leaving the work building.
2) Alara, our first dragon of the book, has no qualms at all about playing pranks on the elven and smaller ones on the humans. What pranks would you pull on the elves & men if you could get away with it?

Hehe! There would definitely be some embarrassing jokes – like some elven lords and high ladies suddenly finding themselves naked in a crowded hallway, with a questionable assortment of fruit and love oil. As for the humans, I wouldn’t want to make thier lives too difficult, but perhaps some lesson pranks to get them to think for themselves. Surely there must be some humans entrusted with accounting of kitchen stores that have basic math skills – so something that would push them beyond their current needs. Might involve an abacus and some interesting fruit ;).
3) The elven Lord Dyran is one of the ‘good’ lords. *shudder* What do you think the bad lords are going to be like?

Perhaps they eat humans? Lord Dyran already beds them and has them fight to the death purely for his amusement. So, torture, mass killings, and eating them seem like the next step. Perhaps we’ll come across someone more devious who is skilled in mental torture. The Elves could be really bad at poetry, which might rival the Volgon form of torture ;).
4) Do you think being able to walk another’s memories as Alara did with Serina’s increases or decreases empathy?

Well if I came across an exhausted soon-to-be mother in the desert, I would give assistance, even knowing nothing about the person. But Alara had the opportunity to walk Serina’s life through her memories and she nearly left her there to die with her unborn child. I have to be honest and say I would have the same waffling as Alara, but in the end would at least try to save the child. While Serina didn’t deserve her punishment for getting pregnant, she probably deserved it for other questionable acts.
5) We met and heard about several of Keman’s pets. Do you enjoy the idea of dragons having pets? What has been the most interesting pet so far?

This book is such a refreshing take on dragons – they have art, preferred living quarters, writing, games, and pets. In this book they are not the semi-intelligent, yet highly dangerous and savage beast, nor are they the lone dragon who simply wants peace and/or gold. Nope, they have pets. Or at least Keman does. I was a bit surprised that this group of dragons had not learned the benefits of cohabitating with cats (to keep the vermin down) and lizards (too keep the insects down) until Keman brought some home. they have been in this world for several generations and supposedly are pretty intelligent and all about peaceful coexistence. Anyway, the real fascination for me has been the one horns. Vicious guard beasts. they sound like the mythical Asian kirins (or qilin).
6) Shana is a kid by the end of this section and she thinks she is really a dragon stuck in human form. How do you think that this misconception does and will affect her place in dragon society?

So really only Alara and Keman think of Shana as an intelligent being worth rights. the rest of the dragons are, at best, indifferent to her if not out right hostile and want to eat her. Yet Shana and even Keman are under this misconception that Shana’s mom was truly of the dragon kin but stuck in human form when she birthed Shana. Personally, I think this should have been cleared up right away. Alas, this misconception is going to lead to 1 of 2 things – great heartbreak when Shana does figure it out or some stupendous act of magic that actually allows Shana to shapeshift because she simply doesn’t realize she can’t. Either way, I expect that me as the reader will be immensely entertained and that is the true point of the book ;).

Other Tidbits:

Shana is wearing sloughed off dragon skin. Now I don’t know how many of you have ever smelled a discarded snake or lizard skin, but it is a pretty pungent scent. And that is what Shana smells like all the time, expect when newly bathed & naked. But as soon as she puts her ‘clothes’ on, she smells like stinky lizard until her next bath.

These elves are like pandas. Yep, you heard me. Generally solitary creatures, the females only come into heat a few days of the year, detest one another, usually only have 1 cub, and half the time that one dies to first time mothers because they don’t know what they are doing. I love my pandas, but evolution has stuck them in a dead end branch. I don’t love these elves, and I look forward to their dead end branch being torn off during a dragon storm!

What Other People Thought:

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6 thoughts on “The Elvenbane Read Along Part I

  1. […] has been kind enough to start off the first round of questioning (you can see her first post here), so I’m glad I don’t have to think too hard…especially since I forgot to draft […]

  2. sj says:

    I just finished my post. Great questions.

    I never thought before about how stinky Shana’s clothes would be!

    EWWWW.

  3. suecccp says:

    1. I thought that this emphasized the control that the elves exerted over their lives: Serina’s aversion to the open sky made me think of what a battery hen would think if it were released into the wild.

    3. Good grief: I really hope that they don’t actually eat the humans, but I can certainly see mental torture being an amusing pastime, especially as we know how good they are at illusions.

    4. I think it is interesting how Serina’s memories illustrated the way in which sub-ordinated people can be coerced into controlling themselves. By encouraging the in-fighting and back-stabbing, the elves focus the humans away from banding together and trying to gain freedom.

    5. As with the elves, I think the dragons don’t really feel the need to grow and improve themselves, so they have not taken much interest in learning about their new environment. I agree with you though: not using small predators is a massive oversight.

    6. I agree: letting Shana continue with this delusion is a very bad thing and should be stopped ASAP.

    I would chose to unleash a herd of One-Horns on the elves: flesh-eating unicorns FTW! :D

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