The Elvenbane Read Along Part III

Tofu waiting on the headboard for some unsuspecting human to fall asleep.

Tofu waiting on the headboard for some unsuspecting human to fall asleep.

Hello Everybody – I hope folks have continued to enjoy this book. This week, SJ from Snobbery provided some rocking discussion questions for Chapters 14-18. Make sure to stop by her place and leave a comment.

Shana is taken in among the other halfblood Wizards as an apprentice.  She’s never lived with two-leggers of any variety before this, but seems to have adjusted rather quickly.  Do you think you’d be able to do the same in this situation?

Heck no! My form of adjusting means sticking my nose in a book and sitting in the corner until someone decides to guide me through this new, pesky, foreign situation. Or I need some essentials – like food or the bathroom. I think Shana did so well because she was always something of an oddity and an outsider with the dragons, so she was brought up in a kind of foreign environment.
While she’s wandering through the Citadel, Shana learns more about the first Wizard War than any of the living Wizards have so far.  Why do you think none of the others have bothered to explore?

My overall impression is that the Wizards are somewhat lazy. Yep. I said it out loud. They get really focused on their little projects, and their apprentices tend to their daily needs (food, cleaning, etc.), and they occasionally venture out to the real world to rescue/kidnap a young wizard in danger. They use their mental powers to filch everything they need from the elven lords – they have no gardens, don’t seem to hunt in the normal way, no need to weave cloth, etc. Yep, lazy. Thank goodness Shana is easily bored, perhaps has a touch of ADD and needs to explore.
We found, along with Shana, hidden rooms that were created by a dragon in halfblood form.  Do you think Kalamadea is a dragon we already know?  If so, any idea of his/her identity?

I read this nearly 2 decades ago and I totally forgot the second half of the book. I probably read it all in one sitting, tucked under the covers with a flashlight. I tend to forget stuff easier if I imbibe it too quickly. Anyhoo, nope. I think Kalamadea is dead, having long since squandered his/her life away in the futile attempt to rescue halfbloods, and perhaps humans.
Alara went to visit Father Dragon to ask for advice on how to handle events that have recently happened in the book.  Father Dragon says he thinks it’s a good thing that “the world at large is about to discover their existence,” because the Kin have grown “complacent and fat.”  Were you surprised to hear this from him?  Is he, personally, about to come out of hiding?  What will the repercussions be if the Kin reveal themselves?

I was a bit surprised. I think this is partly due to the shift in pacing of the book. I feel like the first half of the book had some definite plot that was being tackled, and now we have upped the speed of the story and thrown in some things I thought would be answered by the overall series story arc. So, I really thought we wouldn’t have any dragon support (other than Keman and Alara) for this book. I also think the dragons are divided on coming out – and some will fight it until some other source offers them a bigger problem – like the elven showing up at their doorstep to turn them into pretty clothing, drapes, and tea cozies.
Huzzah for finally meeting an elf that is sympathetic to humans/halfbloods!  And even better that he’s the son of that bastard, Dyran!  Were you surprised to learn about Valyn and Shadow’s relationship?  Do you feel like they’re equals, or does Valyn still think of Shadow as his inferior?

Well, I figured there had to be at least a few elves that were softer, if not sympathetic, to humans some where, but I expected them to be isolated and among the lower elven castes – the ones who have more contact with the humans. I was most definitely surprised that Valyn was sympathetic to the cause and hiding his cousin, the halfblood, right under Dyran’s nose! Definitely risky for both Valyn and Shadow to be in such close proximity to Dyran. Valyn is obviously affectionate towards Mero (Shadow), but I am not convinced yet that he sees him as an equal – and it would be hard for him to do so (his learning, upbringing, culture, and the fact that there are no halfbloods in society).
Shana was able to use her “treasure horde” to scry even further and into the mind of a young elf maiden, Sheyrena an Treves.  She even planted a suggestion in the girl’s mind that maybe her “minor” power could be used to do some very big things.  Will anything come of this?  Either with this particular girl, or with the elven women in general?

This is one of those points where I don’t expect to see anything this book, but maybe later in the series. We already have plenty going on, with new characters introduced for the second half of the book. I felt that this particular scene was minor for the immediate plot line – but hopefully will turn into something for the series story arc. It would be nice to have some more strong female characters.
What is going to happen with these rescued magic-having human children?  And is Keman going to be able to pull off the halfblood thing when they return to the Citadel?  Will Shadow and Valyn be welcomed?  WHEN WILL THEY REALIZE THAT VALYN IS SHANA’S HALF-BROTHER?!  Did anyone else “ewwwww” at that?  EW.

1) Uh….Since they are children, I don’t think they will be turned out. But they will have to do endless chores. No Disneyland experience for them.

2) Things are a little blurry for me on this point because I thought the halfblood Wizards could tell there was a shape shifter among them – but maybe Shana is the only one who can do this? I hate to say this, but does anyone else feel like the initial story rules are getting a bit bent?

3) I am very worried about Shadow and Valyn. Shadow is very devoted to Valyn, so if he is harmed, Shadow could end up harmed or dead in his defense. Still, I am not sure how they would disguise a full elven lord as I think the Wizards have tests/defenses for that.

4) Argh! The whole half-sibling thing with Shana’s infatuation! So not right. I hope there is some conversation that reveals their familial connection and that puts a squash on it before something truly awkward happens!

Other Tidbits:

Shana was a total show off with that large ungulate (deer or elk? i forget.) for her share of the goods for the week. But it was a but inconsiderate to leave it in her Master’s quarters. Large dead animals are heavy and hard to move. Plus they usually loose bowel control. Would have been much better to have it down to the butcher’s right away. The animal can’t simply lie around in private quarters for a few hours – bloat sets in and the meat begins to spoil. tsk, tsk…..

What Others Thought:

Snobbery

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

7 thoughts on “The Elvenbane Read Along Part III

  1. [...] can see how both Sues answered these questions by visiting Dab of Darkness and Coffee, Cookies and Chili [...]

  2. sj says:

    I’m glad that you are also feeling like it’s less cohesive as the story progresses. The beginning was rather tight (if slightly infodumpy), but it kind of feels like we’re all over the place in these chapters.

    Is anyone else annoyed with the multiple PoVs per chapter? That gets confusing for me.

    • nrlymrtl says:

      I’m doing OK with the PoVs, except when we initially are intro’d to new characters. I don’t remember this shift in pace from the last time I read it, I have also read a lot of Lackey & Norton and don’t find this usual in their writing.

      • sj says:

        I know I’m definitely reading with a more critical eye than I ever have before, so I wonder if that has something to do with it?

  3. suecccp says:

    I agree that Shana’s position on the edges of dragon society made her much more independent and self-reliant than we would be. I am truly amazed at how well she has handled things though.

    In many ways the wizards remind me of some academics that I have met: so totally wrapped up in their own tiny aspect of research that the rest of the world is something of a mystery to them. Also, I think it is a way of them distracting themselves from the big issues . . . “I can’t save the world because I really, really need to discover this spell to add an extra 2 legs to this millipede” . . . that kind of thing.

    I agree that the pacing was rather strange for this last few chapters. We have had so many new characters added and I am not quite sure how important they all are to the overall plot. Sheyrena was a good example of this: I can’t tell if is she important or disposable.

    I hadn’t remembered Shana’s discovery of the ‘ghosts’ around the shifted dragons. I imagine that they other halfbloods could also see them, but they have never tried because they don’t know that shifters exist. It would scare them to death if they did notice though!

    Trust you to think of the giant pile of poop that would accompany the huge venison a la fur! :D

    • nrlymrtl says:

      We butcher our own goats, so I am firmly grounded in reality when it comes to getting your own fresh meat. Shana, having also dealt with recently alive meat since her infancy, probably should have thought of the pile of poop too. I thought she liked her Master?

      And millipedes really do need an extra two legs. This is important research. really.

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