The Shadow of the Sun Read Along Part III

Pico consented to pose with my book.
Pico consented to pose with my book.

Welcome back everyone. Today, as part III of the read along, we are covering Chapters 16-21 of The Shadow of the Sun. Over here is the SCHEDULE if you would like to join us. Barbara Friend Ish is graciously offering a free download of her book for the duration of the read along and you can find that over HERE. Also, there is a GIVEAWAY going on for the duration of April where you could win a signed paper copy of the book or your own choice of ebook from Mercury Retrograde Press.

1) Up to this section, we believed the Basghilae could not cross water, but we learn to the detriment of our heroes that this is not so. What further hidden abilities do you think might crop up from these walking dead?

Bows and arrows? I mean that would pretty much end the Tanaan and any who defended them. Would probably make for a shorter story. Hmm….Maybe the Basghilae can’t see good enough to operate bows appropriately – being dead and all with the soft tissues going first.

2) As the party enters the human lands, they come up with a cover story and request that Letitia remove her torc. She refuses. Do you think her decision was the correct one?

This is pure pride. Letitia even shot a look at Easca, probably gauging how she would take it if she did remove her torc. I get that the torc is a hard won crown. On the other hand, Letitia has already lost a great number of her retinue and if removing the torc would keep them (and consequently her) alive longer, that would be a simple and good thing to do. I am guessing that she is still shook up over the Tuaoh Stone not recognizing her at all. I say it’s just a stone and you can’t expect too much out of it anyway. It has a limited number of ways to express itself and apparently it was saving itself up for a big reaction to Ellion. And let’s face it, Ellion has gotten a big reaction out of everyone he’s come across in the book, from Coran Mourne to Letitia’s papa to Amien to Letitia and her retinue.

3) At one point Ellion lingers over the warding process, specifically warding Letitia, and how a person must be completely nude for wards to be put in place. I’m going to leave this one wide open for comment ;).

Well, that alone should have motivated Ellion to give up his vow of no magic and do the personal wards himself. And why is Letitia the only one warded? Surely the closest of her retinue should also be warded too. Perhaps Amien only has so much magic, or he can only stand warding so many naked Tanaan a day. I wonder if the male Tan would be OK with human males doing personal wards on them? Do they have nudity taboos? And then Amien and Ellion could take some time to ward each other……which might be awkward and I as the reader would be OK with stepping outside for that scene.

4) Ellion makes a tough decision to leave the Tanaan and while he watches them leave he has a huge epiphany about his inner motives. How do you think this will affect his actions and motivations the rest of the book?

I think this is excellent characterization for several reasons. Many folks believe that men by and large have a one tract mind. Ellion certainly demonstrates this – he has this vow of no magic, and he sincerely believes that he is a threat to the party because of the mysteriously appearing/disappearing assassin. He hasn’t really thought outside those tracts and merely goes over them again and again until he makes this decision that he can’t go with the party. And as they float away he sees how selfish that decision is and how he could be an asset to the party, has been an asset, if he allows himself to be open to other possibilities.

Then of course the balloon crashes and the party is reunited. Ellion swears his undying protection for Letitia, which makes everyone uncomfortable, but made me sigh in satisfaction as the reader. And this of course takes us back to the one tract mind. He is now dedicated, completely focused, can’t even consider another path. I want to muss his hair and tell him he chose well.

5) We saw the Tanaan and Ellion in some interesting situations of a more personal nature in these chapters, from the Night Butterflies to cutting in at a dance. What did you make of these instances, what further cultural differences along these lines do you foresee happening, and have you ever been a part of such a situation?

Hehe! Comic relieve built specifically for ME. Yes, I found these situations funny, especially when Ellion had to explain to the Tanaan about purchasing the affections of the night butterflies. Of course, Letitia then has a closer look at her scarf and gives Ellion a look. I would too. I mean, we don’t really know what that scarf was used for…..It might have been subjected to hazards of the night life, right? Perhaps it was used to clean up after the last assignation. I hope it was a newish scarf…but still.

This feeds back into my question about nudity. Do the Tanaan in general have a nudity taboo? Could be interesting to find out.

As for personal faux pas along this line…..Explaining to a male cousin on my man’s side about the use of condoms was unexpected. Oh, and I read that book Bonk by Mary Roach and told my knitting circle all about it. Hmm…and I did use the phrase ‘wild monkey sex’ the other day in a mixed group. You could hear the crickets afterwards.

Once again, we were treated to some fight scenes. What stood out for you about these scenes?

Wow! When Ellion and Amien fought back to back, I could see them whirling and slicing and defending each other like some of the best choreographed sword scenes of Hollywood. How could you, as either one of them, not be addicted to the power and connection to another human that magic like that affords.

Then of course there is the scene with Manannan giving his life for the party. He was on his way out through a slow death anyway and he chose to take a quicker ending doing something to defend many. I felt like I needed a strong drink along with Ellion after that myself.

Other Tidbits:

Amien has been trying to summon aid and so far that aid has not arrived. At the end of Chapter 21, he fell into a elementary trap and now the Bard’s Wizard has his name. All these things do not bode well for the party.

When Ellion’s harp was ruined I was quite sad with him. Well, we don’t know how ruined yet. There may be a chance that it won’t warp. Perhaps, if things settle down and he can baby it.

My question for Barbara for this section: As we get to know Ellion more and more, we definitely are not spared from his private thoughts, including his romantic thoughts. In making your main character the opposite sex of yourself, what came easy and what came hard? How did you overcome obstacles of those nature?

For a nice long and entertaining answer, check out Barbara’s post: The Sex Lives of Male Characters

Here is an additional bit on the subject: Writing About Sex: Love Through Other Eyes

What Others Think:

Just Book Reading

Lynn’s Book Blog

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

27 thoughts on “The Shadow of the Sun Read Along Part III”

  1. Coming back to your question, now that a bit of the pre-travel crazy has been handled: I find it surprisingly easy to write the sex lives of male characters. Since you’ve already posted the link to my running off at the keyboard as usual above, I won’t repeat it here; but I will say that we all know far more than we realize about the sex lives of men, just by breathing the air of this culture. (This idea is the primary topic of that above-linked post.) And so I am very nearly as confident in writing a man’s sexual thoughts as a woman’s. For me what’s difficult is writing a sex *scene*, and doing it well: I find that there are times when what happens in those moments is important to the story, and so I don’t want to shortchange them. But those sorts of scenes are among the most difficult to do well.

    On the other hand, they are also some of the most potent (no pun intended) weapons in a writer’s arsenal, used correctly. A post on that topic will go live on my blog tomorrow, by the miracle of the blog scheduler.

    1. I’m definitely looking forward to your post tomorrow. I find that authors who use intimate and sex scenes as part of the plot, and not gratuitously, overall have a better grasp of the craft of writing. The other side of the coin is when an author I am greatly enjoying leaves out a sex scene that could have told so much about the characters – perhaps they are uncomfortable writing such scenes or believe such a scene will scare of their readers. I tend to pout when this happens. After all, how we treat one another behind a closed door is deeply telling about our inner most natures.

  2. Also, I just loved reading your thoughts here! Your take on the night butterflies and the scarf made me LOL. And I LOVED that you used the million-dollar word in your discussion of Ellion and Amien fighting together: ADDICTION. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, addiction is Ellion’s bete noire.

    1. I can see how Ellion may be caught even deeper in the throes of seduction by magic than he is with Letitia. After all, he has touched and used magic, and he hasn’t done so with Letitia.

  3. Hey,
    My link:
    Yeah, No.1 – imagine them trying to pull the string on a bow and their rotten fingers falling off! Did I just turn this into a zombie fest?
    2. – Pride before a fall, etc, however I still do wonder what the crack is with that Torc. Maybe she has another reason for keeping it on. She did keep her extremely warm cloak on inside the Inn after all??
    3. Actually why aren’t some of the others warded. After all if they all meet their grisly ends she’ll be in a world of hurt then.
    5. Hahaha, wild monkey sex – followed by the sounds of tumbelweed.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Not quite a zombie fest. They aren’t eating brains yet.

      She wore the cloak to hide the torc I think – and she was super hot in it too. I hope she stayed hydrated.

      Yes, there most definitely was the sound of tumbleweeds after I ran off with my mouth. tsk, tsk on me.

      1. I realised that she was hiding the torc but what I really wondered is if she had more of a reason than pride for refusing to take it off. She is after all quite prepared to put up with a bit of discomfort in order to keep it hidden??
        Lynn 😀

  4. 1. Good point! We have also seen the powerful control of the wind, so why not just blow them off a cliff or something?

    2. I like the idea of the stone sitting there in anticipation of Ellion touching it . . . can stones get excited I wonder? 😀

    4. I’m interested to find out why we haven’t seen anything of the assassin for quite a long time now. Has he gone for good or will he pop back up again?

    1. Mmm, where has that assassin gone? I’d almost become complacent about him. Maybe that is the author’s cunning plan so that he can then jump out of a cupboard or something when we least expect and spare the bejesus out of us.
      Lynn 😀

          1. You sound almost eager. Do you need something to liven up your life? Should us book bloggers band together to start crank calling you to keep you on your toes ;)?

    2. Stones can vibrate. Does that count as exciting?

      There must be rules that bound what the Basghilae can and can’t do and hopefully our heroes, and us, will find out what those rules are as we go forward.

  5. I’m in total agreement about Letitia and the torc. It’s total pride but I get where she’s coming from, even if she is putting everyone in danger.

    Honestly, I tried not to think about the scarf after Eliion gave it to Letitia. Simple gift, given with good intentions, but ick!

    I’ve read two other Roach books but haven’t gotten to Bonk yet. Wild monkey sex, I just might say that to someone today just to get a reaction. 🙂

    1. Yeah. I am still trying not to think of the scarf.

      Mary Roach is probably my favorite nonfiction writer. I have read all her books except the very latest published this year. I think Stiff and Bonk were my favorites.

      Let us know how it goes with fitting the phrase ‘wild monkey sex’ into your day.

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