The End. Yes, folks, we have reached the end of The Shadow of the Sun. Part of me is a little sniffly and part of me is very eager to see what everyone thought. Barbara Friend Ish has been most awesome by taking part in this read along, a rare thing to happen. Having the author play along, answering a question a week about her creation and to know that she is reading my thoughts on her book, which we are dissecting, gave me goosebumps (in a good way!). Don’t forget about the giveaway going on through April 30th. You could get a signed copy of The Shadow of the Sun, or your choice of ebook from Mercury Retrograde Press, or a swag pack, or ebook of The Shadow of the Sun. Yeah, I know, it’s a crazy giveaway.
Let me take a moment to thank all the great ladies involved. The Bloggers Who Made It Happen: Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog, and Amybethe from Just Book Reading. Thank you all for taking an in depth look behind the bookish curtain. My thanks also go to Elizabeth of Darkcargo for instigating this whole bloggity love for Mercury Retrograde Press. Barbara Friend Ish also has my warmest thanks for being so very accommodating, giving her time to the read along, and generally making herself available to any kind of pestering I could come up with.
Without further babblings, here are this week’s questions. They cover Chapter 29-END. There are spoilers. They have teeth, claws, and imaginations. You have been warned.
1) These final chapters show us much more of Iminor’s character and his growing Talent. What stuck out the most for you about how he handled the various exploding aspects of his life?
Wow! This dude is made of something stronger than steel. We previously knew that he was chosen to play this role, that there wasn’t any really love in the relationship between him and Letitia, not yet. Now he has to deal with the reality that Letitia is at least infatuated, perhaps in love with another, and is in a very active, and loud, relationship with him. I also have to wonder how much of the details he glimpsed through his connection with Ellion while Ellion was busy creating the Power Channel of Darkness within him. Awkward. Like blush to your toes awkward. Unless you’re me, because I want all the little details anyway. Don’t smirk at me. I know you do too.
So, this Talent. Yes, back to the original question I came up with. So, magic is taboo among the Tanaan, but this Talent is a natural thing, comes without his calling it. So, it is right there on the border. Frowned upon, but won’t get him uninvited to dinner parties. Still, the headaches, the weirdness of it as he learns to control it must be annoying with all the other crap the dude is having to deal with. Personally, I hope he can find a nice lass to spend Bealtan with to take his minds off some of his worry.
2) While Rohini is a late addition to the party, she is an interesting one. What aspect of her character or objectives would you like to see more of in forthcoming book(s)?
Rohini is a badass. Just say her name. Do it! OK. Now, don’t you want to be her? Yes, I do! From the leather outfit, to the weather beaten face, to the high pain tolerance – these are all aspects that would work great on my little farm. The swordswinging would be a bonus. Now, I would love to see more of her character in future installments – does she ever win her kingdom back? Will she help Ellion and crew defeat Nechton? Most likely – afterall it is easier to take back her homeland from the original usurpers instead of Mr. Badass Wizard himself. She needs a nemesis – someone she can have an epic horseback swordfight with. Yeah.
3) Amien has been managing and maneuvering Ellion quite a bit in this last section. What do you think his motivations are?
Dear Amien, Ellion isn’t your son, your brother, nor your current lover (I think). How will he ever live up to your expectations if he doesn’t want to play in the first place? OK, in general, I think Amien’s intentions are well-meaning. I don’t think he is trying to get Ellion killed, incarcerated, or eunuched. Still, one can only push Ellion so much before you don’t get what you wanted at all. Kind of like trying to shove a donkey through a gate only to get your foot stepped on at the same time the blasted animal farts in your face. No, I am not going to give details on how that happened or what became of the donkey. And I expect Amien will end up in the same cone of shame and silence if he keeps shoving Ellion.
4) Letitia continued to learn more about her abilities, but everyone agrees she still lacks the ability to go toe to toe with Nechton. What more would you empower her with?
Well, I am inclined to go with Ellion’s suggestions of warriors, wizards, and knowledge. Hopefully Letitia will also learn to overcome the Tanaan taboo on magic and learn to do protective or healing magic, if nothing else. Also, it might be good for the strike team to embrace some disguises. Of course, the nosy me wants to read Carina’s diary from start to finish, giving me invaluable inside into Nechton, making me, personally, a necessary addition to the party. But that last bit is just pipe dreams. Sigh….Though I would bring my throwing knifes.
5) Throughout this entire book, the deities have played an important, if a backseat driver, role. As a reader, how as this worked for you in the world-building/plot department?
I find it far easier to believe in deities that have motives that equate to human motives on some level, rather than some all powerful god(s) that have some nebulous use for mortals (or none at all). So I quite enjoyed that Ellion started out with one set of believes, worshiping Lady Tela, etc. Yet by the end of the book he has had to acknowledge a variety of goddesses and gods, most of them in their native lands, and has this internal conflict about whether he is being untrue to Tela by noting their existence.
6) We had yet one more assassination attempt in the hot water baths of Sucello. Now that we are at the end of the book, what are your insights into who is behind these attempts?
I am not convinced that ALL of the assassins and death traps have been for Ellion (not counting the Basghilae, as they were obviously focused on Letitia). What if some faction at Aballo or some ard-righ or ard-harpist wannabe knew where Ellion was and decided to take him out because he is a strong contender for all those positions? Ellion hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the wizarding community, the royalty, or the harper’s union. He’s stolen lovers left and right, pissed on the wizards by breaking their Prince’s heart (Amien), and dissed the harpists by neglecting his ard-harpist duties for several months. It will be interesting to see how Ish unravels these threads in future installments.
7) Bealtan reveals much about our narrative hero, Ellion. From his reuniting with Conar, to the revelation of Amien’s intentions, to his argument with Letitia, and his own internal recriminations about himself. Here at the end, what are your lasting impressions of Ellion?
Five little letters sums it up. He’s a lovable, convoluted, damaged idiot. But still an idiot. If Conar is such a good man, and such a good friend, surely he could explain, in part at least, the accident that killed hi parents. Amien has wanted Ellion for well over a decade to follow in his footsteps. I don’t think Ellion had given his magical side and career choices much thought as he was wining and wenching on the Ruillin. Then, he could have spent more time chatting with Letitia about relationship stuff. Part of me wants to cheer her on for treating Ellion like she would a Tan consort. I mean, he treats women as interchangeable bed pillows, so why does he find it so strange that a female ruler doesn’t see him as an equal or above?
Still, in the end I want him to persevere over his own weaknesses and doubts and go kick some major wizard ass. He doesn’t have to do it for just purposes. I am totally OK with him doing it for selfish reasons – because he wants to feel the power bouncing between him and Nechton, because it will win Letitia’s bed side affections, because he wants to be the baddest wizard around. Well, OK, maybe not that last one. But you get that I don’t need your typical noble hero to carry the day.
When Iminor told Letitia to not be a coward, I cheered him on. Letitia hasn’t done much to warrant a stern word, but her lack of consideration for Iminor’s feelings is one of them.
Rohini is pretty darn tough. Still, large gashes in the field should be tended to sooner rather than later. Especially if said gash came from a dead guy. Ew.
Amien. What will happen to the dude? He took a hit and still hasn’t allowed Ellion to open a channel for it.
I think Ellion and Letitia finally fully consummated their relationship. I think they will have a baby. I have to wonder if this is what Nechton feared or hoped.
My question for Barbara this week: Food and music weave their way in and out of the entire story, creating a strong sense of time, mood, and location for each section. What prompted you to use these as background constants for the novel?
Bonus question to Barbara (if she has time and inclination): Having participated in the read along, what were some of your fears and anxieties over it and what were some of the highlights and insights for you as the author?
What Others Think: