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Shadowdance
By Robin Wayne Bailey

Discussed August 2015

Buy Shadowdance from Amazon.com

Characters

  • Innowen, aka Innocent
  • Razkili, aka Rascal a prince of Osirit
  • Minowee, aka the Witch of Shanalane
  • Vashni, Minowee’s guardian
  • Drushen, Innowen’s guardian
  • Minarik, Lord of Whisperstone
  • Taelyn, slave, freeman, general
  • Veydon, soldier in Minarik’s army
  • Koryan, deceased King of Ispor
  • Kyrin, current King of Ispor
  • Dyan, daugher of Kyrin
  • Khoom, deity
  • Moryn, aka Mourn innkeeper in Shanalane
  • Merit, Drushen’s guardian

Questions

  1. Did you finish the book? Did you like it? Why?
  2. The story has a lot of gay content, both explicit and implied. Did you enjoy the depiction? Did you find it ground breaking (the novel was originally published in 1991 by White Wolf Books)?
  3. The author uses a hypersexualized style of writing. Did you find it distracting?  Example: “A tepid night wind blew Innowen’s long dark hair back over his bare shoulders. It played over his body, teased his berry brown nipples. It caressed him with a lover’s warmth, and he lifted his head higher as it kissed his throat, swirled down his chest and belly.” Ch 5
  4. Much of the plot is driven by characters giving in to desires awoken by Innowen’s dancing. Is this a cautionary tale about losing yourself to your passions and desires? A modern telling of a Greek tragedy?
  5. Was the relationship between Innowen and Razkili believable? Razkili is strongly devoted and in love with Innowen, but Innowen spends a significant part of the story focused on Dyan. Innowen does not call Razkili his lover until chapter 16.
  6. Did you find the political structure believable? At times Kyrin is described as a priest, but at other times he’s said to rule only with the consent of his generals and noble families.
  7. This is a world where people accept that deities take a direct role in the lives of mortals, yet the only miracles we see are those done by worshipers of Khoom. Where are the other gods?
  8. Innowen spends most of the book viewing himself as a broken man. Does he ever overcome this feeling? Is this a positive story of a character with a disability?
  9. Is Minowee the heroine of the story? Do you sympathize with her?
  10. Is this story misogynistic? There are very few female characters, women are largely absent from (high) society, and the one women who challenges this is the “villain”.
  11. This is a standalone book. If there was a sequel, would you read it?
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