DCIB Book Club: Shards of Honor! Did You Read It? Did You Love It?

Oh, I hope you read it! It’s just SUCH a great book, as part of SUCH a great series, and the perfect escapism, if you need escapism.

Things to discuss!

Did you like Cordelia or Aral better? Cordelia is ALMOST too perfect, but I like that she throws up, and no one really finds her attractive, and she is awkward in social situations. On the other hand, Aral is just that perfect Othello type of wounded warrior, and I think he won me over with his very honest and straightforward attitude towards expressing his emotions.

Could you tell it started as a Star Trek fanfic? I could in the first few chapters, but pretty quickly it felt like it just moved on became it’s own thing completely. Every author is inspired by SOMETHING, I would put this in the “inspired by” category way more than the “fanfic” category.

Do you feel the need to read any more? It’s definitely a contained book, doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything. I mean, it ends with an open ending, but in a sort of “and life will continue” kind of way, for me, not in a “I must read the rest of the series way”. I wanted to read more myself because I just really REALLY liked the writing, and the characters and world she had created. Not because I felt like “ugh, I can’t know the answer unless I finish!”

Would you call this a Science Fiction book or a Romance book? I would call it science fiction. I think the way it builds a whole complex world, complete with technology, history, politics, and so on puts it solidly in the “science fiction” camp. I also think it is very silly to say that any book which includes ANY romance as a main plot therefore puts it in the “romance” genre and nowhere else.

Most important question, if Shahrukh plays Aral, who plays Cordelia? It has to be someone not charming, not easy, not beautiful. Or at least, not traditionally soft pretty feminine beauty. I think, Tabu. But I could accept other answers as well.

15 thoughts on “DCIB Book Club: Shards of Honor! Did You Read It? Did You Love It?

      • Have you ever had weeks where you are so overwhelmed, overworked, and tired that even reading a children’s book requires concentration you don’t have? That’s how I have felt over the last few weeks. But I am determined to get through Ronia today so I can comment!

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  1. Why can’t it be a science-fiction romance? I think the romance aspect is also the reason I never even thought of Star Trek. That’s not a show I associate with romance a lot.
    I think I prefer Cordelia. All that being troubled about honor that Aral is doing is not something I relate to. Her troubles with the psychologists seemed a lot more original.
    And I’m going to be sacrilegious and say I don’t really see SRK as Aral. More someone solid, like Boman, maybe. Well, if he had more muscles to make him look like a soldier. And then, purely from the optical perspective, Farah is a good match both for him and for Cordelia.

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    • Oh oh! What about present day Ajay and Rani? Rani I think would be PERFECT present day. She has a real older woman’s body, and you could believe that most people would overlook her, and at the same time you could believe her as a respected and beloved leader in her career. Ajay doesn’t have that solid look you are picturing, but he also has the presence of a leader, and he has very untraditional looks while at the same time having the body of someone who acts.

      Interesting about Star Trek never occuring to you. I don’t know if it would have occurred to me either, except the edition I read had it mentioned on the back or in the intro or something, so I knew before I started reading, and then I could see it. But yeah, she sort of took Star Trek and flipped it by making it all about emotions and relationships in a way that Star Trek aggressively wasn’t. Writing into the gaps, the way the best fanfic does, and then moving beyond it.

      For a remake, I’d love to see a group of bandit/freedom fighters living in the hills versus modern Indian army. Rani is a professional Indian soldier/scientist/medical professional, she gets separated from her group in remote hill country and taken captive by Ajay, famed leader of the rebel independence group in the region, and then realizes he himself is fighting mutiny among his group. They fall in love, and a year later she ends up being part of a diplomatic mission to negotiate land treaties and peace with the group, kills the corrupt ancestral prince whens he is trapped with him just before Ajay comes to rescue her, returns home to be interviewed as a “heroine”, has a nervous breakdown, runs from the psychiatrists back to the hills and ends up happy with Ajay, who is now mentoring/raising the little princeling of the group as they move towards a peaceful life thanks to the negotiated land settlement. What do you think?

      On Sun, Apr 4, 2021 at 9:38 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think the story would work.
        But however much I love Rani, I can’t picture her as Cordelia. I just get a very different kind of energy from both. (And I can’t picture anyone overlooking Rani 😉 )
        And Ajay, I’m sorry to say, is just filed away in my head as “wooden”. Otherwise, yeah, maybe not a bad choice.

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        • Ha! So you like the story, just not the casting. Okay, I can live with that. What about Shefali Shah? The mother from Dil Dhadakne Do and a million other things? She is a very respected actress who is never quite a star and never quite “beautiful”, which seems nicely thematic.

          Sonu Sood as Aral?

          On Sun, Apr 4, 2021 at 1:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Shefali Shah could work. But my Aral needs more sheer mass. Broad shoulders, deep chest, that sort of thing. Not a very typical body type for Indian men.

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  2. I’m still reading!! Just got it from my library a day ago. They had four copies and I was on wait-list so looks like it’s still popular 🙂

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    • Yaaaaay! Keep reading, and come back and comment when you finish.

      On Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 3:24 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I did not get the sense no one found Cordelia attractive, I got the sense that they found her old. Because 33 is ancient apparently to the author who must have been pretty young when she wrote the book. I like the story better when I put her at 38, also then her being a Captain is more believable. And looking at the 38 age range I would put Kat in a short wig and cast her.

    I could not tell it was started as Star Trek fan fic and I ordered the next book in the series. Also it is definitely more science fiction (Space Opera, Space Opera Opera) than romance. A universe created with multiple worlds and different technology and specific planet full of different creatures. As well as significant social commentary on societies including the failures of the “good” society.

    Who do I like better, Aral or Cordelia? Well Aral is more interesting, complex, capable of surprising you, but I do like Cordelia. The book works because I like both of them. I read a different book recently (The South Pole) with a totally pompous and unlikable love interest, and as such have no interest in reading another book from the same author. When Aral proposed marriage so quickly he made me think of Indians. But his society as a whole with its duels was more antebellum in my mind. Whereas Cordelia’s world was like America after it has destroyed its environment. Interesting that the worlds become singular governments.

    Who would play Aral? SRK is a bit old, but he and Kat can have good chemistry. Who else has good chemistry with Kat, who is perhaps a bit younger?

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    • I don’t think the author was necessarily young, but I read an interesting intro to another one of her books about editorial involvement. My guess is she bumped the age down because someone said “a heroine close to 40? It will never work!” I agree, she feels way more like 38 than 33. When I saw the age written out in the book it surprised me, even though I had read it before, because I always thought of her as older.

      I love the idea of Kat!!!!!! She has a great mature warm understanding strength that would fit just right. She and Hrithik have great chemistry, but Hrithik is a TERRIBLE choice for Aral, so not him. I’m very tempted to put her with Salman, because their chemistry is perfect, but I don’t know if that would work. Even though their love story in Ek Tha Tiger is basically the same.

      So glad you liked it enough to order the next book!!!! And hope you end up using my reading list advice, because I REALLY WANT someone to enjoy A Civil Campaign with me.

      Yes! I like them both as well! Too often it feels like there is the protagonist (in this case, clearly Cordelia) and then the love interest is just there to be the perfect ideal Love Interest. But in this book, Aral has his own characteristics and virtues and vices and things just like Cordelia, they were both complete people.

      Ooo! I like your antebellum south idea! Really it’s North/South, but without the slavery. A world where the basic level of humanity still matters, life and death and loyalty and so on because it is so rural and connections are so important. And the North, which is highly industrialized and organized and logical.

      On Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 9:39 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Kat and Salman were great in that last movie Bharat, even though he doesn’t have the complexity of Aral, his stout gravitas would work well for the role. But who am I kidding, I would be much more interested in the film if it were SRK. HE can do complexity! (If not stoutness)

        Knowing that the author is American looking at the two worlds’ as images of America’s North vs South divide does make a lot of sense. Again I just love that the North doesn’t come out rosy.

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        • Isn’t that GREAT? The appreciation for the humanist values of the “south” versus the intellectual values of the “north”?

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