The way the author goes about describing the features and mannerisms of the cat people and “slaves” (rather than calling them humans and cats) was interesting to me. In fact, the cat people call themselves “human”. The book goes so far as to use body language for communication as cats are believed to, and the different sleep patterns they have (an hour in the middle of the day and an hour at night). All of this is done relatively unobtrusively to the story and in many cases it serves to drive the story.
Originally, this book was supposed to be “transitional” for me. Meaning I was reading it until I could purchase a part in a series that I was in the middle of reading. As a result, at first I wasn’t planning to be very interested in it and wasn’t taking very good notes. At a certain point in the book though, I became so engrossed in the plot that I read most of the book in a few nights. I then took the time to revisit the plot of the entire book and rewrite my notes.
In the earlier parts of the book it was interesting to note Heao’s and Baltsar’s blooming relationship. Through their dealings they were able to spend more and more time together. Of course, they had their issues and they weren’t necessarily the greatest match for each other, but they ended up pulling through.
Another aspect of the plot was the aristocracy. Heao’s dealings with the “king-conqeuror” develop as they believe that each shares in the others dream, or at least some part of it. To some people, dreams are important, and to the king and Heao, it is their destinies. The only thing is that Heao’s dream is bright and promising while the king’s is dark and foreboding.
Another element is the religion of the land and specifically the head “Gaurdian,” Tarana. She tries to get Heao to share her dream, as she believes it to be a crucial aspect of the king’s destiny. If Tarana could learn more about Heao’s dream, she may be able to prevent whatever disaster the king sees in his. The problem is that Heao wishes her dream to remain secret. As well, Heao is a member of Academe, a group of people who are alike to scientists. They are the thinkers and they help to progress technologies for the better of the land. Tarana, holding power due to holding the kings trust, and wishing progress to be stunted (possibly due to the premonition in the king’s dream) she thwarts much of Heao’s and Academe’s efforts.
Heao is also interested in the “slaves.” She feels that they are more intelligent than animals and in fact are more alike to humans (something the reader should find blatantly obvious.) This brings the wrath of Tarana as well as many aristocrats. The fact that the religions prohibit slavery of humans, if the slaves were as smart as humans then they would have to be freed. Because of the major economic and religious implications, this is not allowed to happen.
Godsfire by Cynthia Felice Synopsis
There is a major turning point in Heao’s life. Several years have passed, and Heao has grown from the young girl she was in the first part of the book. At this point, she and Baltsar have been married for a while now and they have children. Because she stands her ground on the matter of the “slaves,” she is shunned by the community. No one talks to her and no one listens to her. Eventually, even her family and friends abandon her. The only person who stays by her is Teon, her most loyal slave and friend. With the death of her master at Academe, she is devastated. Finally, she goes to the temple to revoke her claim that the “slaves” should be considered human, and to repent for her sins. Tarana takes advantage of this situation to try to get Heao’s dream. Heao refuses to share her dream and almost dies. She is saved, and later finds it was because her friends and family came and spoke on her behalf. Of course, she does not forgive them for abandoning her, but mostly because she recognizes they each had ulterior motives.
All of this leads up to their expedition beyond the Evernight mountains. No one had ever ventured this far before, and each on the expedition had their reasons. The most important aspect is the fact that Heao is trying to prove her theory that Godsfire (the Sun) is visible out there. She thinks this because she theorizes that the skybridge (the planetary rings which shield their region from the sun) ends at that point and the Sun becomes visible. When they finally get there, she is proven to be correct and everyone else is shocked.
At the same time, the slaves, knowing all along about the Sun, take advantage of their captors being distracted and escape. The group spends a while to recover, mainly because Tarana was blinded by the Sun. During this time Heao observes the Sun and stars. She wanders around and eventually runs into Teon whom she thought had run away. He tries to get her to come with them, and/or prevent Heao from allowing the humans to find this place, thinking that they could recapture them eventually.
There is also a final reveal which I will not ruin here. Suffice it to say that this book is worth reading to the end. In spite of my original misgivings about the book, actually reading it was extremely enjoyable from the somewhat slow beginning to the surpising final twist.