Halfway-plus through Sherwood Smith’s delightful Inda, I must pause and bitch: DAW, why O why did you not include the character list in the published book? Because, Christ on a crutch! In addition to the usual firstname-lastname thing, each school-age character gets two more names at the academy: an official name formed from the family name and a word meaning “one” or “two” depending whether they’re the older or younger sibling (e.g. Landred Marlo-Vayir becomes Marlo-Vayir Tvei), as well as a nickname used to the exclusion of the others (Cherry-Stripe). The -Vayir suffix on the family names has its own meaning. Adults are referred to, interchangeably, by their full names and by a title having to do with their place in succession and military role. And? Some of the titles change when the country goes to war.
My head hurts. Memo to publishers: sometimes we don’t get the luxury of consuming a 600-page paperback in one sitting. Sometimes, you know, we have to put the book down for a couple of days at a time. And when the number of characters with three to four names apiece climbs north of, say, twenty… it helps to provide an index. I’m just sayin’.
It has occurred to me, reading some of the Shadow Unit extras this weekend, that newcomers to that world must have the same problem. In the LiveJournals, the characters refer to each other using nicknames that seldom make it into the episodes proper. Fortunately the wiki lists them all. (At least, I think that’s all of them.)