The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Scion is Book 1 of the second trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.
This week, I am your host. We’re covering the Chapters 45-52, so be prepared for spoilers below!
1) Imriel spends a night on the island of Asclepius. Do you agree with Imriel that his nature is to be cruel? Do you think of Imriel as a stunted tree reaching for the light?
I think he’s looking at one aspect of his life and seeing it accentuated above his other traits. He has the capacity to be cruel, yes, but he is usually striving to balance it out. So, no, I don’t see him as a stunted tree reaching for the light – I see him as a tree basking in the little light he has been given and making it count.
2) Imriel makes a good go of breaking things off with Claudia. However, throughout this section we have seen how the spark between them is not yet doused. What do you think of Imriel’s lingering desires? Is Claudia telling the truth about her own desires?
I doubt the spark between them only resides in Imriel. So, yes, I do believe Claudia has a desire for Imriel. After all, D’Angelines are known for their prowess and attention to detail in bed. My guess is that she may have had one or two other excellent lovers in her life, and even then, Imriel is probably the best of them all. As for Imriel… well, she’s the only woman he has bedded in Tiberium, so she is familiar. And she’s always up for it. He doesn’t have to romance her. Quite frankly, it’s easy to attain sex. Now, I do believe that their coupling in Luca after Gilot’s death was for comfort.
With that said, I think Claudia is well aware that if she can entice Imriel back to the Guild, or even somehow trap him into being beholden to the Guild, it would be a feather in her cap and would help her rise in the Guild ranks.
3) Imriel reveals his full identity to Lucius and he learns of the legend of the Bella Donna, based on his own mother. Clever, intentional legend building by Melisande, or a fanciful story that built up over time or was borrowed from another legend?
I think this was Melisande that started it. She probably borrowed the basis from some legend and built some of her specifics (like her looks) into it. I bet this made it easier for her to escape. If folks believe that her child was stolen, they would be more likely to assist her. Also, building that legend and now having young ladies pray to the Bella Donna might be useful for something even today. It’s definitely awkward for Imriel.
This reminded me on the La Llorona legend here in the Southwest US. A woman in white who lost her children wanders the river’s edge weeping. Some legends say she drowned them and her ghost is doomed to haunt the river for eternity. Some say she lost her children to a flood.
4) All is not well at the city of Luca. Helena has been kidnapped. The ghosts of the dead walk among the living. Lucius is possessed by his warlord ancestor Gallus Thaddeus. What do you think of this harsh man/ghost?
Gallus definitely harkens back to an older time, doesn’t he? He’s a harsh, harsh man but he might just be what Luca needs right now to get through this. On one hand, he’s got everyone on food rations right away, he puts every able bodied person to work (nobles on night patrol, women with bows) no matter their station or what is considered proper.
But then there’s the other side – like when he was ready to forcibly marry Helena to first deny her ‘husband’ his legal rights to the city and then simply to cuckold the man. Ugh! So glad that so many were willing to go against him on that one, even if they had to be sneaky and hide behind rules to do it.
5) When Imri and crew return to the Thaddeus Villa with the injured Gilot, Imriel ponders the wonder of women. ‘The courage of women is different than the courage of men.’ Do you agree?
No. It’s situational. Brigitta and Eamonn both come from ‘warrior’ cultures where women are expected to be competent with at least one weapon if not three. So I think Brigitta’s courage is much like Eamonn’s (though he’s been in at least one battle before so he has a little more experience).
However, in most if not all of Caerdicca Unitas, the roles of women are very different than the roles of men. They aren’t expected to handle weapons, to go to battle. They are expected to be at home, tending to the household, perhaps helping a little with a home business, have babies, and be beautiful and charming at dinner parties. So, for most Caerdicca Unitas women, yes, their courage is different from that of their male counterparts.
6) With the city under siege, an older mystery pops up with the arrival of Canis. Why do you think Imriel held his tongue and only told Eamonn?
I know Imriel is more comfortable being straight with people, but I think he is learning that you don’t have to lie to conceal a truth – you just have to shut up sometimes and not blurt things out. So, I think he finally learned that (thanks to Claudia and her handiwork at the theater) and he wants to know more about Canis in general and specifically why he so obviously followed him to Luca and then dared the army to break into a town under siege.
I’m glad Eamonn and Brigitta appear to be a couple for now. Like two sleeping hunting cats, I think that’s how Imri described them as they slept on a sofa.
Claudia’s insulting Phedre was childish and peevish. I think she totally underestimates Phedre and what she would do if her son Imri went missing or turned up dead, or even badly maimed.
Caerdicci Unitas as a whole doesn’t seem very homosexual friendly and I am glad that Carey built this aspect into the storyline. Ignoring it would be unrealistic. Instead, by building it in and showing both the cultural aspect and how that affects individuals, it really humanizes the situation.
Even though I knew it was coming, I still sniffled over Gilot’s death. It was so hard on Imri and he has to survive this siege and tell Gilot’s girlfriend and kid, and then tell it to Montreve’s household and Phedre and Joscelin. It was very nice that Imriel had him model for the painter before they headed off to Luca.
We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S SCION in the subject (firstname.lastname@example.org).