Kushiel's Chosen Part I

Tofu kitty with a very good book.
Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen is Book 2) is one of my all time favorite series. The red along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Nancy from FaeStruck’s Reviews and More is our host. We’re covering Chapters 1-14, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. The book opens with Phédre and her household happy and content at Montrève. Phédre is faced with the question of returning to the Service of Naamah. The sangoire cloak is the what pushes her decision. Do you agree with her choice? Do you believe that Phédre would have returned to her calling eventually, regardless of the cloak?

I think Phedre would have returned to Naamah’s service eventually. Joscelin is obviously a fun lay, but I don’t think he can provide that spice, that bite, that… ahem… cutting that Phedre deeply desires. He’s physically repelled just by the thought of doing such things. So, yeah, eventually I think Kushiel’s dart would have pricked to constantly for her to ignore.

But the sangoire cloak holds the promise of something more. In chasing after Melisande, Phedre is serving not only Naamah, but also Kushiel (whose providence is justice) and the kingdom. There’s all sorts of ways to justify her decision with Melisande in the picture. And, quite frankly, I think that if Melisand can patiently lay her plans to mastermind a Skaldi invasion, then she may very well still be a threat to Ysandre and her reign.

2. With Phédre returning to the Service of Naamah, Joscelin is also forced to make his choice as well. Who do you think had the harder decision to make and why?

I think it was harder for Joscelin. While Phedre is unlikely to love anyone as she does Joscelin, she will love others. It’s in her nature and is one of her greatest strengths. But for Joscelin, he is a single love for eternity kind of guy. Now, he is essentially being asked to share Phedre with others. Plus he has over a decade of Casseline discipline and thinking telling him that Phedre’s behaviors are sinful, etc. It’s a lot for him to push through.

3. Phédre’s return to court unveils how Queen Ysandre is faring in the absence of her husband Drustan. Politically, should she take a lover while he is away?

That’s a tough question. So far, we don’t know what agreements concerning lovers, if any, Ysandre & Drustan have. I can’t see her taking a lover without having chatted with Drustan first, and vice versa. Plus, Ysandre hasn’t born an heir yet. We already know from Book 1 how important the lineage is for Alba, so I am guessing that Drustan and Ysandre want at least 1 heir (fuck the politics!) before Ysandre takes a lover or three.

4. Favrielle nó Eglantine designs Phédre’s Midwinter costume. How do you feel about the way in which Phédre repays her?

It was pretty abrupt, from Favrielle’s point of view. I am sure it was simmering in the back of Phedre’s head for some time. Favrielle is very talented, if rather a sour puss, but looking into years and years of indentured servitude because of a small scar would make anyone sour, I am sure. The Dowayne had that little remark about how Favrielle wasn’t allowed to bear Eglantine’s marque because she didn’t rightly earn it in the service of Naamah. It seemed a little harsh in the moment, even if it was correct according to guild law.

5. Joscelin is spending quite a bit of time with the Yeshuites. Is it the pain of Phédre returning to Service that prompts this or would the Cassiline’s faith, pushed so far already, have led him there if Joscelin and Phédre were simply looking for the answer to breaking the geas on Hyacinthe?

Very good question! Joscelin makes a telling remark about how the Yeshuites believe any mortal is capable of redemption through the faith, even Joscelin with all his broken Casseline vows. He says the Yeshuites are the first to tell him that. I think this is the one feature of Joscelin I have never really cared for, and yet it reflects a good chunk of humanity. He needs something outside of himself, something greater (or that he perceives as greater) to tell him he is doing the right thing, to serve, to set his moral compass by. He’s trained to serve in this manner and not to take these decisions (of greater right and wrong) upon himself.

So, with Joscelin searching and Phedre and Joscelin already looking at the Yeshuite faith for answers concerning Hyacinthe’s geas, I think it was inevitable that Joscelin would have to face this cross road.

Other Tidbts:

Phedre’s costume of Mara is so elegant, so simple, and yet to engaging that it really is brilliant. Plus her evening with Fortune keeping her safe from herself was a delight to read.

Marmion & Persia! More Sharhizai to confound and distract Phedre!

Last book, we talked a little about Phedre’s conceit that D’Angelines are so beautiful, etc. With Favrielle, I think we really start to see how Phedre reconsiders certain aspects of D’Angeline society.

Phedre’s boys – gambling and dicing and spying! It’s all very exciting for them. Still, I worry.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

5 thoughts on “Kushiel's Chosen Part I”

  1. I was also thinking the same about Ysandre. Having an illegitimate firstborn might not be the most politic situation for her, and I’d hate for their love to sour over a misunderstanding.

    This is maybe bad of me, but I am kind of hoping Joscelin decides to go with the Yeshuites. I don’t think he will, but at the moment, it seems like he would be happier. Phedre enjoys feeling bad about hurting him, so she’s probably going to keep doing it :(. He is also more of an absolutes kind of guy, and I think he and Phedre can love each other very much and still be incompatible.

    1. Yeah, I think after there are 1 or 2 legitimate heirs, then the adults can fool around if they want.

      I don’t think it is in Joscelin’s nature to choose happiness over duty. So while I agree that he would probably be happier with the Yeshuites, I don’t think he will choose that path. Also, Joscelin probably feels that no one could protect Phedre better than him.

    2. and I’d hate for their love to sour over a misunderstanding.

      Yes. I think Albans might not view love and sex outside of marriage in the same way that D’Angelines do, so I think avoidance of misunderstanding and respect for one each other’s cultures must be a biggie in their relationship.

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