Kushiel's Chosen Part II

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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, Grace from Books Without Any Pictures was to be our host but she got bogged down by real work. So, this week you have me as host. We’re covering Chapters 15-26, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Severio & Phedre have their assignation. Who do you think learned the more from it?

Well, Phedre did learn some politics about the most important families in Caerdicca Unitas. But I would like to think that most, if not all, of what Severio revealed could have been learned from a variety of other people familiar with the place.

So I think Severio learned the most. He learned that his anger and sexual tastes are not something to be ashamed of, provided he finds a willing partner. And now he knows that such people exist who are not only willing but take pleasure in it. He also learned how to impress the nobility of Terre D’Ange. And I am quite sure that Phedre set a new high bar in skill for what he can expect from lovers in the future.

2) Hanna from the Yeshuites tells Joscelin, ‘….this pain you suffer, you cling to it.’ Do you think that is true of Joscelin? What do you think of Joscelin teaching some of the young Yeshuite men to fight?

Yes! I do believe that Joscelin has a tendency to cling to his pain. In a way, since he no longer has the Cassiline order, he holds to his pain in order to define himself. On one hand, I totally get how he got to this point. Yet now that he is here and he perhaps has some realization of that, isn’t it time to find something better to define him? I can see why Phedre gets a little tired of him lately.

My apologies for the mild spoiler on that second question. In going back thinking about this section (and peeking in my paperback), I see that it is not explicitly stated that Joscelin is training the young men, merely only hinted at. Later in the story, we get more info.

At any rate, Joscelin is assisting or advising or perhaps even training these young ruffians at this point. I can see how he would be pushed by his anger to see some good in this. While Phedre, and Anafiel Delaunay, always treat well with the Yeshuites, that is not so of all of Terre D’Ange. So I am sure the young men feel a mix of anger at the D’Angelines and also, as they say again and again, revilement at their ‘wicked ways’.

3) In this section, we really saw the pressure put on Marmion. Do you think Marmion’s punishment was just?

What a mess! I can see it from both parties. Marmion was terrified because Melisande has a long reach, and he doesn’t know who her allies are. Plus his own extended family may despise him in part.

Yet when all this info is brought before the queen, in a somewhat public forum, she has no choice but to sit and rule on it as the queen.

Still, I like what Nicola L’Enver y Aragon did for him, offering him sanctuary in Aragonia if he can make it there. I expect that is the best he will ever get.

4) Phedre goes to Gentian House for some guidance through dream interpretation. What did you think of this? Have you ever had your dreams interpreted?

I thought the sex scene was very sensual and sweet. Quite frankly, I think it was the good loving with no ulterior motives or strings attached that allowed Phedre to sleep well and to be able to remember her dream upon waking.

And, yes, I agree with Phedre. She has been putting off a hard choice and to continue to put it off would only make things worse.

I’ve never had my dreams interpreted. Though I did have a friend in college who had read a short book on the subject for a psychology class and he said that dreams that include a lot of candles indicates an interest in penises. Worst come on ever!

5) The plot has thickened in this week’s reading as Phedre & Joscelin dig further into the mystery of the escaped Melisande Shahrizai. Thoughts?

The Casselines! When I first read this book, I thought it was both the most clever hiding place for a killer and also a huge insult to Cassiel and the brotherhood. Plus, we haven’t found any concrete evidence yet so what if it is just someone associated with them? Someone in training? Do the brotherhood ever fail anyone at their training and they get drummed out for incompetence? Or when was the last person, before Joscelin, to be declared disavowed?

At least the thing with Marmion cleared up how Melisande was able to sneak out. Still, better guards next time, ones that know the convicted on sight.

Then of course the guards from that night are still missing, though Barquiel has pointed Phedre towards the Fallen, who are the border guard now along Skaldia.

6) Ysandre and Phedre carry out a bit of subterfuge. Do you think it is enough to fool Melisande, should she be paying attention?

Well, no. I am sure that if Melisande is paying attention, then she wouldn’t be fooled by the supposed falling out between Phedre & Ysandre. Still, it was clever for the masses. I think it was very interesting to see who would see Phedre before she left the city. Now she knows who her real friends are.

Other Tidbts:

 

I’m puzzled by the Yeshuite prophecy about a land being carved out north. Even though I have read all but the last book in this series (Book 9), I never quite figured out where this prophesied land was to be. Northern Russia? Nordic territory?

Joscelin has been wearing a little clay pendent given to him by Hanna. I think someone may be falling in love with another. And if Joscelin is now in love with both Phedre and Hanna, then I am sure he is beating himself up over that as well.

Barquiel L’Enver isn’t one for subtlety or half measures. He seems to be a law unto himself. I worry that if he ever truly believes Phedre to be a threat to his family, he won’t think twice, but will simply act.

Nicola gives Phedre the L’Enver Family pass code! I really love this idea of a master house code that a L’Envers can never ignore.

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).

10 thoughts on “Kushiel's Chosen Part II”

  1. It’s interesting how Casselines are almost seen as less than people. They are servants. Like house elves from Harry Potter. I guess because Phedre, our narrator, does not see Joscelin like that, as a reader, it’s jarring (maybe the wrong word?) how other people’s eyes seem to just pass over Casselines when they see them. But, like house elves, overlooking them can be dangerous.

    I always thought the prophesied land was Russia. I had a Russian Jewish friend who read the series make some comment paralleling the history of Jews in Russia and Yeshuites in Vralia. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the history.

    Barquiel was probably pretty pissed when Phedre laid the password on him. Imagining his anger amuses me.

    1. Ahhh! I’m so sorry! Spoiler! Please delete the last line of my post! This is where I am in the book (and I was thinking of something that I didn’t tell you because it’s a spoiler for book 9, I think and Barquiel angry.)

      1. I don’t think the Barquiel comment is much of a spoiler. It is totally predictable at this point that sooner or later Phedre or someone of her household will have to use the L’Enver pass phrase and that no matter the circumstances Barquiel will have a conniption over it.

  2. OK, I totally overlooked the Cassiline guards! Irony! But now that you’ve reminded me of it, I agree that could be a real danger if they are/were somehow involved with Melisande. Joscelin better get his act together, fast, if that’s the case…

  3. I figured that’s what Joscelin was doing with the Yeshuite guys, so it didn’t seem like a spoiler. I was seeing the Hanna/Joscelin thing as mostly one-sided, but Joscelin has been hanging on to that pendant. The way this is going, though, I’m afraid Joscelin might really leave. I doubted that at the beginning of the book, but they’re getting to where they nearly hate each other.

    1. When I first read this book, I worried whether or not Joscelin would make it into Book 3. He’s holding tight to his pain and isn’t really paying attention to the larger picture.

  4. Yeah, this whole thing with Joscelin. Part of me wondered if he was trying to provoke jealousy by showing interesting in Hanna – but, maybe he could also be deciding to cut his losses.
    Lynn 😀

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