Kushiel's Chosen Part III

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, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 27-36, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Do you think Joscelin might have really considered using the “terminus” in the fight between the Unforgiven and the Yeshuites? How deep do you think his loyalty to the Yeshuite people goes, and why do you think he feels so driven to arm, train and protect them?

I think the thought might have flashed through his mind in a kind of after-the-fact kind of way. If he had taken out one of the Yeshuites I think he would have wished to have committed the terminus move just so he wouldn’t have to live with the pain of it.

I think he has a bit of a blind spot where it comes to the Yeshuites. And this blind spot allows him to put them on a pedestal and admire them. And this allows for a type of loyalty towards them whether they are in the right or the wrong.

I think Joscelin is one of those people who needs to feel needed, deeply. He’s been trained to serve, but he has his pride. Phedre is being more and more independent and not requiring his aid as she did during their Skaldi captivity and then long escape. The Yeshuites need a champion, or, at least, a trainer.

2. What do think of the differences between the culture of La Serenissima and the City of Elua, and the differences in how they conduct their political intrigue?  Who would you favor for the next Doge?

At first I was going to say that La Serenissima has more extremes than the City of Elua… but then I thought of some of Phedre’s assignations. Still, I think the extremes are more on display – the great flirtatiousness of the men, the street fighting, the very colorful gentlemen clubs and their open declaration for one political contender or another, their open hostility towards homosexuals, etc. I think there are still extremes in Elua but they are held more privately. Also, Elua is much more tolerant when it comes to the various forms of sex and the women have the same opportunities for education as the men.

I think La Serenissima conducts their political intrigue more loudly, with more flash (while at the same time making back door deals with another party if necessary). The political intrigue we have seen in Elua has been much more subtle with the masterminds playing things very close to their chests.

I am not sure who will be the next Doge. Honestly, I have forgotten how this bit of politics plays out.

3. What do you think of Phedre’s plan to play along with Severio’s romancing?  Do you think he is approaching the matter with more sincerity than his parents?

I think Severio is completely sincere and is trying his best to woo Phedre. While she says that she has no intention of marrying him, I think she is deeply enamored by the courtship. Subconsciously, she may be waffling. After all, she’s never really had a suitor who tried to woo her affections and has offered her marriage.

However, this courtship does provide a good cover for why she lingers in La Serenissima and it provides some contacts while she searches for Melisande.

4. There is a lot of fortune-telling in this section, from the Oracle in the temple to the astrologer.  What do you make of the Oracle’s answer to Phedre?  Why do you think the astrologer killed himself, and do you think he would he have been able to lead them to Melisande?

As Severio said, of course Melisande will be in the last place Phedre seeks her, because once you find something you usually stop looking for it (unless you are Joscelin and have found real love but don’t feel appreciated so you keep looking for something external to justify your life).

I’m not sure why the astrologer killed himself. As far as we know, he was a loner – no wife, no kids, etc. So I think the only thing Melisande had to threaten him with was pain or imprisonment. But would that be enough to send a man into suicide instead of fleeing the city?

5. Joscelin and Phedre meet a couple who have made compromises in order to build a happy life together.  What do you think of their family, and does their example give any hope for Phedre and Joscelin’s future?

We know that Phedre is thinking along these lines. She’s questioning all the hurt in her relationship with Joscelin and what she could do to cease it or make it better. However, we don’t know if Joscelin is thinking about this at all.

Phedre basically proposed to him (and apparently it is not the first time) when she offered hi, the place at her side as consort. And he turned her down (again). Now Phedre is one of my favorite characters in epic fantasy, but she rarely hears the word ‘No’. So I think Joscelin repeated refusal of this offer must sting something fierce. Perhaps Phedre is clinging a little to her hurt as well.

Other Tidbts:


What did you think of the voice that came over Phedre during the Unforgiven fight with the Yeshuites? A touch of Kushiel entering the fray and bringing it to an end?  That scene gave me a few little goosebumps.

Having a small but well armed & trained militia at one’s beck and call can be both a good and a bad thing. Barquiel may become even more suspicious of Phedre of word of the Unforgiven’s loyalty gets out.

The first time I read this years ago, I  didn’t know how to pronounce ‘Doge’ and had never heard of the office. I brought it up at knitting circle and the ladies were quite amused (in a kind way) and enjoyed telling me what they knew of the real life Doge and the history of the office.

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).

7 thoughts on “Kushiel's Chosen Part III”

  1. I was also thinking the politics were a lot louder in La Serenissima. As a reader, I’m kind of glad of it, since there’s a whole new court for us to learn the ins and outs of.

    I was getting the sense Severio was sincere, as well. This doesn’t seem like it can end happily for him, and it really stresses me out to see him used like this (by his parents and by Phedre).

    For the Phedre/Joscelin proposal, I was getting the sense that Joscelin rejected her because her offer involved him compromising his beliefs without any compromise on her side. She would still serve Naamah/Kushiel, and then come home to Joscelin. I think he’s too monogamously wired to be happy with that situation. We saw how distressed he was just from thinking of her having had oral sex with Severio!

    Phedre is picking up followers left and right! First Phedre’s Boys and now the Unforgiven. It seems like she’ll have an army before long, whether she wants it or not!

    1. I think the compromises Phedre makes are more subtle than Joscelin’s. This is probably because Joscelin’s views on relationships are pretty black and white, while Phedre’s are blended. For instance, Joscelin refuses to satisfy certain cravings Phedre has – he won’t bind her, pinch her, cut her. And normally, I would say those are all admirable traits in a consort. But in Phedre’s case, that does leave her craving a bit of spice to go with her most excellent hunk of meat.

      1. I could see that, but I think with Phedre’s plan, she could still have those cravings satisfied elsewhere (with her patrons). Joscelin can’t have his craving for monogamy satisfied elsewhere, because that’s kind of against the point :D. It is definitely a difficult situation for them.

    1. So I am listening to the audiobook, which is awesome as there are tons of foreign words in this series.

      Doge is pronounced with the full ‘O’ as in hope, then a soft ‘G’ as in George. The E is silent.

      1. Thanks!

        (aside: my kid just finished first grade, and he was telling me about how his teacher was teaching him to read and silent “e”s. He told me that “e”s at the end of a word are magical and they make the vowel say its name then go to sleep. I was so impressed. I had never known these rules for silent “e”s before.)

  2. I like your point about Joscelin and the terminus. I didn’t think he was going to do so but now you’ve put a doubt in my mind. I don’t think he would like to live with himself.
    La Serenissima is a strange place isn’t it. I was a bit shocked that the women don’t even know how to read and write!
    I think that Severio is sincere in his feelings – for the moment – I don’t know whether he’s the sort of person who will have a lot of patience so it will be interesting to see how this develops.
    The fight scene with the unforgiven and how Phedre stopped it was cool – definitely goose bump inducing.
    Lynn 😀

Comments are always appreciated, so don't be shy!