Kushiel's Avatar Part I

Claudie snoozing with a very good book.
Claudie snoozing with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Avatar 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, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering Chapters 1-13, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. The book begins with the ending of Phedre’s “ten years of peace”, and with a journey to visit Hyacinthe on his island. It’s a less than optimistic beginning, but the seer Sibeal seems to believe better… What did you make of these opening scenes?

It was a great mix of Phedre, Joscelin, and their household having had 10 years to mature and be happy and healthy; brief reminders of things from the past 2 books; and portends of what this book may hold. I think that if you took a long break in between books, this beginning would pull you back into the story quite nicely.

I always seem to forget how much dreams play a role in this series and it looks like they will be playing a more significant role in this book. We open with Phedre’s dream of Hyacinthe and her foreboding feelings, followed by being summoned to the queen’s presence with news about an unusual storm out at the Three Sisters. Then Sibeal’s true dream later on when they meet. I always find dream portends one of those things that can be manipulated to mean anything you need them to. So, I tend to breeze through such scenes and get to the actions that count. While Carey uses this plot device, she does so as seasoning instead of as the whole main course, so I tend to pay more attention to the dreams in this series than in others.

2. Before long Phedre and Joscelin are revisiting Melisande Shahrizai as well, and she’s got yet another surprise for our heroes… Do you have any suspicions yet about who could have taken Imriel, and why? How about any thoughts regarding what Melisande could be up to now…?

Of course, I initially suspected Barquiel way back when I first read this book, but we see right off how everyone suspects him first an foremost and he’s ruled out even in this first section. Melisande made a lot of enemies and many of those enemies were also traitors to the crown. So I turned my eye towards the Stregazzas and the Trevalions.

Melisande always has multiple plans in place. I’m sure she wants her son found, even if that means he will be placed under the crown’s protection until he reaches his majority. But I bet she is already laying plans to whisk him away from the palace once he is found. I don’t think this is a false plea for help.

3. Taking a step back from the higher drama, what are your thoughts regarding the romantic developments that seem to have taken place for Phedre and Joscelin over the years? They seem to be in a better place… Do you think it will still last?

Phedre and Joscelin are solid. They have seen pretty hard times – even bonded during hard time – and created some of those hard times for themselves. Basically, they know what it is to be without the other’s love and they know it sucks. Add to that, they have had 10 good years to deepen their love and they now have that wealth of love and good memories to draw upon should any shit come between them. They are my favorite romantic heroic duo in epic fantasy of all time.

Other Tidbts:

I wonder if Sibeal is truly in love with Hyacinthe or did she see that love in a dream and decided it would one day be real and therefore has fallen in love because of that dream?

Ysandre’s daughters are the cutest! And I think Alise needs some light arms training when she gets older.

I really like how Phedre denied Melisande’s request for help at first and the Melisande had to offer something of great value in exchange for it.

Phedre has been instigating changes in Terre D’Ange, specifically on how indentured servitude works among the Court of Night Blooming Flowers – loved this!

The little tale of how a  man wished for immortality and was eventually turned into a cricket makes my fine little hairs stand up, especially when I hear crickets at night.

OK, I know it isn’t the most awesome fight we have seen Joscelin engage in, but it was still pretty damn cool when he accepted Barquiel’s challenge and they had at it.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
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 AVATAR in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

6 thoughts on “Kushiel's Avatar Part I”

  1. Great opening chapters. I’d agree with you about Joscelin and Phedre – they’re a great fantasy couple.
    Melisande is so sneaky – she wouldn’t have offered Phedre the incentive about Hyacinthe if she hadn’t refused to help!
    I was really puzzled with the inclusion of Sibeal – it was her sister who had a bit of a dalliance with Hyacinthe wasn’t it? Yeah, it was very curious that she’s now developed these feelings.
    Having Hyacinthe back in the story was great too – he seems to have also developed something of a chilling streak over the past 10 years! I felt so sorry for him though.
    Lynn 😀

    1. I do wonder if Sibeal fell in love with the dream of Hyacinthe long before she got to know the man himself.

      I wonder how much of Hyacinthe’s isolation for the last 10 years was per the Master of the Straights rules or his own request. After all, we know the island can have visitors. I expect that means Phedre could bring wine, cheese, olives, tumblers, musicians, etc. a few times a year for a visit.

  2. Yeah, Phedre & Joscelin are the best fantasy couple ever! And the fight with Barquiel was pretty cool–I bet it takes tremendous skill to throw a fight like that without letting on that’s what you’re doing. I still don’t believe Melisande is sincere, though. She had a lot of nerve asking Phedre for help after their history.

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