Kushiel's Avatar Part II

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, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 14-25, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1.  Phedre has been incredibly efficient in finding out what has happened to Imriel.  Do you think it really is as simple as a random act of cruelty?  Is it a punishment from Kushiel, and if so, why were the other two children involved?

I believe bad shit happens to people (both good and bad) all the time. So, yes, I think Imriel was randomly targeted because he was out, alone, guarding goats and no one would miss him for a day.

Now, that’s not to say that Kushiel hasn’t stepped in and made this an excruciating ordeal for Melisande. It did take over 3 months for Phedre to find the trail. If Melisande truly loves her boy, then she has been in a bit of a turmoil ever since she learned of his disappearance.

With the other 2 children, we don’t really know much about their parents and we certainly don’t know if they have made any transgressions against man, kingdom, or the deities. Plus, they have been found and will be returned shortly. So if Kushiel had a hand in that as well, I can only assume the trangressions of their parents were far smaller than Melisande’s.

2.  A lot of justice is meted out (or not) to different people.  Do you think the priests deserve forgiveness for hiding Imriel?  Do you agree with the harsh methods in Amilcar toward the slavers?

No, I don’t believe the priests (who knew) deserve total forgiveness. While I can see their logic, I think they were also hiding behind it. In this set of circumstance, with Imriel’s hiding location now known and whatever plans Melisande had for when he turned 16 probably foiled (for now), the priests haven’t really done any harm. But what if Imriel reached his majority at the sanctuary, was told his true identity, and Melisande set her plans in motion and the land was once again bathed in blood, this time from a civil war? Would those priests be so innocent then? I think not. So, I think Ysandre will have to take some measures, even if she does it quietly.

Yes, I agree with the harsh methods used to extract info from the slavers. Child slavery, which usually leads to child molestation and rape, deserves a heavy hand when justice is being meted out. I would like to think that I would find it hard to watch, but I won’t ever know for sure unless I find myself in a situation similar to Phedre’s.

3.  Do you think it’s worth it for Phedre to go to Serenissima to get information from Melisande, or would it be better for her to travel with the royal entourage and find her own guide?

Tough question! So I totally get that Phedre wants Melisande to hear the bad news from her own lips because a written letter won’t convey the sympathy and who else is at all sympathetic to Melisande? And knowing Melisande, there’s always that possibility that she has yet one more bit of info that she hasn’t divulged and Phedre stands the best chance of getting that from her.

On the other hand, Phedre is pretty darn smart and has plenty to go on right now in order to find the Lost Tribe and perhaps the key to setting Hyacinthe free. So, I think it must be her sympathy driving her to Serenissima.

4.  It occurs to me that Joscelin improved the public attitude towards the Cassilines, though he was cast out, and the Prince of Travellers may be having a similar effect for his own people.  In what ways do you think the Tsingani and the prejudice against them might change as a result of recent events?  Do you think Hyacinthe will ever be allowed to go back to them, and if so, should he?

I don’t think the common folk are truly aware that the Master of the Straights is Tsingani (or diddikan – half breed). And, truly, that was just a recent shifting of power on the island. I think those that do know the sacrifice that Hyacinthe has made have already adjusted their attitudes like 10 years ago. So, it’s more those people (like Phedre) speaking up for the Tsingani that is changing the attitudes of the common folk. Even Luke, Joscelin’s brother, was having some heartburn over his words and actions towards the Tsingani that came with word of the slave traders. Now Luke needs to be one of those that stands up for equal rights and respect under Terre D’Ange law instead of verbally siding with the prejudiced.

I think the Tsingani clans have already acknowledged Hyacinthe as their own. But then, they were some of the few that bothered to learn Hyacinthe’s story and spread it 10 years ago. Maybe not all, but enough, especially other half breeds like Emile. I don’t think Hyacinthe will easily fit in anywhere after this experience, whether Phedre frees him from the island or not. Though I expect he would be welcomed almost anywhere.

Other Tidbts:

Lilianne and her animal charges at the sanctuary – that was a nice touch. I bet the priests keep her separate from the yearly culling though.

It was nice to see Phedre with Nicola again. The lover’s token is a nice touch. I also liked that Joscelin was totally cool with giving the ladies an hour to themselves.

I liked that Phedre asked Sibeal to drop Hyacinthe a line on their return trip in the fall. It took her a lot to be direct with Sibeal about possible feelings towards Hyacinthe. I also had a small chuckle because I think Phedre was feeling a twinge of jealousy and hopefully this makes her more understanding towards Joscelin when he shows jealousy over her own affairs.

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).

7 thoughts on “Kushiel's Avatar Part II”

  1. Yep, I hate the idea of torture but I also strongly dislike the idea of slavers and child slavers are a whole level below that. I wouldn’t have been able to watch but I don’t see how else they would have found those other two children.
    Lynn 😀

  2. I guess it is worth going to Melisande, just for the possibility that she was holding out information. I think I am less sympathetic to her than Phedre is, so in her place I would have just sent a letter!

    On #4, I think the story of the Prince of Travellers becoming the Master of the Straits had turned into a recent popular tale. Favrielle knew about it, at least, even though she didn’t know it was about Phedre’s friend. I don’t know if the drama would do anything to help dampen anti-Tsingani prejudice, but maybe!

      1. I guess I was assuming people knew Travellers –> local nomadic people –> Tsingani. I don’t really know if that’s a common connection for d’Angelines to make, though.

  3. “While I can see their logic, I think they were also hiding behind it.”

    That’s a good way of putting it. I’m a bit conflicted about how I feel about the priest. I think there is no one right answer.

    I always liked the bit about Lilianne.

    1. I’m also conflicted. If the priest said he had done all this for the boy instead of for Melisande’s motherly love for the boy, I think it would sit easier with me.

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