Kushiel's Avatar Part III

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, Emily at Emma Wolf is our host. We’re covering Chapters 26-37, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. If I recall correctly, this is the first book (and this is the first portion of the book) that takes us outside of (what is now) Europe and into (what is now) the Arab world. What are your thoughts?

I  love how Phedre sees the adventure in it all. She notes how different the weather is and also things like how the saddles are different. Also, I love the food. Always the food! I  should do a Kushiel’s Legacy meal based on the foods mentioned in these three books.

2. We see the Pharaoh laughing at Phedre, saying that if she had only trusted him, it would have saved them a lot of time. We saw this sort of thing play out before with Kazan and Barquiel. Do you think Phedre should be more trusting or do you think she is right to be so cautious?

Caution, always. She has learned the hard way that being too trusting can lead to dire circumstances (Melisande and the deaths of Anafiel and Alcuin come to mind). So, yes, it took her more time and effort to come to the root of it, but I think she was right to be cautious. Pharaoh has a lot of power and doesn’t have to work behind the scenes or in shadows to wipe out some annoying bug of a Terre D’Ange. There in his land and he has mighty powers of state.

3. More of the story of Imriel and the two other kidnapped children unfold. What do you think now? Was Imriel chosen randomly? Is this the gods punishing Melisande or D’Angelines generally?

I think Imriel got the short end of the straw on this one. He’s going to need years of therapy when all is said and done. And yes, I still think Imriel was chosen randomly by all the humans involved.

As for that last question… well, I know how this book ends. Perhaps Kushiel needs a mighty tool to punish a great evil and unfortunately, in order to get that mighty tool in place to do this great deed, sacrifices had to be made. I think that’s vague enough.

4. More on Imriel: we haven’t met him yet, but we’ve heard a lot about him and how he acted in different situations. So far, what do you think of him?

Obviously, he isn’t one to go quietly. He gave the slavers in Amilcar some grief before they sold him on. Then he stabbed Fadil Chouma in the leg. I think he has a lot of spirit but also some sense as he hasn’t created enough of a stir to be killed outright yet.

5. What are your thoughts on the skotophagotis? Superstition and coincidence or real power?

I think they have a touch of real power, or at least knowledge (like how to make flash powders or such) and the rest is superstition and ill intent. They do make an excellent wicked living myth for Phedre to untangle and also match wits against for this section of the book.

Other Tidbts:

Phedre’s thoughts on the socially required veils and dress codes was interesting. At first, I thought she would balk at it but common sense won out. Being able to travel with less note and no fuss makes the most sense right now.

I felt a bit for Fadil’s scarred wife. Well, I hope she was one of those ladies who coddled Imriel and then I can feel good about feeling bad for her scars.

I like how Phedre convinced the Pharaoh to give up his communications with Melisande (at least for now). Melisande still deserves some thwarting.

OK, now maybe this is just me, but it still freaks me out a little each time I read the scenes where Joscelin threatens Nesmut with physical violence. It’s so not Joscelin and yet I know he wouldn’t actually cut Nesmut up, but Nesmut doesn’t know that, and I get why Joscelin did that… and yet I still want to shake Joscelin  for putting blades to a kid’s throat! Anyone else conflicted over that?

Phedre once again uses the L’Enver pass phrase – By the Burning Bridge – and I have to wonder why the L’enver family hasn’t changed it in the 10 years. Perhaps Ysandre or Nicola would just have told Phedre the new pass phrase so there was no real reason to change 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).

10 thoughts on “Kushiel's Avatar Part III”

  1. I completely agree about the Joscelin/Nesmut scenes. I know he was just trying to be menacing but sometimes it’s not on. It felt wrong and also a little bit out of character for him.
    Lynn 😀

  2. On the dress codes, I liked that Phedre commented that she in fact was a commoner and a whore, and ashamed of neither :). It’s probably for the best, though, in terms of diplomacy, that she’s following dress code.

    I didn’t really like Joscelin threatening Nesmut either. I don’t think Phedre or Joscelin really thought about that being over the line, since they both knew that he wasn’t going to hurt the kid. But… you can’t just say it’s okay to threaten people as long as you know you won’t follow through…

    1. I also loved that Phedre was not ashamed of her heritage or her position in life but she is also practical about the situation. She has a job to do and changing a nation’s mind about the female dress code it not currently it.

      i’m glad I’m not the only one who flinched a bit at Joscelin putting knives to Nesmut’s throat.

  3. “I should do a Kushiel’s Legacy meal based on the foods mentioned in these three books.”

    YES YOU SHOULD! Let’s do a cookbook! I want quince tarts!

    I also have much to say but think I have to wait a week or two! I know this is playing into the vanity, but I think Imriel was chosen by Fadil because of his beauty (in a land renown for producing beautiful people, he’s from stock that stands out) but I think he was chosen by the original slavers randomly. But I also think Kushiel’s and/or Elua’s hand had to have guided someone somewhere.

    “and I have to wonder why the L’enver family hasn’t changed it in the 10 years. Perhaps Ysandre or Nicola would just have told Phedre the new pass phrase so there was no real reason to change it…”

    Ha ha! Yeah. I also kind of wonder why Ysandre didn’t tell Phedre before Nicola did. I guess she thought it won’t come in handy in sending Phedre to Alba (no L’Envers there). But still, around the time Nicola did, after Phedre had proven her loyalty and skill. Hmm..

    1. That would be awesome if we did a cookbook!

      And, yes, there is that question about Imriel and whether or not he was picked at random and I feel like folks have to get past the next section or two before I can really chat about that.

      1. So sometimes I get really excited about ridiculous things and it turns out that it’s a bad idea and no one else is interested. I’m now really excited about a book/food blog.

          1. Neat! I remember in one of the early chapters, doesn’t Jonathan talk about the food and say he has to get the recipe for Mina? I feel like a Dracula dinner makes sense.

          2. Yep. Jonathan was pretty thoughtful, and all the new flavors he was introduced to on his trip made him think of Mina and how she might enjoy them as well.

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