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.
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…
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).