Kushiel's Avatar Part V

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, Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog is our host. We’re covering Chapters 50-61, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. There was so much action this week, let’s just take a minute to discuss that – particularly Phedre’s plan for escape.  I realise this isn’t particularly a question but I just found these chapters so edge of the seat that I think we need to take a moment to discuss them and gather all our thoughts.  What stood out for you?  What surprised you?

I really like that Carey doesn’t down play Phedre’s fear – the fear of getting caught, the fear of not being able to follow through, the fear of actually killing someone and that someone being perhaps mentally incompetent and in love (of a sort).

The women of the zenana going a bits nuts with the blood lust made me think of the French Revolution and the starving women who attacked the royal residence (I think it was Versailles).

We knew there would be deaths but still I was saddened to see Erich and Drusilla pay the dearest toll.

Joscelin was magnificent, as always.

2. We’ve already had a debate on Imriel’s abduction and who was responsible and why.  What are your thoughts now on the Gods and their motivations?

I think Phedre explained it well, when she and Imriel had their long chat up on the crag at the end of Chapter 61. Phedre and Joscelin would not have ventured into Darsanga for anything less than Imriel, and the gods of Terre D’Ange needed Phedre and Joscelin there to have a shot at stopping the Mahrkagir and his cronies. Even gods can falter, as Phedre said. So, perhaps it could have been done differently, but this is the way is went down.

And Imriel is right too – it’s not fair.

3. How do you feel about Imriel and also who do you think is trying to assassinate him?  Also, his reaction to his own family history – do you think that Melisande would ever have stood a chance to bend him to her will or not?

I think Phedre has guessed correctly – the L’Envers are behind this first (and hopefully only) assassination attempt.

I think if Imriel had been raised to 16 or 18 as a shepherd at the sanctuary, then he could have learned about his heritage in bits and pieces. He would have eventually been told more about the Skaldi war, about the main players, about politics. Things would have been carefully fed to him. So, yeah, if this horrible thing hadn’t happened, I think Melisande would have had a shot, because she could control form a distance how and what Imri was told.

4. Phedre and Joscelin – they’ve been through a lot and ultimately it’s taken a toll.  Do you think this is something that they can get past particularly now that Joscelin has been injured – how do you think he will cope with that?

So far, both Phedre and Joscelin need space and time to become comfortable with their own bodies once again. And they are each respecting that and not snapping at each other. Joscelin told Phedre that what she took on was a noble deed and had to be done even though it was so difficult. So, he is seeing the sacrifice she made instead of seeing her as a wanton whore. He’s come a long, long way. I think they will be OK, eventually.

As for Joscelin’s injury, I think it will make him more sympathetic to others with long-term or permanent injuries. As with so many folks who are never ill and rarely injured, once they suffer something that does impede them (perhaps permanently), they become more understanding towards others.

5. It looks like Phedre’s cause to help Hyacinthe will be restored.  It looks, at least, like she will have unexpected help along the way. What are your predictions in that respect?

Ah, well this is reread for me. Still, I recall thinking that there was no way Phedre would get Imriel to leave her. After all, who does he trust, really, other than her and Joscelin? Maybe Kaneka? But she’s also going with Phedre, at least part way. Perhaps Drusilla if she still lived. And with the assassination attempt, do you really think Phedre and Joscelin would be OK with sending Imriel off? Hmm… yeah.

So, we’ve been through some really intense moments in this book so far. Now, we are in for more adventure, and some intense moments, but nothing as dark as what we have already experienced.

Other Tidbts:

I like that Erich knows Phedre from the stories the Skaldi tell. That would be something to hear the songs and tales of the Skaldi concerning the failed attempt to invade and hold Terre D’Ange.

The ‘good’ priests are still a little high and mighty judgmental. I don’t like how they treated Phedre after all was revealed. I can understand their dislike prior to the over throw, but afterwards they were still so prissy.

I am glad that the Akkaddian eunuchs will be given relevant and honorable jobs. They deserve it.

I also like that the Lugal is granting all the survivors sizable dowries. They come from all these different cultures and I am not sure all will be welcomed back because they are not longer ‘pure’. The dowries should go a long way to smooth such judgments away.

I really like that Phedre and Joscelin are treating Imriel with respect and truth, instead of coddling him and trying to smother him in half truths and soothing lies. They still made some mistakes, but they are truly trying.

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).

8 thoughts on “Kushiel's Avatar Part V”

  1. MMmm, interesting comment about Imriel – I’m wondering if he might now be staying with Phedre and Joscelin. That certainly would be an interesting development.
    It was so sad that Erich and Drusilla were lost in the fray. I was hoping that they wouldn’t be but then it would be unrealistic not to have some characters fall during such a fight.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Even the first time I read this, I knew that not everyone was getting out of Darsanga alive. That’s just not realistic and Carey definitely wouldn’t let us readers off that easily.

  2. I was also thinking that surely the Imriel+Phedre+Joscelin story doesn’t end here. I think either they’ll go with Imriel or he’ll come with them (I’m hoping for the latter). I’ll be really surprised if they actually just send him to Ysandre with Amaury Trente.

    And yeah, I think those restored priests could stand being a little more respectful of Phedre, after she rescued their religion and country. They did give her all the help she asked for, but their disgust for her just rubbed me the wrong way.

    1. Yeah. The priests didn’t show any gratitude towards any of them, even as they provided the assistance Phedre asked for. Emma makes some great comments about the priests and their point of view on her blog post. I have to agree with her that perhaps the priests did not understand all that transpired.

  3. I see your point about the priests of Ahura Mazda, but I guess along the lines of I shouldn’t judge survivors for how they deal with what they went through, I don’t blame them for how they treat Phedre. The reasons they disliked Phedre were still true even after she killed the Mahrkagir. And I think if they had fallen over themselves grateful, it would have been very “great white savior,” which I wouldn’t have been able to stomach.

    I like your observation about Phedre’s fear. I liked this writing too. Though I disagree with Phedre’s categorization that the Mahrkagir’s death was by murder, I don’t think that necessarily made things easier for Phedre.

    I want to read up on what you’re saying about the French Revolution now.

    1. I don’t think the priests needed to be falling over grateful to Phedre, and I don’t think it had to be limited to Phedre – there were men and women from so many backgrounds that worked together to bring down Darsanga. So, I don’t think it had to be a great white savior moment.

      On the other hand, this is why I love Carey. I felt terrible for the priests the entire Darsanga time. So much they went through, and for so long. And then for them to not really acknowledge the end of all that suffering due to Phedre and crew…. well, now I have mixed feelings about them – and that is true to life.

      Yep, the women of the French Revolution – the average, working women – became a force to be reckoned with. A bloody, angry, mob of a force.

      1. I shouldn’t have responded to the comment on my blog before reading this because you’re basically answering my argument there. You’re psychic or something! I have nothing new to say.

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