The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.
This week, I am your host. We’re covering Chapters 30-37, so be prepared for spoilers below!
1) What did you think about Imriel’s men leaving him behind on the cattle raid?
I think Imriel read the situation correctly. The head of his guard needs a leader he can respect and this was the test to see if Imriel is that man. Imri is probably right in his assessment that if he called his men out on it, he would lose their respect. However, I’m still a bit disappointed that they did so. Like there wasn’t a better way to see if Imriel was worthy? Maybe not.
Still, if I were Imri, I would keep my eye on my men in the next cattle raid or two and make sure I get out with them instead of playing the rear guard and distraction by accident.
2) Alais has done some harmless flirting in this section. What do you make of her request to postpone the wedding to Talorcan a year? Do you think one year will make a difference to either one of them?
Alais didn’t really get to fully grow up back in in the D’Angeline court. She was ignored by many and being the younger sister, was treated like a kid much of the time. Even Imri, being a good cousin and all, often treated her as a little sister even when she wanted to be seen as a young lady. So, I think postponing the wedding a year would be good for Alais in that she gets to mature a bit more and have a little harmless flirting under her belt. I seriously doubt that Talorcan is a virgin himself.
When I initially read this book, I didn’t think a year would really make that much of a difference for Talorcan and Alais, but then we get to the end of this section and things have changed. So, yeah, a year could shed a very different light on things for the two of them. Alais has more ambition than perhaps even she imagined and we’re not sure yet where that will lead her.
3) In this section, we experienced two Alban holidays – the Day of the Dead and the Day of Misrule. What stood out to you the most? If you could only celebrate one, which would you pick?
Oddly, I find this question a little hard. I’m drawn to both holidays. I like the seriousness of the Day of the Dead. I also thought it was interesting that Imri saw his father, a man who has had a nearly non-existent role in his life. This holiday can be a celebration of dead, but not forgotten, relatives or it can be spent in quiet contemplation.
Meanwhile, the Day of Misrule sounds like a day of total silliness – which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that I’m not always in the mood for a solid day of silliness so I think this day would be harder for me to maintain good cheer throughout. Unless i could get the King of the Day to order me to go read a book in a cozy nook for a chunk of it. 🙂
4) Throughout this section, there is plenty of talk about denying one’s own nature – Imriel’s talks with Morwen, the chat with the priestess, and even Dorolei and Alais noticing changes in Imriel when his bindings are redone. Getting philosophical, is denying part of your nature good or is it nearly always a bad idea?
There’s exerting self-control, which is a form of denying your nature, and then there’s the extremes to which Imri has had to go to in order to avoid giving Morwen what she says she wants.
So, in general on a day to day basis, I think self-control and a bit of self-denial is a good thing. In certain areas, like the urge to stick your used gum under tables and to commit larceny, self-denial is almost always a good thing. However, we all need those spaces in our life where we can let most of our guards down and not deny who we are and what we want. Unfortunately for Imri, he doesn’t really have that space.
5) Could Imriel have done anything differently to prevent the tragedy of loosing his wife and unborn child? If you were in his shoes, would you have asked for mercy for the Maghuin Donn?
Really, I think Imri and Dorolei did the best with the info they had. If the Maghuin Donn had been more forthcoming about their fears, then maybe something could have been worked out. Still, that would have been difficult (persuading Imriel to father a child with the Maghuin Donn) but we have see odder things happen in this series. So, really the ball was in the Bear Witches’ court.
I don’t know if I would have asked for clemency for the Maghuin Donn so swiftly. Imriel comes out of his injuries, hurt on all levels, and he had the presence of mind to ask for mercy for them the first chance he got. I’m not too sure I could or would have been that swift in the matter. But Imri is right. At this point we can’t assume that an entire people, no matter how small their numbers, knew what Morwen and Berlik had planned.
Morwen’s attempt on Imri in the woods after the cattle raid made me very angry. He clearly said no and she totally ignored that.
I loved Imriel’s internal comments about how the Alban household looked at him as if he would be romancing up every one interested and teaching them all new bedchamber tricks within a fortnight. So, like his Sharhizai cousins of so many summers ago, he behaved himself at all times and gave no one a reason to comment.
I was hoping that Imri would get to become a bee keeper. Alas, it looks like that isn’t to be.
It’s sad that Berlik and Morwen could only see two ways to counteract the foreseen ambition and cruelty of Imriel’s son – balance it with a daughter (and sorceress) or kill the son while he was still in the womb. Like they couldn’t come up with a third option in the roughly 20 years that separated now from the future tragedy of wiping out the Maghuin Donn? I think the Bear Witches have gotten a bit short sighted and stuck in their ways.
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 SCION in the subject (firstname.lastname@example.org).