Kushiel's Mercy Part IV

Streak being calm & snuggly.
Streak being calm & snuggly.

The read along continues with Kushiel’s Mercy, Book 3 of Imriel’s trilogy! 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 36-49, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. After being freed, Kratos decides to stay in Leander/Imriel’s service. Did his loyalty or reasons surprise you? What about how he was able to aid Leander/Imriel?

Not really. he strikes me as a loyal fellow and also his reason of ‘you’re an interesting guy’ rang true. This is probably the most exciting thing he’s done in many years. Also, he can see that Leander/Imri is a person of morals. He kept his word in freeing the slaves, he’s not rude in action and word, and he doesn’t lightly bed folks for a momentary enjoyment.

I really liked how he suggested working with Esme the bath house attendant. It shows he’s been paying attention to the rude soldiers around him, that he doesn’t approve, and that (most of the time) he can’t do anything about it – but here is the chance for Esme to do something about it.

I honestly can’t recall if he dies or not so I was pleased he made it through this section.

2. Despite Justina’s training, her loyalty to Melisande, and her position ready to tip the balance, she is unwilling or unable to help Leander/Imriel. What do you think of this? What good is the Guild or Melisande and her spies if not for this?

I think Justina was being honest about her abilities. She points out that she was trained and put in position to influence politics and keep an open ear. She wasn’t trained in slight of hand, etc. I expect she’s not trained in the masseuse arts either, so she couldn’t simply do what Esme could. Plus Astegal has Esme for that and if Justina offered out of the blue to do so, and his ring happened to come loose, I think he would be suspicious. I expect we’ve all worn rings to sleep and if someone tugged on one of mine, I would most likely wake up.

So I don’t blame Justina for backing out of this one, but I do think she could have done more to either help Imri or Sidonie. She did see a little comfortable with her current position and I sensed she was hesitant to give up that position/power/influence/money (whatever combo).

Event the Guild and Melisande were not prepared for the magic wrought by Bodeshmun. Melisande and Solon knew, somewhat, ahead of time but I’m not sure they could have stopped it if they had tried. It’s all a bunch of ‘what-ifs’.

3. Any thoughts about the Longest Night?

I, like Leander/Imri, hoped for a beautiful pageant like the City of Elua holds yearly, but I could also see why Astegal and Bodeshmun wanted to avoid that. I did really like that the Imri side of Leander/Imri went in search of a patch of nature where he could do some Elua worshiping and he stumbled upon Sidonie doing the same thing. Even though he wasn’t allowed to join her, I did find that a very beautiful scene.

4. Any thoughts about the aftermath of the breaking of two of the spells? Were you amused by Imriel’s conversation with Sunjata? Were you surprised by Sidonie’s reaction once the spell on her is broken?

So much here! First, Imriel coming back to himself was both beautiful and a little traumatic at the same time. I’m sure it appeared very strange to Sidonie at the time. I’m listening to the audiobook and Simon Vance, the narrator, does a great job with the Leander voice, the Leander/Imri voice, and then Imri’s voice and keeping it all straight throughout these sections.

I did love Imri’s discussion with Sunjata and I think Sunjata is a good chap seen as he had the decency to blush over the entire thing. Still, I find myself comparing his actions in their romance to Astegal’s actions in bed with Sidonie. Now Sidonoie was be-spelled unknowingly and against her will, while Imri did it with purpose…. and yet is it totally right for Sunjata to have bedded Leander/Imri? Hmmm… Perhaps it’s simply how things had to be in the moment if Sunjata was to avoid tipping the balance on Solon’s disguise spell.

Sidonie is awesome. I love her reaction initially to the tattoo being found. Even be-spelled, she knows that’s not right. Once cut out, I love that her first reaction is to deeply want Astegal’s death, make love to Imri, and then discuss how to save the realm.

5. Last week, Allie said she hopes Bodeshmun’s power “all blows up in his face.” Thoughts on his death?

This was such a tense section! I knew Imri was capable of killing, and I believed him when he set his mind to killing some of he guards in cold blood. We’ve seen Joscelin do it and we’ve seen Imri in tough situations. So I knew he wouldn’t balk, but I expect those deaths will weigh heavily on him for some time.

But killing Bodeshmun will not be one of those deaths that weighs upon him.

I do wonder what the black flaky stuff was. Perhaps some desiccated deadly mushroom or such.

Other Tidbts:

I hope Sidonie’s visit with Roderick while she was be-spelled works to her favor later when she tries her best to explain to folks about the evil spell.

I was glad that the guards kept their secret of falling asleep on the job among themselves but I doubt they were fooled. Perhaps they thought it was a wicked, petulant joke of Sidonie’s, perhaps not.

I was a little surprised that Sunjata was scared to stick around in the city during the ring switch. He obviously didn’t want to be caught if things went south, but, honestly, I don’t think a jot down the coast (or wherever he went) would have mattered. If Esme had been caught, she would have been forced to tell, then Leander/Imri would be in custody and they would just round up his associates. Sunjata being a gem merchant’s representative would be high on that list. So unless Sunjata is excellent at disguises, he would have been in the thick of it anyways.

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 MERCY in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

7 thoughts on “Kushiel's Mercy Part IV”

  1. Yeah, I hadn’t really thought about Sunjata’s presence when Esme does the old switcharoo. Maybe he figured it would at least give him a head start to flee somewhere?

    “Still, I find myself comparing his actions in their romance to Astegal’s actions in bed with Sidonie.”

    Me too. At least, I did for this read. I don’t know if I thought about it before. But you (I think it was you…) said last week that Imriel was there inside Leander controlling some of his actions from the very beginning. So maybe Imriel did have some say in this. And while we’ve seen Imriel not want to take any male partners, we’ve also seen him be sexually curious. I got the impression that he would have, at some point, taken a male lover if it hadn’t been for his experiences in Drujan. And I wonder if experiencing it through Leander and with a eunuch was a like a safe way for Imriel to have this experience.

    I don’t know why I love the bit with Imrieleander finding Sidonie holding the vigil as much as I do, but I do love that part. To me it shows them both feeling love for each other but being unable to show and afraid of their feelings.

    1. True. Perhaps Sunjata’s eunuch status made it easier for Imriel. Of course, then I do wonder if Sunjata still has his staff or if it was taken with his stones.

      1. I’m really glad I’m not the only one wondering about this! I remember Leander thinking something like two cuts with the slaver’s knife and it was good bye bollocks. And Leander would know. So I think he still has his staff, as you put it. And I’m just hella curious. Sunjata says no one thinks of a eunuch’s pleasure. I am!!! I don’t know how all this works! I’m googling now the sex lives of eunuchs.

  2. Krotos is a great character – so it makes me concerned for him – I have a sense of impending doom like he’s going to take a bullet (or knife) for Imriel at some point in the future.
    I really didn’t blame Justina for not trying to swap the ring. My thoughts are that it could have all gone horribly wrong and given away the whole plot if she’d bungled it. I’m not going to deny that I wanted her to do it and that I was frustrated when she didn’t – but, I can see why. Also, she came across as a little fickle somehow. I can’t put my finger on it but she didn’t seem that anxious to help. I was also a bit intrigued that Melisande had a spy here – just how much influence is she really having in all of this?? It makes me curious. Part of me now wonders if she had a hand in the whole thing simply so she could help out and redeem herself – and if that was true, she wouldn’t want her spies to help Imriel too much as he has to be seen and also to feel that he’s making the rescue – I’m probably getting carried away though with all of that!
    I think Leander was in control of the situation with Sunjata – I don’t think Irmriel was opposed or maybe he could have made his feelings known somehow but I think Leander took control of that situation.
    I thought it was brilliant that both Imriel and Sidonie both thought to hold the vigil.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Justina seems a bit fickle to me as well. She made the comment about ‘maybe this is how things are meant to be’, right? So perhaps she’s a little too comfortable with her position.

    2. “I’m not going to deny that I wanted her to do it and that I was frustrated when she didn’t – but, I can see why. Also, she came across as a little fickle somehow. I can’t put my finger on it but she didn’t seem that anxious to help. I was also a bit intrigued that Melisande had a spy here – just how much influence is she really having in all of this??”

      Gaah! Yes! A lot of this! Yes, fickle! How when we first saw her, she went from Aragonian woman appeasing Carthage to Aragonian woman spitting at D’Angeline feet. It was weird. I mean, I understand sort of? She wants Carthage to think she’s cool with them and Aragonia to think she hates them, and that’s a tough job. But then she was all “well, who cares?” And her inaction (though yeah, it would have been hard to switch the ring during sex) makes me think that Melisande has a lot less influence than she would like. Information, yes. Influence, no.

      But I do think that Sunjata told her what was really going on, and that might have made a difference. Like she may have switched the ring if Leander had asked her to do it, but she didn’t trust Imriel and didn’t want to get involved with that part.

  3. I’m really hoping Kratos becomes the Ti-Philippe of Sidonie and Imriel’s household. I hope he survives the rest of this book.

    About the aftermath, I think pretty much all the Carthaginian nobles were in on the spell, so I doubt that they will be able to keep it under wraps. I bet it will help that she went to Roderick, though, since the Aragonians will not even be trying to keep Bodeshmun/Astegal’s secrets.

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