Kushiel's Mercy Part V

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, Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog is our host. We’re covering Chapters 50-62, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) We had a number of dramatic chases and escapes this week – what really stood out most for you?

The flaming ship! Those sailors risked everything – their ship, their possessions (and for some, it was probably everything they owned), and their lives, but also their livelihoods (if badly injured, would they be able to work as sailors again?). Even though this is a reread for me, I am still amazed that these sailors and their captain were willing to risk so much for these royals. Perhaps Solon is a great and yet sometimes terrifying boss. I bet he will reward their loyalty handsomely and also I don’t doubt that he would have punished them horribly had they handed Sidnoie and Imriel over.

2) Imriel and Sidonie meet with Nicola L’Envers y Aragon who turns into an ally for the two of them arranging for them to gain audience and we once again see Sidonie’s diplomacy skills – how do you think she would compare to Ysandre as a ruler?

Sidonie has definitely learned well from Ysandre. Their situations are quite different but I see echos of Ysandre’s skill and poise in Sidonie, but Sidonie is definitely her own woman in these scenes. She has to be since her mom is still bespelled. I think Ysandre would be proud of her.

3) Imriel made a statement this week about once wanting to be a hero but now having changed his mind – and how heroism meant living in terror that you wouldn’t be able to protect those you loved – what do you make of his thinking?

Yes, our boy has grown up and continues to build his wisdom, doesn’t he? I think he’s right – being hero can mean you are constantly concerned or worried about being able to protect those you care about or those in your charge. Sometimes no matter how clever you are, no matter how physically fit you are, no matter how broad and excellent your skills, you won’t be able to protect everyone all the time. So, yes, you live in terror of that coming true and something catastrophic coming about on your watch. The hero part is still doing it anyway, pushing forward and giving it your best despite this knowledge.

4) Euskerri. The plan is to sway the Euskerri (by offering them sovereignty) to side with Aragonia. Do you think the Euskerri are wise to accept or not?

Oh, wow. What a mess there. The Euskerri have been lied to far too often, so I get why they need so many assurances and how it’s a very tentative yes on their part. Still, I was severely frustrated with them too. With both Imriel and Sidonie giving their word on the trueness of the offer, of course I would accept it. But the Euskerri make some solid arguments for needing more than the word of a few royals of country that is facing civil war and possibly invasion (again?) by Carthage. Still, I didn’t like that they were a bit underhanded in refusing Imriel and Sidonie passage to Terre D’Ange.

5) Finally, it seems like both Imriel and Sidonie will return to the battlefront – what do you think of the agreement reached? What do you predict going forward?

Ooops, so I answered part of this int he question above. Of course I don’t want Sidonie and Imriel to head back to Aragonia. They just escaped there! But I see that the Euskerri feel they need a few royal guests (hostages) to ensure the treaty is signed in full by Aragonia.

Other Tidbts:

I really like that Sidonie was uncomfortable with the days of sleeping on uncomfortable mats or on the cold forest floor as they made their way to the Euskerri village. I love that she didn’t complain.

I think it took a lot for Sidonie to ask Imriel to end her life rather than let Astegal have her again. I think it took even more for Imriel to agree to it.

Imriel takes note that the Aragonia council is made up of all men and perhaps finds it odd. Nicola seems to have to work in the background, not given a voice at the council.

I loved that Imriel could look back on his kidself and see that his disliking of Nicola was wrong, petty. I’m glad he finally has a chance to see Nicola as Phedre’s confidante.

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).

6 thoughts on “Kushiel's Mercy Part V”

  1. The flaming ship was really quite sad wasn’t it – like you I wondered about those sailors losing everything they had and some of them their lives for two people who they really knew nothing about!
    ‘So, yes, you live in terror of that coming true and something catastrophic coming about on your watch. The hero part is still doing it anyway, pushing forward and giving it your best despite this knowledge.’ This. This is spot on and probably puts my feelings a lot more succinctly than I can do.
    And yes, I was so frustrated that Sidonie and Imriel were so close to home – that agreement made me grit my teeth, I can see the Euskerri’s point of view but it doesn’t mean I have to like it and I have a bad feelings about this return!
    Lynn 😀

    1. My husband and I volunteered with the local Fire & EMS crew until I became too ill to do so (tho Bill still goes out on occasion to a structure fire or bad car wreck). In doing so, and I think anyone who has done such work, has to face that question about what makes a hero and whether or not you want to do it again and again. You give it your best effort and shit can go horribly wrong on your watch and you still go do it anyway. So, in that regard, there are many, many heroes walking among us.

  2. It was really nice to see Imriel apologize to Nicola, and actually even nicer for her to say that she’d understood his feelings.

    I didn’t talk about the flaming boat at all in my answers, but that was a really sad scene. Every time Sidonie and Imriel make a close escape, so many people die to help them through.

    1. Yes. I think they will carry a big weight over those loses even if they save the realm. Knowing them, I expect they will do their best to learn the names of those sailors lost, of those Amilcar volunteers dead or permanently injured, and recompense their families or them (if they are alive), after all is said and done.

  3. The flaming ship was exciting and scary! And yeah, Solon must be great and terrifying!

    I also like Imriel warming up to Nicola. Finally. It made me like her more too. My initial impression of her in Kushiel’s Chosen was kind of odd. Like “really? Why are you trying to spy on a spy?” Then I liked her more in Avatar, but I’m glad he made peace with his feelings.

    1. Yeah. Nicola was an OK character for me earlier in the series, but this book made me see her in a kinder light. I like that she gives up some of her best gowns for Sidonie. In a besieged city, with not hint that she will be able to replace such garments any time soon, this was more than a simple kindness.

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