Kushiel’s Scion Part VI

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Scion is Book 1 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 the Chapters 45-52, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Imriel spends a night on the island of Asclepius. Do you agree with Imriel that his nature is to be cruel? Do you think of Imriel as a stunted tree reaching for the light?

I think he’s looking at one aspect of his life and seeing it accentuated above his other traits. He has the capacity to be cruel, yes, but he is usually striving to balance it out. So, no, I don’t see him as a stunted tree reaching for the light – I see him as a tree basking in the little light he has been given and making it count.

2) Imriel makes a good go of breaking things off with Claudia. However, throughout this section we have seen how the spark between them is not yet doused. What do you think of Imriel’s lingering desires? Is Claudia telling the truth about her own desires?

I doubt the spark between them only resides in Imriel. So, yes, I do believe Claudia has a desire for Imriel. After all, D’Angelines are known for their prowess and attention to detail in bed. My guess is that she may have had one or two other excellent lovers in her life, and even then, Imriel is probably the best of them all. As for Imriel… well, she’s the only woman he has bedded in Tiberium, so she is familiar. And she’s always up for it. He doesn’t have to romance her. Quite frankly, it’s easy to attain sex. Now, I do believe that their coupling in Luca after Gilot’s death was for comfort.

With that said, I think Claudia is well aware that if she can entice Imriel back to the Guild, or even somehow trap him into being beholden to the Guild, it would be a feather in her cap and would help her rise in the Guild ranks.

3) Imriel reveals his full identity to Lucius and he learns of the legend of the Bella Donna, based on his own mother. Clever, intentional legend building by Melisande, or a fanciful story that built up over time or was borrowed from another legend?

I think this was Melisande that started it. She probably borrowed the basis from some legend and built some of her specifics (like her looks) into it. I bet this made it easier for her to escape. If folks believe that her child was stolen, they would be more likely to assist her. Also, building that legend and now having young ladies pray to the Bella Donna might be useful for something even today. It’s definitely awkward for Imriel.

This reminded me on the La Llorona legend here in the Southwest US. A woman in white who lost her children wanders the river’s edge weeping. Some legends say she drowned them and her ghost is doomed to haunt the river for eternity. Some say she lost her children to a flood.

4) All is not well at the city of Luca. Helena has been kidnapped. The ghosts of the dead walk among the living. Lucius is possessed by his warlord ancestor Gallus Thaddeus. What do you think of this harsh man/ghost?

Gallus definitely harkens back to an older time, doesn’t he?  He’s a harsh, harsh man but he might just be what Luca needs right now to get through this. On one hand, he’s got everyone on food rations right away, he puts every able bodied person to work (nobles on night patrol, women with bows) no matter their station or what is considered proper.

But then there’s the other side – like when he was ready to forcibly marry Helena to first deny her ‘husband’ his legal rights to the city and then simply to cuckold the man. Ugh! So glad that so many were willing to go against him on that one, even if they had to be sneaky and hide behind rules to do it.

5) When Imri and crew return to the Thaddeus Villa with the injured Gilot, Imriel ponders the wonder of women. ‘The courage of women is different than the courage of men.’ Do you agree?

No. It’s situational. Brigitta and Eamonn both come from ‘warrior’ cultures where women are expected to be competent with at least one weapon if not three. So I think Brigitta’s courage is much like Eamonn’s (though he’s been in at least one battle before so he has a little more experience).

However, in most if not all of Caerdicca Unitas, the roles of women are very different than the roles of men. They aren’t expected to handle weapons, to go to battle. They are expected to be at home, tending to the household, perhaps helping a little with a home business, have babies, and be beautiful and charming at dinner parties. So, for most Caerdicca Unitas women, yes, their courage is different from that of their male counterparts.

6) With the city under siege, an older mystery pops up with the arrival of Canis. Why do you think Imriel held his tongue and only told Eamonn?

I know Imriel is more comfortable being straight with people, but I think he is learning that you don’t have to lie to conceal a truth – you just have to shut up sometimes and not blurt things out. So, I think he finally learned that (thanks to Claudia and her handiwork at the theater) and he wants to know more about Canis in general and specifically why he so obviously followed him to Luca and then dared the army to break into a town under siege.

Other Tidbts:

I’m glad Eamonn and Brigitta appear to be a couple for now. Like two sleeping hunting cats, I think that’s how Imri described them as they slept on a sofa.

Claudia’s insulting Phedre was childish and peevish. I think she totally underestimates Phedre and what she would do if her son Imri went missing or turned up dead, or even badly maimed.

Caerdicci Unitas as a whole doesn’t seem very homosexual friendly and I am glad that Carey built this aspect into the storyline. Ignoring it would be unrealistic. Instead, by building it in and showing both the cultural aspect and how that affects individuals, it really humanizes the situation.

Even though I knew it was coming, I still sniffled over Gilot’s death. It was so hard on Imri and he has to survive this siege and tell Gilot’s girlfriend and kid, and then tell it to Montreve’s household and Phedre and Joscelin. It was very nice that Imriel had him model for the painter before they headed off to Luca.

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

Kushiel’s Scion Part V

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Scion is Book 1 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, Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog is our host. We’re covering the Chapters 37-44, so be prepared for spoilers below! Sorry again for posting late. Pneumonia is still kicking my butt.

1. Firstly, what do you make of The Guild and why do you think Anafiel declined to join them?  Do you think Imriel should join them?

I think it would be awesome to be one of the controlling heads of the Guild to have access to all that info and power. Or, at least, to be a powerful someone who can trade with the Guild for info and influence.

I think Anafiel rarely did anything rashly, so if he said no to the Guild, then he had good reason. In fact, he may have been approached more than once by them to either join their ranks or ally with them on some matter. I am guessing he repeatedly turned them down. Obviously, you never get to see the whole goat before you buy in this case – you join the Guild at your own peril, knowing that there is probably more than they initially present.

I don’t think Imriel should join them. It’s good that he knows they are there and perhaps in the future he can use that knowledge in some bargaining. However, I don’t think he’s particularly suited to be a spy (he really does like straight forward people and he is pretty much a straight forward guy as well) so it would mostly be about trading favors if he joined the guild – they would give his some info and he would back a certain trade deal, or some such.

2. We have the philosophical debates – how do you think these are going to play a part in the story overall, if at all?

In general, I think they are reinforcing to Imriel that he is indeed a moral person and also they are helping him fine tune his moral compass. I can’t recall if they play any larger role than that. Imri has already lived through events that would make many adults question morality. Now that he is an adult, perhaps he is ready to look more closely at those events with this in mind, based on the philosophical debates he and his friends have been a part of.

3. Claudia – what do you make of her.  Do you trust her?

Obviously, I don’t trust Claudia. She has a few loyalties that reside higher on the list than Imriel – her family, husband, and the Guild (tho I don’t know which comes first). So, there’s always the possibility that one or more of her loyalties will require her to do something that could harm Imriel in some way – perhaps just a little broken heart, perhaps a sullied reputation, perhaps a slit throat.

4. We have lots of possible attempts on Imri’s life, even going so far as to start a student riot – and his own attempts to bring these to a stop.  What do you make to all of it?

With the Guild in play, it can all be rather muddy. Looks like we have Trevalion making a mess of things. I am glad to see that Imriel went with a solution that requires a little more subtlety than his initial blunt force trauma inclination. I think it was brave and very calculated to go to the home turf of the hired assassin and basically buy out the hit on his life. Imri’s got big brass balls, that’s for sure.

I don’t think the student riot was started to cover up an attempt on Imri’s life but I do think more than one person was out there looking for an opportunity to take him down.

5. Two particular characters that I find intriguing are Canis and Piero.  What were your first impressions and how do they differ now?

My opinion of Master Piero hasn’t changed much. He’s a philosopher and a teacher. I like that he points out that for raw teaching an institution isn’t needed and then he lets his students argue the pros and cons of having educational institutions. He was chasing pigeons when we first met him and now he’s trying to coral students and get them to behave like civilized people. I wish him luck.

Canis is the one that has me most intrigued. When I first read this book, I at first dismissed him and his ramblings. But then when Imri kept wearing the pendant and then later Imri thinks he sees Canis on some corner, I started to ponder. Now Imri thinks someone else had his back in the student riot and Canis goes missing for a few days to returned clean and bruised. Hmmm…. the plot thickens!

Other Tidbts:

If someone held a knife to my throat as part of love play (without my permission) I would have a hard time jumping into bed with them again… and yet Imri does just this. Perhaps he feels he has something to prove.

I thought Eamonn’s example of why the winners of a battle or a war are also affected negatively by the whole event. And I also agree with Lucius that you can’t really separate the noble reason for an invasion from the means. It’s interesting to see Brigitta deal with all these arguments.

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

Giveaway & Interview: J. J. Sherwood, Author of The Kings Series

J.J. Sherwood  AuthorFolks, please give a very warm welcome to J. J. Sherwood, author of Kings or Pawns, Book 1 in the epic fantasy series The Kings. She’s kindly given us a very fun interview. Also, don’t miss the iRead Book Tours link to more interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways! Don’t forget to check out the giveaway, linked at the end of this post!

Would you rather have a dragon, or be a dragon?

Definitely human—then I’d still get the benefit of flying and fire and all that wonderful dragoness without the downsides—you know, dragon slayers and lack of fingers and being an awkward size.

Unless I could be a dragon who could turn into a human. That’d definitely be the winner.

It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

Alexander the Great—I mean, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a kid and he could be there so I could oogle him with a proper excuse. Next, John Quincy Adams—he swam nude in the Potomac River every day so that pretty much clinches him as fascinating. And St. Francis of Assisi—he was the first Italian poet, stripped naked in the middle of the town square when his father demanded he return the money he stole for a poor church. He was a definite eccentric, and also as a bonus, was supposedly dashing…

Ok, so we would read no great intellectual masterpiece like Shakespeare or A Tale of Two Cities: I think we’d just discuss the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. It’s my favorite series and you can’t just read ONE. That’d be a crime.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

Superhero and he would be Spiderman. And as he whisked me away into the sunset he’d make a dreadful pun.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

Hm. This is a thinker and while I gave myself a whole thirty seconds to consider, I came up with nothing. I think “affecting human cultures” is a strong phrase when compared with unicorn hunts. But I wish that we all had an excuse to spend a Tuesday night hunting dragons. So while I don’t see it affecting people’s actions in the grandest sense, I do believe it promotes inspiration and imagination across the world.

SherwoodKingsOrPawnsReality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

I think it’s extremely essential in fiction—especially in fantasy. We are often weighed down by the wonder of magic and fantastical creatures, so normalizing the world with a (brief) description of a lengthy travel coupled with a few choice “realistic” descriptions (not to mention a bathroom break or two), can go a long way to make the reader feel like they have both feet in the world. The key is to not make such mundane things boring.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Worst job: working as a cashier at a craft store. It was like grating my forehead against a cheese grater. I frankly can barely tolerate any actual paid work outside of writing. Except cleaning up other people’s messes. You will PAY me to scrub your toilet bowl and vacuum up cat fur? SOLD.

And that totally isn’t sarcasm.

No really. I’m serious.

If you were sent on a magical quest which other 4 fantasy authors would you take with you?

Oh boy oh boy. Nancy Varian Berberick—beautifully poetic, Jonathan Stroud—clever and funny, Mark Lawrence—original and funny, and Margaret Weis—one of the primary reasons I write high fantasy today!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

Well, I use to want to be a lawyer. Or go into politics. You know, something where I could argue all day long. Now that I’ve gotten married, I think a house wife would about do the trick, too.

In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?

Generally I find interviews to be a challenge. I mean, the ones that ask me the standard twenty questions. Sometimes I feel like stabbing my eyes out with a pencil when I’m asked “where were you born?” for the 50th time. This one, however, has been a blast.

But the thing I love most of all is the cosplaying we do for the series at conventions. Not only do we have the opportunity to meet new people, but we get to stalk around in fantastical armor while we do it.

Don’t miss out on more interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways on the blog tour

SherwoodKingsOrPawnsBook Description for Kings or Pawns:

J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.

Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.

But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.

Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

J.J. Sherwood  AuthorAuthor’s Bio:

J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit StepsofPower.com. J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

​Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook  Goodreads

Giveaway!!!

Prizes: ​Win 1 of 20 copies of Kings or Pawns – print or ebook (mobi or ePub) (USA & Canada). Just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!

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Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood

SherwoodKingsOrPawnsWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Publisher: Silver Helm (2015)

Length: 14 hours 18 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Kings

Author’s Page

Set in a Tolkienesque fantasy world of elves, humans, and centaurs, some strive to do what is right while others seek to take what they can with might. Young King Hairem, whose father was recently slain and much of the Old Blood fled from the city of Elvorium, starts off ruling with a gentle hand, trying his abilities to subtly manipulate the long corrupted politics back into some semblance of decency. Meanwhile, the warlord Saebellus threatens to take over Elvorium, the Council pushes for war with the Centaurs, and an assassin creeps through the city taking out politicians. Hairem definitely has his hands full.

I listened to the audiobook so please excuse any misspellings of names and places.

This book starts off rather slow, setting the political stage and letting the reader get to know the world and characters. At first, the book jumped pretty quickly from one character to another and this made it hard for me to get attached to the characters. But then things settled down with King Hairem and General Jikun as the main characters. They are opposites in most ways. One is young and untried and still idealistic; the other is a more worldly person, a bit jaded, and definitely not pious. I very much enjoyed how these two have to build mutual respect and trust.

The cast is littered with mostly male characters, being human, elven, and helven. Navon is Jikun’s right hand man, but he has a nasty little habit that is scorned by all and punishable by death even though it can save a life or two in the heat of battle. Sellemar comes into the story late but his presence really livens things up. Quite frankly, the story was pretty slow moving until Sellemar offered his assistance and knowledge of certain secrets. He’s a rather cranky bad ass. I like that I am still not sure of his motivations; he’s complicated.

Sadly, there are very few female characters in this book and mostly, they are underutilized. Ilsafel is the daughter of a powerful Elvorium politician and the love interest. Alvena is a mute lass that works in the castle and has a secret crush. Kivervy is a huntress from Jikun’s home town who we spend very little time with and who has to be saved while on a hunt. There’s probably a mother or sister tossed in here or there. All the plot decisions are made by male characters. While this holds true to traditional epic fantasy, it is the 21st century and I have come to adore a more gender balanced approach in fantasy literature.

The first half of the book was pretty slow going. The big baddies of the book were almost like ghostly boogiemen – talked about, feared, but rarely seen on stage. Eventually, we get to meet a few centaurs, but it’s brief. The feared mighty warlord Saebellus doesn’t make a presence until the last quarter of the book. I think this slim and trim approach to the adversaries made it hard for me to fear them and hence to fear for the safety of the characters.

On the plus side, the last sixth of the book has the ladies taking on larger roles, they have more lines, and take a few more actions. Sellemar has his role and that adds action and deeper questions. By the end, it’s clear there is much more to the plot and there have been deep-laid plans. Not everyone makes it out alive! If the first half of the book had been even half as good as the second half of the book, I would give this story a full five stars.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost via the book tour company iRead Books in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: Matthew Lloyd Davies did a good job. He had a variety of accents that helped keep the myriad of characters distinct.  I really liked the young teen girl voice he picked for the internal monologues of the mute Alvena. He did great as Jikun, especially when Jikun was rightly angry at something.

What I Liked: Politics in my fantasy; centaurs!; Sellemar and his constant complaining; young King Hairem and his idealism; Jikun’s jaded view of the world; Navon’s troubling secret; not everyone makes it out alive!

What I Disliked: Very few female characters; the ladies are underutilized; the first half of the book is pretty darn slow.

What Others Think:

Check out the iReads Book Tour for more reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Kushiel’s Scion Part IV

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Scion is Book 1 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, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering the Chapters 28-36, so be prepared for spoilers below! Sorry for getting this up late – was in hospital for pneumonia for nearly a week.

1. The aftermath of Imriel’s night at Valerian House takes a bit of a dark emotional turn… What did you think of what happens between him and Phedre? Did it surprise you at all?

I think Carey did a little foreshadowing about this when Mavros and Roshana came for their summer visit to Montreve. Imri is Kushiel’s Scion (tho he doesn’t really grasp that yet) and Phedre is Kushiel’s Chosen. They aren’t blood related. She’s likes a good whipping and he has these dark desires to whip someone for sexual pleasure that he’s still wrestling with. I think sooner or later this had to be acknowledged between them and it couldn’t really be acknowledged until Imri had had an experience such as he did at Valerian House.

Of course, Phedre loves him first and foremost as a son and nothing is ever going to come of it. I do think it took some thinking for Imri to realize that, but once he did, things were well between him and Phedre again.

2. We go from this scene to Imriel’s decision to leave Terre D’Ange and visit Tiberium, and he doesn’t waste much time arranging the trip – though he does make time to say some goodbyes, and to confront Barquiel L’Envers. Any thoughts about this encounter – or his meeting with Sidonie?

Barquiel makes me laugh once again – ‘I like your hair’ (totally paraphrasing). Everything is a kind of chess game with Barquiel. I think he has more respect for Imri now that Imri thwarted (mostly) his attempt to smear his name with treason and also got his fired (albeit quietly). Imri didn’t give into to a young man’s fury to demand a duel either.

So no sex as a goodbye for him and Sidonie. So sad. But maybe for the best. While young men often have stamina, they lack finesse. Besides, if they had entangled their limbs, it would have had to be a quickie due to the guards starting to wonder what was up. Also, I doubt Imriel would have been so quick to jump into bed with Claudia in Tiberium if he had recently bedded Sidonie. As it was, it was a tangle of complicated emotions for both of them.

3. Next stop is Tiberium, and Imriel quickly catches up with Eamonn! What do you think of the University setting, and Eamonn’s taste for studying philosophy? Do you think it will help Imri in any way?

The University setting is wonderfully eccentric and full of conflicting notions on how to teaching and just what teaching is. I don’t have to like every aspect of it to like the setting.

Eamonn picked a most interesting teacher and I think it is a good choice. He teaches his students to think, not simply what to think. I like that the teacher doesn’t have all the answers and he knows it.

Already, I think the entire experience is helping Imri. He’s experiencing life without everyone knowing who he is and without having to search for double meanings in every conversation. I think the teacher’s lectures and group conversations are already showing Imri how to think in new directions.

4. An old mystery deepens as Imriel searches for information on Anafiel Delaunay – and appears to find more than he bargained for… What did you make of Claudia Fulvia?

Claudia definitely enjoyed the romp, no doubt about that. Imri was a bit of a fool to so easily let his guard down and I am sure he will beat himself up about that more later.

I honestly don’t recall how much Claudia knows about covertcy or about Delaunay. Obviously, she knew just how to disarm and relax Imriel, but I don’t think that would take too much talent in these circumstances. Of course, now we have to always ask ourselves how much is she lying or withholding from Imriel.

Other Tidbts:

Imriel’s name means the Eloquence of God, according to Phedre, which I think is quite beautiful.

I liked that Joscelin was solid and understanding about Imriel’s need to go off to college. I was a bit surprised that Ysandre didn’t send a few men at arms (even in disguise) to watch over him.

What I wouldn’t give for a good garum!

I was surprised that the inns and ale houses/wine shops serve little to no food and that walking the street is your best way to find dinner.

Brigitta seems very proud of her heritage (nothing wrong with that) but she’s a bit prickly when it comes to others being proud of their heritage and also of how events fell out a generation ago.

Cannis and his beggar’s wisdom.

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

Kushiel’s Scion Part III

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Scion is Book 1 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, Emily at Emma Wolf is our host. We’re covering the Chapters 20-27, so be prepared for spoilers below! Sorry for getting this up late – was in hospital for pneumonia for nearly a week.

1) Maslin says that Imriel’s gift of Lombelon made the estate small by so easily discarding it. Eamonn says it was Maslin that made it small. Who do you think is right?

Eamonn’s right about this one. I can see how Imriel’s actions might have given that initial punch to the gut ‘oh my! this is a small gesture to him’ feeling. But Maslin had months (years?) to decide that Lombelon was too small for him and he could have decided otherwise. Still, he is a young man and probably feels he has much to prove. His dad was an excellent swordsman, once a hero of the realm, and then a betrayer of the realm who saved the kingdom despite that. So, yeah, I can see how Maslin felt that living a quiet life managing a pear orchard while sipping pear brandy was too small a life for him.

2) What do you think of Imriel’s oath to Sidonie? Do you believe him? Would you believe him were you in Sidonie’s position? When he makes this oath, Imriel is still fairly young and doesn’t have a lot of experience in politics. Do you think there’s anything that could change his mind?

I think it was made from the heart and on the spur of the moment. It was genuine and Imriel didn’t really have to think about it because he honestly has no intentions to be lord of anything, let alone wear a crown.

I think if I was Sidonie, it would be difficult to accept the oath had I not known Imriel for years at this point. Alise speaks his praises and he’s shown no court ambition whatsoever and rarely comes to court and even then, has to be ordered to by someone of authority half the time anyway.

I think Sidonie would have to turn into quite the monster for Imriel to even consider going back on his oath and that is just really unlikely. Plus, if she did, I think her mom would paddle her ass in front of the entire court.

3) Things change between them during a hunt. What do you think?

They each got to see the other with their court masks down, briefly, and I think that is why they connected. Also, Imri then got his own hands  dirty sewing up Alise’s dog Celeste. Of course that couldn’t fail to touch Sidonie’s heart. I like that Imriel asks Sidonie (much later at the Longest Night?) if they will talk about it. I think, at this point, that Imri is much more willing to acknowledge his emotions on any subject than Sidonie is.

4) Imriel becomes the unwilling target or subject of potentially a treasonous plot. What do you think of Bertran’s reaction? Of Ysandre’s reaction and advice to Imriel?

That was pretty rude of Bertran, especially how he changed some of the facts around when he reported the incident. I think it also shows that perhaps all along he felt that Imriel was fine for drinking and dicing with but that he would never trust him in a position of power.

Unfortunately, Ysandre is right. Barquiel is best handled quietly in house if Imri wants any justice. Barquiel would never admit in public he had a hand in it and trying to force him t do so would probably lead to a duel that Imri would lose, and perhaps lose badly. I am very glad that Ysandre acknowledged how fucked up it all is while also laying out the options and explaining why she strongly recommended the path she did.

Besides, knowing Ysandre, Barquiel probably got a severe tongue lashing in her cold, calculating way, and perhaps some other punishments were laid upon him that Imriel will never hear about.

5) What do you think of Talorcan and Dorelei and the idea of the betrothals?

So far, we know little of them. Drustan, of course, speaks highly of them and I don’t think he would do that just to hurry some betrothals along. As he and Ysandre have said, it’s still up to the kids involved and they won’t force them into it.

I don’t think Alise would mind living in Alba, at least part of the year, and Talorcan seems to be a gentleman, not pushing Alise. But we’ve seen very little of him, so hard to say. If both Alise and Imriel marry Alban royalty, that could solve a lot of political issues, placating the masses of nobles.

6) Mavros takes Imriel to Valerian House and forces him to confront…less vanilla sex, if nothing else, and Imriel eventually gives in. What do you think of this? Was Mavros too pushy? Why did Imriel give Sephira her own signale?

Overall, I think it was a needful and insightful experience for Imriel. I don’t think Mavros was too pushy. After all, he kept telling Imriel he didn’t have to do anything, that everyone abided by Elua’s sacred rules of consent, and love and mutual pleasure was at the core of things. I think Imriel needed to see it before he believed it.

I’m glad that he had such a chat with Sephira and that she was honest with him about why she desired him and how she desired him. At the end, I think Imriel gave the only signale he knew (Sephira’s sunshine) because he needed to be done so that he could have time to process him own emotions. It was a lot of break throughs for him in a short period of time.

Other Tidbts:

I liked Phedre’s comment that she was happy as a teen, but that she was also vain and a silly thing.

I love that Phedre’s household went as Skaldi deities. It shows that old wounds can be set aside, if not healed yet.

It’s very sweet how much Imri misses his Eamonn, who gets to go off to college.

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

Kushiel’s Scion Part II

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

Elderly Waffles has no idea whats going on.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Scion is Book 1 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, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering the Chapters 12-19, so be prepared for spoilers below! Sorry for getting this up late – was in hospital for pneumonia for nearly a week.

1) In this chapter, Katherine and Roshana introduce Imriel to some innocent regional courtship games.  What do you think of the differences between the two games?  Do you remember anything similar from when you were a teen?

I think both were pretty innocent, yet I can see why one scares Imri more than the other. he’s dealing with his triggers and figuring out what he can and can’t deal with right now. I do wish they had started with Katherine’s version and once Imri got a few kisses in, moved on to Roshana’s version. Perhaps that would have made it less scary for Imri.

The closest thing I had as a teen was spin the bottle. Yep. Pretty tame and boring. But at the time, it was bold and awesome.

2) How do you think Imriel’s ideas of love and sex are affected by the model set by Joscelin and Phedre? Do you think they’re doing a good job getting him through these awkward years?

I think it’s both good and confusing for him. On one hand, he saw what Phedre was like in Darsanga and how her body responded, willing or no, acting or no, to the Marhkagir. So, he’s seen this darker side to her passions. But then he has had 3-4 years of living with them and seeing their loving, monogamous relationship. I’m sure he hasn’t heard or seen any violent lovemaking between the two. Now that he’s coming into his own, I am sure he feels conflicted – be like the tame, deeply loving Joscelin, or like the loving on the edge Phedre?

And yes, I think Phedre and Joscelin are doing a great job of raising Imri. It’s a total balancing act, giving him enough space to figure out these personal likes/dislikes and also keeping him safe, and providing honest answers, and guidance.

3) Imriel is getting a lot happier and easier at court these days.  Is there anything that was particularly notable for you in this period, during the apple-picking party or on the Longest Night?

I really like that Imri takes a big brother’s interest in Alise, trying to include her in activities like the apple-picking contest. Then there is Mavros having his back at court in the Hall of Games; that was unexpected and cool of him. Imri is still learning what to do with his anger (that I think nearly all of us experience in our teen years) and it’s great that Joscelin lets him get that anger out during sword practice.

4) Imriel comes of age in this section, and spends his first night in the Night Court, at Balm House. What do you think about his experience with Emmeline?

Sacred. Loving. Healing.

This night with Emmeline did a world of good for Imri. It showed him that he can participate in sex in a loving way and that his fears of a darker, more violent sexual side is either not there or can easily be held in check.

5) Imriel has also made a new close friend, Eamonn mac Grainne!  What did you think of their fight?  How do you think their closeness will affect his image at court?

This is a great friendship because the two are so far removed from each other’s worlds that they can confide in each other without the preconceived notions. Imri’s heard some stories about Eamonn’s family and Eamonn has heard some stories about Imri’s family, but they don’t know the characters by sight and the folks around them don’t have these stagnant opinions of their forebears.

I think Imri has realized that some at court believe they are lovers and he’s taken a healthy attitude of ‘So what!’. His friendship with Eamonn means more to him than what others think of it.

Other Tidbts:

When Imri confided in Eamonn concerning the Marhkagir, I wanted to applaud his bravery. After hearing the story, I wanted to kill the Marhkagir all over again.

I think it’s great that Phedre and Imri can, on occasion, joke a little about their first few meetings in Darsanga.

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