Kushiel’s Chosen Part V

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen 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, I am your host. We’re covering Chapters 50-61, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) This week we learn plenty more about Kazan Atrabiades and his personal demon, the kriavbhog. What do you think of this demon and his blood curse?

I really like this element. As in Book 1, we have very little truly fantastical elements. In Book 1, it was the Master of the Straights and his strange abilities. Here, we have the kriavbhog, this serpent demon type thing that only a handful can see. Makes me want to go look up fan art of the beastie. Alas, a quick search turns up nothing. :(

2) On the island of Dobrek, even Phedre has to admit she had some harsh pre-conceived notions about pirates in general and then Kazan specifically before she was brought to his home. How do you think this experience will affect Phedre going forward?

So through out the Book 1 read along and now in this read along a  few readers more astute than I have pointed out Phedre’s conceitedness or snobbery. It wasn’t something I put a lot of thought into before these read alongs, but now I really notice when Phedre herself takes note of her incorrect pre-conceived notions about people or cultures.

So, she’s had some pretty tough experiences for the last 200 or 300 pages and some of those have been nasty surprises she didn’t expect, in part, due to her ideas about folks or cultures. I think it was Emma or Allie last week who pointed out Phedre’s notion that D’Angelines would be her instant comrades in arms in the hunt for Melisande…. and we all know how that turned out.

So, here she is, once again, kind of slapped in the face by karma over her notions about pirates in general. I think these world travel experiences are going to teach her to pause and rethink any instant notion she has in the future. In Terry  Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching novels, Tiffany and the other witches call this look, and then look again. If you look a third time, I think Pratchett called it Third  Sight at some point in the books. Anyway, it is a worthy notion that has stuck with me since reading those books and I wish I could scribe Phedre a note and pass it on.

3) Nikanor’s ship returns and Phedre is once again off on the high seas. But, alas, she is not ransomed safely. Were you angry at Kazan for not telling Phedre who she was to ransomed to? Or angry at Phedre for not having told Kazan the whole of it in the first place?

Ah, well 20/20 hindsight isn’t so useful in the moment, now is it? So, no I was not angry at Phedre. She doesn’t know Kazan and the knowledge she carries is pretty sensitive top secret stuff. Plus Kazan was pretty much of an ass up until the final 2 or 3 weeks before this unfortunate event.

And, yes, I was a bit ticked with Kazan for not telling Phedre who she had been ransomed to. After all, that was part of the bargain. I think Phedre would have understood his dilemma with the blockade and some of his men being held as surety. But I also think she would have come up with some plan to get the men, and perhaps the rest of the gold.

4) Nearly to Epidauro & safety, Phedre can see the kriavbhog is killing Kazan and orders the ship about into the storm. Was there really no other choice?

Ah, another tough situation. And Phedre had to do the thinking in a desperate moment after a very lengthy chase in which many men were lost and the rest were dead tired. I guess Kazan could have jumped overboard and sent his ship ahead into  Epidauro…. but I  don’t know if he ca swim, plus the pursuers would probably have killed him.

5) Now in the land of Kriti, we meet Oeneus, Hierophant of the Temenos along with the Kore, Pasiphae.  What do you think of these two and the small amount of aid they offer Phedre and Kazan?

This makes me think of the Vatican City a little in that they have full say-so within their tiny little sphere of influence (much of which is this spiritual temple and the thetalos) and very little sway outside of it. So I think they truly are offering up what aid they can – fixing of the ship and a favorable introduction to a more powerful political entity.

We got to see more of Pasiphae and she seemed to be genuinely found of Phedre. Should be interesting to see what she thinks once everyone knows she entered the thetalos without a proper blessing.

6) Kazan enters the thetalos to be cleansed of his blood guilt. Of course, Phedre is pricked by Kushiel to go comfort him as she might. There she faces her own guilty demons. Would you be concerned if you had to pass through the thetalos?

Yes. I think the rude things I have occasionally done in ignorance I could view and then forgive myself over. But there are a handful of things I wish I could have handled things better. Nothing like what Phedre has been through, so if I am worried, then I can only imagine her despair at being caught up in that grief.
Other Tidbts:

 

Kazan’s little ‘trade’ of sex for speedy messenger service didn’t really seem fair to me. Though  I think Phedre carried out her part of the bargain in better spirits than I could have. Also, I wanted to slap Kazan upside the head as he could have offered up the speedy messenging as a nice gesture and then traded for Phedre’s special attentions later on… or even tried to woo her? Maybe wooing is not in his nature.

When Phedre wandered the house and checked out Kazan’s personal room and his personal affects! OMG! I was pretty sure Kazan was going to take a switch to her or hand her over to his men or make her a cleaning slave or something awful.

OK, when Phedre was on that ship about the be beheaded, I really wish she had taken up carrying at least some small knife or such at some point. I know it probably wouldn’t have saved her in that moment, but it might have given her some satisfaction to take out 1 or 2 assailants before she went down.

It was a grand, touching gesture that Kazan was willing to sacrifice himself after cheating Phedre on the ransom and getting so many of his men killed in the horrid affair. I think this is the point in the story where I start to like him.

Rouging of the nipples and formal dress code that calls for an exposed breast or two…. Has anyone tried this for a Halloween costume?

Various kinds of grief seems to be a theme for this book – grief between her and Joscelin, grief at La Dolorosa (both Asherat’s and her own on loosing her chevaliers and Joscelin), and now the grief faced within the thetalos. Oh and Kazan’s blood guilt grief over his brother.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Kushiel’s Chosen Part IV

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen 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, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering Chapters 37-49, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Last week we talked a bit about who might succeed Cesare Stregazza as Doge. This week we learn that he might not be out of the game just yet, after all. What are your thoughts on his discussion and agreement with Phédre?

Well, first it struck me that Phedre is once again being told she is a weapon by an old man in a foreign country (the first time was with the Skaldi in Book 1). So I thought that was pretty cool, that old men seem to see right to the heart of things.

I think Cesare is wise to bide his time and let folks think  he may be bowing out and that he is a bit doddering. They are more likely to giveaway their intentions in front of him. But he walks that thin line too. If folks no longer have confidence in him, because of this act, then the people in general may no longer want him in power.

2. Melisande resurfaces – and right where I did NOT expect to find her! What about you? And what do you think of her latest ambitious designs? When she and Phédre speak again after her capture, Phédre calls her mad; Melisande hints at “playing a god’s game”. Is this ambition or is it in fact madness?

The first time I read this book, I had that jaw-dropping moment when it was revealed where Melisande had been ‘hiding’. Her disguise is perfect though, plus she has a powerful protector.

As always, Melisande is playing the long game. Sure, they plan to kill Ysandre within weeks or months and take the Terre D’Ange throne shortly thereafter, but it is Melisande’s son that she plans to have rule for decades. right now, he is like…. 6 months? 3 months? old. So a lot could go wrong between now and when he is 20. Perhaps she just views Imriel as another game piece on the board.

Melisande is having delusions of grandeur. She’s got a lot going for her – wit, intelligence, charm, beauty, the espionage training, the education in politics & history. But she lacks one thing – she is not god touched.

3. Things fall apart for Phédre and Joscelin after so much pent-up angst – but our Cassiline isn’t done with her yet, thank goodness! Phédre’s escape from La Dolorosa, and Joscelin’s attempted rescue, is some of the most nail-biting drama we’ve seen yet in this story. Do you think Joscelin will manage to find her, or will he play it smarter and go to Ysandre instead?

When I first read this book, I couldn’t fathom what Joscelin would do. He’s not very good on open water – being all seasick and such. So he would have to put his trust in someone with a boat and the know how… and then where would he begin looking?

And Ysandre is coming to La Serenissima soon, probably all ready on her way. So he could wait for her to get there and then try to seek an audience. But Melisande is definitely looking for him and they might have it out with the city watch that he is wanted man. Not to many choices for our hero, huh?

4. New character alert! What are your initial impressions of Kazan and Glaukos? How much trouble is Phédre in this time?

Phedre’s in for some high seas adventure! Glaukos seems like a kindly uncle from the beginning. I think Phedre has some sort of magic charm over older men. Kazan definitely has a chip or two on his shoulders, but Phedre also has a unique way of dealing with men with pent up anger. ;)

Other Tidbts:

That final tumble between Phedre and Joscelin was a little heartbreaking. Lots of feelings floating around this section. Joscelin specifically says that Phedre doesn’t need him. How wrong he was.

Ah, Fortun & Remy! Jacqueline Carey sure does know how to yank on my heart strings.

I’m very glad that Phedre released all the prisoners even if some or most of them died that night. I think her comment about the prison being a mockery (or some such) of the goddess’s grief was spot on.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Kushiel’s Chosen Part III

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen 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, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 27-36, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Do you think Joscelin might have really considered using the “terminus” in the fight between the Unforgiven and the Yeshuites? How deep do you think his loyalty to the Yeshuite people goes, and why do you think he feels so driven to arm, train and protect them?

I think the thought might have flashed through his mind in a kind of after-the-fact kind of way. If he had taken out one of the Yeshuites I think he would have wished to have committed the terminus move just so he wouldn’t have to live with the pain of it.

I think he has a bit of a blind spot where it comes to the Yeshuites. And this blind spot allows him to put them on a pedestal and admire them. And this allows for a type of loyalty towards them whether they are in the right or the wrong.

I think Joscelin is one of those people who needs to feel needed, deeply. He’s been trained to serve, but he has his pride. Phedre is being more and more independent and not requiring his aid as she did during their Skaldi captivity and then long escape. The Yeshuites need a champion, or, at least, a trainer.

2. What do think of the differences between the culture of La Serenissima and the City of Elua, and the differences in how they conduct their political intrigue?  Who would you favor for the next Doge?

At first I was going to say that La Serenissima has more extremes than the City of Elua… but then I thought of some of Phedre’s assignations. Still, I think the extremes are more on display – the great flirtatiousness of the men, the street fighting, the very colorful gentlemen clubs and their open declaration for one political contender or another, their open hostility towards homosexuals, etc. I think there are still extremes in Elua but they are held more privately. Also, Elua is much more tolerant when it comes to the various forms of sex and the women have the same opportunities for education as the men.

I think La Serenissima conducts their political intrigue more loudly, with more flash (while at the same time making back door deals with another party if necessary). The political intrigue we have seen in Elua has been much more subtle with the masterminds playing things very close to their chests.

I am not sure who will be the next Doge. Honestly, I have forgotten how this bit of politics plays out.

3. What do you think of Phedre’s plan to play along with Severio’s romancing?  Do you think he is approaching the matter with more sincerity than his parents?

I think Severio is completely sincere and is trying his best to woo Phedre. While she says that she has no intention of marrying him, I think she is deeply enamored by the courtship. Subconsciously, she may be waffling. After all, she’s never really had a suitor who tried to woo her affections and has offered her marriage.

However, this courtship does provide a good cover for why she lingers in La Serenissima and it provides some contacts while she searches for Melisande.

4. There is a lot of fortune-telling in this section, from the Oracle in the temple to the astrologer.  What do you make of the Oracle’s answer to Phedre?  Why do you think the astrologer killed himself, and do you think he would he have been able to lead them to Melisande?

As Severio said, of course Melisande will be in the last place Phedre seeks her, because once you find something you usually stop looking for it (unless you are Joscelin and have found real love but don’t feel appreciated so you keep looking for something external to justify your life).

I’m not sure why the astrologer killed himself. As far as we know, he was a loner – no wife, no kids, etc. So I think the only thing Melisande had to threaten him with was pain or imprisonment. But would that be enough to send a man into suicide instead of fleeing the city?

5. Joscelin and Phedre meet a couple who have made compromises in order to build a happy life together.  What do you think of their family, and does their example give any hope for Phedre and Joscelin’s future?

We know that Phedre is thinking along these lines. She’s questioning all the hurt in her relationship with Joscelin and what she could do to cease it or make it better. However, we don’t know if Joscelin is thinking about this at all.

Phedre basically proposed to him (and apparently it is not the first time) when she offered hi, the place at her side as consort. And he turned her down (again). Now Phedre is one of my favorite characters in epic fantasy, but she rarely hears the word ‘No’. So I think Joscelin repeated refusal of this offer must sting something fierce. Perhaps Phedre is clinging a little to her hurt as well.

Other Tidbts:

 

What did you think of the voice that came over Phedre during the Unforgiven fight with the Yeshuites? A touch of Kushiel entering the fray and bringing it to an end?  That scene gave me a few little goosebumps.

Having a small but well armed & trained militia at one’s beck and call can be both a good and a bad thing. Barquiel may become even more suspicious of Phedre of word of the Unforgiven’s loyalty gets out.

The first time I read this years ago, I  didn’t know how to pronounce ‘Doge’ and had never heard of the office. I brought it up at knitting circle and the ladies were quite amused (in a kind way) and enjoyed telling me what they knew of the real life Doge and the history of the office.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Kushiel’s Chosen Part II

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen 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, Grace from Books Without Any Pictures was to be our host but she got bogged down by real work. So, this week you have me as host. We’re covering Chapters 15-26, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Severio & Phedre have their assignation. Who do you think learned the more from it?

Well, Phedre did learn some politics about the most important families in Caerdicca Unitas. But I would like to think that most, if not all, of what Severio revealed could have been learned from a variety of other people familiar with the place.

So I think Severio learned the most. He learned that his anger and sexual tastes are not something to be ashamed of, provided he finds a willing partner. And now he knows that such people exist who are not only willing but take pleasure in it. He also learned how to impress the nobility of Terre D’Ange. And I am quite sure that Phedre set a new high bar in skill for what he can expect from lovers in the future.

2) Hanna from the Yeshuites tells Joscelin, ‘….this pain you suffer, you cling to it.’ Do you think that is true of Joscelin? What do you think of Joscelin teaching some of the young Yeshuite men to fight?

Yes! I do believe that Joscelin has a tendency to cling to his pain. In a way, since he no longer has the Cassiline order, he holds to his pain in order to define himself. On one hand, I totally get how he got to this point. Yet now that he is here and he perhaps has some realization of that, isn’t it time to find something better to define him? I can see why Phedre gets a little tired of him lately.

My apologies for the mild spoiler on that second question. In going back thinking about this section (and peeking in my paperback), I see that it is not explicitly stated that Joscelin is training the young men, merely only hinted at. Later in the story, we get more info.

At any rate, Joscelin is assisting or advising or perhaps even training these young ruffians at this point. I can see how he would be pushed by his anger to see some good in this. While Phedre, and Anafiel Delaunay, always treat well with the Yeshuites, that is not so of all of Terre D’Ange. So I am sure the young men feel a mix of anger at the D’Angelines and also, as they say again and again, revilement at their ‘wicked ways’.

3) In this section, we really saw the pressure put on Marmion. Do you think Marmion’s punishment was just?

What a mess! I can see it from both parties. Marmion was terrified because Melisande has a long reach, and he doesn’t know who her allies are. Plus his own extended family may despise him in part.

Yet when all this info is brought before the queen, in a somewhat public forum, she has no choice but to sit and rule on it as the queen.

Still, I like what Nicola L’Enver y Aragon did for him, offering him sanctuary in Aragonia if he can make it there. I expect that is the best he will ever get.

4) Phedre goes to Gentian House for some guidance through dream interpretation. What did you think of this? Have you ever had your dreams interpreted?

I thought the sex scene was very sensual and sweet. Quite frankly, I think it was the good loving with no ulterior motives or strings attached that allowed Phedre to sleep well and to be able to remember her dream upon waking.

And, yes, I agree with Phedre. She has been putting off a hard choice and to continue to put it off would only make things worse.

I’ve never had my dreams interpreted. Though I did have a friend in college who had read a short book on the subject for a psychology class and he said that dreams that include a lot of candles indicates an interest in penises. Worst come on ever!

5) The plot has thickened in this week’s reading as Phedre & Joscelin dig further into the mystery of the escaped Melisande Shahrizai. Thoughts?

The Casselines! When I first read this book, I thought it was both the most clever hiding place for a killer and also a huge insult to Cassiel and the brotherhood. Plus, we haven’t found any concrete evidence yet so what if it is just someone associated with them? Someone in training? Do the brotherhood ever fail anyone at their training and they get drummed out for incompetence? Or when was the last person, before Joscelin, to be declared disavowed?

At least the thing with Marmion cleared up how Melisande was able to sneak out. Still, better guards next time, ones that know the convicted on sight.

Then of course the guards from that night are still missing, though Barquiel has pointed Phedre towards the Fallen, who are the border guard now along Skaldia.

6) Ysandre and Phedre carry out a bit of subterfuge. Do you think it is enough to fool Melisande, should she be paying attention?

Well, no. I am sure that if Melisande is paying attention, then she wouldn’t be fooled by the supposed falling out between Phedre & Ysandre. Still, it was clever for the masses. I think it was very interesting to see who would see Phedre before she left the city. Now she knows who her real friends are.

Other Tidbts:

 

I’m puzzled by the Yeshuite prophecy about a land being carved out north. Even though I have read all but the last book in this series (Book 9), I never quite figured out where this prophesied land was to be. Northern Russia? Nordic territory?

Joscelin has been wearing a little clay pendent given to him by Hanna. I think someone may be falling in love with another. And if Joscelin is now in love with both Phedre and Hanna, then I am sure he is beating himself up over that as well.

Barquiel L’Enver isn’t one for subtlety or half measures. He seems to be a law unto himself. I worry that if he ever truly believes Phedre to be a threat to his family, he won’t think twice, but will simply act.

Nicola gives Phedre the L’Enver Family pass code! I really love this idea of a master house code that a L’Envers can never ignore.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Kushiel’s Chosen Part I

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen 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, Nancy from FaeStruck’s Reviews and More is our host. We’re covering Chapters 1-14, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. The book opens with Phédre and her household happy and content at Montrève. Phédre is faced with the question of returning to the Service of Naamah. The sangoire cloak is the what pushes her decision. Do you agree with her choice? Do you believe that Phédre would have returned to her calling eventually, regardless of the cloak?

I think Phedre would have returned to Naamah’s service eventually. Joscelin is obviously a fun lay, but I don’t think he can provide that spice, that bite, that… ahem… cutting that Phedre deeply desires. He’s physically repelled just by the thought of doing such things. So, yeah, eventually I think Kushiel’s dart would have pricked to constantly for her to ignore.

But the sangoire cloak holds the promise of something more. In chasing after Melisande, Phedre is serving not only Naamah, but also Kushiel (whose providence is justice) and the kingdom. There’s all sorts of ways to justify her decision with Melisande in the picture. And, quite frankly, I think that if Melisand can patiently lay her plans to mastermind a Skaldi invasion, then she may very well still be a threat to Ysandre and her reign.

2. With Phédre returning to the Service of Naamah, Joscelin is also forced to make his choice as well. Who do you think had the harder decision to make and why?

I think it was harder for Joscelin. While Phedre is unlikely to love anyone as she does Joscelin, she will love others. It’s in her nature and is one of her greatest strengths. But for Joscelin, he is a single love for eternity kind of guy. Now, he is essentially being asked to share Phedre with others. Plus he has over a decade of Casseline discipline and thinking telling him that Phedre’s behaviors are sinful, etc. It’s a lot for him to push through.

3. Phédre’s return to court unveils how Queen Ysandre is faring in the absence of her husband Drustan. Politically, should she take a lover while he is away?

That’s a tough question. So far, we don’t know what agreements concerning lovers, if any, Ysandre & Drustan have. I can’t see her taking a lover without having chatted with Drustan first, and vice versa. Plus, Ysandre hasn’t born an heir yet. We already know from Book 1 how important the lineage is for Alba, so I am guessing that Drustan and Ysandre want at least 1 heir (fuck the politics!) before Ysandre takes a lover or three.

4. Favrielle nó Eglantine designs Phédre’s Midwinter costume. How do you feel about the way in which Phédre repays her?

It was pretty abrupt, from Favrielle’s point of view. I am sure it was simmering in the back of Phedre’s head for some time. Favrielle is very talented, if rather a sour puss, but looking into years and years of indentured servitude because of a small scar would make anyone sour, I am sure. The Dowayne had that little remark about how Favrielle wasn’t allowed to bear Eglantine’s marque because she didn’t rightly earn it in the service of Naamah. It seemed a little harsh in the moment, even if it was correct according to guild law.

5. Joscelin is spending quite a bit of time with the Yeshuites. Is it the pain of Phédre returning to Service that prompts this or would the Cassiline’s faith, pushed so far already, have led him there if Joscelin and Phédre were simply looking for the answer to breaking the geas on Hyacinthe?

Very good question! Joscelin makes a telling remark about how the Yeshuites believe any mortal is capable of redemption through the faith, even Joscelin with all his broken Casseline vows. He says the Yeshuites are the first to tell him that. I think this is the one feature of Joscelin I have never really cared for, and yet it reflects a good chunk of humanity. He needs something outside of himself, something greater (or that he perceives as greater) to tell him he is doing the right thing, to serve, to set his moral compass by. He’s trained to serve in this manner and not to take these decisions (of greater right and wrong) upon himself.

So, with Joscelin searching and Phedre and Joscelin already looking at the Yeshuite faith for answers concerning Hyacinthe’s geas, I think it was inevitable that Joscelin would have to face this cross road.

Other Tidbts:

Phedre’s costume of Mara is so elegant, so simple, and yet to engaging that it really is brilliant. Plus her evening with Fortune keeping her safe from herself was a delight to read.

Marmion & Persia! More Sharhizai to confound and distract Phedre!

Last book, we talked a little about Phedre’s conceit that D’Angelines are so beautiful, etc. With Favrielle, I think we really start to see how Phedre reconsiders certain aspects of D’Angeline society.

Phedre’s boys – gambling and dicing and spying! It’s all very exciting for them. Still, I worry.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Kushiel’s Chosen Read Along – The Schedule

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

Tofu kitty with a very good book.

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Chosen is Book 2) is one of my all time favorite series. The red along continues! Book 1 was so much fun and I am ever so glad so many folks wanted to continue with Book 2.

Here is the current schedule:
Week 1: August 2, Chpts. 1-14, hosted by FaeStruck Review
Week 2: August 16, Chpts. 15-26, hosted by Books Without Any Pictures
Week 3: August 23, Chpts. 27-36, hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 4: August 30, Chpts. 37-49, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 5: September 6, Chpts. 50-61, hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 6: September 13, Chpts. 62-72, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 7: September 20, Chpts. 73-END, hosted by Emma Wolf

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

As always, folks are welcome to jump in and join us. You don’t have to be a host or a blogger. You can always choose the easy route and tackle the weekly discussion in the comments of the hosting blog. 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 CHOSEN in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Kushiel’s Dart – Part X

Heldig and a very good book

Heldig and a very good book

Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us. This is the last week, but no worries. We are planning a read along for Book 2. Stay tuned for details. 

This week, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is your host this week. Leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.

Chapters 84-END are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.

1.  Isidore d’Aiglemort comes back into play for the battle against the Skaldi, and Phedre takes a huge risk to turn him from an enemy back into an ally – to a point, at least. And d’Aiglemort’s one demand is to have Waldemar Selig left to himself on the battlefield… What were your thoughts on Terre d’Ange’s unlikely hero, when all the dust settled?

Carey does an excellent job of showing how human the bad guys are and d’Aiglemort is an excellent example. Using the Skaldi to put the realm in his and Melisande’s hands – sure, why not? But let the Skaldi invade willy nilly and take the country for their own? Hell no! I really like that d’Aiglemort reacts very humanely to being betrayed by both Melisande and Selig.

It is very fitting that he died protecting the realm, even if his reasons were somewhat selfish. I am sure his various family members will appreciate his final sacrifice simply because it lessens the chances that they too will suffer being outcast or stripped of lands.

2.  After the war, we get a wedding! Ysandre and Drustan survive to unite their people after all. Did you think they’d both get this far, and do you have any thoughts on how this union (political, romantic, or both) might turn out?

When I first read this book, I was truly worried for Drustan. I thought he might die a hero’s death in the war or that the D’Angelines would finally object to the union for some asinine reason. So I am very glad these two got to unite in marriage.

Since I have read the rest of the trilogy and the 2nd trilogy, I know how this plays out. I will say that some D’Angelines take better to the union and trade, etc. than others.

3.  Melisande is finally discovered, and brought before the Queen to be punished for her treason. Though, of course it’s not as simple as that with her… Were you surprised at all when she escaped? And do you have any ideas about who might have aided her?

When I first read this book, I didn’t know there was a Book 2 out there. So I totally expected Melisande to be executed. Also, I remember putting a lot of thought into who could have aided her while I waited for Book 2 to come in the mail. Several of the Shahrizai clan came with her when she was turned over to the queen, so I suspected that one or more of them pretended to be servants and were responsible for her escape.

4.  Ysandre and Drustan aren’t the only ones to get their happy ending – well, up to a point, anyway. Phedre and Joscelin try on the quiet country life, and it goes well for a while… Once again Phedre is unable to forget, or be forgotten by, Melisande – wherever she is. Do you think Phedre will return to her old life, as we leave her contemplating? If so, is her choice the right one?

There was no doubt in my mind that Phedre would in some way (whether via a straight route or some round about happenstance) return to the life of espionage and political intrigue. After all, there’s all these other books in the series.

And Melisande is not a foe who will quietly go raise grapes and eat dolmas for the rest of her life in Caerdicca Unitas. So, yes, Phedre has to instrumental in bringing her down. Otherwise, she is a constant threat simply because she sees it as a challenge.

Other Tidbits

I have to say Phedre’s night crawl across the Skaldi camp was nerve wracking, even though I have read his book several times. I always get the chills at this part of the book. Then Waldemar catches her and starts skinning her and luckily Joscelin stepped in and provided such a magnificent distraction! Finally, Barquiel riding out in his Khebbel-im-Akkad attire to sweep them up into safety and leave the Skaldi eating dust as they race back into safety! Ah! Magnificent scene after magnificent scene!

When Phedre was being skinned, she has this moment of, dare I say, ecstasy when she feels Kushiel’s presence enfolding her and it felt so good to let it all go. I think this is a good indication that Elua and his companions are real and have pull over their chosen scions.

When Joscelin spotted his brother in the thick of battle and Phedre told him she loves him and if he ever wanted to hear those words again he would go help his brother, I just about melted. She was struggling so much with her feelings for Joscelin and I love how they tumble out and also give Joscelin what he needs to be able to go help his family.

Phedre is now a Peer of the Realm! That means she gets a title, right? And she no longer is required to bow to everyone, right? As an American, I am not sure what that means other than a cozy country house.

 

Participating Bloggers:

Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness