Kushiel's Justice Part V

Chupacabra has spotted something!
Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I am your host. We’re covering Chapters 30-37, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) What did you think about Imriel’s men leaving him behind on the cattle raid?

I think Imriel read the situation correctly. The head of his guard needs a leader he can respect and this was the test to see if Imriel is that man. Imri is probably right in his assessment that if he called his men out on it, he would lose their respect. However, I’m still a bit disappointed that they did so. Like there wasn’t a better way to see if Imriel was worthy? Maybe not.

Still, if I were Imri, I would keep my eye on my men in the next cattle raid or two  and make sure I get out with them instead of playing the rear guard and distraction by accident.

2) Alais has done some harmless flirting in this section. What do you make of her request to postpone the wedding to Talorcan a year? Do you think one year will make a difference to either one of them?

Alais didn’t really get to fully grow up back in in the D’Angeline court. She was ignored by many and being the younger sister, was treated like a kid much of the time. Even Imri, being a good cousin and all, often treated her as a little sister even when she wanted to be seen as a young lady. So, I think postponing the wedding a year would be good for Alais in that she gets to mature a bit more and have a little harmless flirting under her belt. I seriously doubt that Talorcan is a virgin himself.

When I initially read this book, I didn’t think a year would really make that much of a difference for Talorcan and Alais, but then we get to the end of this section and things have changed. So, yeah, a year could shed a very different light on things for the two of them. Alais has more ambition than perhaps even she imagined and we’re not sure yet where that will lead her.

3) In this section, we experienced two Alban holidays – the Day of the Dead and the Day of Misrule. What stood out to you the most? If you could only celebrate one, which would you pick?

Oddly, I find this question a little hard. I’m drawn to both holidays. I like the seriousness of the Day of the Dead. I also thought it was interesting that Imri saw his father, a man who has had a nearly non-existent role in his life. This holiday can be a celebration of dead, but not forgotten, relatives or it can be spent in quiet contemplation.

Meanwhile, the Day of Misrule sounds like a day of total silliness – which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that I’m not always in the mood for a solid day of silliness so I think this day would be harder for me to maintain good cheer throughout. Unless i could get the King of the Day to order me to go read a book in  a cozy nook for a chunk of it. 🙂

4) Throughout this section, there is plenty of talk about denying one’s own nature – Imriel’s talks with Morwen, the chat with the priestess, and even Dorolei and Alais noticing changes in Imriel when his bindings are redone. Getting philosophical, is denying part of your nature good or is it nearly always a bad idea?

There’s exerting self-control, which is a form of denying your nature, and then there’s the extremes to which Imri has had to go to in order to avoid giving Morwen what she says she wants.

So, in general on a day to day basis, I think self-control and a bit of self-denial is a good thing. In certain areas, like the urge to stick your used gum under tables and to commit larceny, self-denial is almost always a good thing. However, we all need those spaces in our life where we can let most of our guards down and not deny who we are and what we want. Unfortunately for Imri, he doesn’t really have that space.

5) Could Imriel have done anything differently to prevent the tragedy of loosing his wife and unborn child? If you were in his shoes, would you have asked for mercy for the Maghuin Donn?

Really, I think Imri and Dorolei did the best with the info they had. If the Maghuin Donn had been more forthcoming about their fears, then maybe something could have been worked out. Still, that would have been difficult (persuading Imriel to father a child with the Maghuin Donn) but we have see odder things happen in this series. So, really the ball was in the Bear Witches’ court.

I don’t know if I would have asked for clemency for the Maghuin Donn so swiftly. Imriel comes out of his injuries, hurt on all levels, and he had the presence of mind to ask for mercy for them the first chance he got. I’m not too sure I could or would have been that swift in the matter. But Imri is right. At this point we can’t assume that an entire people, no matter how small their numbers, knew what Morwen and Berlik had planned.

Other Tidbts:

Morwen’s attempt on Imri in the woods after the cattle raid made me very angry. He clearly said no and she totally ignored that.

I loved Imriel’s internal comments about how the Alban household looked at him as if he would be romancing up every one interested and teaching them all new bedchamber tricks within a fortnight. So, like his Sharhizai cousins of so many summers ago, he behaved himself at all times and gave no one a reason to comment.

I was hoping that Imri would get to become a bee keeper. Alas, it looks like that isn’t to be.

It’s sad that Berlik and Morwen could only see two ways to counteract the foreseen ambition and cruelty of Imriel’s son – balance it with a daughter (and sorceress) or kill the son while he was still in the womb. Like they couldn’t come up with a third option in the roughly 20 years that separated now from the future tragedy of wiping out the Maghuin Donn? I think the Bear Witches have gotten a bit short sighted and stuck in their ways.

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 Justice Part IV

Chupacabra has spotted something!
Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 23-29, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Given the developments since last time, what do you think the Maghuin Donn are after with Imriel?  Could it be related to Dorelei’s and Alais’s dream? Were Imriel and Dorelei right to refuse their blessing?

When I first read this book, I really wasn’t sure. Morwen states plainly that she wants to birth Imriel’s child, but we don’t know why. It could be a play for political recognition and just an all around improvement for the Maghuin Dhon. However, there’s this element of magic and threatening magic at that.

Knowing what I know now, I often wonder how things would have turned out had Imriel and Dorolei accepted the Maghuin Dhon blessing on their wedding day. I honestly don’t know if it would have changed things in the long run.

2) Imriel and Dorelei’s relationship is very honest now.  Do you think their plan is a wise one or not?  What do you think of the Alban custom of limited-term marriage?

I think it is a good, honest go of it. I think that if either had insisted on a life-long promise, it could sour their relationship.

I love the Alban custom of a limited-term marriage. Really, I wish such a thing was widely recognized now in a formal manner. Folks should give it a solid go before making a longer committment, hashing out who washes the dishes and who takes care of the pets and who is willing to deal with car maintenance and grocery shopping.

3) What did you think of the Alban nuptials, with respect to the ones in Terre d’Ange?  Did anything in particular stick out as memorable?

I loved all the toasting to the ladies the night before and how some were a bit ribald and some were poetic and others were just plain awkward. I bet the ladies were having more fun, talking about the naughty things that Phedre knows and what the other ladies have learned over the years through trial and error.

I also liked the more relaxed atmosphere. Some of that was Imriel himself being more relaxed and of course Dorolei is having more fun, being surrounded by her kinsfolk. But I also feel that some it was the lack of pomp and ceremony required by the D’Angeline court.

4) We get to see Hyacinthe again!  What are your thoughts on his plan to not pass on his knowledge?  Do you think Phedre and Joscelin are completely on board with it, and do you think this ‘secret task’ will affect Imriel’s story?

I think it’s a good idea, for now at least. After all, they are hiding the Book of Raziel instead of destroying it. Much damage was done because one entity was bitter and angry.  While Hyacinthe would do a good job picking a successor, shit happens. That person could die or survive horrible events that turn them bitter. Just all sorts of things can happen to a single person. Perhaps there should be a committee? Ha! That would scare the nearby governments.

This is Imriel’s tale. As in Book 1 where Imriel often thought of Phedre and Joscelin while he was in Caerdicca Unitas, he was still without their aid. So they will be off doing their secret task while Imri continues his adventures on Alba and his new marriage.

5) Imriel’s going to start off as a Prince of Alba with a neighborly cattle raid.  What do you think about this tradition?  Is the violence and risk worth the respect and goodwill Imriel will likely get for it?

I’m not into cattle raiding myself, but I see how it proves a certain skill level and gumption factor. There’s the skill of sneaking up on the cattle and whoever guard them, if anyone. The skill of whisking the cattle off (and free ranging cattle are not near as docile as feed lot cattle, so believe me this is tougher than it looks.). My husband and I once went to a nearby area for a hike and this brindle bull was quite keen on protecting his herd. We were not welcome. We had to put tree after tree after tree between him and us so that we could safely reach our truck.

Then there is the fact that speaking to a person in the language they understand makes sense. Imri has learned the local tongue, now he must learn the local customs and employ them with skill.

Other Tidbts:

In the previous book, Imri’s inner monologue made the comment that the courage of women is different than the courage of men. We chatted about that. Well, in this book, Imri makes a similar observation – the strength of women is different from the strength of men. What do you think? Once again, I feel that Imri hasn’t known enough women from warrior cultures to have a very complex view on this matter.

It was great to see Alais having so much fun. She seems to have really come alive in Alba.

Ooo! What do you all think of Berlik and his bit of magic when Imri threatens him to a duel? Do you think those bear paws were real or a glamour?

Imri took his sweet time getting to Mavros’s letter and hence Sidonie’s letter. I think those bindings are really starting to mess with him, and they mess with those closest to him (the ladies and their true dreaming). Elua frowns upon this.

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 Justice Part III

Chupacabra has spotted something!
Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog is our host. We’re covering Chapters 15-22, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) I thought it was curious that Phedre and Joscelin joined the party to Alba – any theories?  Are they about to become involved in something do you think?

I expect they just had ansy feet and wanted a small adventure and walk down memory lane. Plus they are seeing their one and only child off to his new home. He’s essentially gone from his parents house to his wife’s house with a brief stop over at the palace and now this little adventure to Eamonn’s home.

2) I’m pleased and also curious about the mention of Hyacinthe in these chapters. What sort of role do you see him playing in the rest of this story, if any?

Again, I think this is just a walk down memory lane, but in this case for not only Phedre and Joscelin, but also Imriel who met Hyacinthe briefly many years back. His powers are vast, so there’s always a chance he will come in to play, even if it is just sending someone post haste in a boat somewhere.

3) I’m puzzled with Phedre in these chapters and her sort of inner calm.  She seems to take everything in her stride.  Any thoughts on this?

It’s a really reflective time for Phedre. When she first went off to Alba, it was to secure aid against the Skaldi and she won that aid via her bedroom abilities and a touch of well-intentioned manipulation. Things are quite different now on this trip. So I can see why she’s caught up in an inner calm. Adventures aren’t won by freaking out.

4) And we have a name: ‘Morwen’. What does this bring to mind if anything?  Any more thoughts on the stories around the ‘Old Ones’ and the new characters that we have met?

Morwen makes me think of the sorceress in some of the King Arthur tales, but that’s probably just me.

I’m glad that Lady Grainne doesn’t flinch at the Old Ones and actually maintains relationships with them. That’s far better than shunning and fearing them, which seems to be what the rest of the island does.

With that said, the Old Ones do seem a bit high handed, don’t they? They seem to think that seniority (we’re the Land’s First Children and all) gives them the right to dismiss everyone else. There’s pride in your heritage and then there’s being foolhardy about it and the Old Ones are walking the edge.

5) What do you make of Imriel and Dorelei’s relationship and how it’s developing?  Do you see a future for them – one with perhaps a child in it?  And if so, would this change Imriel’s plans about only spending a year in Alba and then returning to Sidonie?

Dorolei is showing the most patience and wisdom in this relationship. I think Imri could make a pretty little life with her if he gave it a chance. If there is a child, I think Imriel would have a hard time not falling in love with it. However, he wouldn’t be the first to go back and forth between Alba and Terre D’Ange (just like the Cruarch does).

6) This curse – what do you make of it?  The protections that are now placed on Imriel – how do you see this affecting his relationship with Dorelei?

Imri feels a bit foolish having his seed used against him in a such a way, but no one warned him either. I guess they will need to start including that in the basic cautions as tourism increases.

“While on the free roads, please refrain from jerking off as your bodily fluids may be used for entrapment magic.”

The protective bindings are keeping Imri from feeling his deep passion for Sidonie which I think is freeing up a corner of his heart for Dorolei. This is an unexpected bonus. He seems happier and so does Dorolei.

7) The Tiberians  and the Maghuin Dhon – we learn a little more about them and their history.  What did you make of it and the Tiberians?

Bear baiting, whether to take out a hazardous bear or for sport, is nasty business. In this story, it definitely was for sport which makes it even nastier.

I tried to find that nebulous story of Romans and a man-bear that I mentioned last week but had no luck. I did find a wikipedia article that told me the name ‘Arthur’ means bear and I thought that was cool.

Anyway, the Tiberians in this story are long dead and we’re not really sure how time has warped the tale, though it does seem to be pretty grim. One ugly deed begets another and generations later people are still paying for it.

8) Finally, the Lady Grainne has given her terms to Lord Ferghus – what do you predict the outcome to be?

Well, Imri and party (except Eamonn and Brigitta) will be moving on. Imri and Dorolei have their own house to go set up and eventually Phedre and Joscelin will go back home to Terre D’Ange. So, while I believe Grainne has good intentions in putting her foot down, she’s also no idiot. Given a little time, Imri will be off her land and out of her hair and then it will be a moot point for her.

Other Tidbts:

Little goat getting in the corn – it would possibly get bloat and possibly die, tho there are several ways to burp a goat.

I’m glad to see Imri taking a Bigger Picture look at things even tho he’s embarrassed by the entrapment. He’s a prince in 2 lands now and can’t be a hot head.

OK. Let me just say that playing with cold, muddy ejaculation can’t be any fun at all. Morwen – you need a new brand of magic dear. And go wash your hands!

It’s great to have Eamonn and even Brigitta back in the story. I’m glad she’s mellowing and I think getting to meet Joscelin and Phedre has helped with that.

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 Justice Part II

Chupacabra has spotted something!
Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Emily at Emma Wolf is your host. We’re covering Chapters 8-14, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) There’s some politics, and Imriel learns a little more about the Ephesian ambassador/Unseen Guildsman Diokles Agallon. Does this shed any light on Melisande’s whereabouts or the Guild? Do you have any new guesses?

When I first read this, I can recall pouring over the maps from this series, trying to figure out were Ephesium is and what political ties Melisande had/has in the area, if any.

As for the Guild, well they are everywhere they can get their hooks in. But I don’t recall if we ever learn where the Guild Leaders reside. I doubt they would all be gathered in one place.

2)  Joscelin tells Imriel to give it a year with Dorelei to see if his feelings for Sidonie (or her’s for him) fade. What do you think of this advice? Do you have any thoughts on Imriel’s wedding?

I think it’s really good advice. Imriel has had some decent experience in romantic relationships at this point but I am not sure how mush Sidonie has had – perhaps just Imri and Amarante. Plus this is the first time Imri has truly thought himself in love. So, yeah, give it a year and see if the feelings are lasting.

Plus there’s the whole political ramifications and possible assassination attempts to deal with.

I’m glad to see that Dorolei was eager for her wedding night and that she wasn’t entirely ignorant nor fearful. Imri…  ah, well, it is a hard position for him but I had hoped he would find some joy in the evening. Perhaps he will be able to do so easier once they go to Alba.

3) We learn a bit more about Alban law and culture. What do you think of the law that imposes more harsher sentences on the wealthy/ruling class? What is more dangerous: armies or books? What do you think about the Maghuin Dhonn?

So often, we have seen in the real world how the rich often get off with easier sentencing for the same crime. So, based on that (having the means to bribe judges or law personnel, etc.), I’m OK with Alban law imposing harsher sentences on the ruling class. Now with that said, we haven’t see too much of any country’s law in action in this series (Melisande got a room to herself in Book 1 the night of her sentencing, and perhaps a few other examples, but not many). Still, I like the idea even tho we haven’t see egregious and widespread abuse of the justice system by the rich and ruling.

Books are more dangerous because they can incite both the powerful and poor to take harsh action. But they can also spread reason, logic, and understanding (through tasty recipes, languages, and diplomatic agreements).

We haven’t met any Maghuin Dhonn yet so everything is hearsay. In a way, they sound a little like the lost Jewish tribe, self-imposing a punishment for a long past bad deed.

4) Dorelei lays some truths on Imriel. How do you like her now? What do you make of the dream she had of Imriel?

Well, Dorolei isn’t stupid. It’s good to know that Imri married a woman who won’t turn a blind eye to the truth, isn’t easily jealous, and wants simple truth between the two of them.

When I first read this book, I didn’t know what her dream foretold. I thought, hey! there’s snow in this dream and it snows in Alba, so obviously there comes a time when Imri will need to use his sword some winter and he will be upset about it.

Other Tidbts:

I’m very glad Imri and Sidonie got that one full night together.

It’s lovely that Imri isn’t jealous of Amarante’s relationship with Sidonie, and yes, I agree with Amarante. Everyone need someone they can trust to hold their secrets.

Mavros is wiser than his demeanor and years indicate – he was right to hall Imri off for that Showing.

I’m not sure I agree with the Bard about foregoing the written word because without books a ruler must be wise unto themselves and books would just make them lazy. I think the bulk of illiterate history is against her in this – plenty of rulers (bother literate and illiterate) have been bad rulers, but I bet statistically the one who have access to written documents did better overall.

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 Justice Part I

Chupacabra has spotted something!
Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I am your host. We’re covering Chapters 1-7, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Imriel wraps up some left over business – meeting with Bernadette de Trevalion. What do you think of the way Imriel handled the meeting? Will the peace hold?

I liked that Imriel went alone instead of taking either Phedre or Joscelin. It showed that he was doing this on his own and not willing to lean on his ties through either parent. This truly was a beef between him and Bernadette. It was great that he showed sympathy for Bernadette’s pain (her dead brother Baudoin, etc.) but that he also made it clear that he wasn’t willing to die for it either. I think because of the way Imriel set the boundaries, the peace will hold. Bertran’s apology and his comment about how certain things were made clear to him, followed by the de Trevalion’s leaving the city for the rest of the season, show that Bernadette is finally willing to let things lie.

2) Imriel first hears of the Bear People or Bear Witches from Alise and later a little more from the Alban honor guards who attend the Bard, and still a bit more from Phedre. Simply a spooky story or more to it? Does the tale remind you of any myth or legend?

I think we’ve learned by now that if Carey lays down cookie crumbs of a spooky story or myth a couple of times by more than one person, then we shall see a greater manifestation of that story. Still, there’s all sorts of spooky here.

The bits we’ve learned so far stir something foggy in my brain – a tale of Roman soldiers capturing a bear for their sport of bear baiting – building a pit of sorts and betting on bear of humans armed with various weapons. If I recall any of this correctly, I think the bear wins the initial event, even killing some of the spectators, gets loose, only to be hunted down and killed later, upon which the dead bear transforms into a druid. Ring any bells with folks? It’s rather foggy for me.

3) Mavros accompanies Imriel on their visit to Bryony House, where Imriel wins them tokens for the Longest Night. What did you think of how Imriel won the bet? Mavros shares a bit of wisdom later, pointing out that Imriel isn’t really enjoying sampling all the Night Court Houses before his wedding and that it is somewhat of an injustice to Naamah. Do you think Mavros is right?

Imriel really is a glutton for punishment. So, on one hand he’s like beating his head against the wall. He made this active choice to not enjoy the experience and he could have refused the lady at the beginning. On the other hand, he didn’t know quite what he was in for when he walked into Bryony House and was swept up quickly in the events. He chose to beat the bet by going to a dark place, and I think even he didn’t expect it would take that to exert his will over when to orgasm.

I definitely think Mavros is right. Imriel has gone beyond exploring his own sexual fears at this point and is punishing himself and abusing the gifts that Naamah brings to the table.

4) In this section, Imriel visits Kushiel’s Temple and then later Naamah’s Temple, wishing to atone in both for various slights and actions. Which would you find more cathartic? Do you think Imriel has a deeper understanding of himself, and perhaps Phedre, now?

I like that Imriel doesn’t rely solely on the temples for  atonement. As we saw last book, he is quite willing to do what he thinks needs to be done to atone for a wrong, like deeding a property over to Maslin or visiting Gilot’s beloved Anna in person. And still the need goes deeper and some things can never be made right or whole again in this world.

Quite frankly, I have found in my life that a physical release is more cathartic than a bit of sunshine and reflection (tho those things help too). I’m more likely to put my back into to some hard labor, earning blisters or bruises, etc. to atone. Also, with physical punishment, others can see it and know you have born a cost, and the healing process reminds you daily that you erred. If something was eating me up inside like with Imriel, I would chose Kushiel’s temple.

5) Finally, we have the Longest Night. What stood out the most for you? If you could join Imriel’s little group, what philosopher would you choose to dress as?

So much going on at this party! First, tho it was brief, it appears that at least one person took note of Imriel’s medallion. So the Unseen Guild is not quite so unseen as they would like. Then Imri and Sidonie still have some heat between them. Then I liked that Barquiel nearly got a rise out of Imri by commenting on his hair. Ha!

If I had the chance to go as part of Imri’s retinue, I would choose to dress as Hypatia. Of course, I would have to dig through some histories to figure out how an Alexandrian woman in the late 4th century dressed. She studied astronomy as well as philosophy, so maybe planets would adorn my dress.

Other Tidbts:

I really feel for Alise being so often ignored by nearly everyone. It’s good of Imri and even Mavros to give her a bit of attention here and there. Still, it must be hard to know that you don’t really fit in at home and yet you have this arranged marriage on the neighboring island where you don’t know if you will fit in any better.

I’m glad Imri finally read his mother’s letters. It’s one less thing he will be curious over and now he can take the time to contemplate whether or not she truly meant the things she wrote.

I loved that Imri spent his last Longest Night in the City of Elua doing three things – the Queen’s Court, then the Night Court, and finally, seeing Joscelin in Elua’s Temple for the vigil.

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 Justice Read Along – The Schedule

Chupacabra has spotted something!
Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Below is a schedule.

Here is the current schedule:

Week 1: Chpts. 1-7, Mar 20 – Hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 2: Chpts. 8-14, Mar 27 – Hosted by Emma Wolf
Week 3: Chpts. 15-22, Apr 3 – Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Chpts. 23-29, Apr 10 – Hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 5: Chpts. 30-37, Apr 17 – Hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 6: Chpts. 38-46, Apr 24 – Hosted by Emma Wolf
Week 7: Chpts. 47-56, May 1 – Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 8: Chpts. 57-65, May 8 – Hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 9: Chpts. 66-END, May 15 – Hosted by Dab of Darkness

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

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

Kushiel's Scion Part VIII

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. This post wraps up the book and we’ll be continuing on with Book 2, Kushiel’s Justice, starting March 20th.

This week, Emily at Emma Wolf is your host. We’re covering the Chapters 61-END, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Canis—did anyone come close to guessing his true identity or allegiance (to the extent to which we know of it)?

The first time I read this, I only had the tiniest inkling that Melisande might have sent Canis right before Canis revealed it. I remembering thinking that Phedre might have sent Canis too, and that Canis (like so many others that have come to know and love Phedre) would gladly give up his life saving her adopted son. But we already know so much of Phedre’s life before Imriel, that such a plot twist would have felt unnatural I think.

2) There are lots of returns and leave takings in this portion. What do you think? Does anything stand out or strike you?

I think the leave taking between Imriel and Claudia was interesting. There was no anger, but Imriel still feels she was holding back info, or at least her best guesses, as she has done before. Yet one more reason to not join the Unseen Guild – they can’t give Imriel a straight answer so why would he ever feel that they are a team of sorts, having each other’s backs, etc. Loyalty means a lot to Imriel.

Imriel could have had Gilot’s painting and monies delivered to Anna and Belinda, but he went himself and I admire him for that. It was probably one of the hardest things he has ever done.

Part of me wanted Imri to go off adventuring with Eamonn, but I know he is tired of adventuring for the moment. Plus, being Melisande’s son and cousin to the Queen might inflame matters in Skaldia.

3) Lots of upcoming weddings (Lucius and Helena, Imriel and Dorelei, Alais and Talorcan) and the (potential) reunion of Brigitta and Eamonn. Any thoughts on these?

You know, I can’t recall what I thought about all these upcoming weddings the first time I read the series. I  do really like Imri’s simple counsel to Lucius about loving the child, no matter who fathered it (if Helena is pregnant at this time). After all, it’s not Helena’s fault that she was abducted and raped by that ass.

I know Imri truly worries about his ability to be a good husband and a kind lover (all the time) to Dorolei but I don’t see him wondering what she likes in bed, etc. He’s spending all this time agonizing over his own abilities, etc. without considering others. This becomes an interesting point in Book 2.

Eamonn and Brigitta –  they’re both warriors. I don’t think I ever worried about them.

4) How has Imriel changed and grown through the book?

Well, he’s definitely more settled in his own skin. He’s gained some wisdom and finesse in courting the ladies. I’m glad he shared that night and a sweet kiss with Lucius as it gives him a bright, happy memory to pit against the darkness of Darsanga. He’s learned to trust himself and his instincts and to reconsider his first impulses in most matters.

Other Tidbts:

I’m glad Imri’s horse, the Bastard, survived the siege.

I agree that Anna probably wouldn’t want Gilot’s sword. And it’s interesting that he played the match maker, perhaps, in asking the guard that escorted him home to check in on Anna.

That was an interesting stay at the Lady of Marsilikos’s! But I think Imri needed the healing sex offered him by a near stranger that understood such things.

The homecoming was sweet! I so want Phedre and Joscelin to adopt me!

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 VII

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 your host. We’re covering the Chapters 53-60, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) We begin this section with a slightly happier topic, Eamonn and Brigitta’s wedding.  Do you think this was a good idea, for Eamonn and Brigitta as well as for the people of Lucca?  Assuming they both survive, how do you think it will go for them when they break the news to their families?

I think the wedding was a good idea all around. It will be a warm happy memory in the midst of stress and sadness for all those who survive. I think Eamonn’s folk will be fine with it, them being a nation of independent thinkers by and large. Brigitta’s folks will probably have some grumblings over it but with her married and potentially pregnant, it will be harder for them to ignore the greater world and Brigitta’s wishes.

2)  Firestorm! Do you think this action was worth the sacrifices?  In the words of Deccus Fulvius, do you think it is worth destroying something to save it?

It was the only way for the town to survive it. The mercenary army is most likely paid in spoils, gained by sacking the city. So while they might not outright slaughter everyone if the gates were opened, there would be looting and rape (perhaps not of the noble ladies, but commoners would have to deal with it). If the town was full of small minded people and corrupt politicians, I would think differently. But in this case, we have good people that are forced to make hard choices.

3) The d’Angeline delegation makes a deal for Imriel’s friends.  Do you agree with the characters’ decisions on who would go and who would stay?

I think it was a relief to Imriel to have Claudia and her husband gone. That constant temptation was a distraction and as he spent more time with Deccus, his guilt increased.

I think Brigitta would have preferred to stay, and being a bow hunter and not a woman to flinch from tough work, she would have been worth the food rations. However, she’s going to have an angry brother hunting her down soon. Plus she might be concerned about a pregnancy by now since she and Eamonn have been bumping uglies for a few weeks at this point.

4) Do you think that Gallus Tadius knew that his plan to funnel the water to the underworld would require him to also depart?  Was that an act of self-sacrifice, or was it unintentional?

I think Gallus knew, that it was unavoidable, and that was why he was pushing himself (and Lucius) so hard to drill the men, move people and stores to high  ground, and get the ladies and kids ready to fight dirty. In part, I think it was repentance and then also self-sacrifice. Imriel’s hearing the bronze-iness of Kushiel and later the brone feather touch of his wing on his thoughts, well, Kushiel was there meting out compassionate, yet stern, punishment. Gallus had avoided it for too long and this was how he paid back family and city for his asshole-ness of the past.

5) Any new thoughts on Canis?  Do you think he was involved in informing the d’Angeline delegation, and do you think he’s a part of (or in opposition to) the Unseen Guild?

The enigmatic Canis. I’m pretty sure I recall the answer to this riddle his presence presents. He must be some actor to have kept his disguise as a deaf mute for so long. Imriel almost spoiled that! I thought he was getting better at this cloak and dagger stuff, or at least more cautious. Perhaps he was overly fatigued…..

Other Tidbts:

Would you give up a body part if it meant you could leave a besieged city?

What do you think of Eamonn’s observation concerning the Skaldi, Albans, and Eirans all being barbarians that have seen what they could be in places like Caerdicca Unitas and Terre D’Ange? I get his point about the Master of the Straights keeping the Albans and Eirans in the dark for so long, but I bet they will catch up quickly.

I loved that Imriel ‘tricked’ Gallus into giving Lucius’s body a full night’s sleep. Then later how he briefly go through to Lucius who authorized the swap and got 3 people out of Lucca.  I think Gallus saw through both and allowed them both. He could have welched on his bet of sleep easy enough. He could have rescinded the order to do the swap.

Who wants to continue the Read Along with Book 2 of Imriel’s saga, Kushiel’s Justice?

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 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).