Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.4

Today is week No.4 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Chosen.  This week our host is the lovely Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.  As you would expect – spoilers lurk below – so beware.  All welcome, if you want to join the readalong or jump in with comments then please do so (here is the SCHEDULE).  This week’s questions and answers 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?

He’s a wily old bugger isn’t he!  I actually didn’t see that coming at all.  I actually liked his straight talking and appreciated it that somebody, in this highly political and backstabbing situation, could for once call a spade a spade.  But then I felt annoyed with him at the end with his patron’s gift because it made Phedre feel uncomfortable and given how canny he is I think he should have been aware of that – in fact he probably was aware of it which makes me even more annoyed with him because he was using Phedre, so for all his straight talk he’s just as manipulative as the rest.

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?

To be honest I was totally gobsmacked!  She really is the archetypal evil baddie.  I was flummoxed.  How on earth does she manage to wrangle herself into these positions where she can manipulate everyone.  Excuse me as well – but was there mention of a baby amongst that first scene??  Didn’t see that coming.  You have to hand it to Carey – Melisande is a great character.  I still don’t totally understand Phedre’s strange intoxication with her mind you – in fact the way her knees turn wobbly and she gets the butterflies, pulse racing, etc, well, what occurred to me when reading the last visit, was that Phedre doesn’t have those love sick feelings about anybody else except Melisande – and they really do read like love sick feelings don’t they?  Or is that just me??

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?

Well, I kind of hope he’ll go to Ysandre – not because I want him to abandon Phedre but just because I don’t see how he could possible trail her given her eventual escape!  Plus, he has to kind of assume that Phedre will do all in her power to return to Ysandre in which case if he does the same then they’re bound to meet.  Assuming of course that he doesn’t believe her to be dead and go off in a massive depression!!  I’m guessing that he’s already totally berating himself for her capture anyway – not to mention the deaths of Remy and Fortun – that was so sad, I can’t believe it even now.

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

I like this new element.  It’s going to be very interesting.  Pirates.  It was interesting the way the men on board were superstitious about Phedre – there always seems to be strange superstitions about women on board ships – sailors never seem to like it do they.  I suppose picking a beautiful woman out of the ocean must be a little unnerving though.  There certainly doesn’t seem to be any love lost between the Illyrians and Terre d’Ange – hardly surprising given that the Illyrians sought help and didn’t receive any in their hour of need.  I guess you would feel bitter – and it does make you wonder.  We’ve all noted that Phedre can be a little conceited sometimes haven’t we?  Kazan’s comments when Phedre asked if he could speak Caerdicci were quite telling.

Part of me wonders if, now she’s out at sea, she might be able to manipulate a situation that takes her to Hyacinthe?  I hope so.  Even though she hasn’t really made any progress on coming up with a solution to free him yet I would like to see him being brought back into the story.

This week’s reading was very tense – I couldn’t help wondering about what Phedre thought of her captivity and whether she regretted putting herself back into the middle of the intrigue.  She probably didn’t though – she seems to thrive in these situations.

The other participants are below – check out their answers too:

Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan at Dab of Darkness


6 Responses to “Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.4”

  1. tethyanbooks

    No, I pick up on her lovesickness, too, and I don’t really get it. Maybe it’s because she enjoys pain, and Melisande has almost never caused her anything but immense pain (physical, emotional, and psychological)? She says she feels like Melisande understands her inner self, so maybe that’s what she is referring to.

    I hadn’t considered that they could go to Hyacinthe! I guess they’re pretty far away right now, somewhere near Venice. I would like to see Hyacinthe drawn back into the story again, though :).

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah – they’d have a long journey – but you never know – anything’s possible now that’s Phedre’s with a bunch of pirates!

  2. nrlymrtl

    Giving Phedre the pearls made many assume that she had done Naamah’s service for Cesare, which is the perfect cover. Now no one will suspect that they actually had a meaningful conversation about politics. Too bad all the stares and whispers made her feel uncomfortable. Prudish louts.

    Phedre is definitely deeply attracted to Melisande. If she wasn’t such an evil baddie, things would probably have gone very differently between them and I think Phedre sees that. There would be camaraderie, mutual respect, flechettes, bindings, and cuddling. Alas, the only way to have those things now is to turn a bit evil herself and subjugate herself to Melisande. Forbidden fruit. I think that is partly why Melisande still turns her head.

    I think Phedre regrets parts of it – like the death of Fortun and Remy and perhaps Ti-Philippe. In Book 1, Delaunay was playing the intrigue game on his own and he may very well have died from it, so Phedre can’t fully blame herself for that one. But in this tale… well, if she had not been hunting so hard, her chevaliers may have lived out a rather quiet life in Terre D’Ange. sniffle

    • lynnsbooks

      That’s a really good point about Cesare and I hadn’t thought about it at all – thanks for that, it’s kind of made me feel a bit better about him – I wasn’t sure if he was trying to humiliate or degrade Phedre in some way but your explanation is good.
      Yep – forbidden fruit. I have to say that it was me I would not feel the say – I think I would hold a grudge.
      So sad about Fortun and Remy and I had got kind of complacent into thinking nobody would died – I think the fact that there’s no war going on had lulled me into a false sense of security.
      Lynn 😀

      • nrlymrtl

        Carey does a great job of sneaking up with those deaths, and they seem so logical in hindsight. I was a little crushed the first time I read this section – but couldn’t put the book down. Have to find out what happened to Ti-Phillippe!

      • lynnsbooks

        I know – has he poisoned by the water!!!
        Lynn 😀

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