Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.5

Today is week No.5 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Chosen.  This week our host is the lovely Susan over at Dab of Darkness.  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) 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 was really fascinated at this aspect of the book – in fact I could have happily had a little bit more of that side of the story.  It was definitely creepy when Phedre actually saw it.

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?

I think that Phedre can be judgemental at times, but, that being said I suppose we all have preconceived notions when it comes to pirates.  As it happens I was just as surprised as Phedre.  I thought they treated her, on the whole, very reasonably.  They cared for her wounds, gave her clothes and food.  I thought Kazan was a bit crafty the way he maneouvered Phedre but, again, at least he gave it a semblance of giving her a choice – which after all was better than the treatment she received at the hands of the Skaldi.

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?

I never saw that double cross coming at all so I was just as surprised as Phedre.  It would be easy to think harshly of Kazan under the circumstances but actually I think he made the trade in all fairness, I don’t believe he had any idea that Phedre would be under threat and it stands to reason that he would want his crew back safely.  He has no reason to put Phedre’s safe well being above that of his crew really and, only having half the story he had no reason to suspect anything of the sort anyway.

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?

I don’t think there was another choice really.  I could be just incredibly short sighted but I don’t see how else the situation could have been resolved.  Well I suppose they could have stayed their course and Kazan would have died but that seems a bit of a sorry way to treat somebody who has actually just saved your life and made a mad dash to escape with you whilst losing a good deal of men and ships along the way.

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?

Well, they did offer to fix the ship up which is no small thing really.  I don’t really know what to make of this situation at the moment.  I think I need to read a little further.  I guess my first impression of the place is calmness and tranquility, it feels almost meditative.  I don’t know why I had that impression – like I say, I need to read on!

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?

I feel sorry for her to be honest – she’s gone through a lot – but, more to the point a lot of people have been lost along the way.  Do I blame Phedre for those deaths – no, not at all.  You can’t use inaction as a defense really.  If Phedre had stayed holed up in her cosy mansion with Josceline – well, bad things would still have eventually reached her neck of the woods wouldn’t they?  Melisande has her plans after all and they will have far reaching effects.

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


8 Responses to “Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.5”

  1. nrlymrtl

    True. The first time I read this, I was worried Phedre would be treated by the pirates as harshly as she had been by the Skaldi, if not worse.

    Initially, Kazan has no reason to put Phedre’s wishes or well being above those of his crew and little Dobrek family. But then after the little failed ransom idiocy where Kazan had a hand in that fiasco, he risks it all trying to get Phedre to safety. Oh! I do wish he had told her of the blockade and such when Nikanor returned and Phedre could have been all clever and figured something out.

    Very good point about how inaction would still lead to death and sadness. I know I would choose to do something even if it meant losing things along the way.

    • lynnsbooks

      Considering she was taken by pirates her treatment did seem fair really – well, as fair as you can call it when somebody takes you for ransom. But, yeah, I thought pirates = all sorts of bad behaviour!
      I was glad that Kazan rescued Phedre (not least because that would rather have been the end of the story!) but he did double cross her a little there, I could understand him putting his crew first, and also Phedre hadn’t given him the full picture – but at least he rescue her. Both of them wanted shaking really.
      Lynn 😀

      • emmawolf

        “But, yeah, I thought pirates = all sorts of bad behaviour!”

        No no no! Here, let the Muppets tell you:

      • lynnsbooks

        Haha, very good, thanks – and Tim Curry as well!
        Lynn 😀

  2. emmawolf

    “that being said I suppose we all have preconceived notions when it comes to pirates”

    It’s true. I grew up playing the Monkey Island computer games (about a boy who wants to be a pirate and the hijinks he gets into…it was actually kind of based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so the movies are actually kind of similar to the games. Ghost pirates, kidnapped love, becoming a pirate, mystical voodoo lady.), so I am pro-pirate. And I guess it colored how I saw Kazan originally.

    “It would be easy to think harshly of Kazan under the circumstances but actually I think he made the trade in all fairness, I don’t believe he had any idea that Phedre would be under threat and it stands to reason that he would want his crew back safely.”

    I think so too. He didn’t know that Phedre’s life was in danger from La Serenissimans because she never told him.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, they were both a bit careful with the truth really – just shows that sometimes honesty is for the best.
      Lynn 😀

  3. tethyanbooks

    I still think that if he really believed Phedre wouldn’t mind being ransomed to Serenissima, he would have told her about it. He must have suspected something, or he wouldn’t have been so secretive about it. I still don’t blame him though, he had to rescue his men, and he had no way of knowing they were actually going to kill her.

    Also, that’s a good point about Phedre’s involvement, and I think she was coming to that conclusion too. A lot of people died because of her, but there is no count of all of the people who *didn’t* die because of what she did (who would have otherwise died). I don’t know if anyone would have found Melisade if not for Phedre, so Ysandre might not have had a chance at all if she’d stayed at Montreve.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, yeah, I mean, he was double crossing her really without a doubt – I don’t think he thought she would be harmed though, like you said.
      I was thinking of LotR and that moment where Sam and Frodo realise there’s no point in going back to the Shire and hiding from what’s happening because eventually the darkness would spread there too.
      Lynn 😀

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