Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.5

Welcome to week five of our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series.  Kushiel’s Avatar is the third in the series and I am loving it so far.  All free to join in, if you’ve already read this then please join in with the comments.  The full schedule is here and this week I’m hosting.  Before moving on: a word of warning – there will be spoilers lurking below.

So, moving swiftly on:

Chapters 50-61

1. There was so much action this week, let’s just take a minute to discuss that – particularly Phedre’s plan for escape.  I realise this isn’t particularly a question but I just found these chapters so edge of the seat that I think we need to take a moment to discuss them and gather all our thoughts.  What stood out for you?  What surprised you?

These chapters were totally crazy – I was so scared that something was going to go wrong with the whole plan!  It was so gripping though – I literally couldn’t put the book down at this point but just felt like I had to read on.  I was surprised that Phedre was the sacrifice.  I’d had it in my mind that Imriel would be the chosen one and that’s why he was being kept innocent but in actual fact it was a love sacrifice that was required.  I didn’t see that coming.  Those scenes – actually starting from when Phedre and Imriel, with a little help, broke out into the garden – were tense, I was convinced that somebody was going to find them out but that was also a turning point for Phedre and a point when others started to finally look at her in a different light and maybe start to believe that she could make a difference.  Then the scene with the hairpin – I didn’t know if Phedre could do it.  I certainly don’t think I would have shed any tears and yet I like that about her.

2. We’ve already had a debate on Imriel’s abduction and who was responsible and why.  What are your thoughts now on the Gods and their motivations?

I always thought that Imriel’s abduction was too many coincidences rolled up into one to be a random act and in that respect was correct.  But I hadn’t realised that really the Gods had chosen Imriel – not as a punishment but more as the only incentive that would have spurred Phedre into action and actually, ultimately, to prevent a far worse evil occurring.  I think what Phedre, Imriel and Joscelin all went through was terrible but without them it would have been far worse.

3. How do you feel about Imriel and also who do you think is trying to assassinate him?  Also, his reaction to his own family history – do you think that Melisande would ever have stood a chance to bend him to her will or not?

I’m not sure how I feel about Imriel just yet.  In one respect he’s been through a helluva lot and managed to hold it together somehow.  I can’t blame him for wanting to cling to Phedre and Joscelin – it seems he’s not safe anywhere else!  I don’t like his whole spitting thing in fact I find it a bit repulsive but again I’m thinking he’s been through such a lot already – and in fact I think that now it’s clear who he is he will go through so much more.  I’m not sure if Melisande could have bent him to her will – being brought up as he has been he doesn’t really have any closeness to her does he? But then again we’re only seeing him now after all his tribulations which he blames Melisande for.  It will be interesting to see if she can turn him around.

4. Phedre and Joscelin – they’ve been through a lot and ultimately it’s taken a toll.  Do you think this is something that they can get past particularly now that Joscelin has been injured – how do you think he will cope with that?

I feel so bad for Joscelin with his injuries and the way it’s affecting him.  I think it will take some time for him to come round to be honest and if he doesn’t recover it’s going to have a massive impact on his whole being as he lives to serve and protect.  I hope they can both pull through – I think they can but they’ll clearly need time.

5. It looks like Phedre’s cause to help Hyacinthe will be restored.  It looks, at least, like she will have unexpected help along the way. What are your predictions in that respect.  

Well, I like to think that Phedre and Joscelin can succeed.  I think that Kaneka joining them will also be really intriguing and I look forward to learning more about her.  She certainly doesn’t mess about.  I loved the way she just jumped into the water to rescue Imriel – such a startling thing to do and not something I saw coming at all.

The other participants:

  1. Susan at Dab of Darkness
  2. Allie at Tethyan Books
  3. Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
  4. Me at Lynn’s Book Blog
  5. Emily at Emma Wolf

7 Responses to “Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.5”

  1. Sharry

    Another series I meant to get started on. Man, there are just too many things I want to read! This one sounds interesting, especially since last week’s tough traveling topic revealed that one of the characters in the series is some sort of awesome military strategist woman…

    • @lynnsbooks

      Melisande – she’s a very devious and clever antagonist. Quite an excellent baddie! There are quite a few books in this series and I probably would never have gone down this track without the readalong to be honest. It just allows you to spread the books out and for them not to take over.
      Lynn 😀

  2. tethyanbooks

    For Joscelin, I agree it must be so hard for him to cope with, as it affects the core of how he thinks of himself. However, I was thinking this is something he would have to face eventually, anyway, because even if he was perfectly healthy his body would eventually betray him with age. It’s really hard that he has to deal with it now, in this way, but I think he’ll heal. He may never be quite the same as before, but I think he will still be a force to be reckoned with.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think he’ll definitely be a force to be reckoned with for a while longer – I hope so anyway! To be honest that’s one of the things that shocked me a little with this book – the jump forward in time. It still surprises me a little now – although you can’t blame Carey for giving Phedre and Joscelin a little time to enjoy themselves and chill out.
      Lynn 😀

  3. emmawolf

    I love Kaneka and am glad we get to spend a little more time with her. I love how protective she is over Imriel.

    I love the garden/turning point scene. Good observation.

  4. nrlymrtl

    I think the Mahrkagir totally meant for Imriel to be his ultimate sacrifice – a beautiful boy child, perhaps much as he once was, that he could love in a way and then sacrifice, maybe as a way to sacrifice his own youth and innocence. But then he met Phedre and things changed. Much for the greater good, it turns out.

    Yeah, I don’t like Imriel spitting at Phedre either… but he is just a kid and he’s been through a lot and it’s a lot for him to try to compass. He doesn’t have all the knowledge that Phedre and Joscelin do about his parentage and the Skaldi war and such. So, i can forgive him a bit of spitting for now.

    Kaneka is awesome! I really do love that Carey always seems to have a good gender balance in her characters. We lost some fine female characters in the big break out from Darsanga scenes (like Drusilla the healer) but we still have Kaneka to help guide our heroes.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Plus – he didn’t really love Imriel did he? So not sure that would have worked as a sacrifice.
      The Darsanga fight was so awesome and so sad all rolled into one. Everytime somebody fell in action I was like ‘nnoooooo!’
      Lynn 😀

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