Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.6

kushiels-mercyToday is week 6 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey.  This week  Tethyan Books is hosting.  Anyway, here’s the Goodreads link and also the schedule is below in case you want to join in.  Beware of spoilers because they’ll be lurking.  Now, over to the Q&A.

1.  The Euskerri paid a brutal price for their sovereignty.  What do you think about how this played out?  Did anything stick out in your mind?
It was a horrible battle wasn’t it and the Euskerri paid such a high price.  I think the thing that stuck out most for me was that Sidonie has such a head for strategy – good on you Sidonie!
2. How do you feel about the way things ended for Astegal?  Was it just?  If not, what would you have preferred to see happen?
Well, to be honest I sort of expected that ending for him.  Well, not exactly, I didn’t see him having a fight with Imriel but I did think he would lose the battle and either die during the battle or be captured and executed.  I can’t say I felt any sorrow for him at all, sorry if that seems a bit harsh but I just can’t find it in myself to feel any pity on this occasion.
3. Do you have any theories on why Imriel’s charm is able to protect Sidonie?
Well, at first I was thinking it was maybe just down to the fact that it’s a talisman that protects against magic?  I suppose there’s also the fact that both Sidonie and Imriel believe in it and I wonder if that gives it some power, plus calling on their own Gods?.  And then there’s Sidonie’s heritage and the fact that she maybe has a trace of magic in her blood.  At the end of the day I’m not really sure – I am glad it worked though (at least so far!)
4. What do you think about Alais’s change of heart regarding political power and her new plans for her future?
Well, I don’t entirely know what Alais’s new plans entail for her or what it would mean for her going forward but I think it’s good that she has reached some decisions about her own future – I kind of hope that they’re not the sort of decisions that she can never walk away from or change though because she is only young – and I’m not patronising her, just thinking that you change your mind a lot over the course of your young years (and I’m speaking from experience in that respect).  I guess if you look at her past there has been quite a lot of violence involved in one way and another and so perhaps she’s tired of the depths that people will sink to in order to acquire power.
5.  The spell twists the personalities of people we knew, sometimes in disturbing ways.  Do you see the seeds of who they are now in their true selves?  Given their currently twisted view of reality, do you think anyone is acting against their own principles?
It’s like something out of Stepford isn’t it! It’s so weird – even the way Phedre and Joscelin are behaving – they’re like automatons with no real soul left  – or maybe it’s that the soul has been trapped.  I don’t know but it is spooky as anything.  As to whether they’re acting against their own principles – I’m not sure if they are or not, it’s a tricky question.  For example, Phedre and Joscelin seem to think they’re protecting the City and defending what they’s fought for in the past – but, I think rather than say they’re acting against their own principles I’d probably rather say they’re acting against their own principles so much as acting out of character.  The way that they’re all behaving with their own children for example, really cold and indifferent.  That is what really strikes me.  Plus, it strikes me if so many people were telling them a different story they would take steps to try and either prove or disprove it once and for all – rather than sitting behind walls threatening battles.  I guess, to me, they’re acting on their principles, but they’re delusional and irrational.
The Schedule:
Oct.  9th Week 1: Chpts. 1-10 (Hosted by Dab of Darkness)
Oct. 16th Week 2: Chpts. 11-22 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Oct. 23rd Week 3: Chpts. 23-35 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Oct. 30th Week 4: Chpts. 36-49 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Nov. 6th Week 5: Chpts. 50-62 (Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog)
Nov. 13th Week 6: Chpts. 63-75 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Nov. 20th Week 7: Chpts. 76-END (Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow)
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Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.5

kushiels-mercyToday is week 5 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey.  This week  I’m hosting.  Anyway, here’s the Goodreads link and also the schedule is below in case you want to join in.  Beware of spoilers because they’ll be lurking.  Now, over to the Q&A.

We had a number of dramatic chases and escapes this week – what really stood out most for you.

The scene on board the ship!  I was so confident that they’d made their escape. I know, on reflection, that I was being incredibly naive to think they’d made their escape but I really had relaxed into that frame of mind and then boom, they were being chased with a dramatic entrance into the port aboard a flaming ship.  I just didn’t see it coming even though, now I think about it, if they had gotten away it would have been all over and done with much quicker!

Imriel and Sidonie meet with Nicola L’Envers y Aragon who turns into an ally for the two of them arranging for them to gain audience and we once again see Sidonie’s diplomacy skills – how do you think she would compare to Ysandre as a ruler?

I loved that Imriel once again gets to meet Nicola and that he actually has the good grace to apologise to her.  It’s not a big issue in terms of the overall story but I liked it and felt it showed a certain maturity in Imriel that he recognised the way he had previously behaved towards her.  In terms of Sidonie, I’m always very impressed with her cool and calm demeanour.  I liked her reaction to Imriel when he spoke to her about what sort of a ruler she would make – she didn’t seem over anxious to take on the role and I can’t say I blame her.  In terms of how she would compare to Ysandre.  Well, I like to think that she would do things differently but deep down I’m not sure she would – being a ruler is much more than thinking about your own feelings and I think that Sidonie realises this herself.  I’ve not always enjoyed Ysandre’s reactions to things but I think she has a difficult role.

Imriel made a statement this week about once wanting to be a hero but now having changed his mind – and how heroism meant living in terror that you wouldn’t be able to protect those you loved – what do you make of his thinking?

I can’t really blame him for thinking this way given all that he’s gone through.   If I’d been through even a quarter of the adventures he’s already experienced I’d probably go into hiding.  As it is, well, I think he’s got things a little turned on their head.  I think that when you love someone you would always worry about being able to protect them – having children is a perfect example of that, but, the fact that you do love makes you act in unselfish ways – therefore being in love would be more likely to make you rush out and protect someone and therefore be heroic.  Being a hero doesn’t seem to me like something you can just set out to do or be.

Euskerri.  The plan is to sway the Euskerri (by offering them sovereignty) to side with Aragonia.   Do you think the Euskerri are wise to accept or not?

It’s an odd situation.  The Euskerri are sat in the middle of this dilemma and can chance the fate of both sides.  They could side with either party.  As it is they seem to be siding with the underdogs really but I can’t say I blame them.  There seems to be less treachery in that route and more likelihood that that will actually be treated honourably with in the end.

Finally, it seems like both Imriel and Sidonie will return to the battlefront – what do you think of the agreement reached? What do you predict going forward?

I can’t say that I liked the deal that was struck – in fact I found it incredibly aggravating.  But, in the cold light of day I really can’t say I blame the Euskerri for their decision.  After all, Imriel and Sidonie did lead an enemy right to their doorstep – and then what, oh, ‘we’ll just carry on going in that direction while you take all the heat’.  No.  When it all boils down I really don’t blame the Euskerri.  Apart from anything else they don’t really know that Sidonie and Imriel are telling the truth.  I admit that it’s annoying – to be so near, and yet so far, from their objectives – and I don’t agree with taking Sidonie back, the Euskerri wouldn’t endanger their own women so I think that’s just wrong.  I think that they should just have made Imriel part of the deal to show faith.

In terms of going forward , well there’s clearly going to be a horrible confrontation.  Sidonie is, after all, a married woman, perhaps the only way that’s going  to alter is if her husband dies??  I don’t know how else this can really end in a good way for Imriel and Sidonie.

The Schedule:
Oct.  9th Week 1: Chpts. 1-10 (Hosted by Dab of Darkness)
Oct. 16th Week 2: Chpts. 11-22 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Oct. 23rd Week 3: Chpts. 23-35 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Oct. 30th Week 4: Chpts. 36-49 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Nov. 6th Week 5: Chpts. 50-62 (Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog)
Nov. 13th Week 6: Chpts. 63-75 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Nov. 20th Week 7: Chpts. 76-END (Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow)

Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.4

kushiels-mercyToday is week 4 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey.  This week  Emma Wolf is our host.  Anyway, here’s the Goodreads link and also the schedule is below in case you want to join in.  Beware of spoilers because they’ll be lurking.  Now, over to the Q&A.
1. After being freed, Kratos decides to stay in Leander/Imriel’s service. Did his loyalty or reasons surprise you? What about how he was able to aid Leander/Imriel?
It didn’t surprise me to be honest.  The others in Imriel’s service seemed to have a purpose to return to – even it that was revenge on the person that had sent them into a life of slavery – Kratos, well, I wouldn’t say he was at a loose end, because that’s not how it felt, more like staying with Imriel held purpose for him.  Plus I dare say he felt a not small amount of gratitude to Imriel for saving him from the life that he had come to expect.  Maybe he thinks he will be able to repay the favour at some point.
2. Despite Justina’s training, her loyalty to Melisande, and her position ready to tip the balance, she is unwilling or unable to help Leander/Imriel. What do you think of this? What good is the Guild or Melisande and her spies if not for this?
Well, I couldn’t blame her to be honest.  She admitted it herself that she was more helpful when it came to pillow talk rather than taking part in dangerous activities and removing someone’s ring probably isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I think if the opportunity had arisen naturally she would have taken it but taking unnecessary risks wouldn’t really have helped.  At the end of the day if she had taken the risk and been caught the whole game would have been over wouldn’t it?  Astegal would have know that she was after the ring, he probably would have had her tortured and, even if she gave nothing away, he would have been on his guard.
3. Any thoughts about the Longest Night?
It was a very different sort of celebration wasn’t it.  More or less the same as any other night but with a little dancing involved.  I thought it was risky of Imriel to dance with Sidonie, that Astegal would note it and maybe be jealous, and it seems he was jealous – enough to try to humiliate Imriel – it didn’t quite work out though.  I thought it was interesting that both Imriel and Sidonie thought to keep Elua’s vigil.  Very telling.  Both of them quietly praying.  Like a reflection of each other.
4. Any thoughts about the aftermath of the breaking of two of the spells? Were you amused by Imriel’s conversation with Sunjata? Were you surprised by Sidonie’s reaction once the spell on her is broken?
Well it almost went drastically wrong didn’t it.  Firstly Sidonie dashing off and finding a lot of home truths that she couldn’t understand and then Imriel finding himself and almost scaring Sidonie out of her wits!  It was all very tense wasn’t it.  I felt very sorry for Sidonie as the full realisation of the spell washed over her – the horrible thing is that she will clearly still remember everything.  She might have not been forced – like she said herself, but having your will removed and having no choice in anything, it seems much  worse to me.
5. Last week, Allie said she hopes Bodeshmun’s power “all blows up in his face.” Thoughts on his death?
Well, it couldn’t have been more prophetic really.  I hate to be nasty but his ending was rather perfect as far as I was concerned.  He was a nasty piece of work and a horrible human being to say the very least.
The Schedule:
Oct.  9th Week 1: Chpts. 1-10 (Hosted by Dab of Darkness)
Oct. 16th Week 2: Chpts. 11-22 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Oct. 23rd Week 3: Chpts. 23-35 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Oct. 30th Week 4: Chpts. 36-49 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Nov. 6th Week 5: Chpts. 50-62 (Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog)
Nov. 13th Week 6: Chpts. 63-75 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Nov. 20th Week 7: Chpts. 76-END (Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow)

Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.3

kushiels-mercyToday is week 3 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey.  This week, Allie at Emma Wolf is our host.  Anyway, here’s the Goodreads link and also the schedule is below in case you want to join in.  Beware of spoilers because they’ll be lurking.  Now, over to the Q&A.

1. Imriel spends the night at Melisande’s before Solon is to do his spell. Melisande tells Imriel that she would like it if, after all this, he would find it in his heart to come visit her again. Do you think he will? What would that reunion be like?

Yes, I think he will visit her again.  I don’t really know why but I have a feeling that his feelings towards her may be softened somewhat, especially now he’s met her again and heard her talk – not to mention that very frank conversation they had when they looked at each others weaknesses or fault lines.

2. Solon tells Imriel to “put Imriel away” and “make him small…like a tiny, tiny seed.” How much of Imriel remains inside “Leander” once the spell is complete? 

I must confess this part of the story was so strange following in the mind of Leander!  Some of his thoughts don’t exactly portray him in the best light!  But, yes, I do think there is obviously quite a bit of Imriel’s personality shining through.  I think the desire to meet Sidonie and his thinking that he might be falling in lover with her – I think that’s obviously persuaded by Imriel – maybe not directly but I just can’t help feeling that somehow Imriel’s love is determined to come out and this will in some way affect Leander.  After all, even the tiniest seed can grow in the right conditions  – of course that could all be nonsense!

3. Sidonie and Leander/Imriel meet and court again. What do you think of this and the echoes of their past courtship? How much of Imriel does Sidonie actually remember, if anything?

It’s so odd, like I said above – both of them are having their natural feelings, and in the case of Sidonie her memories, surpressed, and yet both of them seem to be drawn to each other inexplicably.  For me there is clearly something about that relationship that wants to shine out in spite of all the magic currently heaped onto them to prevent it.

4. What do you think of Leander/Imriel’s cover story of how he came to be in the service of Solon and sent to Carthage? What do you think of Carthage generally?
Carthage is an intriguing place – Carey is an expert at giving you a feel for a place and infusing it with culture and religion and this is no exception.  I don’t like the slavery and the trips to the market were really unpleasant.  Especially with the young frightened boy!  And then there are the sacrifices to the Gods which was a bit unexpected.
5. We see Sunjata and Bodeshmun, this time through Leander’s eyes. Has your impression changed?
This is a really intriguing aspect to this particular plot.  He clearly has an old relationship with Sunjata that has picked back up and the pair seem to like each other and have a certain degree of trust although whether they could completely trust each other remains to be seen.  Bodeshmun is just a scary character I think – no matter whose eyes are doing the looking!
6. Why did Leander/Imriel choose Kratos, Ghanim, and the brothers? Was it more Imriel or more Leander who did the choosing?
I don’t really know with this one.  My immediate answer would be to think it was Imriel but it could equally have been Leander – especially given his history and the time he’s spent with Melisande.
The Schedule:
Oct.  9th Week 1: Chpts. 1-10 (Hosted by Dab of Darkness)
Oct. 16th Week 2: Chpts. 11-22 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Oct. 23rd Week 3: Chpts. 23-35 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Oct. 30th Week 4: Chpts. 36-49 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Nov. 6th Week 5: Chpts. 50-62 (Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog)
Nov. 13th Week 6: Chpts. 63-75 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Nov. 20th Week 7: Chpts. 76-END (Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow)

Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.2

kushiels-mercy

Today is week 2 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey – what an emotional few chapters the last ones were – so much so that I may have read ahead a little.  This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host.  Anyway, here’s the Goodreads link and also the schedule is below in case you want to join in.  Beware of spoilers because they’ll be lurking.  Now, over to the Q&A.

1) Imriel visits a few of the Houses with Astegal. If you were to visit Carey’s Terre d’Ange, would there be a particular house you’d be interested to see?

I still really don’t know if I have an answer to this one – perhaps I could visit all of them and then choose!  To give an actual answer though probably Orchis – how could I not go to a house where the motto is ‘Joy in Laughter’ – it’s just so right!

2) The Carthaginians’ scheme was some of the most blatant magic that I think we’ve seen in the series. Given that there is a whole country of people who are not fooled, do you think they really expected to get away with it cleanly in the long-term? Do you think they have an alternative plan?

It’s the strangest scheme ever!  As to whether the Carthaginians will get away with it.  Well, they seem unbothered by the fact that there is a whole country of people who are not fooled in the least.  They’ve, effectively, abducted Sidonie – but Sidonie, her mother and her court and most of Terra D’Ange are not aware that it’s abduction.  She’s already married and could be with heir.  Meanwhile everywhere else is thrown into a state of turmoil and confusion with political conspiracies running amok – it’s been very effective in that respect and meanwhile the Carthaginians can coolly set out for war whilst everyone else is in a state of puzzlement.  At first I wondered why they just simply didn’t abduct Sidonie – but this is so much more clever because everybody back home thinks nothing is amiss.  I must confess that I have to question the strength of the magic though in that it can cause such a massive loss of memory to everyone – that’s some powerful magic isn’t it?

 

3) Barquiel l’Envers goes from a petty antagonist to one of Imriel’s only allies. Does this change your opinion of him? Do you think this adventure will alter his perception of Imriel?

Actually it does make me see him in a different light.  To explain myself.  I think previously I’ve just thought of him as ambitious, in fact similarly as ambitious as Melisande almost, and a person with very much his own agenda at heart (although that being said I’ve never thought of him as the sort who would commit treason).  This has made me look at him differently.  Yes, he doesn’t like Imriel – he sees him first and foremost as Melisande’s offspring and that doesn’t sit well with him.  These chapters make me think that whilst I might not always agree with his actions I think that he believes that he’s acting rightly and with honour.  I’m not really explaining this very well but I see his willingness to help by allying himself with Imriel as quite revealing.  He knows this is wrong and has to be put right.  Yeah, not doing very well here so I’m just going to stop – I know what I mean but I can’t put it into words (brain mash).

4) We finally see Melisande again! What do you think of what she has become? Do you think she still deserves execution for her crimes?

Wow – that meeting.  I had to go and sit in a quiet place when I went to read about it so that I could give it my full attention!  Carey out did herself I think.  It actually made me emotional reading it – so well written and what a final insight into Melisande.  In fairness I think Melisande is one of the best characters I’ve read in the world of fantasy and even in spite of knowing all the harm she’s caused I still found myself feeling sorry for her!  I’m sure she would sooner have me tortured than feel sorry for her but to finally witness the love that she has for Imriel and the sorrow she has felt at the lack of his presence – it was just brilliantly done.  Reading the chapters prior I was totally skeptical of her and thinking that I wouldn’t put it past her to have engineered the whole thing – just so that she could then help rescue the situation – and part of me even still wonders about that, but, even so she had such an impact on me – and the beauty of that for me is that it felt like Carey was showing me, as a reader, why Melisande is so effective and how easily she entrances people.  I’m totally in awe of Carey at this point!  And, as to whether she deserves executive.  Yes, she probably does deserve it.  Would I want that as an outcome.  No I wouldn’t.

 

5) What do you think will be Imriel’s key to change out of the form and mind of Leander? Do you think you would be willing to undergo such a transformation?

 

I actually read an extra chapter by mistake – oops!  So I won’t answer the first part of the question.  Would I be willing.  Yes.  Simply.  I would be scared of losing myself but I would also feel similarly to Imriel that I should be doing something.

The Schedule:
Oct.  9th Week 1: Chpts. 1-10 (Hosted by Dab of Darkness)
Oct. 16th Week 2: Chpts. 11-22 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Oct. 23rd Week 3: Chpts. 23-35 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Oct. 30th Week 4: Chpts. 36-49 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Nov. 6th Week 5: Chpts. 50-62 (Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog)
Nov. 13th Week 6: Chpts. 63-75 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Nov. 20th Week 7: Chpts. 76-END (Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow)
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