Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey (readalong: final week)

Today is the final week of our readalong of Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey.  The schedule and participants are below.  Thank you to Susan at Dab of Darkness for being the driving force behind these readalongs and also for this week’s questions.  Without further ado, to the Q&A with the customary warning of spoilers and the invitation to join in with the comments.

1) In this section, Imriel had plenty of farewells and also reunions. Which ones did you find the most interesting or touching? 
This is definitely a story with a lot of farewells.  I think the most touching for me was Imriel returning to Alba and saying farewell to Dorelie.  I found it very sad, in fact, I can’t deny I was welling up a little.
2) Maslin decides to stay in Vralia as an ambassador. What do you think of his decision? When Imriel, Phedre, and Joscelin depart, Phedre says something privately to Maslin that causes him to collapse to his knees and weep. What do you think she said? 
I think that this is an interesting development and having read a few of Carey’s books now I wonder if this will lead into future storylines – especially now Maslin and Imriel have become friends.  Also, I wonder if Maslin finds himself in the position of not wanting to go home. The woman he loved doesn’t love him and whilst he may have come to terms with it it doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to watch Imriel and Sidonie play nice together.  This could be his way of accepting things.  I also can’t help thinking he wants a bit of an adventure.  I’m not sure what Phedre said to Maslin but I’m sure she said something very kind and along the lines of him being a good person and people care about him – I think, a little like Imriel – he’s still coming to terms and trying to accept his past and so having someone like Phedre say something good to him would more than likely make him react in this way.  There’s nothing like a dose of sympathy to undo you a little!
3) Imriel & crew make it to Skaldia where they dine with Aldemar and meet some interesting merchants. Do you think the Unseen Guild had a hand in any of Imriel’s recent adventures? 
Yes, I think they have undoubtedly had a hand in certain affairs – maybe Alder’s turnaround for example??
4) Finally, Imriel is reunited with Dorolei’s kin. There’s a solemn burial of Berlik’s skull which is followed by a boisterous party. If someone was burying a skull at your feet, which would you prefer – serious ceremony or rowdy affair? 
Well, if I was alive I’d absolutely want a rowdy affair, if not then I think everybody should be appropriately serious!  Not really, I would prefer everyone to have a good time and a laugh about all the things we’ve done and said together.
5) Sidonie and Imriel are finally together openly. Some still do not approve. What challenges do you foresee for them? 
This relationship is always going to suffer in terms of Imriel’s past – for some, it would probably be better that he was an unknown quantity (in terms of lineage) than to be from the family he is from.  His mother has undoubtedly sullied his future for him.  How can he possibly marry the heir to the throne – most people would assume it’s a snide plot and so many people will still have memories of the Skaldi invasion.  It’s a tough one.  I think that it’s possible that Ysandre will come upon a political match for Sidonie and put her in a position where she has no choice but to accept for the good of the country?  Possibly not, but it seems that would be a plan for her to prevent marriage to Imriel?  Failing that, Imril could offer to undertake some sort of ridiculous and difficult challenge in order to prove his worth.  Even so, I think that they could sometimes be a little more sensitive.  They spent a long time keeping their affairs very private and so I don’t see why they have to be so brazen right after the whole burial of the skull at Lorelei’s feet scene – it just seems a bit disrespectful and I can understand that would upset some people.  Come on – you’ve just waited 12 months – either wait another couple of days until you leave Alba or be a bit more secretive about it – after all you’re in a bloody tent – you don’t have 20 inch walls and wooden doors to block out the noise and I’m sure not everyone wants to listen in!
I really enjoyed this instalment and all the Q&A and discussion with everyone and definitely look forward to the next book – I don’t think there’s going to be any plain sailing for Imriel and Sidonie!

Here is the 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 at Dab of Darkness
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

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Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.8

Kushiel's justiceToday is week 8 of our readalong of Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey.  The schedule and participants are below.  All welcome to join in or to simply jump in with the comments.  This week we cover chapters 57-65 hosted by Allie at Tethyan Books. Without further ado, to the questions with the customary warning of spoilers and the invitation to join in with the comments.

1. Imriel actually gave up the quest for justice before he found Berlik, and would have left empty-handed if the man had not come to him.  Does knowing that their eventual encounter was of Berlik’s choosing change the way you think about how it finally ended? How do you think this will affect Imriel, moving forward?
I think that the way things worked out will probably make it easier for Imriel to deal with.  He’d already made a decision to drop his quest after all.  At the end of the day it felt more like something that Berlik wanted more than anything – he couldn’t live with himself and wanted justice – and he thought it was better for his people so even in his last act he believed himself to be helping them.  Under the circumstances I think Imriel will feel that he served justice.  I think he will struggle more with the two soldiers who he killed in self defence.
2. I was definitely not expecting to see Maslin in the Vralian wilderness!  What do you think of his motivations?  Do you think it’s still possible for them to build the friendship Imriel wanted so dearly many years ago?
I’m not entirely sure what to make of his motivations for ever setting off to find Imriel.  After all he must have thought it was rather telling that Sidonie wanted him to go and find Imriel.  Perhaps he really would prove himself to Sidonie by bringing back his rival.  As it happened I think Maslin had a lot of time to think during his search and managed to reach his own conclusions about his relationship with Sidonie and even though it wasn’t a happy realisation for him I think he’s had enough time to realise the truth of the situation.  I think it is possible for Maslin and Imriel to be friends, particularly now they’ve been quite open with each other – although, it won’t be easy for Maslin to see Imriel and Sidonie together which will definitely be something of a cool note on just how friendly they become.
3. Imriel feels very strongly about going back through the places where he was dishonest or where he caused pain (Miroslas, Tarkov, the Vralian capital).  Do you think these stops were necessary?  Do you think he was right to not go to the pilgrim family that took Berlik in? 
I think it speaks well of Imriel’s character that he wanted to go back through those places. Almost like now his quest is out of the way he wants to confess and throw himself on other  peoples’ mercy.  I’m not sure how I feel about him not revisiting the pilgrim family – it feels almost like a kindness not to go back and tell them the outcome..
4. We have another myth in the making: the dark angel and the light angel, battling for Berlik’s soul.  Clearly this isn’t literally true, since Maslin knew nothing about Berlik.  Do you think it carries any metaphorical truth with respect to Berlik’s struggle with his guilt?
 I think Berlik had gone past the point of anyone battling for his soul.  I think a couple of things – he sought justice for the things he had done – moreso than Imriel or anyone else, he wanted to be found and he certainly didn’t put up a fight when he was found and, on top of that he believed that by atoning he was saving his people.
5. It looks like Tadeuz Vral will have another Yeshuite advisor now, in the Rebbe from Miroslas.  Do you think this will impact the path of Vralia in the future?  Do you think Imriel’s deceit will affect Vralia’s relationships with Alba and Terre d’Ange?
I suppose it could be something that comes back to haunt Imriel in the future.  Time will tell I suppose but I feel like he did what he had to do and he has at least been back to confess his deceit.  I’m not saying that in confessing it makes everything okay but it feels like a step in the right direction.

Here is the 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 at Dab of Darkness
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey, Week 7 readalong

Kushiel's justiceToday is week 7 of our readalong of Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey.  The schedule and participants are below.  All welcome to join in or to simply jump in with the comments.  This week we cover chapters 47-56, and I am hosting. Without further ado, to the questions with the customary warning of spoilers!

1. Imriel seems to be having a lot of adventures by himself for the past few chapters.  What do you make of his adventures and his character as the story progresses.

I like Imriel’s development over this particular book.  The very fact that he is now venturing out on his own is, I feel, quite significant on it’s own.  In terms of where he’s from and his heritage he is taking a huge risk but it doesn’t feel like he’s just going off in a strop.  He has a purpose.  I liked that he’s not afraid to get stuck in.  There are no airs and graces about him even though he’s used to being quite well looked after  and the shipwreck is a perfect example of that.

2. What do you make of Urist’s misfortune do you think he will play a further role in the story?

I felt very sorry for Urist.  I think he’s played a really good role so far and I really hope he comes into play again.  More than that, I’m pleased that JC didn’t feel the need to kill him off! There is definitely something about Urist that is easy to like.

3. Berlik seems to be receiving a lot of help on his travels, he seems very sad and repentant – what do you make now of Imriel’s mission?  Will he succeed or is he changing?  And is this mission worth the price?

I feel that things have changed slightly and I wonder whether Imriel will be able to actually kill Berlik?  I think that Imriel has great justification for his mission but I think that the longer and father the journey goes the more difficult hit becomes.  Also part of me wonders if Berlik would find it more of a punishment to be allowed to live.  Plus, I’m not sure now how it will make Imriel feel to kill Berlik.  It’s going to be interesting.

4.  Joscelin seems to have become known as an ‘angel’ and Imriel as an ‘avenging angel’ – any thoughts?

Like Joscelin is seen as good and Imriel is bad.  That’s really kind of sad.  I don’t think Imriel has actually done anything bad in fact he’s had a lot of bad things happen to him and obviously he is seeking vengeance for the death of his wife and child.  I’m not sure this course is going to make him happy but I suppose we’ll see.

5. The war that is looming – how do you see this affecting what is yet to come for Imriel?

I think it’s going to make things very difficult indeed.  Imriel has already been imprisoned as a spy – which, as an aside, I was totally pulled into that element of the story – goodness knows what will happen next.  I can’t help thinking that the way he behaved in prison and treated his fellow prison mate might help him out in the long run.

6. What did you think of Imriel’s thoughts about the Gods and the fact that we sometimes change them by twisting the truth a little as time progresses?

I was really drawn to Imriel’s thoughts on this, particularly how they related to our discussion on how the nature of things/stories depending on whether they’re written or spoken.  It can’t be good though to change the nature of a God!  Feels like somebody is going to get smote or smite, or whatever the correct term for being smited is!

Here is the 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 at Dab of Darkness
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey, Week 6 readalong

Kushiel's justiceToday is week 6 of our readalong of Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey.  The schedule and participants are below.  All welcome to join in or to simply jump in with the comments.  This week we cover chapters 38-46, and our host is Emma Wolf.  Without further ado, to the questions with the customary warning of spoilers!

1. At some point before she died, Dorelei made Urist promise to bring Imriel back to the City of Elua and Sidonie for fear that, if he didn’t go, he would be driven to bitterness. What do you think of this promise? Do you agree with Dorelei that Imriel would turn bitter?

Yes, I think she read him very well.  I think he would have dwelled on it all, probably found himself totally guilty and no doubt after wallowing around in guilt and despair would probably have turned very bitter!  Okay, I’ve laid that on a bit thick but I really do think Dorelei knew Imriel very well and I think she was sending home to somebody who would love him and help him to cope. 

2. Imriel questions whether there was no way to escape the fate of his son foreseen by the Maghuin Dhonn. What do you think?

Well, I’m not sure.  I don’t know whether I totally buy into the ethos that all things are fixed or pre-determined.  I think some of what actually happened in the vision seemed to hinge upon the fact that Imriel had left his son after Dorelei died and perhaps there was bitterness that turned even worse.  So maybe knowing that Imriel could have made a difference by simply raising his son?

3. Urist explains the politics underlying the matter to the other Cruithne by noting that Imriel was good enough for Dorelei and Alba, good enough to father Alban heirs, but not good enough for Terre d’Ange. What do you think of his observation?

 I think he made a very good point – which also brings me back to our comments (was it last week) when it was noted that Ysandre had never visited Alba.  I do wonder about Ysandre sometimes.  There have been moments along the way where I’ve definitely felt a little annoyed with her behaviour.  Plus I didn’t like what she said to Imriel about Dorelei when she found him with Sidonie.  I know that she was angry but it really did sound as though she was almost accusing Imriel of being behind Dorelei’s death somehow.

4. We see new places and new peoples. Imriel wonders about the tanner and his wife and their story and how he will never know it. Of all the minor characters we’ve met so far, are there any you wish you knew more about?

Ohh, this is a difficult one.  I sometimes think it would be good to spend more time with Drustan.  I think I would like to know more about him and how he deals with having such a long distance relationship with Ysandre. It would be good to be inside his head for a while and see if we could discover more about the real Ysandre as a result.   

5. What do you think of what’s become of the Yeshuites? Of Micah ben Ximon? Do you think the written word is more open to multiple interpretation than the spoken one, as Urist hints?

I’m not sure what has become of the Yeshuites to be honest.  Perhaps I’ve missed something so will wait for all the answers on that one. – (I think I misunderstood this question – blame it on being tired!  I think I was reading into and thinking something bad had happened to them and I’d missed it – apologies!)

I guess the written and the spoken word are open to misinterpretation depending on the language used and maybe even the wishes of the person listening or reading.  But, it seems to me that people started recording things in writing in order to keep an accurate record whereas the spoken word, I think, can quite often develop and become adapted as time goes by – like Chinese whispers or a fisherman’s tale!  So, in that respect I think the written word is probably more correct – providing of course it was accurate in the first place.

Here is the 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 at Dab of Darkness
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

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

Kushiel's justiceToday is week 5 of our readalong of Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey.  The schedule and participants are below.  All welcome to join in or to simply jump in with the comments.  This week we cover chapters 30-37 and our host is Dab of Darkness.  Without further ado, to the questions with the customary warning of spoilers!

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

I had mixed feelings – part of me thought it was a bit fickle and naughty of them and part of me thinks it was some sort of silly game to prove Imriel’s ability so at the end of the day they left him to it.  It also didn’t really feel as though he was in any ‘real’ danger (in fact it had a ‘staged’ feel to it) – he just got naffed off and spurred into action when his horse was under threat!  I was pleased that he didn’t sulk about it though – I would have!  But, it shows something in Imriel that he was able to take it in good spirit.  Like I said last week, the whole thing did have a very silly feel to it.

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? 

I was quite pleased for Alais in these chapters.  I thought her flirting was really harmless and it was nice to see.  She’s always seemed to be in Sidonie’s shadow but in Alba it’s as though she’s finally having the opportunity to shine.  I’m glad that she wants to take a year and that it was agreed upon.  I actually prefer the option of taking a year to consider getting married rather than getting married and taking a year to see how you like it.  One feels like really considering your options before you make a commitment whilst the other feels like making a commitment without having to give it any thought at all and regardless of the outcome.  Alais is so good – I love 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? 

I loved both of these and I’m totally with Alais – I would want to live in Alba too!  The day of Misrule was brilliant wasn’t it and really quite good fun – although I suppose there would be the real possibility of it going wrong.  I preferred The Day of the Dead which I’m assuming is similar to our All Hallow’s Day??  It’s so creepy to think of removing the veil between the living and the dead and I was taking it all quite casually until Imriel spotted his father!

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 a saying isn’t there about ‘truth will out’ and I suppose to deny your own nature is also to deny your own true self.  Basically it’s like living a lie isn’t it.  Without doubt this gave Imriel a chance to love Dorelei and to give Alba a chance but as soon as his restrictions were removed his true feelings flooded back in and it was this that the Maghuin Donn used against him.  It’s like Carey is giving a message here about being yourself?

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

I don’t know if Imriel could have done anything different.  This felt like a genuine offer and a chance to be rid of the curse.  As it is, it brings me back to my thinking that the Maghuin Donn are like the fae and very tricksy in their oaths.  I really don’t know the answer about the whole ‘mercy’ thing, truthfully I don’t.  On one hand I’d like to think I would be forgiving and not want to harm innocent people but on the other I would be so angry that I’m not sure I could be that measured.  Part of me wonders if Imriel would have reacted differently if it had been Sidonie and their unborn child – but then it makes me feel bad for thinking that!  I certainly don’t blame Imriel for what has happened and in fact I think he really did try to make things work.  In fact at the moment I’m almost feeling equal parts sad and annoyed with what happened.

Here is the 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 at Dab of Darkness
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

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