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)

Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.1

kushiels-mercyHaving learned a lesson about thwarting the will of the gods, Imriel and Sidonie publicly confess their affair, only to see the country boil over in turmoil. Younger generations, infatuated by their heart-twisting, star-cross romance, defend the couple. Many others cannot forget the betrayals of Imriel’s mother, Melisande, who plunged their country into a bloody war that cost the lives of their fathers, brothers, and sons.

To quell the unrest, Ysandre, the queen, sets her decree. She will not divide the lovers, yet neither will she acknowledge them. If they marry, Sidonie will be disinherited, losing her claim on the throne.

There’s only one way they can truly be together. Imriel must perform an act of faith: search the world for his infamous mother and bring her back to Terre d’Ange to be executed for treason.

Facing a terrible choice, Imriel and Sidonie prepare ruefully for another long separation. But when a dark foreign force casts a shadow over Terre d’Ange and all the surrounding countries, their world is turned upside down, alliances of the unlikeliest kind are made, and Imriel and Sidonie learn that the god Elua always puts hearts together apurpose.

Today is the start of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey and it’s so great to be returning to this world and these characters – I didn’t realise that I’d missed them until I picked this up.  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) So far, what do you think of the variety of responses people have to Imriel’s and Sidonie’s relationship?  
I think this is much as I expected to be honest.  It was never going to be joy all round was it.  There are a few issues, firstly there’s obviously the issue of Imriel’s mother!  This isn’t an issue that’s just going to go away because it’s still too fresh and too many people lost loved ones in the war.  Not to mention that Melisande had the bad grace to up and escape punishment and is still on the prowl which doesn’t help Imriel’s case any because of course he could be plotting world domination with her!!  On top of this you have to remember the usual expectations about members of royalty – they don’t usually have the freedom to choose their own partners do they.  More often than not royal marriages are politically motivated or arranged in order to strengthen relationships between countries, etc, so you also have to remember that certain ambitions from other parties will be going fast down the drain as they observe this love match.  So, lots of resistance for our two young lovers!
2) Imriel starts the hunt for Melisande. What do you think of his efforts so far? Could you hand over a wayward relative to the authorities? 
Well, so far his efforts haven’t really been that strenuous have they – he’s too busy enjoying himself which I can’t really blame him for!  His efforts so far have consisted of a letter to Hyacinthe to ask him to make a search, discussions with Phedre and Jocelyn and translating a hidden message (well, I’m condensing a little there).  But, it’s hardly surprising if Imriel is a bit reluctant.  Of course he could just ask Sidonie to step down and all this would go away but I think that would almost make him look guilty somehow in the eyes of others.  I think it will be a lot harder for Imriel to hand his own mother over than maybe he thinks.  Obviously we already know that Imriel can make difficult choices and stand by them but this is so tough.  And, I have to question why it’s up to Imriel to bring his own mother to justice!  It feels a little unfair but then I guess that’s life.  Still – this is his mother!  Tough, tough choices.
3) Sidonie makes her first ventures into the spicier side of the love arts. Comment away!
Well, as usual with Carey, she has a wonderful way of writing relationships.  Imriel and Sidonie are just so intense aren’t they.  They practically jump off the page and you can feel the love they have for each other in every sentence.  It doesn’t surprise me that both of them are experimenting and seeing what they like and don’t like.  They’re enjoying each others bodies and learning to trust each other.
4) The priesthood weighs in on Sidonie’s and Imriel’s relationship. Do you think Imriel’s words were the clincher, or do you think the priests had mostly made up their minds before the meeting?
To be honest the whole thing with the priests felt a little bit like an exercise in futility.  That might seem a little bit harsh but I don’t think they were ever really going to make that big a difference.  It’s nice of course that they’re going to reinforce Sidonie’s and Imriel’s love for each other by at least agreeing that they’re both honest but it still leaves the very real issue of politics doesn’t it.  All that being said though – it must have felt good for Imriel to have the priesthood believing in his feelings.
5) It’s been two years since Imriel last celebrated the Longest Night in the D’Angeline fashion. What was the most interesting part of this night for you?
Well, the little spat inspired by L’Envers was the highlight really – more so for me because as I was reading about it, the build up, the costumes, the dancing, I’d really actually relaxed and for once wasn’t anticipating anything bad to happen, yes, I was just enjoying the moment and then look what went and happened.  I thought Ysandre was a lot more self contained than I would have been if somebody had been shouting ‘whore’ at one of my daughters and I thought it was a bit of a ridiculous scenario for L’Envers to get mixed up with – because, really, what did it achieve – well, I suppose he succeeded in ruining a perfectly good celebration but it really did feel a little bit of a peevish thing to do.  Is that really what he’s now resorting to.
6) We catch our first glimpse of the Carthaginians and the general Astegal. What do you think of their tribute? 
This all has a very bad feeling in my opinion.  All these tributes.  Why?  No such thing as a free lunch in my experience.  So, either something is expected in return – or, and this is the feel I’m getting from all of this, something a bit more sinister is afoot.  It’s like the Carthaginians have showed up and wowed everybody with all their wonderful gifts, everyone’s guards are down and they’re all rubbing their hands together gleefully, but, it feels like a distraction, like ‘oh, look at all this glittery stuff over here’ whilst over ‘there’ anything could be happening.  I don’t know why but it just feels like something sinister is about to drop on us all.
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)

Update roundup

I have a few events and readalongs and decided to round them all up into one place for your edification (because I’m just thoughtful like that):

Firstly, two readalongs – just in case you want to jump in:

Readalong of Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire.  There’s a schedule set up over on Goodreads (link here).  Feel free to jump in – if you’ve already read the first five books and want to jump in with No.6 then wait no longer.

Readalong of Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey.  This series is just so awesome – again, if you’re looking for a little incentive to pick up Kushiel’s Mercy then look no further.  Here’s the Goodreads link

Both of these readalongs get started this weekend so apologies for the short notice but it’s not too late to join in and there’s lots of great bloggers involved with both so no doubt the discussions will be awesome.  Feel free to come and join us.

ripStainless Steel Droppings Readers.Imbibing.Peril (RIP) has a month left so plenty of time for you to read some dark material and submit your link for us all to see!  I’ve read The Family Plot by Cherie Priest (which I thought was excellent, wonderfully creepy and gothic).  I also posted a review for a series called Stranger Things which I loved and I’ve just watched a very scary film called The Visit which I might also review.  In terms of books. I have The Apartment coming up, The Apothecary’s Curse, The Motion of Puppets, Certain Dark Things and The Witches of New York which I think will all fit in with the themes.  What you reading? If you have anything scary, dark, grim, a bit of horror maybe or some good old thriller story then check out the site here.  It’s good to share people.

Finally, over at Lipsyy Lost & Found there is an event that ties in very nicely with the RIP event above.  A celebration of Horror for the month of October.  As part of this event four writers have agreed to take part in a flash fiction event – the title of which will be decided by us.  This is not my event – I’m simply helping to spread the word  So, if you want to vote for your favourite story title then check out the detail here.  I’ve added the poll below so be sure to add your voice.

horroroctofficial2016

I hope you’ve seen something you like. 😀

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