Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week 4

Today is the fourth week of our readalong for Naamah’s Curse, No.2 in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah Trilogy.  The details and schedule are here and below is a little about the book.

Naam2
Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.

Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

The questions and answers are below (hosted this week by Alli at Tethyan Books) – be warned that spoilers may be lurking.

1) Moirin makes some new friends on the way to Rasa. What do you think will come of her decision to entrust them with the jade medallion? Do you see this as a betrayal of trust or do you think the Emperor would understand?

I don’t see it as a betrayal of trust, Moirin has to use the medallion in the way that it can best help her and I think she made a good choice.  Of course it could come back to harm her in some way but I think personally that she chose well.  Plus, the medallion was intended to help her and being a lone woman on the road it was likely that somebody could have taken it from her using force long before.  I think she made a good decision and I would like to think the Emperor would understand, after all, he was trying to help her by giving her the medallion.  The only issue I have with it is that it would be very easy for somebody else to misuse the medallion but, hopefully it will now be in good hands.

2) On her way to the Lady of Rats, Moirin ends up in a dangerous caravan. What are your thoughts on what happened, both with the assault and the illness? 

I wasn’t surprised about the assault, it felt like it was going to happen and in fact Moirin had a bad feeling about it herself.  I thought Moirin handled herself well although she did seem to have let her guard down.  As it was though, I thought things went a lot better than they could have, she had to manage things almost by herself but I had a horrible feeling that much worse was going to happen and I was a bit scared for her.  The illness came as a surprise, altitude sickness hadn’t really occurred to me.

3) It seems that caste/class is going to be a major point in this story. Even if Amrita agrees that the caste system may not be just, do you think there’s anything that she and Moirin can do about it? Do you see any path to happiness for Jagrati and/or do you think she deserves to be defeated?

I think to change the caste system will be a lot harder than it sounds and will probably take years and years to achieve – deep rooted beliefs and years and years of custom would have to change and it certainly would not be easily brought about.  I’m not really sure what to make of Jagrati yet although I don’t like her at this point I don’t feel like I know enough of what is really going on.

4) There is a lot of passion in Kushiel’s Legacy, but the sex scene in this section doesn’t involve much. Given all of the focus on “love as thou wilt”, what do you think about Amrita’s gift and it’s acceptance by Naamah? What do you think about the idea of sex without desire, but for compassionate purposes?

I think that scene felt a little flat to be honest.  Amrita seemed almost amused by the idea and it was a nice gesture from her to help Moirin but I didn’t really feel like it was necessary as part of the story.  It felt a little bit forced and lacked passion.

5) Bao returns! I think we were all a little irritated with him for his Tatar adventures. Do his actions here change your opinion of him? Do you think he has escaped Jagrati’s diamond for good?

I don’t think he’s out of the trees just yet – he’s got his opium addiction to deal with and he will be weakened, Jagrati was obviously exercising a lot of control over him and I don’t think that’s quite dealt with just yet – look how easily she controlled Moirin and Amrita’s guard after all.  Not to mention Carey has already lulled us once into thinking Moirin and Bao had an easy escape in front of them and look what happened.  No, I think there must be something more yet.

Participants:
Alli at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan at Dab of Darkness

Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.4

naakissToday is the fourth week of our readalong of Naamah’s Kiss.  Feel free to join in (the schedule is below) or to jump in with the comments.  This week the questions are being hosted by Allie at Tethyan Books.  Please be aware that spoilers may be lurking below for this and future books in the series so please be careful.
Dec. 5th Week 1 – Chapters 1-12, Hosted by Lynn
Dec. 12th Week 2 – Chapters 13-26, Hosted by Susan
Dec. 19th Week 3 – Chapters 27-36, Hosted by Grace
Dec. 26th Week 4 – Chapters 37-48, Hosted by Allie
Jan. 2nd Week 5 – Chapters 49-60, Hosted by Susan
Jan. 9th Week 6 – Chapters 61-74, Hosted by Lisa
Jan 16th Week 7 – Chapters 75-End, Hosted by Lynn

1) The Circle of Shalomon still moves forward, despite the spirits’ tricks and the drain on Moirin.  Do you think there is any deeper intent behind the gift Moirin receives, and the kindness of the spirits to her?  Do you have any thoughts on how the gift might be involved with her destiny?

I don’t really know what to make of the Circle or the gift that Moirin received.  I think the Circle are dabbling in things that they know very little about, I think they are putting themselves and Moirin in a difficult position – and possibly a life threatening one – and it occurs to me that maybe the spirits are kind to Moirin because they are interested in her for some reason of their own.  They seem to be a little bit fascinated by her which gives me a bad feeling.

2) Moirin’s gift puts her in a difficult position, where wanting to help people could eventually kill her. Do you think you would be able to refuse the healing and/or the summoning if you were in Moirin’s place?

It’s a difficult question isn’t it.  Do you keep helping others even though you know you’re affecting yourself so badly.  I think Moirin does need to take a more balanced attitude – the fact is, if she kills herself then she will no longer be able to help anyone will she?

3) Phanuel returns!  Do you have any new thoughts about him on his second visit?  Later, when he is ill, do you think he would have agreed for Moirin to take such a risk (including her bargain to Raphael) to heal him

Phanuel seems such a calming influence – in fact I think that Moirin clearly takes after him in that respect.  I actually don’t think he would approve of Moirin taking such a risk to heal him and even more so if he found out about her bargain with Raphael – although he won’t find out about that from Moirin now that she’s swore not to talk of it.

4) Were you surprised when Jehanne is finally the one to rescue Moirin from being bled dry?  Do you trust her motivations?  On the other side, what do you think about how Raphael and Thierry handled her being rescued from them?

I was surprised but I liked that Jehanne came to the rescue and these chapters revealed a different side to her and definitely made her a lot easier to like.  Like I said above Moirin seems to be a calming influence – although, that being said, she’s not succeeding in keeping Raphael calm is she!  As to the way Raphael and Thierry handled it – Raphael acted like a spoilt little boy, sulking and petulant.  Boo hoo for him – he didn’t like it when his two little play toys decided to enjoy each other’s company  – bully for him, he certainly didn’t mind when he had both of them dancing to his tune.  Thierry, well, he maybe didn’t handle things as badly as Raphael but he also showed himself in a bit of an immature light with his comments about Moirin.  At least he had the good grace to apologise and look after Moirin during The Longest Night.

5) Do you think Moirin is a good Queen’s Companion?  What do you think of her influence on Jehanne, and has your perspective of Jehanne and the complicated love polygon changed?

I don’t really see Moirin in the role of Queen’s Companion.  It feels more like a distraction, a temporary interlude, more than anything else.  I can see that she’s had a good influence on the Queen and her relationship with the King.

6) We see another Longest Night!  Did anything notable stick out to you this time?  What did you think of the court festivities with respect to the Night Court?  

I find that one of the things that I really enjoy about the Longest Night is the attention to detail about the costumes and seeing how everyone will be attired.

And here is the current list of participators:

Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

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)

Late Eclipses (#4 Toby Daye) by Seanan McGuire, readalong week 4 (final week)

lateeclipsesreadalong.pngToday is the final week of our readalong of  Late Eclipses (October Daye #4) ) by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  This week is being hosted by hosted by Hisham El-far.  What a great conclusion to the book – so many revelations, so much yet left unsaid, so many reasons to continue reading – not least that I’m loving this series!

The details are over here on Goodreads – the schedule is below.  If you want to join in or jump in with the comments then please do so. Also, a readalong of book No.5 will undoubtedly follow so watch out for further information on that. Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

Week 1: Saturday 2nd July, Chapters 1 to 9, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 9th July, Chapters 10 to 18, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 3: Saturday 16th July, Chapters 19 to 27, hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 4: Saturday 23rd July, Chapters 28 to End, hosted by Hisham El-far
1. If May is no longer Toby’s Fetch – what is she? Any thoughts as to what possible role or direction May might take?

Well, given the connection between Toby and May I think they will become more than friends, almost like sisters.  I hope so anyway.  They already seem to like each other so much – which, come on, pretty unusual to like your fetch and vice versa, but these two get on.  I see May become a solid part of Toby’s life and a great help in future stories.  But truthfully, I have no idea what becomes of a fetch when her role as a fetch is no longer needed – perhaps, given Toby’s lifestyle – she needs a permanent fetch (just in case).

2. If all Fae lines (Daoine Sidhe, Hob, Tylwyth Teg etc) have a purpose as is suggested this week. What are your thoughts on the revelation that Toby is actually Dochas Sidhe? What would such a Fae bring to Faerie’s delicate power balance?

This, I’m not really sure about to be totally honest.  I think I’m still getting my head around what Toby is – clearly she has a great ability with blood.  It makes me wonder if somebody had deliberately ensured that Amandine had a heir – for what purpose I don’t really know, and Amandine went to a lot of trouble to try and hide Toby’s gifts so she clearly know that trouble will be involved.

3. Connor is once again a free and single man. So, age old question – Connor or Tybalt?

For me Tybalt.  For Toby, I’m not sure.  I think she has a massive soft spot for Connor and I think Connor won’t hesitate to step in whereas the relationship with Toby and Tybalt is more one where they seem to be circling each other.  I think Connor will definitely take advantage of that (not in a bad way) but to be the first one to try and capture Toby’s affections – and maybe that will work for a while – but personally I think that Toby and Tybalt have something else going on, its just simmering at the moment but I personally don’t the two of them will be able to deny it much longer.

4. When/Will Toby remind Dugan about her promise? Surely that poor shmuck is already regretting his behavior?

I don’t know – I think maybe Toby won’t remind Dugan – she seems the sort to bury the hatchet.

5. Where next for the Tobyverse? Hopes? Predictions? Wishful thinking? 

Okay, so Amandine is Toby’s mum, and the Luidaeg is Amandine’s sister – making her Toby’s Aunt, and therefore Blind Michael was her uncle?  Does that make Luna her cousin?  Who is her father – is that Sylvester?  This is getting seriously mixed up.  Obviously I could be very wrong about Sylvester but it was just something that was said between Toby and Etienne – ‘imagine having to sacrifice your own daughter’  said Toby.  and Etienne replied ‘ what do you think he did when he stood by and let the Queen’s guard have you?”  Now if this is true it has such ramifications doesn’t it?  Well, if it’s right (and it could be seriously wrong) then doesn’t that mean that Sylvester had a relationship with Amandine who is the sister of Micheal, who is the father of Luna, so therefore Luna and Toby are cousins but Toby is Sylvester’s daughter – no,  I have this seriously wrong!  But, if I don’t have it wrong then surely Luna would be very torn, loving Toby as a cousin but also resenting her because she’s the daughter of her own husband’s relationship with the sister of her own father?  And surely this would make Rayseline very jealous as well.  I don’t know what’s going on.  I seriously think I need to go away and draw a family tree or something because my head has gone!
Okay – so why does the Queen hate Toby.  This isn’t resolved yet by a long stroke of the imagination and I’m just thinking that she must have some strange relationship to all of them as well!  Maybe not – but she really doesn’t like Toby and wants here dead!  Does she feel threatened by her?  I think she will keep trying to find ways to put Toby in danger or just outright have her killed.
What about Simon and Raysel – to be resolved!  I’m sure that they’re not going to slink away though.
And then of course Tybalt….

 

 

 

 

Between Two Thorns Split Worlds #1) by Emma Newman readalong final week

BetweenTwoThorns.pngToday is the final week of our readalong of Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman.  The schedule is below and a link to the Goodread’s page here.  Please be aware of spoilers below and also look out for notification of a readalong for No.2 if you want to jump on board.

Part 1 – Monday 9th May: Chapters 1-9, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Part 2 – Monday 16th May: Chapters 10-18, hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings
Part 3 – Monday 23rd May: Chapters 19-25, hosted by x + 1
Part 4 – Monday 30th May: Chapters 26-End, hosted by Lynn’s Books

Well, book No.1 has reached it’s conclusion and I find myself with plenty of questions!  Even though this first book in series was a reread for me I’d forgotten a lot of the story and this reread has reminded me of how much this book leaves up in the air!  Not a bad thing to be honest but it definitely feels like a first in series type of book!  So, to the questions.

1. We seem to have a number of separate threads even by the end of the book – what do you make of it all so far. Were you surprised by any of the final revelations?

I think the biggest surprise for me by the end of the story was the conclusion that Max reached in his investigation of the death/murders at the Chapterhouse.  I also think that the Sorcerer is a very odd sort of character and I can’t really put my finger on what’s going on with him yet but I’m definitely keen to find out.  My thoughts are definitely a bit of a jumble with all that took place although at the back of my mind I feel like everything will lead back to one thing, not sure yet what that will be – unless perhaps one of the fae!

2. What are your impressions of the world that Emma Newman has created here?

I like the originality of the idea.  The fae world and the mundane with the nether in-between acting as both protectors and servants for both sides.  I found it easier to focus on it during this readalong because I think when I picked up the book originally I was too determined to find out what was going on and raced a little to the end.  I also really enjoy the different periods.  Newman has created an excellent opportunity to bring us a regency type period drama with all its own dilemmas whilst at the same time giving us the modern world which allows her to address all sorts of issues – in particular relating to sexism and the class structure.  I was a bit horrified during the final revelations and the punishments being dished out about this ‘agency’ that would swoop in and place people elsewhere – such as brothels (like the one Will visited whilst on his tour!!)

3. Do you have any favourite characters so far? Any characters that you’re still not sure of and who do you positively dislike?

Well, Will is a person who makes me conflicted.  Every time he does something right he then follows up with an immediate gaff.  I like that he and Cathy finally tried to work together in the last few chapters.  I don’t like it that he was a glory stealing hound but I can kind of see his reasoning for that – after all if Cathy had been at the centre of everything uncovering all sorts of nefarious plots everyone would have focused more on HER than on the PLOTS.  But, okay, whilst I can get over that issue I don’t like that in the next breath he’s saving the Rose girl (sorry, can’t recall her name) who was plotting along with her brother and the rest of the families.  He’s too fickle when it comes to outside appearance.  He’s made disparaging remarks about Cathy and how plain she is and is then prepared to help a woman, purely based on the fact that she’s beautiful, and yet she was trying to make him into a bit of a fool – presumably he wouldn’t have been so anxious to help a woman in similar circumstances if she was a little less easy on the eye!  I don’t know, he’s a product of his upbringing I suppose which leaves him as scared to step out of the bounds of society as everyone else and which in turn gives him a bit of a wishy washy lack of backbone type of feel.

Cathy.  Conflicted again.  I like her but sometimes just want to shake her somehow – she doesn’t always think on her feet although she definitely improved as the book went along.

Max and the gargoyle – you have to take them as a double act.  Max can seem a little lacking somehow some times – but that’s because he does lack a soul – which is currently housed inside the gargoyle.  Taken as a double act they’re a good team that I enjoy reading.

Sam, interestingly, and although from a different era, Sam can come across as rather sexist.  I still hold out hope for him and his wife (although I do wonder if she’s already given up with the marriage – time will tell).  He’s not a bad guy but comes across very much as a bit like the rabbit in the headlights but hopefully he will gain a bit more charisma in the next book.

Lord Poppy – I like him – he’s odd, rude and dangerous but as far as fae go I like his strange eccentricity and I picture him with a knowing glint in his eye.  I have the impression that nothing is how you suspect with him and it’s going to be interesting to see how he’s involved in the next book.

4. What are your predictions for moving into the next story?

Well, I have no idea – hopefully we’ll find out a little more about the Chapterhouse murders and what exactly is taking place in the nether world.  It seems to me that there’s some sort of take over bid going on between Bath and London – and just how much of this is being engineered by the fae will be interesting to see.

 

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