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 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

Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey, Readalong week No.5

559172Today is week five of our readalong for Kushiel’s Scion.

If you’re interested in joining the readalong the details and other participants are below.  Feel free to join in with the comments and obviously, if you haven’t read this series but are intending to do so please be aware of spoilers – because they’re running amok below

This week I’m hosting.  Now, to the Q&A:

 

1. Firstly, what do you make of The Guild and why do you think Anafiel declined to join them.  Do you think Imriel should join them?

Well, I liked Anafiel and the fact that he declined to join the Guild makes me wonder whether Imriel’s getting involved in something that he shouldn’t.  The jury’s out for me with the Guild so far – I can’t see anything to be gained by Imriel for example.  And the whole thing with the student riots was a bit of an eye opener with Claudia telling Imriel to take care before she thought to tell her own brother.  I don’t know, I think Imriel wants to be part of something so badly that he maybe isn’t thinking about what’s actually the best thing.  The Guild, well, they obviously want to recruit people who are in a position to help them and certainly Imriel could do that.  And, they’re literally trying to seduce him into their fold.  So far, I can’t say I have an overwhelmingly good impression of them.

2. We have the philosophical debates – how do you think these are going to play a part in the story overall, if at all?

I like this aspect of the story.  It’s interesting to see the students, who all come from such different backgrounds, discussing things together.  I thought the discussion about war and the impacts that the Skaldi war had on them all was really interesting to read about.  Brigitta made an interesting point about the Skaldi just wanting to improve themselves, but it made me think of all our discussions during the Skaldi war – if you want to improve then you have to do it yourself, not just take what somebody else has achieved.  It was interesting to see Brigitta try to defend that stance.  I thought Eamonn was great during that discussion – in fact he’s really growing on me! I feel a book boyfriend in the making…

3. Claudia – what do you make of her.  Do you trust her?

I don’t really trust Claudi to be honest.  At the moment it feels like Imriel is very much in lust with her, and I admit I quite like this side of him, he feels like he’s developing, letting out some of his frustration, anger and becoming more comfortable.  Things are certainly changing very quickly for him at the moment.  I don’t know – this whole Guild is very dodgy and Claudia feels just like the tip of the iceberg.  I certainly wouldn’t turn my back on her – I don’t think any of her feelings for others run very deep.  She comes across as fickle tbh.

4. We have lots of possible attempts on Imri’s life, even going so far as to start a student riot – and his own attempts to bring these to a stop.  What do you make to all of it?

It’s very puzzling for me to be honest and I’m hoping that somebody else can shed some light on it all as the drama and attempts have certainly been stepped up!  It feels a little bit as though things are escalating quite quickly now, almost as though whoever is behind the attempts is becoming desperate – I’m not sure what’s behind that desperation, is it because Melisande is out and about?  It feels like things are reaching going to reach a head.

5. Two particular characters that I find intriguing are Canis and Piero.  What were your first impressions and how do they differ now?

Canis is very intriguing.  There feels like there’s a lot more to him than is currently being shared with us.  It seems a strange coincidence that his barrel found it’s way to being positioned directly outside their residence.  I can’t help wondering whether he’s keeping an eye on Imriel.  He’s either protecting him – and certainly somebody seems to be doing so, dispatching bodies with efficiency – or he’s spying on him.  I quite like him as a character so I’m hoping that he’s there to help Imri.  Piero – I don’t feel like we’re finding out as much about him as I would like to at the moment.  I enjoy his time with the students but Imri seems to skip a lot of class doesn’t he!  He took a chance on Imri and at the moment I don’t think Imri is quite repaying that.

That’s it for me this week.

Here is the current schedule:

Week 1: Prologue-chpt. 11, post on Sunday Jan 3rd, hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 2: Chpts. 12-19, Jan 10th, hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 3: Chpts. 20-27, Jan 17th, hosted by Emma Wolf
Week 4: Chpts. 28-36, Jan  24th, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 5: Chpts. 37-44, Jan 31st, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 6: Chpts. 45-52, Feb 7th, hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 7: Chpts. 53-60,  Feb 14th, hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 8: Chpt. 61-End, Feb 21st, hosted by Emma Wolf

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan at Dab of Darkness

Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.5

Today is week No.5 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Chosen.  This week our host is the lovely Susan over at Dab of Darkness.  As you would expect – spoilers lurk below – so beware.  All welcome, if you want to join the readalong or jump in with comments then please do so (here is the SCHEDULE).  This week’s questions and answers below:

1) This week we learn plenty more about Kazan Atrabiades and his personal demon, the kriavbhog. What do you think of this demon and his blood curse?

I was really fascinated at this aspect of the book – in fact I could have happily had a little bit more of that side of the story.  It was definitely creepy when Phedre actually saw it.

2) On the island of Dobrek, even Phedre has to admit she had some harsh pre-conceived notions about pirates in general and then Kazan specifically before she was brought to his home. How do you think this experience will affect Phedre going forward?

I think that Phedre can be judgemental at times, but, that being said I suppose we all have preconceived notions when it comes to pirates.  As it happens I was just as surprised as Phedre.  I thought they treated her, on the whole, very reasonably.  They cared for her wounds, gave her clothes and food.  I thought Kazan was a bit crafty the way he maneouvered Phedre but, again, at least he gave it a semblance of giving her a choice – which after all was better than the treatment she received at the hands of the Skaldi.

3) Nikanor’s ship returns and Phedre is once again off on the high seas. But, alas, she is not ransomed safely. Were you angry at Kazan for not telling Phedre who she was to ransomed to? Or angry at Phedre for not having told Kazan the whole of it in the first place?

I never saw that double cross coming at all so I was just as surprised as Phedre.  It would be easy to think harshly of Kazan under the circumstances but actually I think he made the trade in all fairness, I don’t believe he had any idea that Phedre would be under threat and it stands to reason that he would want his crew back safely.  He has no reason to put Phedre’s safe well being above that of his crew really and, only having half the story he had no reason to suspect anything of the sort anyway.

4) Nearly to Epidauro & safety, Phedre can see the kriavbhog is killing Kazan and orders the ship about into the storm. Was there really no other choice?

I don’t think there was another choice really.  I could be just incredibly short sighted but I don’t see how else the situation could have been resolved.  Well I suppose they could have stayed their course and Kazan would have died but that seems a bit of a sorry way to treat somebody who has actually just saved your life and made a mad dash to escape with you whilst losing a good deal of men and ships along the way.

5) Now in the land of Kriti, we meet Oeneus, Hierophant of the Temenos along with the Kore, Pasiphae.  What do you think of these two and the small amount of aid they offer Phedre and Kazan?

Well, they did offer to fix the ship up which is no small thing really.  I don’t really know what to make of this situation at the moment.  I think I need to read a little further.  I guess my first impression of the place is calmness and tranquility, it feels almost meditative.  I don’t know why I had that impression – like I say, I need to read on!

6) Kazan enters the thetalos to be cleansed of his blood guilt. Of course, Phedre is pricked by Kushiel to go comfort him as she might. There she faces her own guilty demons. Would you be concerned if you had to pass through the thetalos?

I feel sorry for her to be honest – she’s gone through a lot – but, more to the point a lot of people have been lost along the way.  Do I blame Phedre for those deaths – no, not at all.  You can’t use inaction as a defense really.  If Phedre had stayed holed up in her cosy mansion with Josceline – well, bad things would still have eventually reached her neck of the woods wouldn’t they?  Melisande has her plans after all and they will have far reaching effects.

Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
James at James T. Witherspoon
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan at Dab of Darkness

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

Today is the fifth week in our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart.  Week five is being hosted by Igret’s Corner.  The questions and answers for week No.5 are below.  If you haven’t read this book already be aware of spoilers in the following text.  If you have read and want to jump in with your own answers then please do so.  If you want to join in with the readalong then leave a comment – the details are here.

Chapters 37 – 45

1) In this section we see Melisande betraying Delaunay and Phedre. Did you see this coming? Why or why not? Also, what do you think Melisande’s highest loyalty is to?

Well, I never really trusted Melisande to be honest although I think her betrayal was still a shock.  More shocking for me was Delaunay and Alcuin’s deaths – in fact I still on a reread am shocked by that particular scene and I knew it was coming.  The first time I read this I was gobsmacked by their deaths – I really didn’t see it coming.  As to who Melisande is most loyal to – I can really say only herself!  I don’t think she’s a character that you could ever really trust because at the end of the day she’ll do exactly what she needs to do to suit her own needs first.  She’s a great character though – you have to admit.

2) We see Phedre sold into slavery by Melisande and D’Anglemort. How is slavery different than being a bond servant, how is it the same?

I’m struggling to find the best answer for this as the two do seem to be so similar. I think the biggest difference that I can come up with is that a bond servant does seem to be something more of a contract that a person can work towards becoming free of.  Okay, it might take a long time but there is a light at the end of the tunnel?  A slave – well, I suppose a slave could try and seek freedom or even try and accumulate money to try and buy their freedom but there’s no obligation on the person who owns the slave to let them do so?

3) Hedwig’s treatment of Phedre is not what Phedre expected. What does her behavior tell us about Skaldi women? 

I liked Hedwig and the way she treated Phedre.  I think the Skaldi women live in a harsh world and frankly a man’s world where they don’t really have a great deal of choice about a number of things but they do stand up for themselves and I like that.  Hedwig was determined that Phedre would be treated well and set the example for everyone else.  It’s not like anything was going to change the fact that Phedre had become Gunter’s property, or his actions, but at least she was treated with some decency.

4) Joslin initially hates Phedre for not attempting to run, yet ultimately chooses to stay with her. What does this say about Joscelin and his views of Cassiel? 

I was a bit surprised at the strength of feeling that Joscelin had for Phedre because frankly I think she was the more sensible of the two in the way she was behaving.  It’s not like they had a real chance of escaping at the time.  I think his views of Cassiel were solid at this point though as I think he was still doing what he thought was right.

5) Phedre says that Guntersville raid reminded her that she was with the enemy. Do you think that prior to the raid she had developed stokholm syndrom? What about life in the stedding made her complacent?

I don’t think Phedre developed Stokholm syndrome because I wouldn’t say she really liked Gunter – more she put up with what was going on, in fact she deeply resented the fact that she didn’t have a choice in becoming his sex slave and that really highlighted for me the difference with her former situation where she at least felt, in spite of being a bond servant, that she had a good measure of control.  She, and Joscelin, did become a little complacent, but I guess they had an end plan in sight and in the meantime they weren’t being mistreated.

6) Joscelin breaks his vows during the holmgang.  Do you think he should have or not? What do you think the repercussions will be?

I think it was something he needed to do in order to survive as I think his situation was becoming worse and the other warriors were starting to lower their opinion of him.  Plus, he was already in a bit of a tenuous situation because of all the female attention he was getting.  This way, he stood up for himself and in the bargain seemed to get rid of a member of the clan who didn’t seem to be very well liked.  It was a bit revealing that after the challenge everyone started drinking and laughing while the body of the other warrior was still growing cold on the ground – clearly no love lost there.

7) We see Waldemar Selig’s steading for the first time, what are your impressions of it?

It seems to be well organised and well controlled which does seem out of character for the Skaldic people.  It tells you something of this new leader that he’s able to control such a rowdy bunch of characters – not to mention keeping all the different clans together in one place and still maintaining some semblance of order.

Apologies for the late post everyone.

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