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 Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.7

Today is the seventh week in our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart.  Week seven is being hosted by Susan at Dab of Darkness.  The questions and answers for week No.7 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 55-63 are covered below:

1) What do you think of the over all connection between the Casseline Brotherhood and the Yeshuites? Are you happy with where the shaggy pony ended up?

Mmm, I must admit that I hadn’t really picked up on this when I read – other than the family were great for helping Phedre and Joscelin.  I liked the family, the way they interacted and the way they wanted to do even more than they already had.  Clearly the connection is strong and respectful and, yes, I loved that the pony found a good home.  It made me smile.

2) Phedre & Hyacinthe have a happy reunion. What do you make of Joscelin’s reaction? Do you miss Hyacinthe’s mother?

Well, I think Joscelin still doesn’t know what to think about everything if I’m being honest.  He clearly wants to be with Phedre and I suppose as a reader it looks obvious the way they feel but you can’t blame them both for feeling conflicted.  There is bound to be a bit of jealousy don’t you think?  I do miss Hyacinthe’s mum – she only had a small role but she always made an impact.

3) Yet another happy reunion occurs with Thelesis de Mornay, the King’s Poet, who gets them in to see the Dauphine, Ysandre.  Do you think there was another way to seek her audience? Such an intense meeting! What stood out the most for you?

No, I think that the way they sought the audience was effective to be honest.  They were in a very precarious position and getting about, and, more to the point given what they’ve been through, trusting people, wasn’t easy. The thing that struck me the most with the meeting was that Ysandre really didn’t want to believe them – not because she ‘didn’t want to believe them’ but because she really didn’t want it to be true.  I think that really brought home the full impact of what is really going to happen – and it also underlined how young she is to have such a weight placed on her shoulders and yet she’s stepping up to it admirably.

4) Phedre makes a trip to the temple of Kushiel to make atonement. Do you agree that she had things to atone for?

To be honest – no, I don’t think she had anything to atone for.  I can understand that she almost feels guilt in a sense – but she is what she is.  Maybe she still hasn’t completely come to terms with her true self yet?  I think that the way she behaved in captivity helped to save both her and Joscelin.  she never posed a threat.  She appeared meek and subservient and in that way she was allowed much more freedom.

5) After King Ganelon’s death, at the hunting lodge we learn some more politics. What stood out for you? We learned more about the Picti and the prophesy. Should the fate of Terre D’Ange be resting, even partially, on the validity of a prophesy of love and union?

Maybe I’m a bit soft but i actually liked this aspect of the story a lot. it has a feeling of hope somehow.  Whether it will pan out remains to be seen, and, yes, it feels a little like skating on thin ice, but it’s one of those feel good elements to a story.

6) The Casseline Prefect forbids Joscelin from serving Phedre as protector as she travels to the Pictish lands. Joscelin had to make a hard choice: did he make the right one?

Yes, he made the right choice.  He undertook to protect Phedre and they’ve been through so much together that I just can’t see him giving her up to somebody else’s protection now.  The only thing that did occur to me reading that scene was that to an extent I wished that Phedre had spoken up for Joscelin – by which I mean I wish that she had said he was important to her, or, if she was going to take the mission she would want him to accompany her.

7) Hyacinthe comes up with the plan to get them to the coast and meet with Royal Admiral Quintilius Rousse. Do you like the fake IDs? Do you think they will make it unscathed?

I love this part of the story with Hyacinthe becoming more involved.  I think he’s come up with a great idea, it’s something I absolutely didn’t see coming at all and so hopefully nobody else will!  I think they will encounter trouble along the way but that’s to be expected in a way.

8) Hyacinthe meets his grandfather, Manoj, for the first time. Happy? Sad? How do you feel about how his mother was cast out?

I felt so sorry for Hyacinthe’s mum for what happened – and also for Hyacinthe because let’s not forget that he was also affected and separated from his own people.  I really enjoyed seeing Hyacinthe being accepted during these scenes, but at the end of the day even though these are his people he’s never been a part of their lives and he has other loyalties now.  It did make me feel sad for her and had a bitter sweet feeling.

That’s it for me this week – looking forward to picking it back up tbh.  Sorry for the lateness and if this is a bit brief – I’ve been away all weekend but wanted to get this up.

Other participants:

Allie at Tethyan Books
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures (our host this week_
Lauren at Violin in a Void
Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Igret at Igret’s Corner
Michael at Nashville Book Worm
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Emma at EmmaMaree.com
Nancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & More
Kelly at Orange Pekoe Reviews
James at James T. Witherspoon
Susan at Dab of Darkness

Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 7

Welcome to week 7 of the Way of Kings readalong, this week being hosted by the fabulous Sue at Coffee, Cookies and Chilli Peppers who has come up with some excellent questions.  I must admit that this week’s instalment had some great revealing moments!  I actually could have just continued and read to the end and I did read an extra chapter (by mistake – don’t judge me!).

Anyway, okay, I admit it, you might be a little late to join the readalong at this point but, that being said, you’re still very welcome, we don’t beat latecomers with a big stick, no sirree!  If you can’t face up to the catch up but still want to read this – and remember No.2 is due out very soon with a great giveaway already announced (details here) – then I really do encourage you to read this book – it’s fantastic.  Really, I kid you not.

Enough chit chat!  Q&A (with plenty of spoilers contained within):

1. What did you think of the replacement for the delightful Lamaril, or rather, what did you make of his wife, who seems to do all his work? She assumes that chasm duty is the worst punishment that she can throw at the bridge crew, so were you surprised that Kaladin saw an opportunity in it so quickly?

What a storming bitch!  Actually, all the duties sound a little bit rank and I would be hard pressed to choose between this and latrine duty. Although, chasm duty does involve robbing dead and decaying bodies – which is really rather awful!  Both, duties just have so many levels of badness.  It doesn’t surprise me that Kaladin would think of a plan like this – he’s already made a number of escape attempts anyway.  I suppose the biggest surprise is that this is so large scale.

2. Please use this opportunity to list all the imaginative ways that you would like Roshone to suffer for forcing poor little Tien into the army. 😦

That was so horrible and unjust.  I couldn’t help thinking, no matter how wrong, that it would have been so much better if Kaladin’s father had just let him die!  Well, I think Kaladin should take him captive and then – TO THE PAIN:

Kaladin: To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles.  Then your hands at the wrists.  Next your nose.
Roshone: And then my tongue I suppose.
Kaladin: I wasn’t finished.  The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.
Roshone: And then my ears, I understand, let’s get on with it.
Kaladin: Wrong! Your ears you keep, and I’ll tell you why, so that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness    will be yours to cherish.  Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, “Dear God! What is that thing,” will echo in your perfect ears.  That is what to the pain means.  It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish    misery forever.
(I’ve changed the names in the above quote - in case you haven’t guessed which book it's from!)

Or maybe Rock could go and cook him some inventive food using plenty of spices and faecal matter!

Maybe Jasnah could turn him into a gigantic gemstone!

Enough.

3. Finally, somebody is asking questions about the inconstancy of the Parshendi artifacts and how Gavilar changed in the months leading up to his death. What do you make of the accounts that Shallan is reading? Also, what do you think about Shen, the Parshman added to the bridge crew?

To be honest I still don’t really understand what’s going on with the Parshendi.  They clearly showed themselves willingly to Gavilar – either they let him know too much about their culture, etc, than they ever intended and then thought it was too dangerous to let him live, or, they deliberately planned it all from the very beginning – why they would want to bring a war down upon themselves I really don’t know – the only thing I can think of is misdirection.  Keep everyone busy over on the chasm fields while planning and putting into effect some fiendish plot elsewhere.  So little is known about them and I seriously hope we’re going to find out more – can’t help thinking that Kaladins plans to escape through the chasms might bring us some more information about them – perhaps he’s going to discover their mysterious city.   Shen is going to be interesting to watch.  I’m not quite sure why all the Parshmen are so submissive and subservient – it’s almost like the difference between a wild horse and a tamed pony.  They seem to be very similar in some aspects but then so different in others.  It will be interesting to see what happens if Shen has to go on a bridge carrying mission.

4. Shallan has some seriously bizarre visions or hallucinations. Do you have any new ideas about the nature of the symbol-headed figures: are they good or evil? What about the alternative world and the beads: could that really have been the soul or essence of the goblet that she spoke to before it changed into blood?

Somehow, I don’t think the symbol headed figures are evil.  Even though Shallan was scared of them and they seemed to be following her I just wanted her to stop and try and find out if there was a message.  Now, I know that’s very easy for me to come across so blaze when I’m sat in the comfort of my living room but, they’re clearly around her all the time and they haven’t harmed her so far – maybe they can’t harm her.  I think they’re trying to give her a message in the same way that Kaladin and Dalinar seem to be receiving messages and visions.  It feels like the three of them have been chosen for something.  The voice she heard was strange – didn’t Dalinar (or was it Kaladin) hear exactly the same thing or have I just imagined that?  Maybe the symbol headed figures appear like that because it’s impossible to catch their true face for some reason – like, if an image is moving too fast for example?  Interesting point about the goblet and whether or not it has a soul – I’m trying to remember now, I’m sure that in Sanderson’s The Emperor’s Soul there was a similar principle used there??

5. Does Kaladin’s dream / vision seem similar to those that Dalinar has been having? He is called the ‘Child of Tanavast, Child of Honor’ and there is mention of an entity called Odium, who appears to be rather bad. Do you have any speculation about these two beings, how they fit into the world that we have seen so far and why the name Odium makes Syl hiss and fly off?

I got a different feel from Kaladin’s vision.  Dalinar’s clearest vision took him back into the past where he actually became an active party in the scene,  Kaladin’s almost felt as though he was being carried on the storm to look at future visions or see little glimpses.  I don’t really know why it felt like that to me and it’s probably totally wrong but at the time I just had a feeling that he was being carried into actual scenes that were taking part in the here and now or near future.  Child of Honor clearly seems to run along the lines of Kaladin becoming a hero doesn’t it!  Odium – the name sounds a little ominous doesn’t it?  Presumably some sort of entity who brings evil (not terribly perceptive of me!)

6. We have learnt some more about the events following Cenn’s chapter way back at the beginning of the book. Were you surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer almost singlehandedly? This still does not explain why he is a slave, but does it bring us closer to guessing?

I think I may have read on a chapter too far to be honest – mistakenly – so I won’t guess at this.  I wasn’t surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer because he’d already claimed to have done so and there was no reason to doubt him.  Little Kaladin crush developing perhaps? 

7. I think I made it quite clear last week that I did not trust Kabsal, so I am now feeling rather smug. However, I did not guess at the poison in the bread: did it surprise you as well? Can you see any way that Shallan can reconcile with Jasnah now that the theft has been revealed?

I really didn’t suspect Kabsal at all!  I literally just thought he was sweet on Shallan.  I was gobsmacked by the whole thing.  I’m not sure that Jasnah could trust Shallan again.  I wish that she’d given her at least a chance to explain and maybe to tell her some of the other odd things that had been happening – because I think they would be enlightening to Jasnah – but, I would probably have reacted in a similar way as Jasnah.  I never liked Shallan’s scheme.  In fact it put me off her as a character to be honest.  I’ve got over that a little bit now and I did feel sorry for her at the end of this section but I still think she behaved very badly to seek to work for someone, earn their trust and then take their most valued possession.  I still think that Shallan has a bigger part to play however – at least her gift seems to make me feel that way.

This week’s chapters were really gripping.  I highlighted a couple of points that I found curious:

During the weeping, this about Kaladin ‘He actually missed the high storms, with their rage and vitality.  These days were dreary, and he found it difficult to get anything productive done.  As if the lack of storms left him without strength’ – yet more fuel to the fire about Kaladin taking some form of power or energy from the storms, almost sounds like not only do they charge the spheres but they also give him energy – also Dalinar always had his visions during the storms.

‘During Kaladin’s vision ‘A man stood over two corpses.  His pale head shaved, his clothing white.  He looked up from his victims and almost seemed to see Kaladin’ – I think it was this sentence that made me think that Kaladin was looking at either current or future events in his vision rather than in his past – I don’t know why but I wondered if the vision was showing us Szeth who has started to kill the victims on his list – bit of a HUGE leap of imagination but….

  1. Dab of Darkness
  2. Tethyan Books
  3. Lunar Rainbows
  4. Musings on Fantasia
  5. Over the Effing Rainbow
  6. There Were Books Involved
  7. Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
  8. The Caffeinated Life
  9. On Starships and Dragonwings
  10. Doing Dewey Decimal
  11. Book Vulture
  12. Novel Reflection