Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.6

Welcome to week six of our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series.  Kushiel’s Avatar is the third in the series and I am loving it so far.  All free to join in, if you’ve already read this then please join in with the comments.  The full schedule is here and this week Emily at Emma Wolf is our lovely host.  Before reading further: a word of warning – there will be spoilers lurking below.

So, moving swiftly on:

Chapters 62-73

1. We see yet another attempt on Imriel’s life. Any new thoughts?

Well, it appears to be Valere doesn’t it?  My thoughts about it are that seeing the amount of attempts on Imriel’s life in such a short span, and not even subtle attempts, it seems like he’s never going to live an untroubled life!  He’s going to long for his days tending to goats in complete oblivion.

2. Imriel pulls the old switch-a-roo and ends up with Joscelin, Phedre, and Kaneka on their way to Iskandria. Phedre decides to press on rather than turn back. What do you think of her course of action? What do you think of Imriel’s trick? Some seem to be reminded a bit too much of Melisande’s escape from Troyes-le-Mont. What do you think? What do you think of Imriel’s rationale that he is in Hyacinthe’s debt?

In a way it’s not a surprise that Phedre continued on with her journey.  At the back of their minds both Phedre and Joscelin have grown very attached to Imriel and the feeling is returned.  They have a feel of a family unit and more than that they have a level of trust established.  Understandably, Imriel thinks that only Phedre and Joscelin can protect him and I suspect that they’re beginning to entertain similar thoughts.  I think Joscelin made a good point that Imriel’s switch-a-roo ploy may come back to haunt him because people will see Melisande in that simple manoeuvre – I really don’t blame him though and personally I think he would have come to harm on board that ship.  I can also understand Imriel’s thinking, even though it conveniently allows them to continue on with Joscelin and Phedre, that without Hyacinthe Phedre’s search would have foundered.

3. Phedre meets with Pharaoh again…and threatens to tell Ysandre that Pharaoh has been in touch or in league with Melisande should something happen to her or Imriel. What do you think of her move?

Well, she has guts that’s for sure.  At the end of the day she is simply trying to take precautions in whatever way she feels is best – and you can’t really blame her.

4. Kaneka finds some healing with Wali, and Phedre finds her way back from the darkness of Darsanga. Thoughts?

OMG – I had goosebumps.  That is all.  Okay, that is not all.  Phedre and Joscelin finally getting back in touch with each other after all they’ve been through – literally that was one of the most lovely scenes of the series so far.  I agree with Joscelin – he needs to go and catch more fist.  Now, that is all.  Go fish.

5. Phedre et al. journey down the Nahar, through the desert and into Jebe Barkal and Saba. What do you think of these new places and the new characters we meet?

Such an interesting journey.  Yet again Carey manages to bring scenes to life before your eyes.  Everywhere we go is easy to envisage and I just love the extra attention to detail – travelling across the desert you could almost feel the searing heat – I swear that my lips also felt cracked just reading those chapters.  More tea was needed.

6. Phedre meets with the elders of Saba and is disappointed. Then she meets with some of the women. What do you think? Will they help her when the others didn’t?

I think they will.  Hopefully I won’t be proved wrong!  These are the wise women after all – and two things must ye remember about the wise women – 1. they are women; and 2. they are wise!  if they don’t give up the info then henceforth they shall be known as the not-so-wise women and that’ll teach them a lesson!

The other participants:

  1. Susan at Dab of Darkness
  2. Allie at Tethyan Books
  3. Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
  4. Me at Lynn’s Book Blog
  5. Emily at Emma Wolf

Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.6

Today is week No.6 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Chosen.  I am hosting this week so naturally everything has gone a bit pear shaped!!  Anyway, the chapters this week were great!  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. We had a bit of a discussion about Kazan in the previous week’s questions, about his nature, double crossing, etc, and whether Phedre was right to save him.  What are your thoughts on Kazan now given these most recent additions.  Also, I think we should include his mother in that discussion – it was interesting to finally see her I thought.  And, in fact his whole homecoming.

I really enjoyed the change in Kazan this week.  I mean, he’s been through the cleansing – and let’s face it, he’s not a changed man, as Phedre pointed out – he’s simply going to continue as previously but now with a clean slate.  But I really liked that he confessed into having put Phedre into an impossible situation to force her hand into sleeping with him.  I also thought it was good that he recognised that they could have probably saved some trouble if they’d both been a bit more honest and I liked the fact that he recognised that Phedre had saved him more than once and he was now going to stand by her.  I thought his homecoming was very touching really and brought home how much his banishment had affected him.  I was also thinking about his mum and how she’d cursed him in anger and then probably regretted it very much because she then, in effect, lost both sons.  It was good to see that she was so happy to see him – I hope nothing happens to him and he gets to return home.

2. What did you think of the whole ‘tribute’ ship idea – is that your idea of a good plan or your worst nightmare??

I must admit I don’t think I’d like to spend all that time in that confined space – I probably wouldn’t be able to move by the time I was released.  The one thing that really occured to me was that if anything had happened to the ship, bad weather or potential sinking Phedre would have remained trapped in there because she’d be the last person on everyone’s minds.  Not my idea of fun to be honest but a good idea that put me a bit in mind of a Trojan horse.

3. Let’s just talk about the reunion with Joscelin and Phedre.  Oh my word!  More to the point the changes in both of them and how you think their relationship will now move forward.

This week was so touching – I practically had tears in my eyes.  The reunion with Phedre and Joscelin was so sweet.  And Ti-Phillipe as well.  I think that Phedre and Joscelin have been through such a lot together, they share such a lot of meaningful experiences but I think the experience of Phedre with the cleansing and Joscelin thinking that he’d lost Phedre forever has changed them both – and for the better really.  It’s sort of put things in perspective hasn’t it.  Joscelin was so annoyed with Phedre that he left her – probably safe in the knowledge that he could see her again anyway,  Being faced with the possibility that he couldn’t just walk back into her life was so much more final and finally made him see things differently (not to mention that he was probably feeling terribly guilty).  On the other hand, Phedre actually admitted that she’d treated him badly which I think was a big change because to be honest she doesn’t usually come over in that way.

4. Lastly, what do you think Phedre’s plan is – it’s in a temple, she spoke about making retribution in earlier chapters and yet her latest plan seems to have caused gasps of surprise.  What do you think we have in store.

I actually haven’t read further on so I really don’t know what to expect here.  I’m guessing that by the gasps it involves something a bit shocking and I was thinking as they were using the secret tunnels to appear in the temple that maybe there was going to be some pretense of being a ‘God’ maybe – you know, making a dramatic appearance to distract everyone.  But what do I know.  I have a strong suspicion that things will get a lot worse before they get better!

I’m excited to be oton the final chapters.  I think this has been a great read so far – I admit that I’ve missed Joscelin and I like it better when he steps back into the picture, but, I really do enjoy Carey’s writing and world building.  She pays such a lot of attention to detail.

Other participants:

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.6

Today is the sixth week in our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart.  Week five is being hosted by Grace at Books Without Any Pictures.  The questions and answers for week No.6 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 46-54 are covered below:

One of the questions from last week dealt with initial impressions of Waldemar Selig’s steading.  Now that we’ve finally met him, what are your thoughts about him?  Do you think he suspects that Phedre knows anything, and will he continue to play a role in the story?

I think he will definitely continue to play a role.  My thoughts about Waldemar – well, I think he’s nobody’s fool, I don’t think Pherdre will be entrancing him with her wiles, or, more to the point, I think he would have no hesitation in killing her or anybody else who gets in his way, In fact, although he might not be as polished and sophisticated he’s very much like Melisande – both ruthlessly ambitious and won’t hesitate to do whatever they need to do in pursuit of their own goals.

What did you think of the visit to Lodur?  Do you think it will impact how Phedre thinks of herself?

This was really interesting in fact I was totally intrigued by that visit and Lodur himself. Really quite fascinating.  His comment about Phedre being a weapon was insightful – a dart can be a weapon after all and if you think about the dart as a weapon is something where you have to be a bit more cunning and also be a little bit closer to your target – which kind of describes Phedre.  Maybe she doesn’t see herself as a weapon but she’s been trained by Delauney after all and he always had a game plan.

Phedre and Joscelin have both gone through some harrowing experiences in the past few chapters.  How do you think it will change them going forward?

They’ve spent a lot of time together and been through thick and thin – I think this will give them a very strong bond moving forward.  Their experiences are not something you can shrug off after all.  On top of that they’ve got a little bit past their ‘pride and prejudice’ to see each other in a better light.

If you were in Phedre or Joscelin’s place, would you have acted the same way in crafting your mastermind escape plan?  What are your thoughts on how it worked out?

I thought it was a good plan, especially considering the short notice Phedre had to come up with it.  It was definitely risky and I was tense reading it but it was good.  Hiding Joscelin in plain sight dressed as one of the Skaldic, nobody would be looking for it or expecting it – and the timing, I don’t think they would have found escape so easy with a full camp and especially under the close scrutiny of Waldemar.  So, yeah, I have to hand it to Phedre, it was risky but it paid off and even though making a get away during winter isn’t ideal it’s also tough on anybody trying to catch up with you.

We’re finally getting to observe a budding romance between Phedre and Joscelin.  How do you see this playing out?  What do you think of it?

Well, it was really very touching wasn’t it.  And then they sort of blew it off, or at least Joscelin did – I think it will take a little bit more time before either of them would be comfortable with any more.  Even Phedre admits it was more akin to a dream.

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