Kushiel’s Chosen Readthrough: Week Two

I am catching up! If I read Week Three by the end of the week, I’ll be the same as everyone else. Once again questions were hosted by Imyril at One More, linking to all the answers I’m looking forwards to reading.

Marmion Shahrizai has a sudden fall from grace this week. What’s your take on how he handled Persia’s treason – and on how Ysandre handles him? Do you feel sorry for him? Do you think we’ll see him again?

I had a compliment last week for my empathy for Joscelin and Phedre. Let me erase that by saying Marmion is a twitchy weirdo and who cares what happens to him?

Don’t give me that look!

I can’t say I think he handled it particularly well, although I suppose my thinking would be a little sketchy in that situation too. Best thing for survival would be to go into hiding, or turn coat again and offer to help Melisande. Best thing for taking down Melisande is exposing the conspiracy to someone who can help and ensuring Persia is actually questioned. An interesting conspiracy thought is that maybe the men-at-arms who burned down Persia’s house really were in fact in Melisande’s employ, and saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. But, whatever has happened, I suppose I feel sorry for am, but not as much as I would if I liked him.

As for Ysandre… well, Barquiel put her in a real pickle, and it’s difficult to argue with the legality or expediency of her actions. The morality of them? She could have done more to ensure Marmion’s sentence of exile doesn’t become one of death, as seems likely, but I’m not sure she’s done anything that wrong by Terre D’Ange’s standards. By mine? I can’t say I really know.

What do you make of Nicola L’Envers y Aragon? Do you trust her? Do you think she’s right in her assessment of Barquiel L’Envers?

I would go to war for Nicola L’Envers y Aragon.

Of course, that’s said with a bit of foreknowledge. But re-reading has confirmed my memories. She’s witty, entertaining, shrewd, good-hearted, the Grainne of this book. So yes, I trust her. I probably shouldn’t answer the last question but, at this point, I’m not sure Barquiel’s bogeyman status makes sense. Follow the money, as Vimes’ old sergeant once said: there’s some folks who maybe have something to gain from supporting Melisande over Ysandre, but Barquiel is not one of them. Phèdre is not being the smartest bear in the woods here to my mind.

Phèdre returns to the Night Court as a patron, seeking help to understand her dreams. How have your impressions of the Night Court evolved since we first met Phèdre in Cereus House?

I suppose they must have, although in a way I struggle to put it into words given how long ago I first read this series.

I think the extent to which the Night Court has a dark side, and the extent to which this is a big organisation offering many different things, have been made very clear.

Ah! I did think of a good answer on this last night. My impression of the Night Court is it’s a place where people are taught to do exceptional things and in doing so think of themselves as exceptional. Most of its denizens seem to like this and find great pride in it, yet it is clear that these incredibly high standards creates casualties and that these people aren’t the Night Court’s greatest concern. That’s my impression of the Night Court – although arguably it hasn’t evolved much since young Phèdre. Carey has done more to reinforce initial impressions than change them.

Much has been made of Joscelin standing at a crossroads. Did any of his choices this week surprise you? Any thoughts on what roads he may walk down – and where they may lead him?

Hmm. Am I surprised by the romantic lead being a big ball of suppressed angst, sudden badassness, and ultimately unbreakable loyalty?

Do ursine creatures defecate in arboreal areas?

On the road again… Phèdre discovers she has friends in unexpected places and allies in every port. What was your gut reaction to the confrontation with the Unforgiven? Any predictions for what may await in La Serenissima?

The Unforgiven moment was very cool; bringing a closure/evolution to prior plot threads while deepening the sense of Terre D’Ange, and Phèdre’s character.

…and as always, share your musings on other matters that caught your attention!

The pacing of this book really ramps up here and it’s a lot more enjoyable for it.

My patience with Phèdre and Joscelin is waning. It’s partly how much more obvious their perverse pleasure in being a little childish if they can’t have what they want is in this section, but also partly me. There is absolutely nothing on this earth that I want to hear about this many times.

Also just looking at their seafood feast makes me hungry.

That’s it, see you soon for Week Three.

8 thoughts on “Kushiel’s Chosen Readthrough: Week Two

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