I’m superexcited to be participating in an online readalong of Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey. Because I’m already a bit ahead and not sure how this group is working their discussion, I’m going to post some of my prereading/week one/wherever I am in the book thoughts here (warning, there are spoilers for the entire series here).
This is my least favorite of the books in Kushiel’s Legacy. Because of that, I’m happy to be in this group. I want to experience it with people who love it, or at least like it more than I do. I like Phedre much less than I like Imriel. I don’t like how she can be such a snob, thinking she is better than anyone who isn’t D’Angeline. If I’m being charitable, I can say that she is shaped by her experiences with the Skaldi. But her opinion of them carries over to everyone, and I feel like it’s especially obvious when she’s dealing with La Serenissima.
Also, on a more personal note, this book deals probably the most with the Yeshuite population, which are the Kushiel’s Legacy-world Jews. I’m a self-hating Jew. As such, I find these parts to be either boring or annoying. Like when Phedre greets people with “Baruch atah adoni.” Yeah, Jews don’t do that, and it sounds really freaking weird that you want me to pretend that they do. I cannot suspend my disbelief for that.
I’m also half-Jewish, and I think as such, I really like or get Severio Stregazza (one quarter D’Angeline and three quarters La Serenissiman). He has a lot of anger towards D’Angelines for their snobbery and how he’s made to feel inferior for his mixed heritage. Much like how I hate it when people (usually Jews) refer to Jews as “the chosen people” (because it makes them sound like they think they are better than everyone else) or when they ask me which parent is Jewish. Like they want to find out if I’m “really” Jewish. So, upon rereading Phedre’s assignation with him, it was something that really spoke to me. Not saying that I want to dress like a medieval Catholic nun and have some Jew boy bow down to me and appease me, but I get where that anger’s coming from and how he needed to make peace with his two sides. But during this reread, it did make me think of Eammon mac Grainne. I don’t remember him having that anger. Maybe because Eiran and Alban society were more accepting than La Serenissiman in some ways and because D’Angelines were more accepting of Eirans and Albans.