Kushiel’s Chosen readalong: Week 1 (for real this time)

Ok, so now that I understand how this group works (I’m a bit of an idiot I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to post my answers on my own blog or wait until the host does and discuss there and got too excited to talk about the book generally), here is week one for real this time (I will not purposefully spoil the book or the series here, but since I read the whole series before, I may do so unintentionally. If someone could let me know if I do, that would be great):

Questions from Nancy at https://faestruck.wordpress.com/. For more on the readalong group: http://dabofdarkness.com/2015/08/02/kushiels-chosen-part-i/

1. The book opens with Phédre and her household happy and content at Montrève. Phédre is faced with the question of returning to the Service of Naamah. The sangoire cloak is the what pushes her decision. Do you agree with her choice? Do you believe that Phédre would have returned to her calling eventually, regardless of the cloak?

I don’t know. There is a way to serve Kushiel and not Naamah. Maybe she would have explored that. I think she loved Joscelin and didn’t want to hurt him, even if he didn’t want to hurt her.

2. With Phédre returning to the Service of Naamah, Joscelin is also forced to make his choice as well. Who do you think had the harder decision to make and why?

I don’t know! (Good questions!) Joscelin made his choice because he loved Phedre, and he chose to be hurt by her everyday. Phedre made her choice in spite of her love of Joscelin, and chose to hurt him everyday. I’d say that Joscelin had the harder choice because, when Phedre made hers, Joscelin wasn’t a consideration. (Yeah, she knew it would hurt him, but I guess his choice didn’t affect her choice. Does that make sense?)

3. Phédre’s return to court unveils how Queen Ysandre is faring in the absence of her husband Drustan. Politically, should she take a lover while he is away?

No. There is the matter of heirs. Also the culture between them is different enough that maybe they should avoid jealousy and misunderstanding for the first year of their marriage. But there’s probably no harm in flirting and potentially making political alliances that way until then.

4. Favrielle nó Eglantine designs Phédre’s Midwinter costume. How do you feel about the way in which Phédre repays her?

It’s awesomesauce. Of course, I get Favrielle’s reaction and think Phedre would have been foolish to expect much gratitude. But that Phedre did that to right a wrong was amazing.

5. Joscelin is spending quite a bit of time with the Yeshuites. Is it the pain of Phédre returning to Service that prompts this or would the Cassiline’s faith, pushed so far already, have led him there if Joscelin and Phédre were simply looking for the answer to breaking the geas on Hyacinthe?

I think it’s the pain Phedre caused. It reminded him of all his broken vows. I think he also wanted to feel special to someone. If he could not be Phedre’s special someone, he would try to be the Yeshuites.


About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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6 Responses to Kushiel’s Chosen readalong: Week 1 (for real this time)

  1. nrlymrtl says:

    I did the same thing on my first read along. No worries.

    Yeah, I think Joscelin had the harder choice too. Phedre
    s choice involves the pleasure of returning to Naamah’s service but also the hunt, the spying, & serving one’s country. Joscelin’s choice involves watching his beloved ‘soil’ her wings every day… and mostly this is because he still has a very rigid way of thinking on many things.

    Good comment about Joscelin wanting to be a special someone to someone or something.

  2. tethyanbooks says:

    I think there’s a way to serve Kushiel and not Naamah, but I don’t know if there is one that would keep Phedre satisfied. Her interests are kind of in the intersection between the two, and I don’t think Joscelin would ever be up for BDSM.

    I also saw Joscelin as having the harder choice. Phedre chose to do what she wanted to do, and Joscelin has to decide how to deal with his ideal situation (in Montreve) being vetoed.

    And I’m going to come back and read your other post once I’ve read a bit farther!

    • emmawolf says:

      re the other post: I’m not sure I spoil the rest of the series in the sense that I post Darth Vader is Luke’s father, but I mention things and people from the second trilogy. So if you want to avoid all spoilers, don’t read. If you don’t mind vague things that won’t make sense, go forth. I think I mainly talk about Servio and the assignation.

      I’m wondering more about anguissettes. We only know about three of them. I’m wondering if Iriel was satisfied in marriage and if it matters. (Though they say love as you wilt, we’re seeing that’s not entirely…complete? Ysandre is unlikely to take a lover due to politics. Nicola was placed in a political marriage.) I’m wondering if there would be any avenue for Phedre to serve Kushiel without upsetting, Joscelin. If the answer is no, that seems…I don’t know. At first I wrote unfair, but then I remembered that Joscelin broke his vows with Cassiel.

      • tethyanbooks says:

        I probably won’t be able to pick anything major up from vague references, thanks :).

        I guess ‘love as thou wilt’ is the ideal, but practical details tend to get in the way? I bet Ysandre would have married Drustan even if she didn’t love him, but then again it seems like no one would condemn her for taking a lover. (I think people were expecting it, weren’t they?)

        I got the impression that Iriel was in a 24/7 D/s marriage with a Kusheline, and it seems like that was what she wanted. I don’t think Phedre would be happy with that sort of marriage, though, because it seems to me like she prefers to keep her sexual encounters and her daily life separate.

        I’m feeling right now like the answer may be ‘no’, and that’s the insurmountable barrier between them. Joscelin was dedicated to his vows, but they went against his nature in some ways (for instance, he seems to prefer not being celibate). For Phedre, her calling seems to coincide with her nature, so that by ‘serving’ she’s not denying herself but expressing herself. I can’t see them working out as a couple unless one or the other goes through some dramatic internal change.

        • emmawolf says:

          In my head canon, Ysandre is an idealist and a romantic and would have fallen in love with Drustan (if she hadn’t already been in love with him) because she was supposed to marry him, if that makes any sense. Like she was so taken by the idea of destiny to be together to break the curse between the nations that it led to love.

          As for Iriel’s D/s marriage, yeah, me too.

          I need to stop now because I want to discuss the rest of the series with you!

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