Kushiel’s Chosen readalong: week 6

Time for week 6 discussion of Kushiel’s Chosen! Questions from Lynn.

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 liked the reunion between Kazan and his mother, that the thetalos may have helped Kazan to forgive as well as be forgiven. I do kind of wonder a bit what was keeping Njesa from Dobrek. Was it more than her guilt?

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

Why not both?! It’s very Trojan Horse of them. Only probably much less comfortable.

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.

!!! I loved how the Yeshuites had prepared the tent for them! Before it’d been said that Joscelin would stand at the crossroads and have to choose over and over again. But here I think we see him making a permanent choice, even if he knows it will hurt him. Joscelin may have guessed a bit about what Phedre had to do to get Kazan’s aid, but I love how unjealous we see Joscelin here. I loved hearing Joscelin’s, Ti Philippe’s, and the Yeshuite’s story of how they found Phedre and what happened on La Dolorosa.

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.

Hmm…funny you should ask…I think I was expecting them to go to the balcony and watch things unfold from above, then, at an appropriate time, point the finger at Melisande and force her to unveil herself and hope that the ensuing chaos will foil the assassination attempt or at least cause them to lose the element of surprise, and Ysandre will be escorted to safety.

Additional thoughts:

I loved everything on Kriti, the politics and the personalities. It seemed a bit more lighthearted considering all the heavy stuff Phedre had been through. And I think that (and the visit with the Ban of Illyria) was an important reminder to Phedre and the reader of how insular Terre d’Ange had been and the risk others are willing to take or not take for a nation who had not proved itself to be so willing to provide aid.

edit: also, one more thing that really bothers me. She talks about learning how to throw dice. She says she “became a fair hand at it, for it requires certain deftness of wrist, not unlike some of Naamah’s arts.” Ok, so here all the while I thought throwing dice was about what numbers came up when the dice landed, not how they were thrown or potentially even where they landed, so I’m calling bullshit. And she’s like this a lot, when she talks about taking off someone’s shirt like there’s a particular art to it that she had to practice. That just sounds ridiculous. There are too many simple movements in life that she describes as “oh, we had to learn how to do this in the Night Court.” I don’t think she would have had time, in the what 6 years she was there, to learn or relearn so many movements that she says are art. The dice was is a particularly egregious example because how you throw the dice does not effect on what number it lands.

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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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9 Responses to Kushiel’s Chosen readalong: week 6

  1. lynnsbooks says:

    Haha – yes, very Trojan horse. Glad that somebody else spotted that similarity! I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that chest!
    Lynn 😀

    • emmawolf says:

      One of the things that I like about the series is the alternate history angle and that sometimes we get a shared history (not sure if that makes sense). For example, they would talk about the Tiberian empire and that would be Rome… That’s a pretty bad or broad example. Anyway, I’m almost surprised they didn’t mention the horse of Ephesus or something. I guess she didn’t think the trunk was roomy enough to compare it to.

  2. tethyanbooks says:

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m wondering what the exact rules of the blood curse were. If he went home he would die, but would contact with the curse-giver also kill him? If so, that would explain why she was so certain that she’d lost both her sons after the curse.

    • emmawolf says:

      I had a lot of questions about the blood curse. Like, how much of it was from mom’s words and how much was from the act of killing Daroslav (does that make sense)? If mom had not been bitter, would he still have something like the curse? Or maybe she thought the curse killed him whether or not he returned? (I’m looking back in the book, and no, I don’t think so. She seems to know he was with Marjopi.) When Kazan describes the curse, he says “no more to have a home, no more to go to Epidauro.” So home can mean many things. We know he made a home for himself on Dobrek, so it’s not like the curse made him a wandering pirate. But I’m thinking you’re right and it means something like he can’t return to his family and his family can’t return to him.

      • tethyanbooks says:

        I was thinking maybe it had to have both elements– the death and then the blame from a relative of the deceased? He seemed to imply that she had been the origin of the curse, so maybe he would not have been cursed otherwise.

        Now that I’m thinking about it, it sounded like his mom sent Marjopi to take care of him. If that’s the case, then maybe it means she would have gone to him herself if it wouldn’t have killed him? I agree that your definition of not having a home makes sense with what we’ve seen so far.

  3. nrlymrtl says:

    I too wondered what kept Njesa from contacting her son in some form. He’s a famous pirate so it’s not like he couldn’t be found….

    It was great to hear from Joscelin and his friends about how they found La Dolorosa and made their attack. We see everything from Phedre’s side so it was cool to hear how that came about.

    And yes, now that Joscelin has made his choice, I think he can clearly see that Phedre chose him a long time ago and there is no need for jealousy. Hooray!

    Very true! Terre D’Ange has been insular for a while (hence the anti-Alba bits we catch glimpses of here and there). Phedre is seeing more of how Terre D’Ange’s past stance has left her without aid in certain parts of the world. Knowing Phedre, that will change.

    Hmmm….. Well, if the dice were weighted, I would say there would be some art in the tossing to get what you wanted. I haven’t done many dice games, but my man has so I should ask him on this. Concerning other movements and simple charms, like removing clothing – I have to agree with Phedre on this one. Learning to be graceful in all movements, especially when doing those movements to or with a client, is a skill. It makes me think of Japanese tea ceremonies and the delicacy of deftly pouring tea, or even walking the Hollywood red carpet with poise, etc. Such charms and grace take practice and skill.

    • emmawolf says:

      Yeah, I wondered if the dice weren’t weighted too. But wouldn’t that be cheating? If you ask Man, please report back. Also, I remember as a teenager I read Christopher Pike’s Last Vampire series and the main character there (a vampire) learned how to toss the dice in a particular way to get them to land the way she wanted. But she had to start with them that way in her hand. Like she could throw them a certain way with enough force so that they spin the right amount of times. But I didn’t get that vibe from Phedre here. Just that she wanted to show off that she’s good at giving handjobs.

      I see your point about the Japanese tea ceremonies. I just think it’s SO MUCH here! Not just I learned to be graceful and this skill is useful in this setting (like how giving handjobs helps you throw dice). But that each particular movement for such a vast array of things. I feel like she uses this explanation a lot of times (I think walking down halls quietly and sitting patiently were other times she referred to her training). I don’t know. Maybe my complaint’s with Carey that it’s over used. It makes me wonder, if she learned all this in Cereus, how much longer does training take in Camellia where they have to be perfect? I don’t know. Maybe it also serves to differentiate the houses. Maybe in Mandrake they don’t learn so much about the perfect art of taking off a shirt. Maybe if she had been raised in Camellia I’d be less annoyed by it.

      I think maybe Njesa was embarrassed? It’s hard to admit to being wrong. Or maybe the terms of the curse also prevented her from contacting him?

      • nrlymrtl says:

        Someone else also commented that we don’t know how these types of blood curses work and perhaps there was something preventing Njesa from contacting Kazan or even removing the curse.

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