Time for week 3 of the Kushiel’s Avatar readalong. Questions by me.
1. If I recall correctly, this is the first book (and this is the first portion of the book) that takes us outside of (what is now) Europe and into (what is now) the Arab world. What are your thoughts?
Love! This book is my favorite of the first three, in part because of all the places Phedre goes and the open mind she keeps. I was (sort of) a Middle Eastern Studies major in college, so I just loved some of the descriptions here.
2. We see the Pharaoh laughing at Phedre, saying that if she had only trusted him, it would have saved them a lot of time. We saw this sort of thing play out before with Kazan and Bariquel. Do you think Phedre should be more trusting or do you think she is right to be so cautious?
I do think Phedre is less trusting generally than some other characters, but I think in this situation, she was right to be so cautious. With Kazan at least (his coercion aside), I think revealing more of the truth would have benefited her. He knew she was hiding something, and I think that could have at least played a part in why he didn’t tell her about the blockade…not that Phedre saw that coming. I guess I just mean I’m not sure why she wasn’t more forthright with him and I think it would have benefited her. As opposed to here, she doesn’t know Pharaoh and suspects him of buying Imriel. All she lost was a bit of time until they reached their understanding.
I don’t know. Maybe this is just me judging from hindsight.
I really liked how Phedre learned Pharaoh was communicating with Melisande–Phedre learning the language and overhearing Pharaoh give a description of Imriel. Language is interesting in this portion, I think. The ambassador who doesn’t speak the language, Phedre testing the servant in D’Angeline.
3. More of the story of Imriel and the two other kidnapped children unfold. What do you think now? Was Imriel chosen randomly? Is this the gods punishing Melisande or D’Angelines generally?
I’ve read the books before, so no comment. I want to know what you guys think.
4. More on Imriel: we haven’t met him yet, but we’ve heard a lot about him and how he acted in different situations. So far, what do you think of him?
Imriel is my favorite character in this series. I loved getting to know him through the children he grew up with in the previous section, but I also love hearing how he stabbed Fadil Chouma. I disagree with torture and the death penalty as legal means, but I can get behind fictional extrajudicial revenge. Imriel is a scion of Kushiel, so this was probably just punishment. (Like Princess Leia strangling Jabba.)
5. What are your thoughts on the skotophagotis? Superstition and coincidence or real power?
I remember being so disturbed by this when I first read them. I was wondering how Carey would write her way though this–someone who could just think the other person dead. (Like Darth Vader….I don’t know why I’m making all the Star Wars comparisons today. Usually the skotophagotis make me think of Death Eaters.)