Kushiel’s Avatar readalong: week 4

Time for week 4 of Kushiel’s Avatar. Phew, what a week. Shit got real. Questions by Susan.

1) What do you think of Phedre’s dealings with Naamah, Elua, and Kushiel in this section?

The gods use their servants harshly. As an anguissette, Phedre’s role is to restore balance in the world. Up until this part of the book, I thought she was the balance to Melisande. But after this, I think her purpose is to defeat the Mahrkagir. I don’t think Phedre would have gone into Drujan for anyone other than Melisande (maybe for Joscelin, but he wouldn’t have asked). Thus I don’t think Imriel was chosen randomly and it wasn’t punishment for Melisande.

2) We have met the Mahrkagir. Are we dealing with true madness? Does he still know right from wrong?

I don’t think knowing right from wrong is the only definition of insanity, but it’s one of the ones for establishing criminal responsibility. Yes, he knows right from wrong. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t understand what ill thoughts, ill words, and ill deeds means.

3) The zenana is full of interesting new characters. Who has caught your interest so far? What do you think of Phedre’s first encounters with Imriel?

Kaneka!! I just love her. I also love Phedre being gentle to Erich. And Phedre’s first encounter with Imriel is awesome. Probably not what Phedre was expecting. I love Imriel and his moxie.

4) Phedre has her first night with the Mahrkagir. Thoughts?

I can’t even.

5) Who do you think is having a more difficult time, Joscelin or Phedre, and why?



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 Avatar readalong: week 4

  1. @lynnsbooks says:

    Haha – I love your answers. ‘I can’t even’!
    I definitely agree about Imriel not being chosen at random. It feels like this is all working up to something much bigger and that the whole abduction and everything else is like the tip of the iceberg.
    Lynn 😀

    • emmawolf says:

      Thanks. This was a hard portion to read and think about. For me, it was bad because I knew it was coming. I had to read quickly then pass this part to get to the less bad bits.

  2. tethyanbooks says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who had a hard time reading this part. I’m with you on the answer to #2, he must still understand right and wrong, because he is consciously choosing the wrong.

  3. nrlymrtl says:

    Yep. I think Phedre’s gods put in motion events to get Phedre to Darsanga to (hopefully) bring about some justice. This is way bigger than Melisande or Imriel, though those are the players that the gods needed to get Phedre’s attention.

    Good point about the difference of insanity versus criminal responsibility. I think sanity/insanity is pretty complex while criminal responsibility is easier to define in most cases.

    I also like that Phedre is gentle with Erich, especially with singing him the hearth songs of Skaldia.

    • emmawolf says:

      Hmm…as much as I think the legal definition sucks, I think you’re right that it’s easier to define, so that might be (in part) why we have it.

      I love Phedre and Erich. It’s sad and beautiful.

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