Again, sorry for the lateness of the questions.
1. We see yet another attempt on Imriel’s life. Any new thoughts?
Nothing new. This one seems to highlight Joscelin’s injury even more. And let us know that Valere’s reach (and the reach of L’Enverses) goes far.
2. Imriel pulls the old switch-a-roo and ends up with Joscelin, Phedre, and Kaneka on their way to Iskandria. Phedre decides to press on rather than turn back. What do you think of her course of action? What do you think of Imriel’s trick? Some seem to be reminded a bit too much of Melisande’s escape from Troyes-le-Mont. What do you think? What do you think of Imriel’s rationale that he is in Hyacinthe’s debt?
I think Phedre and Joscelin might be making a tad too much about Imriel’s methods–using a body double, so to speak–and how they paralleled Melisande’s. There are probably only so many ways to sneak out of a place.
I love how they are shaping into a family. I don’t think I really expected Imriel to just go with Amaury (is he not listed in the Dramatis Personae in the beginning of the book? I was looking there for the spelling, because I’m a terrible speller, and I can’t find him. Odd), who he barely knows and doesn’t trust. Given, well, everything. Not so sure I totally agree with Imriel that he’s in Hyacinthe’s debt, but I love his sense of duty and honor. I love Imriel.
3. Phedre meets with Pharaoh again…and threatens to tell Ysandre that Pharaoh has been in touch or in league with Melisande should something happen to her or Imriel. What do you think of her move?
! I love the “well, in that case, I’ve sent a letter. Oh, and if you change your mind, I’ve sent another letter.” She plans for everything. I feel like it’s almost comedic. Or I’ve seen something like this parodied in a lot of movies.
4. Kaneka finds some healing with Wali, and Phedre finds her way back from the darkness of Darsanga. Thoughts?
I hate fish. Like really, really hate fish. The smell makes me vomit. So the scene of Phedre and Joscelin always has that in the back of my mind.
Other than that, <3. I love how Phedre describes Kaneka as retaking ownership of her body. I love how, with Phedre and Joscelin, Imriel helped bring them together again. They are becoming family.
I think one of the reasons why I love this book is because it’s about rekindling an old romance. In a lot of romances, it ends with the lovers getting together and living happily ever after. But that’s not reality. I like how this book shows that we have to work on our romances always and we can’t take our partners for granted.
5. Phedre et al. journey down the Nahar, through the desert and into Jebe Barkal and Saba. What do you think of these new places and the new characters we meet?
Something that struck me during this reread was that Kaneka addresses Queen Zanadakhete the same way Phedre addressed Kaneka–Fedabin. I thought that was interesting and wonder what it means. It could mean that Jebe-Barkal is a more egalitarian society, even with monarchy, and that they don’t use status and titles so much. Or it could mean that Phedre showed Kaneka a huge amount of respect. I hope it’s some combination of the two.
6. Phedre meets with the elders of Saba and is disappointed. Then she meets with some of the women. What do you think? Will they help her when the others didn’t?
It broke my heart a little to hear Phedre talk about the women fawning over Imriel and touching him.
As a Jew, the whole of Saba is hella interesting to me. Much more interesting than the Yeshuites in La Serenissima. The women holding their own counsel and (possibly) choosing to disregard the decision of the men kind of reminded me of the Golden Calf from Exodus 32. (Or Dogma, if you will.)
In Jewish teaching, the women did not hand over their gold to Aaron to make the golden calf. So, it’s not egalitarian, but under some interpretations of Judaism, women have more intuition or are closer to god, and the gold thing is an example of that. The women of Saba are a nod to this.
There is also the huge differences between Ethiopian Jews (from Saba in this book) and non-Ethiopian Jews (Yeshuites). In the books, there’s Yeshua, of course. But in real life, well, I don’t know a lot about them. They have different traditions and different teachings. The holiday Purim, for example. In non-Ethiopian communities, it is a happy day of celebrating because the Jews defeated Haman. But apparently in Ethiopian communities, it is a sad day because they thought Haman won and killed all the Jews. They thought that they were the last Jews alive.
Anyway, its just fascinating to me. And it makes me want to learn more about Ethiopian Jews and the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. And them in Islamic stories.