Kushiel’s Scion readalong: week 3

This week it’s chapters 20-27. Questions by me. Here there be spoilers.

1. Maslin says that Imriel’s gift of Lombelon made the estate small by so easily discarding it. Eamonn says it was Maslin that made it small. Who do you think is right?

Maybe a little bit of both, but I want to agree totally with Eamonn. It’s one of those no one can make you feel bad without your consent sort of things. Of course, it doesn’t really work out so nicely for me in practice. For Maslin, I understand why the situation sucks. But for Imriel’s mom (both of them, in a way. Melisande plotted with Isidore, and Phedre brought them both down), the land would be his. (Of course, Isidore is responsible for his own actions.) It sucks to have to feel grateful to her son.

2. What do you think of Imriel’s oath to Sidonie? Do you believe him? Would you believe him were you in Sidonie’s position? When he makes this oath, Imriel is still fairly young and doesn’t have a lot of experience in politics. Do you think there’s anything that could change his mind?

I think Sidonie would be foolish if she were to totally believe him. To me, he seems genuine and guileless, but she doesn’t know that. And having more insight into Imriel’s mind and experience, I don’t think he will change his mind. But again, Sidonie doesn’t know that.

3. Things change between them during a hunt. What do you think?

I love Sidonie laughing at him. This is the first time (IIRC) that we see her not so guarded. I love how this is like his chance to be a hero like Joscelin, but it’s just a deer.

4. Imriel becomes the unwilling target or subject of potentially a treasonous plot. What do you think of Bertran’s reaction? Of Ysandre’s reaction and advice to Imriel?

I don’t think I blame Bertran for how he reacted. Like Sidonie, he doesn’t know all what’s going on with Imriel. And like Imriel, he has treason in his own family’s past that he doesn’t want any association with. I guess he’d be a better friend if it made him more empathetic… something like “inorite! Doesn’t it suck to be accused of treason.” But with Imriel so guarded, I don’t know. Maybe I’m less inclined to judge Bertran for failing to know his friend better and his own caution.

As for Ysandre, I thought it was kind of a sweet moment that Imriel realized she was afraid for him. Though Bariquel is a dick.

5. What do you think of Talorcan and Dorelei and the idea of the betrothals?

Seems pretty tidy. Almost too perfect.

6. Mavros takes Imriel to Valerian House and forces him to confront…less vanilla sex, if nothing else, and Imriel eventually gives in. What do you think of this? Was Mavros too pushy? Why did Imriel give Sephira her own signale?

I don’t know. Last week, we talked about the “hail Mary pass” of the picnic by the lake. Maybe this was partly Mavros tired of tip toeing around Imriel. Seems to have worked though?

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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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7 Responses to Kushiel’s Scion readalong: week 3

  1. @lynnsbooks says:

    I must admit I’ve not been as forgiving of Bertran! Am I terrible? I think I can understand him having a few niggling doubts about Imriel – everyone must have a little bit of that at the back of their mind – but I didn’t like the way he presented it to Ysandre – I thought it was all a bit dodgy.
    I like seeing this different sound of Sidonie – it makes me realise how very difficult a time she has really and I don’t think I ever really considered it. She must have to be constantly on her guard – what a sucky type of deal!
    Lynn 😀

    • emmawolf says:

      I don’t think you’re terrible at all! I think Bertran could have handled it better. He seemed a bit pompous to me throughout. I think he would have been a better friend if he had suggested that he and Imriel go to Ysandre together.

      I agree on your thoughts on Sidonie!

  2. tethyanbooks says:

    I wasn’t as forgiving of Bertran’s attitude :). I guess he doesn’t really know Imriel all that well though. I wonder if things would have been different if Imriel had spent more time with his d’Angeline court friends.

    For the Valerian House trip, though, I got the sense that Imriel wanted it to happen, which was not the case necessarily with the games at the lake.

    • emmawolf says:

      I’m kind of surprised that I’m the most forgiving of Bertran. Usually I’m pretty harsh (except for with Kazan…whatever, I was comparing him to the Mahrkagir…). He was how old at this time? I forgive a lot of stupid crap teenagers do.

      For Valarian, yeah. I think in both cases he both wanted it and didn’t want it, if that makes sense. Just here, the want won out.

  3. nrlymrtl says:

    While I can understand Maslin’s anger, I don’t think pointing it at Imriel is right… however, it is unlikely he will get a chance to sneer at Phedre or Melisande. So, Imriel it is.

    I agree – Sidonie can’t know that Imri is sincere in his oath. If she thinks about his past and his role models, then she will probably give him the benefit of a doubt. And I loved the deer scene, again, even tho this is like my 4th read thru or such.

    I’m still prickly about Bertran. He should know what it’s like to be looked at by some as treasoner’s spawn and I didn’t like how he misremembered certain facts of that incident (tho that could have been honest misremembering, or it might have been him exaggerating things in his own anger at the perceived situation).

    I was tired of tiptoeing around Imri so I expect Mavros was very tired of it.

    • emmawolf says:

      I like what you said about Bertran in your post about not being a real friend all along. I think that’s the vibe I had along (or my rereads mushed it into that), and so maybe I was just kind of “meh, this is who he is” about it. Allie (I think) said in her post (paraphrasing) that she was surprised they were friends to begin with maybe given Bertran’s desire to not let his name be sullied by accusations of treason and his past and Imriel’s reluctance to open up. And I think maybe that’s my Bertran attitude? They were a bad friend match, and this proved it? Maybe I expected it because my expectations were low? I don’t know. I don’t want to be defending him. Especially since I’m looking at my stances through the rereads, and I’m concerned that I judge the female characters more harshly than the male. Examples: I don’t get Phedre’s “but Melisande is so beautiful!” At least, I didn’t in Kushiel’s Chosen. I didn’t like Ysandre’s punishment to Phedre. I thought Nicola’s spy sex was weird. Whereas I wasn’t so harsh with Kazan (because I was comparing him to the Mahrkagir!!!!), the priests of Ahura Mazda, and here with Bertran I’m like “meh.” But I was much less forgiving to the Mahrkagir than Phedre was. (Same with a few more later.) I say Phedre’s snobby (but not rude about it), but I’ll also say Imriel’s emo.

      • nrlymrtl says:

        This is why I love read alongs – I get so much more out of the books and I also see where I let things slide or I judge another character too harshly, and that shows me a piece of myself. For example, I really don’t like Bertran’s misrepresentation of events (because friends are suppose to be honest if not always true) and yet I can be more forgiving of Kazan because he was honest with Phedre about his desire for sex and what he was willing to do (not send the messenger ship any time soon) to get it. So, I think it’s OK that you are noticing how you judge some characters more harshly than others. And Carey is awesome for building such characters that allow us to look a bit deeper into ourselves.

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