Monday, August 3, 2015

Read-Along: Kushiel's Chosen Part 1

The read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s series is continuing with Kushiel’s Chosen!  I’m a little late with this post, due entirely to airplanes and conferences.  Anyhow, the schedule is as follows:

Week 1: August 2, Chpts. 1-14, hosted by FaeStruck Review
Week 2: August 16, Chpts. 15-26, hosted by Books Without Any Pictures
Week 3: August 23, Chpts. 27-36, hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 4: August 30, Chpts. 37-49, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 5: September 6, Chpts. 50-61, hosted by Dab of Darkness
Week 6: September 13, Chpts. 62-72, hosted by Lynn's Book Blog
Week 7: September 20, Chpts. 73-END, Someone????

And you can join the fun at the goodreads group page.  Now to the questions, which include spoilers up through chapter 14.

1. The book opens with Phédre and her household happy and content at Montrève. Phédre is faced with the question of returning to the Service of Naamah. The sangoire cloak is the what pushes her decision. Do you agree with her choice? Do you believe that Phédre would have returned to her calling eventually, regardless of the cloak? 

I think there’s no way Phédre would have remained satisfied with her peaceful life at Montrève, sangoire cloak or no sangoire cloak.  She has been too much involved as a mover and shaker in the court of Terre d’Ange.  I don’t know how successful she will be as a spy this time, since people are unlikely to underestimate her, but I’m sure she will be right in the thick of things again.

2. With Phédre returning to the Service of Naamah, Joscelin is also forced to make his choice as well. Who do you think had the harder decision to make and why? 

In a way, I respect the difficulty of Joscelin’s decision more.  Sure, Phédre didn’t want to hurt Joscelin… except that she actually kind of did.  In a complicated way, she’s deriving pleasure from feeling guilty for hurting Joscelin.  I kind of feel like Joscelin dodged a bullet, if that kind of urge was going to become a part of their daily life regardless.  Still, choosing to follow her, he must feel like his place is uncertain.  He’s not a Cassiline and he’s not her lover (or at least not her only one), so he’s really going to have to think about what his future could hold.  

3. Phédre's return to court unveils how Queen Ysandre is faring in the absence of her husband Drustan. Politically, should she take a lover while he is away? 

I don’t think it would be a good idea in a personal sense, given that they are a love match.  I also don’t really understand how it would be a good idea politically.  Wouldn’t everything get a little messy if the Queen’s oldest child was illegitimate?  I would think the politically convenient time to have lovers would be after you have an heir.

4. Favrielle nó Eglantine designs Phédre's Midwinter costume. How do you feel about the way in which Phédre repays her? 

On the costume, I was a little confused of how the costume was going to work, because Favrielle said the story was little-known and not widely publicized. Not even Phédre knew it.  However, everyone Phédre talked to seemed to recognize the story when she mentioned it.  Maybe Favrielle underestimates the bookishness of the average courtier?  Also, I think that's the costume on the book cover.

On the payment, it was a really nice thing for her to do, though I don’t blame Favrielle for being suspicious.  At the same time, I don’t think Phédre’s motivations were especially pure.  From what I could tell, she wanted to show off that she was a good person (to Joscelin and to Favrielle), and she wanted to ‘win’ the conversation she’d had with Favrielle earlier.  Of course, the act matters more than whatever motivated it, and it was a very nice thing to do.

5. Joscelin is spending quite a bit of time with the Yeshuites. Is it the pain of Phédre returning to Service that prompts this or would the Cassiline's faith, pushed so far already, have led him there if Joscelin and Phédre were simply looking for the answer to breaking the geas on Hyacinthe? 

They’ve already commented that the Yeshuite faith and the Cassiline faith have certain similarities.  Since he’s been kicked out of the Cassilines, I think it makes sense that he would start looking into similar ways of life.  They’re trying to help Hyacinthe of course, but I think that conversion has to be a temptation for Joscelin, somewhere deep down.  I doubt he’ll leave Phédre in the end.

Other Things:

--This section addressed one of my questions from the previous book, which was why Terre d’Ange people used sex-related insults when they also seemed to respect the Night Court, culturally.  I understand now that the Night Court, and serving Naamah, is not ‘fashionable’ anymore, due to influences from more puritanical cultures.  Maybe Phédre is bringing sexy back? :D

--Also, I had assumed Joscelin was going to keep his vow of chastity, but it is clarified here that he and Phédre did continue to be lovers.

--Phédre is making me roll my eyes a bit at the beginning here.  She seriously remembers the Masters of the Strait thing as Hyacinthe taking over a fate that was meant for her?  I thought it was pretty clear that it was meant for him, and she was the one trying to take his place (to spare him). Phédre, not everything is about you. 

--That’s not to say I don’t want Hyacinthe to get free.  He’s a good guy and he deserves to not be trapped on an island forever. I hope they can at least visit him in this book.

--Also, it sounds like this is going to be the Italian book! Yay!  Severio seems kind of mean, though.  I’m very curious to see what is waiting for Phédre with him at the assignation.

--I liked how Phédre told off Marmion.  It’s also good to see that he’s pretty anti-Melisande.  Maybe he can be an ally, once he’s convinced of Phédre.


  1. Phedre does mention quite a few times how the mental/emotional anguish that now exists between her and Joscelin is rather sharp and sweet. I hope she doesn't become addicted to such a thing.

    Good point about folks at the ball recognizing Phedre's costume as Mara. Perhaps Favrielle's assistants quietly spread it around before the ball and some folks bothered to look up Mara's story?

    I think Phedre has some survivor's guilt over not being the one chosen to be stuck on that island. And, yes, I do want to pat her on the head every time she refers to the 'that fate' as being meant for her.

    1. Yeah, I'm certainly hoping she figures out how to stop feeling that little pleasure, for Joscelin's sake.

      That makes sense. Favrielle wanted Phedre to be noticed, so spreading the story around a little would help.

      I suspect that's probably the case, especially given that he's only the latest loved one that she has not (yet, at least) been able to help. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one having that kind of reaction, though!

  2. I love your insight on Phedre gaining pleasure from feeling guilty for hurting Joscelin. I also wondered too, um, how can she be a spy if everyone already knows she's a spy?

    I didn't like Servio the first time I read the book, but this time I really do (which makes me so happy to be part of this read along. This was exactly why I wanted to join--so I would like this book better). I think the upcoming assignation with him is why I kept reading this time and got ahead. The book felt like it was dragging before, and I worried that I wouldn't want to keep up.

    (I'm not sure if this is coming through using my wordpress ID, so, not to confuse you, this is Emma Wolf)

    1. It didn't seem like that was going to work, but I'm reading the next section right now and I'm pretty impressed with how she's playing it!

      Severio seemed really rude at the party, but very different after their assignation. I'm not sure what to make of him yet.

      Looks like it's coming through blogger right now, so I'll just remember you're Emma Wolf