Sunday, January 24, 2016

Read-Along: Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey, Part 4

Welcome to week four of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Scion.  This week covers chapters 28-36, and Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow has provided the discussion questions.  If you’d like to get involved in this or any future read-alongs, check out our goodreads group.  Now let’s get to this week’s section, and beware of spoilers below.

1. The aftermath of Imriel's night at Valerian House takes a bit of a dark emotional turn... What did you think of what happens between him and Phedre? Did it surprise you at all?

My first reaction was that Imriel was throwing a melodramatic temper tantrum. Things seemed to be going well the morning afterward.  Mavros made sure Imriel got home safely, and he seemed to be mostly okay, except for the hangover.  Then there was that moment where he felt lust for his adopted mother.  I can understand that freaked him out, but he went a bit overboard with sawing his hair off, running around the city getting drunk, and starting fights.  He really put Gilot through a lot, and I’m impressed the guy was willing to go with him to Tiberium.

I don’t think that moment itself was really surprising, especially given that Phedre figured something like that would happen eventually.  I think he really just needed to calm down and to realize that he was not completely in control of the physical reactions of his teenage body.  I know that there is the mystical component going on here, but I still think that he, Joscelin and Phedre could have worked through the issue together. 

2. We go from this scene to Imriel's decision to leave Terre D'Ange and visit Tiberium, and he doesn't waste much time arranging the trip - though he does make time to say some goodbyes, and to confront Barquiel L'Envers. Any thoughts about this encounter - or his meeting with Sidonie?

Though I think he could have recovered from his post-Valerian moment at home, I don’t think it is a bad decision for him to go to University somewhere else for a while.  He was already feeling kind of locked-in, like there were no adventures in his life.  I think he needed to go somewhere outside of his parents’ shadow (both biological and adopted) to find himself.

Concerning the farewells, I’m beginning to think that Imriel needs to find his female equivalent of Joscelin soon, so that they can save him from dying of melodrama.  Even Mavros was exasperated at how challenging he was being, telling Sidonie to meet him in the place that he first smiled at her.  Then, he was awfully prickly towards Sidonie, though I think they eventually left on fairly good terms.  The confrontation with Barquiel seemed completely unnecessary, though it was not entirely Imriel’s fault. I’m glad Sidonie came around to cool things down.

3. Next stop is Tiberium, and Imriel quickly catches up with Eamonn! What do you think of the University setting, and Eamonn's taste for studying philosophy? Do you think it will help Imri in any way?

It was great to see Eamonn again! I am not really sure how useful their lessons will be.  It seems an unusual style of learning, to say the least.  Right now, I think I’m more interested in Imriel’s classmates than his classes.   

4. An old mystery deepens as Imriel searches for information on Anafiel Delaunay - and appears to find more than he bargained for... What did you make of Claudia Fulvia? 

Imriel is playing a dangerous game with her, but maybe he would not have found the guild of covertcy otherwise.  I suspect she hasn’t seen through his ‘disguise’ as Imriel de Montreve, or she might have guessed that pulling a knife on him was not a particularly good idea.  I’m glad neither of them seems to have been seriously hurt.  I don’t think Imriel’s classmate is going to be very happy if he finds out about Imriel having a tryst with his sister.

On another note, I felt like his night with Claudia was also somewhat BDSM (specifically, mild DS).  It seems like the Shahrizai family tends to focus more on the SM part, but I feel like this is still in the category of ‘darker desires’ that Imriel has been struggling with.  In this case, though, Imriel was playing the role of the submissive.  I’m not sure Imriel even noticed, but maybe it could help him to understand a bit about himself if he does.

Other Stuff:

--I felt so bad for Alais, now that we know she’s going to Alba all alone.  I’m sure she’ll find many friends there, but I can’t imagine how it must have felt when she learned Imriel wasn’t going with her.

--Imriel’s dedication to being a poor scholar is impressive.  Those quarters sound much worse than the dorms I remember living in during my university years!

--I am really curious about Imriel’s ‘haunted’ classmate.  I’m suspecting they’re going to have a falling out eventually, over Claudia, but I would like to learn more about him.

--Imriel may be in a more dangerous situation than he realizes.  It kind of sounds like there might be changes soon in the Tiberian government, and it seems like universities tend to get drawn into causes like that.

--Finally, we’re getting somewhere with the mystery of Anafiel Delaunay! I hope we learn more!


  1. "I am not really sure how useful their lessons will be. It seems an unusual style of learning, to say the least."

    Yeah, I'm with Imriel and Gilot laughing at him more so than Eamonn all enraptured. With the pigeons, at least. Other than that, he reminds me of professors I had in college.

    1. The pigeon scene was a really funny way for Imriel to meet his new professor! I don't think I ever had any professors like him, but I've also never studied philosophy. I'm really not sure what to make of him.

  2. I didn't mind Imri cutting his hair - it's a healthy way to blow off steam or work through issues. Certainly is healthier than going clubbing all night looking to start a fight and having to worry about alcohol poisoning (good thing he puked a lot there at the end).

    One of my good friends really enjoyed the first trilogy, but not so much the second trilogy and he said it was because of all the drama (and most of it rightly so) over Imri figuring out his sexuality. I think this section shows that off really well and I am looking forward to moving on from it.

    I think the sex with Claudia is good for Imri too as she is an older woman and pretty much in control of things in the bedchamber. I also think it lets Imri be free of making all those tough decisions about sex that he's been struggling with lately.

    Somehow, even knowing Imri grew up in a monastery and traveled long and far with Phedre and Joscelin, I still have trouble picturing him taking turns dealing with the chamber pot regularly. So glad Gilot found a housecleaner.

    1. Yeah, I guess the hair-cutting was pretty harmless. I was mostly reacting to how overdramatic he was being :). It's a good thing Gilot and Joscelin were there to make sure he made it through the drinking and starting fights safely.

      I can see that argument, since the last several weeks have involved Imriel struggling with some aspect or other of his sexuality. It's kind of less of an adventure than Phedre's trilogy in that way (at least so far).

  3. I definitely think Imri is overdramatic about many things but I guess that's his age and I think it's even recognised in the book that he's moody. I mean, he's been through a lot and has much to cope with so it's understandable to an extent. I like your point though. The thing is that's just Imri's nature I guess and how he deals with things.
    I think finding his equivalent of Joscelin would be a good thing for Imri.
    I did feel sorry for Alais - I wonder if her decision would have been different or at least taken a little longer if she hadn't though Imri would be joining her?
    Lynn :D

    1. Yeah, he definitely has reasons for being overdramatic, but it still makes me roll my eyes sometimes :). I wonder that about Alais. It would have been better if she had waited a little longer to talk it out with Imriel beforehand, but I can understand how she'd assume he would also agree.