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.
--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!