Welcome to the final week of our read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Scion! This week’s discussion will cover from chapter 61 to the end of the book, and the questions are provided by Emily of Emma Wolf. Beware of spoilers for the entire book below! It’s been a lot of fun reading and discussing this book with Emily, Lisa, Lynn and Susan, and I’m looking forward to tackling the next book with them as well. If you’d like to join the next read-along, check out our goodreads group. We’re starting off with Kushiel’s Justice on March 20th, so there’s plenty of time to join!
1. Canis—did anyone come close to guessing his true identity or allegiance (to the extent to which we know of it)?
I certainly didn’t alone, but Lynn’s answers and the discussion in the past two weeks convinced me that he could be working with Melisande. I was hazy about whether or not she (and Canis) were in the Guild, but it seems like that’s the case. I wonder if Anafiel and Melisande were recruited at the same time, and she ultimately joined the Guild while he rejected membership. I was surprised by the idea of Melisande being in the Guild, since loyalty has never been one of her strong suits. I can’t help but suspect that she is really using the Guild for her own ends.
2. There are lots of returns and leave takings in this portion. What do you think? Does anything stand out or strike you?
I think that Carey seems to have a great fondness for long denouments. Imriel’s journey from Tiberium to Terre d’Ange was pretty peaceful (well, except for the storm). When he was staying in Marsilikos, it was a pretty amusing reminder of the differences in sexual mores between Terre d’Ange and Tiberium.
3. Lots of upcoming weddings (Lucius and Helena, Imriel and Dorelei, Alais and Talorcan) and the (potential) reunion of Brigitta and Eamonn. Any thoughts on these?
I don’t doubt for a second that Eamonn will find Brigitta and they’ll be together again. I really expected for there to be some reason for Imriel to not marry Dorelei, just because a settled married life is not very conducive to having two more books full of adventure. Given Imriel’s greeting to Sidonie, though, I suspect he may not be planning to be a faithful husband. It may be a rocky marriage. I’m wondering if Lucius and Helena will agree to quietly be unfaithful. They’re friends, and the marriage is politically important, but I don’t think they have any desire for each other. I really don’t know anything about Talorcan, so I can’t speculate on whether or not Alais will be happy.
4. How has Imriel changed and grown through the book?
He has spent a long time trying to come to terms with his heritage, as a biological son of traitors and an adopted son of heroes. I think he has finally come to a better place concerning his relationship with his mothers, both adopted and biological. I think Phedre will always be his mother in his heart, but it’s also healthier for him to try to appreciate the humanity of Melisande as well, instead of seeing her as an unknowable monster. It was also a nice touch that he sent a letter to Mavros, since it shows that he now accepts the Shahrizai as a part of his family.
The other trauma he’s been dealing with throughout the novel is Darsanga, and I think he’s made a lot of progress in that direction as well. He has been able to talk about his experiences (though maybe not in detail) with a few people now, and he seems to have a much happier view of sexuality. I am glad that he didn’t just brush off all the abuse he suffered in a moment of epiphany (it really annoys me when that happens in novels), but I’m also glad that he is healing. It was also hilarious when he offered up the “stunted tree” metaphor to Joscelin, who told him that he had Phedre’s gift for being melodramatic! It will be interesting to see where Imriel’s story goes from here.