Sunday, April 3, 2016

Read-Along: Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey, Part 3

Welcome to week three of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Justice. This week’s questions cover chapters 15-22 and are provided by Lynn of Lynn’sBooks.  Beware spoilers through chapter 22 below!  We’re finally getting to the more magical side of Alba, so there’s a lot to discuss.

1.I thought it was curious that Phedre and Joscelin joined the party to Alba - any theories.  Are they about to become involved in something do you think?

I really liked that they went with Imriel.  Travel is not extremely easy in this world, so it is comforting to see that they (in their 40s) are still able to head out to visit old friends in a different country.  This is the first time they’re going to Alba in decades, though, which illustrates how final their parting with Imriel is likely to be. I wonder if Phedre and Joscelin secretly hope that Imriel doesn’t get over his love of Sidonie, just so their son will come home to Terre d’Ange.

I don’t have any theories about them getting too involved, partly because I see this as Imriel’s chance to be the center of his own story.  I felt like Kushiel’s Scion involved a lot of Imriel being involved as a bystander in other people’s stories, so I’m looking forward to this adventure being about him and his relationship to Alba.  On the other hand, Phedre does tend to get into trouble everywhere she goes, so she may well end up tangled up with the Maghuin Dhon.

2.I’m pleased and also curious about the mention of Hyacinthe in these chapters. What sort of role do you see him playing in the rest of this story, if any??

He seems against playing a direct role in politics, since he has flatly refused his children being considered in the succession!  I suspect we might see more about the decision to pass on his knowledge or not, and about the potential consequences of either choice.  I’m also looking forward to meeting his children.

3.I’m puzzled with Phedre in these chapters and her sort of inner calm?  She seems to take everything in her stride.  Any thoughts on this?

She does carry the Name of God in her heart, after all!  I think she’s had a certain calmness about her since that particular adventure.  Also, nothing extremely bad has ever happened to her personally in Alba (there was the battle, but she came through it unharmed).  If you consider her track record in other places, it would make sense that Alba would just feel safer to her.  That could extend to how she reacts to the problems Imriel has found for himself. 

4.And we have a name ‘Morwen’ what does this bring to mind if anything?  Any more thoughts on the stories around the ‘Old Ones’ and the new characters that we have met?

It reminds me of Middle Earth.  In Tolkien’s work, the name is Sindarin for “Dark Maiden”.  Since I believe Tolkien based Sindarin partially on the Welsh language, it makes me wonder of the Maghuin Dhon are from fantasy-Wales.

Also, I totally misunderstood what the Maghuin Dhon were.  I imagined them as some violent isolated tribe (like Darsanga in the UK), and completely didn’t pick up that they were basically fae.  Conor’s dad seems like a nice enough guy so far.

5.What do you make of Imriel and Dorelei’s relationship and how it’s developing.  Do you see a future for them - one with perhaps a child in it?  And if so, would this change Imriels plans about only spending a year in Alba and then returning to Sidonie?

I think it really could go either way at this point.  Imriel doesn’t really know Sidonie all that much more than he does Dorelei, and I expect he’ll know Dorelei more by the end of the year.  Also, given that they’re having a lot of sex without d’Angeline magical birth control, I imagine Dorelei will get pregnant relatively soon.  It’s good that he’s making an effort to become closer with Dorelei, and I think things are better for them in Alba than they were in the City of Elua.

6.This curse - what do you make of it.  The protections thet are now placed on Imriel - how do you see this affecting his relationship with Dorelei?

I’m a bit worried about what the protection charm is going to do to Imriel.  It dampens his desire for Sidonie, but it seems like it also dampen his desire in general.  That might not be good for his relationship with Dorelei.  I guess it does make it easier for Imriel to get to know Dorelei without the distraction of his forbidden love.  I’m worried what’s going to happen when he takes the charm off, though, and all the suppressed feelings come rushing back. 

7.The Tiberians  and the Maghuin Dhon - we learn a little more about them and their history.  What did you make of it and the Tiberians?

I guess I feel towards the Tiberians pretty much as I do towards the Romans.  I thought it was interesting that there were the two stories of how the Tiberians were driven from Alba—whether it was the magic of the Maghuin Dhon or it was the force of the combined tribes.  I suspect that both stories are at least partially true, and that all peoples played their part in freeing their nation.  It does show the story Phedre found in a new light, though.  I think it was a Tiberian record, so it makes sense that they would say horrible things about the ‘savage’ Alban tribes.

8.Finally, the Lady Grainne has given her terms to Lord Ferghus - what do you predict the outcome to be?

I don’t think it’s going to be so simple to get the curse on Imriel removed.  It would be on and off in just a few chapters if they agreed to the bargain.  Grainne stopped short of declaring the truce broken, so I’m guessing tensions are just going to be high between the Maghuin Dhon and the Dalriada for a while.  I suspect they’re going to insist on keeping Imriel cursed until he has proven that he deserves the trust of the Maghuin Dhon.


  1. " I wonder if Phedre and Joscelin secretly hope that Imriel doesn’t get over his love of Sidonie, just so their son will come home to Terre d’Ange."

    I hadn't thought of that. I kind of hope not. It makes me a bit sad. Like they would be rooting against him.

    1. I guess that would be a bit sad. But I wouldn't blame them for wanting their son to live somewhere they can see him more often.

  2. Haha, yes to all your answers! I love it. I bet Joscelin and Phedre are rooting for Sidonie now you mention it!
    I was thinking the fae - so glad you said that because I wondered if it was what everyone else was thinking.
    I think the protection on Imriel will make him immune to his own feelings for Sidonie but I fear that when that protection is removed his real feelings will come back and he will then be very conflicted - as will Dorelei! Not to mention they could possibly have a child on the way by that time!
    Lynn :D

    1. I saw that about the fae in your answers as well. It didn't occur to me at all until about midway through this section. And agreed, a kid would make everything more complicated.

  3. I also see this as an extended goodbye between Phedre/Joscelin and Imriel. Sure, they will see each other, but it might only be once a year or once every few years.

    I didn't know that about Tolkien's work and Morwen's name. Nice tie in! When I first read this, I too wasn't too sure what the Maghuin Dhon were until we met some of them.

    I expect you're right - it took all the peoples of Alba to kick out the Tiberians.

    1. I might have also felt that interpretation strongly for personal reasons-- I left my family to go to a different continent at about the same age as Imriel. I still see them twice a year (and hooray for internet communication), but it's still hard to be so far away. Considering how much more difficult travel and communication are in this world, it must be hard to say goodbye.