Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Read-Along: Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey, Part 3

Welcome to week three of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah’s Blessing, the final book of Kushiel’s Legacy.  This week’s questions cover up through chapter 42, and they are provided by Grace of Books Without Any Pictures.  This was a very eventful week, so beware of spoilers below!

1) Were you surprised by Durel's betrayal? Do you think the captain and Balthasar handled it well?

I guess I have been giving Rogier a lot of benefit of the doubt, so yes I was surprised.  I wish he could have just had different political goals without actually being evil. It now seems like he and his wife totally know their kid is a rapist, and are okay with it.  Also, they don’t really care at all about Terre d’Ange, but care so much about power that they’re willing to kill and coerce people to keep it.  Basically, they’re not any better than Melisande ethically, and in some ways worse.  However, they’re definitely not as talented as Melisande, so I think they’re going to be thwarted quite soon.

I think Balthasar and the others handled it really well.  The man had nothing against any of them, and Balthasar and the captain addressed the hold that Rogier’s family had over him.  Now, he can in good conscience help the team, knowing that they plan to make sure his family is okay when they make it back to Terre d’Ange.  All the same, it does make sense to keep an eye on him from here on out.

2) Now that we've had some time to get acquainted with Terra Nova, what do you think of it? What do you make of the Nahuatl, and of the overall political tensions in Terra Nova? Do you think there's any hope for reconciliation between the Aragonians, D'Angelines, other tribes, and Nahuatl?

I think history is not on the side of the Nahuatl, and I expect Terre d’Ange will not have that much to do in the region after Thierry is rescued.  Based on what we’ve seen so far in the trilogy, I am anticipating that Moirin with have some more transient against-established-history success here, and the Nahuatl will successfully reconcile with the other tribes long enough to briefly resist the Aragonians.

3) What are your impressions of Achculati and the bargain he offered? How do you think Moirin's choice will impact her going forward?

I don’t think he ever expected her to accept it.  I think he was ready for her shock and refusal, and then he would have refused to give them aid.  He was very kind to Moirin, but I think his treatment of his youngest wife is a little more telling of the kind of person he is.  You can always tell a person by how he treats those he considers his inferiors, and bargaining her off to provide sex to a complete stranger without her knowledge or consent was a pretty callous thing to do.  I am glad Bao did not actually take advantage of the poor woman. I don’t know whether this will impact Moirin going forward or not.

Other Things:

--I was surprised that Balthasar was able to evoke Kushiel so easily.  In the earlier books, it was really only Phedre and Melisande, as Kushiel’s chosen, who really felt divine influence.  These days, it seems like every member of every house of Terre d’Ange can channel their respective angels at will.

--I’m still finding Moirin’s shame and guilt about her poly nature confusing.  I can only assume that this is all coming from her trauma with Cillian’s family, since I don’t think anyone has shamed Moirin about it since then.  I mean, how many times does Bao have to tell her it’s okay before she can believe it?

--Does anyone else find Moirin’s sudden ability with Nahuatl a little unbelievable, after all her talk about her struggle with the language?  She went from ‘Hello/Thank You”-level to discussing theology in a single day, after months of failing to master the tongue on the voyage.

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