Read-along: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (week 2)

Kushiel's Chosen a Wyrd and Wonder Read Along

 

We’ve returned to Terre d’Ange, and to the court of Queen Ysandre, but there’s no time for sight-seeing as Phèdre packs her bags and sets sail for La Serenissima in pursuit of traitorous secrets. Who, if anyone, can be trusted in this game? Place your bets, ladies and gentleman, as we delve deeper into the world of Kushiel’s Chosen.

This week’s prompts have been posed by that wisest of bookwyrms imyril of There’s Always Room for One More (who levelled up this week – please go wish her happy birthday if you haven’t already). Each week’s prompts, links to other readers’ responses and the reading schedule can all be found on this Goodreads page here.

 

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS! And now let’s begin …

 

Marmion Shahrizai has a sudden fall from grace this week. What’s your take on how he handled Persia’s treason – and on how Ysandre handles him? Do you feel sorry for him? Do you think we’ll see him again?

I didn’t see this coming at all. I was expecting Marmion to become a much bigger player in the game. And, if I’m honest, I did feel a little sorry for him, but only a little. I still don’t like him much and that was a hell of a thing he did to his sister, Persia.

However, since his punishment is only exile and not death, I am half expecting him to pop up again later. I’m not at all sure he’s going to be the big player I thought he’d be though. Carey just keeps on surprising me.

 

What do you make of Nicola L’Envers y Aragon? Do you trust her? Do you think she’s right in her assessment of Barquiel L’Envers?

Oh boy, I hope I don’t regret saying this, but yes, I do think she’s on the level. She just doesn’t seem to have the guile needed for the game Phèdre’s involved in. And I like Nicola. She tries so hard to make Phèdre see that she and Barquiel are on the same side, and she gives Phèdre the L’Envers family code word. I just don’t think that any of this is a ruse. I get the feeling she’s had the same discussion with Barquiel as she’s had with Phèdre, but these two are so suspicious of each other (and nearly everyone else, not knowing who they can trust right now) that they just can’t see that they really should be allies.

 

Phèdre returns to the Night Court as a patron, seeking help to understand her dreams. How have your impressions of the Night Court evolved since we first met Phèdre in Cereus House?

This was fascinating. I’m enjoying learning a little more about the different Houses than comprise the Night Court (whilst blushing furiously whenever things get rude). I was intrigued to know what help Phèdre would get from Gentian House for her disturbing dreams, and I admit I laughed when that help was sex. All the relaxing bathing and massage beforehand made me think that maybe, just maybe, not everything boiled down to the horizontal boogie, but nope. Sex fixes everything. I have to keep reminding myself that it is an act of worship for the D’Angelline.

I’d really like a list of all the Houses and their areas of expertise. I love that Carey is slowly expanding her world, but I do like things to be laid out and categorised for me sometimes, and I’m still struggling to truly comprehend the D’Angelline religion.

 

Much has been made of Joscelin standing at a crossroads. Did any of his choices this week surprise you? Any thoughts on what roads he may walk down – and where they may lead him?

Joscelin is starting to annoy me. He’s got a real stick up his butt at the moment about Phèdre returning to her calling and he needs a swift slap. I just don’t see how things have changed. He has always know Phèdre as she is now – neither of them have ever been anything other than an anguissette and a Casseline for as long as they’ve been acquainted. They’ve both acknowledged that they love one another, so why don’t they talk things through?

What’s surprising me at the moment is that he’s making such a big deal over it all. I’m confused as to what the Yeshuite religion offers him – forgiveness? – that he seems so torn. And I’m frustrated that he’s not talking about what’s on his mind. I don’t like the ‘strong silent type’ thing much as it is, but having Joscelin clam up after we got to know him so well in Kushiel’s Dart is downright exasperating.

And of course, behind all my annoyance is the fear that he’s going to leave. I may not understand why, but I can see that the Yeshuites offer Joscelin something he’s strongly moved to take, and I’m half expecting him to do so.

 

On the road again… Phèdre discovers she has friends in unexpected places and allies in every port. What was your gut reaction to the confrontation with the Unforgiven? Any predictions for what may await in La Serenissima?

Oh my goodness, the confrontation with the Unforgiven was badass! Phèdre might be uncomfortable with her new status, but I frigging loved it. And I find it fascinating that she represents redemption for them, that Kushiel’s punishment is seen as redemptive in nature.

And then Kushiel spoke through her! That was pretty intense. Where’s that going?

After the information they’ve gained from the Unforgiven I feel like the Somervilles are now under the most suspicion as the traitors of Troyes-le-Mont, which makes me sad. I like Ghislain and his dad Percy seemed OK too. And I don’t understand what their reasons for helping Melisande might be.

As for predictions, I have a bad feeling about La Serenissima. After the wonderful reunion with Quintilius Rousse and Roxanne de Mereliot – ah *happy sigh* friends! – I think there aren’t going to be any more friendly faces for a while. I’m expecting courtly intrigues and back-stabbery to come. This may be the point at which Joscelin chooses to move on too, and that makes me sad. And finally, I’m expecting to see Melisande some time very soon. And I’m not looking forward to it.

 

13 thoughts on “Read-along: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (week 2)

  1. Oooh I like your “level-up” saying! 😀
    I really don’t remember a lot about Chosen so I was as surprised as you when Marmion was arrested! 😂
    I also really like Nicola, she might not be as versed as Phèdre in spying but I like how open she is with Phèdre.
    As for Joscelin, I’m soooo annoyed with him and I don’t understand why he’s suddenly acting up. As you mentioned, it’s not a secret that Phèdre is an anguissette and I thought they had worked through their problems in the first book but nop, it’s like they went back to the beginning with extra emotional baggage. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They are struggling so much with communication. And Joscelin is struggling with his feelings. That’s a big thing with stoic types, I guess… That’s a big part of the confusion unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh! I’m so frustrated by Joscelin too. I wish we had a chapter or two from his POV because I think much of the frustration with his character is that we are seeing it all from Phedre’s perspective and he doesn’t talk to her about how he feels. I wish he would. And I also wonder what the Yeshuites offer him.

    …I’m probably the only one who’s still suspicious of Nicola and Barquiel.
    Ditto on not realizing that sex fixes all in the Night Court, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Huzzah for cure all bonking!

    There is, somewhere in the books, a list of how every House thinks Namaah approached that first act of prostitution that kinda acts as a guide to what they believe. I might have a rummage through my copies and see if I can find it.

    On Joscelin… I would like them to try talking but at the same time, I kinda feel like they said everything they had to say at the beginning and know that nothing’s changed; in which case, what’s there for them to talk about, other than ways to further hurt each other?

    It’ll take something big to shock them out of where they are. But Carey would never do anything like that to us right? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm, something big … you’ve made me so nervous about what’s going to happen! 🤣
      Ooo, I’m interested in that list of each House’s view on Naamah’s first act – that’s exactly the kind of useful knowledge I want.

      And of course you’re right that they’ve already said everything… I think I’m just frustrated with them stabbing each other with comments all the time. Be done already! 😬

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is from one of the opening chapters in Kushiel’s Dart:

        “According to Brother Louvel, Naamah was filled with a mystic purity of spirit when she went to the King of Persis, and when she lay down with strangers in the market.

        But that is what they say at Gentian House, and not at Alyssum, where they say she trembled to lay aside her modesty, nor at Balm, where they say she came in compassion. I know, for I listened to the adepts talk. At Bryony, they say she made a good bargain of it, and at Camellia, that her perfection unveiled left him blind for a fortnight, which led him to betray her out of uncomprehending fear. Dahlia claims she bestowed herself like a queen, while Heliotrope says she basked in love as in the sun, which shines on middens and kings’ chambers alike. Jasmine House, to which I would have been heir, holds that she did it for pleasure, and Orchis, for a lark. Eglantine maintains she charmed with the sweetness of her song. What Valerian claims I know not, for of the two Houses that cater to tastes with a sharper edge, we heard less; but I heard once that Mandrake holds Naamah chose her patrons like victims and whipped them to violent pleasures, leaving them sated and half-dead.”

        Liked by 1 person

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