Read-along: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (week 6)

Kushiel's Chosen a Wyrd and Wonder Read Along

It’s the end. Some plans come to fruition and some are thwarted, Phèdre keeps her vow to the goddess Asherat, Joscelin reminds us all of just how badass he can be and Melisande is faced yet again. Middle books are notoriously difficult to get right and maybe I’m side-eyeing some of Carey’s decisions in this final week’s reading, but ultimately I’m satisfied, and quite pleased to meet Phèdre’s official consort. So, without further ado, let’s talk about the end of Kushiel’s Chosen using the prompts provided by Lisa of Dear Geek Place.

Links to other readers’ responses can be found either on this Goodreads page here, or over at There’s Always Room for One More where imyril has been keeping tabs on us all.

 

SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS, folks!

 

Week 6: Chapter 71 to the end

What did you make of Phèdre’s plan for stopping Melisande’s plot against the Crown, and Marco Stregazza’s power grab? And what did you think of how smoothly (or not) it went?

Well, I mean, it had all the necessary drama, didn’t it? I do love a good denouement. I enjoyed the sneaking into the temple by way of the warehouse and the use of the temple’s own theatrics to reveal Marco and Marie-Celeste and the Priestess of the Crown and two of the Elect; I enjoyed the skirmish that ensued, not least when our merry band of pirates joined in; and I really really enjoyed the fight between David de Rocaille and Joscelin, even if we didn’t get to see it all because Phèdre had to stop Melisande from slipping away once again.

It did all seem to go pretty smoothly in the end. Ricciardo came through as Phèdre hoped and all guilty parties were apprehended. It was all quite neatly done. And maybe I’d have enjoyed a little more mess … I have to admit it didn’t feel like Phèdre and co were going to fail at any point and it sure was lucky that there weren’t more people in on Marco and Marie-Celeste’s plans or the good guys could quickly have found themselves outnumbered. Convenient.

And I’m maybe just a smidge disappointed that more people didn’t die and wash the temple with blood. Benedicte’s death seems to have been for convenience more than anything, leaving Melisande once again free to continue her machinations (as she no doubt will) without having to lug a husband after her. David had to die – he was going to kill our Queen after all. But I was disappointed to see both Marco and Marie-Celeste live, even if only because I predicted their deaths, and I’d have not been adverse to seeing the Priestess of the Crown cut down too.

 

Melisande faces the consequences of her actions… only, she doesn’t. What were your thoughts on her confrontations with Phèdre and Ysandre, and her seemingly ultimate fate?

This annoyed me so much – she gets off so lightly and is ‘imprisoned’ in the cushiest manner. Melisande is a great villain, and her eventual demise will be stunning, I hope, but there was just so little cost for her here. I wanted her to suffer just a little.

I enjoyed Ysandre’s confrontation with Melisande more than Phèdre’s. The sway that Melisande has over our anguissette makes for frustrating face-offs (you have no idea how badly I wanted Phèdre to stab Melisande when she had the chance, nor how bitterly disappointed I am that she didn’t), but Ysandre has a wonderful coolness that is a lot more satisfying, even when Melisande is being a royal pain in the arse.

As for her fate, I’m not at all sure that’s clear. I don’t believe for one moment that Melisande will remain imprisoned any longer than it suits her to be.

 

(For that matter, do you have any thoughts or theories/wild speculations on where Imriel de la Courcel has been taken, or who might have taken him?)

I honestly have no idea where the baby is being kept. Nor who might be looking after him. I’ve not once been able to predict any move of Melisande’s and am frustratingly clueless right now.

 

The dust settles, and it seems our Cassiline hero has learned an important lesson or two. How pleased were you by the progress Joscelin has made in accepting both Phèdre’s and his own true nature/desires?

These two are just so much better together than they are when at odds. I’m more than pleased. I’d like to know a lot more about why Joscelin’s recent experiences have changed his mind as he was so very conflicted before, but for now I’ll take it at face value. It’s nice to see him relaxed about his feelings for her and happily expressing them, and I did a little cheer at the end when he spoke about being her official consort.

Pleased as punch.

 

Any other thoughts/feelings regarding other characters not mentioned here, or scenes you want to highlight? Have at it!

Ysandre’s return to her country and city felt very much like something that would soon become part of her legend. Maybe already a bit too shiny and not quite as tense as it could have been. It was just too late in the book for such a ploy to have failed, but the whole tossing money into the crowds to prove herself the actual queen and not a pretender had such a strong whiff of theatre that it didn’t feel quite as awesome as it was perhaps meant to be. Does that make sense? I think I’m rambling now …

I’m very interested to read the next book, however.  Phèdre has been assured that there will be ten years of peace now (and quite frankly, everyone could do with a rest), and I’m intrigued to meet her as an older, more settled woman, which is my hope for Kushiel’s Avatar. I feel like she and Joscelin have the potential to be even more badass in ten years’ time. We shall see, I guess.

7 thoughts on “Read-along: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (week 6)

  1. Same here regarding Meli getting off too easy! Ugh! I wanted her to be caught, but it doesn’t feel that way. I totally expect the next book to begin with something like “One month later: Melisande has escaped, and there’s no telling where she has fled.” Something like that but much better written.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If only those darn Stregazza had died, you’d have been perfect on the predictions!

    I like your point about there not being a whole bunch of tension in the end (which I think also maybe spills over into the neatness of rescuing Ysandre). The narrative is super obvious there. I enjoyed it anyway because I enjoyed them being awesome (I also love the Scouring of the Shire, apparently these scenes might be a weakness of mine), but super dramatic it wasn’t.

    Finally… I may have actually just went straight into Kushiel’s Avatar to satisfy some cravings. I stopped, because I want to read it again properly with all of you, but I am very much looking forwards to it even if it the world’s biggest book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? Stupid Stregazza ruining it by living!
      I agree with you that sometimes it’s just great to see characters being awesome, even if there’s not real tension there. I was happy enough just to see Ysandre survive – I’ve a huge soft spot for her – her homecoming was just the icing on the cake.

      I don’t yet have a copy of Avatar (it’s on the to-buy list for when I get paid, ha) else I’d have been tempted to take a peek. I’m definitely looking forward to reading it … although maybe a little bit nervous now you’ve mentioned it being MASSIVE. Dart and Chosen have been big enough as it is – is it bigger again?! :-O

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Apparently Kushiel’s Chosen is actually less words than Kushiel’s Dart, which certainly didn’t feel the case when I held my hardcover version but what do I know? Anyway. Less words. Huzzah!

        Liked by 1 person

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