This post begins a community read-along of Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, the third book in her Kushiel’s Legacy series! We’re just getting started, so if you’d like to join you can check out our Goodreads group. The schedule is as follows:
Week 1: Chapters 1-13 11th October – Lisa (Over the effing rainbow)
Week 2: Chapters 14-25 – 18th October – Allie (Tethyan books)
Week 3: Chapters 26-37 – 25th October – Emily (Emma Wolf)
Week 4: Chapters 38-49 – 1st November – Susan (Dab of Darkness)
Week 5: Chapters 50-61 – 8th November – Lynn (Lynn’s books)
Week 6: Chapters 62-73 – 15th November – Emily (Emma Wolf)
Week 7: Chapters 74-82 – 22nd November – Susan (Dab of Darkness)
Week 8: Chapters 83-END – 29th November – Allie (Tethyan books)
From above, this week’s host is Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow, and her questions cover chapters 1-13. Beware of spoilers ahead through chapter 13, as well as potentially for Kushiel’s Dart and Kushiel’s Chosen!
I’d like to pretend this post is right on time, but I’m afraid it’s quite clear that the start date was a few days ago. As always, I finished the reading, but then my attendance at a wedding derailed my intentions to post this on Sunday. I seem to have a habit lately of overestimating what I can do in a single day. Anyway, I think I’ll be back on schedule from here on out. Now, to the questions!
1. The book begins with the ending of Phedre's "ten years of peace", and with a journey to visit Hyacinthe on his island. It's a less than optimistic beginning, but the seer Sibeal seems to believe better... What did you make of these opening scenes?
There’s a lot of imagery going on with seers, and I’m not sure I really followed most of it. I think the gist is that there is hope for Hyacinthe, which is very encouraging!
In the previous book, I wondered why they couldn’t go visit him from time to time, and I guess that’s been answered. Anyone who sets foot on the island is, maybe, obligated to take on his role? If that’s the case, though, then why can’t they just get a group of volunteers and swap out every few years? That way, no one would have to spend 800 years trapped on an island. Maybe they’ll explain more later.
Also, I understand Phedre’s musing on what might have been, but I think that quite a lot more than Hyacinthe’s fate would have had to change for them to be an item. Her and Joscelin’s bond was forged through helping each other survive through slavery and torment. I was as shocked as Phedre by Joscelin’s comment that it would have been better if he were trapped on the island.
2. Before long Phedre and Joscelin are revisiting Melisande Shahrizai as well, and she's got yet another surprise for our heroes... Do you have any suspicions yet about who could have taken Imriel, and why? How about any thoughts regarding what Melisande could be up to now...?
I was wondering why Phedre would ever go to ‘aid’ Melisande, but I think she really only went to see her out of curiosity. Phedre handled the confrontation pretty well, and I am very glad that she no longer seems to have any positive emotional ties to Melisande. I think their connection at this point really is just that Melisande is a very pretty sociopath, and Phedre is attracted to people who can inflict pain with no empathy.
I’m not taking Melisande’s supposed desperation at face value right now. When Phedre brought up Barquiel L’Envers, I didn’t think that sounded right. He’s not exactly subtle, and I think that if he’d found the boy and killed him, there would at least be rumors about it. Right now, I think it is all a ploy by Melisande, to get Phedre to play some role in her Plan Z (Plans A-Y having been foiled). If it’s someone else, I don’t think they’ve been introduced yet.
3. Taking a step back from the higher drama, what are your thoughts regarding the romantic developments that seem to have taken place for Phedre and Joscelin over the years? They seem to be in a better place... Do you think it will still last?
I think they're in a pretty good place now. They trust each other, which is very important, and they seem to work well as partners. He’s much more understanding of her desire for pain, even though he doesn't want to hurt her. She’s curtailed most of her assignations, too, so the compromises are not only on his part. Right now, I’m just afraid that there's going to be some kind of love polygon introduced with Hyacinthe and Sibeal.
—There was a lot of recap in the first couple of chapters. It makes sense, given how many characters there are and how much has happened in the series, but it made me feel impatient!
—I was surprised the traveling started so quickly, with a jaunt to Serenissima and a trip to see Hyacinthe!
—Now that Ysandre has daughters, maybe Imriel is not such a threat. I still think Ysandre would take him in and treat him well.
—In the scene with Ysandre, it also sounded like Terre d'Ange has some reliable form of birth control (magical, perhaps?). I don't remember if this was mentioned in the series before or not, but I remember wondering why there weren't many more children like Phedre in the Night Court.
—I liked the scene in Kushiel’s Temple, where Phedre confessed that she didn't want to be an anguissette anymore. With all that she’s been through, I don’t blame her. I hope she can find peace with herself, though.
—It was great to hear how Phedre is working to reform the Night Court!