Read-along: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (Chapter 1 to 17)

Kushiel's Chosen: A Wyrd and Wonder Read-along

A few month ago, the awesome Wyrd & Wonder crew hosted a read-along of Kushiel’s Dart, the first book in Jacqueline Carey’s Phèdre trilogy. I had such a fun time with the read-along that I am very happy to continue my re-read of this series with Kushiel’s Chosen. I don’t remember a lot about this book except that it was my least favorite installement in the first trilogy! We’ll see if my opinion will change during this re-read or not.

If you want to know more about the schedule of the read-along, you can check out the Goodreads group or imyril’s Time to #ReadAsThouWilt introduction post.

This post will contain spoilers for Kushiel’s Dart and the first seventeen chapters of Kushiel’s Chosen.

Phèdre has barely survived the events of the last book, she’s now the Comtesse of Montrève and she’s living peacefully with Joscelin and her crew of sailors turned chevaliers. However, Phèdre being Phèdre, this calm life isn’t enough for her. She needs answers and she will only find them if she goes back to the heart of Terre d’Ange…

What is your position on Phedre’s decision to return to Court as a Servant of Naamah – and Joscelin’s reaction to it? Do you have more sympathy with one or the other?

This book would be very boring if Phèdre decided to remain in Montrève so it makes a lot of sense that she would choose to go back to Court. Phèdre is also a Servant of Naamah at heart and, even if she obviously loves Joscelin, it’s not surprising that she wants to go back to her calling.

I feel bad for Joscelin because he broke his oath for Phèdre and I can understand why her decision would hurt him. However, one of the biggest reason Kushiel’s Chosen is my least favorite book in the trilogy is because I found Joscelin’s reaction particularly annoying. I don’t remember the specifics but I do remember that I wanted to shake him the entire time. I understand why he’s mad but I think he should have seen it coming. He knows Phèdre and what she is and her decision is not that surprising.

Even if I feel bad for him, I’m still very biased towards Phèdre – maybe it’s because the story is narrated from her perspective – but I don’t see any other paths for her. She tried to discuss her decision with Joscelin at first but heavoids the discussion entirely so I can understand her frustration with him. However, Phèdre’s decision to bring Joscelin to her appointement with Severio was very childish and cruel. I’m team Phèdre but sometimes she should think twice before making stupid decisions out of pride…

Phedre is quite certain that the sangoire cloak is a challenge – and a promise that she can unlock Melisande’s secrets if she applies her arts. Why do you think Melisande sent her the cloak?

I think Melisande sent her the cloak as a challenge to taunt Phèdre and… it definitely works. Melisande is probably bored as hell where she is and I think she wants some distraction. And if it can bing Phèdre to her, all the better.

We get to know a plethora of characters this week: Favrielle no Eglantine, Remy, Fortun and Ti-Phillipe, Nahum ben Isaac, Marmion Shahrizai, Severio Stregazza – any new favourites so far? Any thoughts on how Favrielle and Nahum flesh out aspects of the world-building?

I really like Favrielle even if she’s very snarky. She knows she’s extremely good at her job and she’s not afraid to say it and ask for the right price for her art. She’s not likeable but she doesn’t need to be because she’s good. I think Phèdre knows it and admire her work ethic so I wasn’t surprised when she decided to pay for her marque.

I also like the sailor trio of Remy, Fortun and Ti-Phillipe. Their characters weren’t very fleshed out in the first book and it’s nice to learn more about them!

However, if I have to pick the character that intrigues me the most, it is definitely Marmion. What can I say? I have a thing for the Shahrizai! They are always fascinating character and I want to learn more about him and the game he is playing with Ysandre.

The parts about the study of Yeshua with Nahum ben Isaac are important for Phèdre and her quest to free Hyacinthe and they flesh out the worldbuilding but, I’m not enjoying these sections nearly as much as the politics and court intrigues. Even when I try to focus, my eyes glaze over the info dumps about Yeshua. 😅

Any other thoughts?

I’m glad Phèdre is back at Court, she’s like a fish in water: completely in her element and I’m already having so much fun reading this book. I was feeling a bit slumpy because I had read several “meh” books in a row so this read-along comes at the perfect time! I remember very little about this book so it’s almost like reading it for the first time.

16 thoughts on “Read-along: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (Chapter 1 to 17)

  1. Hooray, I’m glad Phèdre is helping banish your slump! For all Joscelin drives me wild with his behaviour, I recall Chosen as possibly my favourite but I can’t quite remember why? I remember finding Avatar REALLY hard going (both That Particular Quest and the sheer length), but I’m looking forward to revisiting it with friends (as I’m assuming we’ll all keep going) – it’s the only one of the first trilogy that I haven’t read more than once.

    It does feel to me like Joscelin is sitting on the fence (or standing at the crossroads, heh) – he’s come with Phèdre in body but not in soul, so it feels like he’s half in, half out. We get certain scenes and situations where he’s all in and it’s glorious – they’re such a good team – and then he remembers he’s meant to be disapproving and disappears back into outrage, or Phèdre drives him off by saying something cruel (for an anguisette, she’s not afraid to dish out the emotional pain. Tch). No way to dodge that central theme of his choices when all I want to do is yell MAKE A DECISION JOSCELIN at him 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember loving Avatar even if it was long and I remember a few scenes vividly! I’m curious to see if my thoughts will change after a re-read. (and yes, I hope we will continue the read-along!! :D)

      They are definitely a good team and that’s why I’m so frustrated with them now. They work well together but they can also act like angsty teenagers when they are in the right mood. And yes, Phèdre can be very cruel, I get that she’s hurt but still, she clearky doesn’t know how to be in a relationship!


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