Read as thou wilt: The Kushiel’s Avatar Read Along, Week 4

Darkness meets the light this week, as Phèdre avenges herself and others upon the Mahrkagir, and our heroes make their escape from Daršanga…

Spoilers follow for chapters 52 through 68.


A reminder of our schedule (now complete!), for those just joining us:

  • Week One: Beginning through the end of Chapter 16, hosted by imyril
  • Week Two: Chapter 17 through 34, hosted by Peat Long
  • Week Three: Chapter 35 through 51, hosted by me
  • Week Four: Chapter 52 through 68, hosted by Bookforager
  • Week Five: Chapter 69 through 85, hosted by Peat Long
  • Week Six: Chapter 86 through End, hosted by imyril

All right. Deep breaths. Let’s do this…

The death of the Mahrkagir and the subsequent escape from Daršanga is a terrifying and bloody end to Phèdre’s Drujan ordeal. How’s everyone doing now?

Oooof. Well, first of all I should confess that I had certain details about this section very wrong in my mind! I could have sworn that, when faced with having to kill Phèdre, the Mahrkagir had a change of heart and decided he Just Couldn’t Do It – and yes, this is where my question about having sympathy for him a couple of weeks ago had come from. Whoops! Turns out he really was that cold-blooded and beyond hope. Oh well…?

In all seriousness, this was still a difficult handful of scenes to read, even though I knew how it would go in the end. I’m much better for having gotten there, though! It really did get dark there for a bit…

“Some things, once broken, can never be made whole again.” Thoughts? Feelings?

Oh boy, do I know the truth of this. HOWEVER. I think “whole” is relative. I’ve been broken. I’m doing better than ever now, all things considered. Does that mean I don’t still have issues and/or struggle with the bad brain whispers? No, of course not. I probably always will. But it helps immeasurably to know that the place I’m in now is miles better, and that I’m not in it alone. So my heart breaks for Phèdre, naturally, but she’s not in this alone. She might never be “whole” after what happened, but she can heal enough to go on, and that’s what really matters.

“The boy could be dangerous. Or he could be something else.” Imriel has a hard road ahead of him. How do you feel about him and his situation?

Another one my heart breaks for, but knowing that Imriel gets his own story told following this trilogy, I can’t really say too much. Y’know, in case we decide to go there…

Valère L’Envers again. Anything you want to share on this particular character? 

… Yeah, to heck with her. I can understand her concerns regarding Imriel, but. Woman. They just went through hell, and you think they’re concerning themselves with taking whatever it is you think is yours? They want hot baths and soft places to sleep and to be left the hell alone. Get out of here with your self-involved paranoia.


And it doesn’t look like our little D’Angeline family will be heading home any time soon. Care to share your thoughts on where they’re heading next and what kind of welcome they might get when they do finally make it home?

I have to admit, my memories of what happens from here are even hazier than the rest. For some reason I mostly only remembered the Daršanga section. Funny, that. So I’m actually kind of curious to reread the rest of the book and refresh that hazy memory! There is one scene in particular I do remember, but I won’t say more for the sake of spoilers. But when we get to it, you’d better believe I will have feelings…


And that’s it for another week. Onward, deeper into the mystery…


1 comments On Read as thou wilt: The Kushiel’s Avatar Read Along, Week 4

  • First up: virtual hugs. Whew.

    Next up: we have very different reads on Valère 😀 I see her as motivated to protect Terre d’Ange, not her own position – because Imriel is Melisande and Benedict’s son, the gorgeous boy with the impeccable claim if anybody wanted to unseat Ysandre (or her daughters)… so for me, this is all about country and family, rather than self. Perhaps even primarily family, given the themes.

    I’m right there with you of having really only remembered one thing about this book and I’m very glad we’re past it. Okay, not quite – I recall some of the outcomes, but I have no idea what happens between here and there…

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