Phfew! I'm exhausted. And my brain feels kind of sore.
I've read it before, but I wanted everything fresh in my mind before I continued on to the last of the trilogy.
I definitely agree with whoever said it in chat that the second trilogy isn't as good as the first. I kind of hate to say it because I think Jacqueline Carey's done something really amazing in creating this world, one that's so based on ours and still so unfamiliar, and in my opinion she's a fantastic example of world-building that I would like to emulate, albeit probably on a much smaller scale! I don't know if the strength of the first trilogy has to do with Phedre being it's narrator, that I feel closer to a female character's experiences or Carey felt close to them as she was writing it. For me, at least, I think it probably has something to do with how completely awesome Phedre and Joscelin's relationship was. It transcended the whole I hate you I love you I hate you I LOVE YOU paradigm that has gotten so, SO old and yet there was oodles of tension and angst, especially in Chosen, and downright agony in Avatar. As much as Imriel loves to go on about Sidonie - and even though she's grown on me more than I thought she would - there's just not that depth of feeling there. The priest-warrior and the courtesan are just more appealing to my sensibilities, I suppose, than the traitors' son and the princess.
More ramblings to follow, I am sure.