Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.1

Today is the start of a readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart – sorry I’m a bit late but life conspired against me this weekend and I haven’t been near a book or a laptop until now.  Week one is being hosted by Susan at Dab of Darkness.  The questions and answers for week No.1 are below.  If you haven’t read this book already be aware of spoilers in the following text.  If you have read and want to jump in with your own answers then please do so.  If you want to join in with the readalong then leave me a comment – the details are here.

Chapters 1-8

1) Here we have the earliest days of Phedre’s life, and we have the story of Elua and his followers. Did you note any similarities between Phedre’s beginning and Elua’s stories? Do you enjoy having these stories upfront or would you rather have had the stories shuffled in later with an adult Phedre looking back? 

I must say that I didn’t really pick up on the similarities, which isn’t to say they weren’t there but I just didn’t pick up on them.

I really enjoy this sort of story style where we get a narrative looking back at the childhood years and in fact I much prefer it to having flashbacks.  This way just feels more natural.

2) Hyacinthe has become Phedre’s one true friend. Do you think she is the same for him? The dromonde, or fortune telling, fascinates Phedre. Do you have a fortune telling story? 

Fortunately, even though I’ve read this book before, my memory is dreadful.  At this stage I’m going to say that Hyacinthe enjoys Phedre’s friendship and it’s as simple as that.  Of course he’s an astute little boy but I think he enjoys being with somebody who is not from his particular neck of the woods.  Somebody a bit different.

I don’t have a fortune telling story but now I really feel like I want one!  Oh well, I’ll just have to satisfy myself with everyone else’s’ stories.

3) The Midwinter Masque on the Longest Night is a long held tradition in Terre D’Ange. What stood out for you? Have you been to such a fete? 

I haven’t been to a masqued ball although I would love to.  I loved this part of the story so far, it puts me in mind of reading about such balls in historical novels set in Venice.  I loved all the themes and the way people were dressed.  I suppose what stood out for me were Phedre’s excitement to be a part of it all, Delaunay being in attendance and actually approaching her and the strange hints at political/royal maneouvering.

4) Anafiel Delaunay has many secrets. How do you think those secrets will shape Alcuin and Phedre? 

This is an interesting question – I think Delaunay’s secretive nature will possibly make Alcuin and Phedre even more desperate to find out what really went on in the past.  I think it will help to shape them into two incredibly inquisitive people.

5) Delaunay has a saying; All knowledge is worth having. Do you believe this is so? 

Well, yes, I do think so although I think it could be a bit much trying to have the depth of knowledge that Phedre and Alcuin are being crammed with – that being said, they’re young and their minds are like sponges.  It does make you wonder though about how it might set them apart – if you’re always looking at a thing through different eyes trying to read into everything then surely you’re not as open to simple enjoyment.  It seems like the two are a little bit isolated in a way.

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16 Responses to “Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.1”

  1. nrlymrtl

    You’re the second person to mention masqued parties in Venice! Which, of course, makes me think of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series, which has all sorts of masked incidents.

    I like your observation that Alcuin and Phedre are, in some ways, a bit isolated. I wonder who they practice their languages with? Are there native speakers to test their skill? Or is it just them and Delaunay?

    • lynnsbooks

      Strangely enough you could almost think of Delauney as a Chains of sorts and maybe Phedre and Alcuin as a Sabetha and Locke with all their training.
      Yeah, good point – surely you have to practice speaking a language and listening to it from people for who it’s the native language? Although I suppose they can talk amongst themselves in that respect.
      Lynn 😀

      • nrlymrtl

        Chains does swear more eloquently and often than Delaunay, but I like the comparison!

      • lynnsbooks

        Haha, yes!
        Lynn 😀

      • Grace

        I love the comparison between the two books–they’re learning a very similar set of life skills. I get the feeling though the Phedre at least has a very lonely childhood. Alcuin at least gets to attend Delanay’s social events, but Phedre’s kept in the background, and aside from Hyacinth, I don’t think either of them really have any kind of interaction with peers.

      • lynnsbooks

        It’s a little sad when you look at it like that – although this society seem to expect their children to mature quite quickly – or at least in the sphere that Phedre moves in that seems to be the expectation.
        Lynn 😀

  2. Michael

    Interesting point about Alcuin and Phedre being isolated. I wonder as the novel moves forward if they will be isolated from the world and driven together in some type of political alliance, only to have to eventually turn on each other. Or could there be another factor that will come into play?

    Phedre seems to have her one outside contact in Hyacinthe. I’d be interested to know if Alcuin is allowed something similar or if this is just one thing that she is allowed but he is not.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, interesting – I hadn’t really thought about that. Phedre does seem to get away with a little bit more than Alcuin – although he doesn’t seem particularly interested in flaunting the rules or causing Delauney to be angry with him.
      Lynn 😀

      • Grace

        I kind of feel bad for Delanay… dealing with a teenager is hard enough, but when your teenager likes breaking rules and also enjoys punishments, I assume that being in even a quasi-parental role would be incredibly difficult.

      • lynnsbooks

        Haha – never thought about that! Although his remark about selling Phedre’s marque seemed to hit the spot!
        Lynn 😀

  3. tethyanbooks

    I also kind of thought that Phedre/Hyacinthe’s relationship may be largely based on curiosity about their differences. Also, I can see what you mean about Alcuin and Phedre being isolated. I also wonder if it will cause them to become closer, because they are the only ones who will have this particular style of upbringing.

    • lynnsbooks

      Alcuin is an odd character so far – I don’t think I’ve really connected with him yet in the way that I have with the others. It will be interesting to watch how he develops.
      Lynn 😀

  4. E.Maree

    A bit late? You were miles quicker than me, so don’t worry about it. 😀

    I love your thoughts on how Phedre and Alcuin’s knowledge would set them apart from their peers. Sounds like a really isolated, lonely lifestyle, when I think about it like that…

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, not to mention with all the things they’re expected to learn – it can’t leave a lot of time for other interests.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    I started this one for the second time this year and I’ve only made it 25% in. I was trying a buddy read with Anya and Leann and I and Anya both gave up. I don’t know why it didn’t hook me.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it’s a slow burner to be honest and then kind of sucks you in unexpectedly but then again – you just might not like it which is just one of them things really isn’t it. I didn’t like the Lecke book and yet everyone else seems to love it. It does make you feel a bit odd when you don’t like something that everyone else raves about though.
      Lynn 😀

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