Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.4

Today is the fourth week in our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart.  Week four is being hosted by the lovely Susan at Dab of Darkness  The questions and answers for week No.4 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 a comment – the details are here.

Chapters 27-36

1) Alcuin finally talked with Delaunay about being uncomfortable serving Naamah. He spent 3 days in the sanctuary of Naamah and came out with a lighter heart. What do you think occurred there? 

I like to think that Naamah knew that this wasn’t truly Alcuin’s real calling in life and that Alcuin would be forgiven.  After all people change their minds frequently during the course of their life so you can’t really hold it against Alcuin – plus, he chose this way because of love didn’t he?? So, it’s like he chose the wrong way but for what he thought of as the right reasons.

2) We are introduced to the new protector of the Delaunay household, Joscelin Verreuil. What were your first impressions? Would would you find it harder to pay homage to: Naamah or Kushiel or Cassiel? 

First impressions of Josceline – well, I like him, but this is a reread so I’m not totally sure those are my ‘real’ first impressions.  As to who I would serve – well, that’s a tough one in some respects.  Definitely not, for me, Kushiel, nope, no sirree – I’m just too much of a softie. In some ways I think Cassiel and in others Naamah – in some respects they’re very similar, in that they seem to have no choice over whom they serve?  I quite like the idea of serving Cassiel but maybe that’s because I want to be all badass and be all awesome with swords and such like!

3) Phedre visits Childric D’Essoms two more times; once to beg a boon for Delaunay and again because she feels she owes him a debt. Do you think she was right to go on either of these occasions? 

Yes.  This is what Phedre does so I had no doubt she would go the first time.  Plus she wants to help Delauney.  The second time, well, again, this is what she is?  She went to him in order that he could punish her.  I don’t think she owes him a debt personally, if he can’t control his own mouth from giving away secrets then that’s his own fault, he knew that Phedre was Delauney’s ears and eyes so frankly it’s his own mistake.  But, Phedre is what she is.  Plus she was in a bit of a dark place at the time and needed the release.

4) We meet the Duc Barquiel L’Enver, who has spent much time in Akkad. What do you think lies in the past between him and Delaunay? What do you think of his methods to dealing with Vitale Bouvarre? 

To be honest I’m not sure I still grip all the nuances perfectly.  I think L’Enver is very dangerous and definitely not to be under estimated.  Bouvarre – well, he was definitely a bit of a so and so when you think about it. Even with his dealings with Alcuin – he wanted what he wanted and made promises but was a bit of turncoat resulting in Guy’s death and Alcuin’s injury.

5) At the palace, after a meeting with Clavel, Phedre sneaks off. In the hall, she overhears Isidore d’Aiglemort talking about the Glory Seekers along the Skaldi border. Then she finds herself hiding under some furniture when she witnesses a secret meeting between Delaunay and Ysandre de la Courcel. What do you make of this latest political intrigue? 

A bit convenient and also difficult to say too much about as this is a reread. Whilst reading I did enjoy that Phedre ducked out of one tricky situation straight into another.  Frying pan : fire.

6) Melisande Shahrizai points out to Phedre that she both despises and loves each of her patrons, if only a little. Do you think this is true for Phedre? For most human relationships? 

I think it’s true for Phedre – she enjoys certain aspects – even when she’s not enjoying them they ultimately bring her pleasure.  I think all relationships are different – in some there is an equal balance and in others not.  That’s just the way it is.  But I wouldn’t say all human relationships are made up of love/despise elements.  I can see why Phedre would maybe think like that though because she finds pleasure and pain mixed together.

7) Phedre is contracted for the Longest Night by Melisande to be shown off to the Duc de Morhban. What stood out for you the most this night? Now that Phedre can complete her mark, what do you think she will do? 

The thing that really stood out was that Melisande seemed to have contracted Phedre to show her off and make sure that everyone knew she wasn’t available! to anyone else including the Duc.  I clearly remembered the sheer gown and the gems and the fact that it was a factor in choosing the attire – not only for the aspect of it’s see-through nature but also the pain it would inflict when kneeling!  The other thing that came across was that although the pair spent an enjoyable time together Phedre ultimately awoke in a room by herself.  I don’t know why but that gave me pause for thought.  For me it shows the imbalance between the two.

4 Responses to “Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.4”

  1. tethyanbooks

    #1, exactly what I thought, at least he did it for love!
    #3, I also don’t think she owed him anything, but I hadn’t considered that maybe she just wanted to go see him.
    #7, I hadn’t really noticed that, but you’re right. Melisande can make Phèdre forget her training, but I don’t think Melisande ever lost control. I also didn’t really like how she deliberately drove her to use her safeword, like it was an accomplishment. No matter how much Phèdre may like Melisande, I think in the end the woman just enjoys using her.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah – I think it’s wise to be cautious around Melisande but Phedre just seems to lose any coherent thought whatsoever whenever she shows up! Dangerous.
      Lynn 😀

  2. nrlymrtl

    Good point about those who serve Naamah and Cassiel don’t have a choice in the person they serve. Haha! I bet Joscelin would fume a bit to have that similarity pointed out. Phedre has a little choice, but once she accepts an assignation, she is theirs for the evening.

    Phedre is definitely one of those that can take the good with the bad, the pain and the pleasure, the love and the hate. And I don’t think she minds at all.

    Another good point. Phedre did get to have Melisande, and they snuggled afterwards. And yet she still awoke in a room by herself. I don’t think Melisande wants to be seen as anything more than a powerful woman and a patron. She’s not Phedre’s mentor or friend.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I don’t suppose Joscelin likes to think of any potential similarities and yes, Phedre actually has a modicum more of control – in fact now she’s made her marque she’s completely free to choose!
      I do like Phedre – she’s very chilled out in a lot of ways and just goes with it. She doesn’t bitch about her lot in life, occasionally she has a jealous pang about Alcuin but she feels bad about it afterwards. Considering her age I like her temperament.
      Melisande – you have to hand it to her for being a great female character to read about. I wouldn’t want her at my wedding but, yeah!
      Lynn 😀

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