Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.9

Today is the ninth week in our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart.  This week Emma at Emmamaree.com is hosting.  The questions and answers for week No.9 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.

This week chapters 74 – 83 are covered below:

1) Hyacinthe being trapped on the isle is a particularly cruel punishment for the people-loving Prince of Travellers. If you had his choice – a cutthroat life back in Night’s Doorstep, surrounded by friends and adventures, or a lonely but safe and privileged life on the island – which would you choose, and why?

Firstly – I must say that I was so sad for Hyacinthe with this week’s chapters – and almost a little bit angry!  Why does everything happen to him??  Anyway, yes, my emotions aside. I’d choose the cutthroat life on Night’s Doorstep.  I can’t deny that the powers and ‘almost’ immortality of the island seem appealing – but the strange lonely and almost claustrophobic life there seem to outweigh any benefits in my mind.  I would go crazy.  I would sooner have a life of ups and downs, shorter life span and no powers but filled with variety and all manner of people.

2) Phedre remarks that the island people are truly human, and very different from d’Angelines with god blood in the veins. Through the story, the lines between myth and reality have become steadily blurrier: the gods are gone but they’ve left a kind of magic behind, and faces can rise up from the ocean. Is Phedre’s conceit just a form of Terra d’Ange vanity, or do you think there’s really something inhuman about the d’Angelines?

I must admit that I had a moment whilst reading these chapters where I actually felt annoyed with Phedre and felt she came across not only as a little vain but frankly fickle.  At the end of the day, beauty is skin deep and yet Phedre is so proud of it and not just proud of it but remarking upon other people and the fact that it’s obvious that they have no blood of the Gods running through their veins.  It is the only time I’ve felt like that about her and it was only a fleeting moment.  I guess having divine blood in your veins makes you feel a little superior at the end of the day.  Still, I would have preferred Phedre to not come across as so judgemental at that point.  It’s not a character trait I enjoyed.  But, maybe I’m being a bit harsh on her there.  She’s a young woman and I guess beauty does draw the attention after all.

3) Phedre doesn’t share any of the details of her last night with Hyacinthe. After her no-holds-barred descriptions of previous lovers, this scene really stands out as unique. How do you feel about Phedre’s goodbye, and Hyacinthe leaving the spotlight? How do you think Hyacinthe will keep himself occupied in his new life — will he create a network on the island like he did on Night’s Doorstep, spying on the affairs of the world?

It was unique – she made her own choice freely and I thought that was really significant – the only thing that does make me wonder sometimes, and perhaps this goes back to Phedre having a certain measure of arrogance – what if Hyacinthe didn’t want to spend the night with her!!  What if he just thought of her as a friend?? Anyway, that aside – it was all very emotional.  Like I said above.  I felt so badly for Hyachine – it’s like he’s been put in prison for 800 years!  But, I think he’s going to completely reinvent this role to be honest.  At first I was really gutted for him – then I remembered who it was and thought – within a couple of months he’ll probably have people flocking to him!  Plus, he did make reference to using his time to find out how he can be released from this role so I kind of feel hopeful for the future.

4) When Phedre’s addressed as “Delauney’s Whore” by Ghislain de Somerville, everyone around Phedre draws a blade to defend her honour. Was it an over-reaction, or a fitting sign of Phedre’s new rank in society? 

I felt like it was a significant moment – both in the way others see Phedre and the way she sees herself.  Clearly everyone is starting to think differently about her and clearly she has much more to offer than she or anybody else originally envisaged.  It was a good moment because it shows that people think highly enough of her to defend her.  The one thing that has always puzzled me about the story is the way that certain characters bandy about the word ‘whore’ in a clearly derogatory fashion – and yet the whole ethos of the people is to love how they will?  If they really believe in their own way of life and the freedom to love where they will then surely the idea of calling people whore is a bit odd.  I suppose it’s an easy insult to throw around.

5) We’ve nearing the end of the story, and it’s been a heart-breaking ride this week, so let’s step back and look at the wider world of Terra d’Ange. If you were part of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, which house would you end up in? Have you changed enough from your childhood self that it would it be different from the House that raised you? (A quick list of the houses, their motto and values can be found here.)

I would have undoubtedly been brought up in Alyssum – eyes averted and all about the modesty.  Thinking of the way I am now I would say that I would fall into House Orchis which is all about humour and finding the joy in things.  That definitely sums up the way I feel and my personality.

6) Moving even further beyond the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, where this all began, and into the wide world: if you could belong anywhere in this world, where would you be? Sunning yourself in exotic Persian-inspired Khebbel-im-Akkad, fighting in rainy Alba, or harsh Skaldia, sleeping in front of crackling fires on a pile of warm furs? Would you be roaming in the Long Roads with the Tsingano, a scion of the Night’s Court, a player in the theatre or a pub landlord on Night’s Doorstep?

Where would you like to be most, out of everywhere, and where would you absolutely *hate* to be stuck in?

This is a tough question.  One thing I know for sure – I probably wouldn’t want to be somewhere too hot so the Persion inspired world would not be for me.  I’m used to a cooler (and damper) climate after all.  Part of me thinks I could live the Skaldi way of life (it’s cold) – but then I think not, this would be just too harsh and tough and also a little bit in the dark ages in terms of women and the way they’re treated.  Alba kind of appeals in the way that it’s similar to where I am now – although I wouldn’t mind something with a slightly better climate, you have to hand it to them in that the women are treated and respected as equals and also the Tsingano way of life appeals in terms of a life on the road, travelling and seeing things –  but, again, some of their ways and traditions really don’t appeal to me.  I guess I’m going to go with Terra D’Ange – which has a French feel to it.  They have a good way of life really – what’s not to like?

9 Responses to “Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.9”

  1. libbycole007

    I read this book a really long time ago, and it’s interesting reading your review and having it all come back to me! The world building is just fantastic, isn’t it.


    • lynnsbooks

      It is – it’s very well constructed with lots of detail.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Read-Along – Kushiel’s Dart – Part 9 | James T. Witherspoon

    […] this section, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is hosting, so be sure to head over there and join in the […]

  3. James T. Witherspoon

    I’m right there with you on getting annoyed with Phedre through that section of the story. She acts very superior – like she is the expert in all things beauty because she is a d’Angeline raised in the Night Court.

    I hadn’t thought about the use of the word “whore” here, but I think you’re absolutely right – it is weird that they would use that word in a derogatory manner, when their society seems to revolve around sex.

    • lynnsbooks

      This whole idea of ‘beauty’ is odd isn’t it – you can find beauty everywhere and yet Phedre seems to have a very singular view that only her people are beautiful – it’s a very narrow minded point of view really – just thinking that your race are beautiful. Still, Susan does mention that she reviews this later in the series.
      I kind of thought that the people and their gods were all based on free and easy sex so to call somebody a whore, when frankly everyone is putting it about, seems a bit odd to me. But, I’ve probably misunderstood something along the line!
      Lynn 😀

  4. tethyanbooks

    I think you kind of hit what was tossing around in my mind about the word ‘whore’. It does describe Phedre’s training and way of working, but I don’t think anyone sees it as a bad thing. I’m kind of surprised that ‘whore’ is considered an insult in Terre d’Ange, given how open they are about sexuality.

    Also, that would really have been an interesting twist if Hyacinthe had been like, “No thanks, Phedre, I think of you as a friend.” I wonder how Phedre would deal with being rejected sexually, it’s got to happen at some point in her life!

    • lynnsbooks

      It would be interesting to see how Phedre would deal with that – not being mean, but there is a certain kind of arrogance in thinking that everyone just wants and desires you! I guess she hasn’t had much disappointment in that respect though so you can’t really blame her!
      Lynn 😀

  5. Danya @ Fine Print

    So I know I shouldn’t have read this post – you know, since I’ve not read Kushiel’s Dart and all – but I couldn’t help myself. Now I *really* need to make this book a priority. And ooooh there were some good questions! Kudos to whoever comes up with those. I also agree that you’d fall into a House that values humour! 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Thank you 😀 😀
      Humour – couldn’t live without it.
      It’s a very good and difficult to pigeon hole book. Bit of erotica, bit of magic, bit of romance, bit of intrigue. Lots of different races of people generally ganging up on each other and going to war. Kidnapping, politics – you name it, this book has it.
      Lynn 😀

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