Throwback Thursday : Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Throwback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from your reading past. This can be virtually anything, a book that you previously read and loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

The book I’d like to shine the spotlight on this week is : Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.  This is the first in Phedre’s trilogy, a series I loved.  I thought I’d highlight this today because if you haven’t read this – you should by the way – there’s a new book planned, no firm dates yet, possibly to be released in 2020.  I was so excited when I saw tweets about this last year – basically this is going to be a retelling of Kushiel’s Dart from Joscelin’s point of view.  Okay, breathe everyone.  Anyway, the idea of Throwback Thursday is to highlight books for one reason or another – so, if you’ve not yet read Kushiel’s Dart – you could give it a try now, there’s still time to read the series before this new release so this is a very timely post.  Joscelin has to be one of my favourite characters and so the idea of reading from his POV has me doing somersaults.  Here’s the announcement from Tor.

So,  here’s a little more about Kushiel’s Dart to get you started:

Kushiel's Dart.jpgThe land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good… and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission… and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair… and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.

Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.

 

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Can’t Wait Wednesday: Starless by Jacqueline Carey

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Starless by Jacqueline Carey – I am so excited about this book. I really can’t wait:

starlessJacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.

Let your mind be like the eye of the hawk…Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

Publication date: June 2018

Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey read-along final week

Today is the final week of our readalong for Naamah’s Curse, No.2 in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah Trilogy.  The details and schedule are here and below is a little about the book.

Naam2
Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.

Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

The questions and answers are below (hosted this week by me) – be warned that spoilers may be lurking.

 

What did you make of the mission to retrieve the black diamond and what do you actually make of the black diamond and whether it could be used for good?

This part of the story made me smile to be honest because the way everyone spoke of the black diamond put me in mind of Lord of the Rings and the way everyone spoke of the ‘one ring’ – you cannot wield it!  Apparently it doesn’t seem as though the diamond could be put to use – it feels like it manipulates the person who holds it and exaggerates there emotions to a heightened degree.  I thought the mission to retrieve the diamond went remarkably well in fact much smoother than I anticipated – I think I expected much more trouble somehow but it seemed like Jagrati and her falconer had a much smaller contingent surrounding them than I had imagined.  I must admit that when Jagrati poisoned herself I half wondered if she’d taken a potion that mimics death and was going to wake up and escape!  I obviously have too active an imagination because it was much more straightforward.

The Spider Queen and Amrita – what were your final thoughts on both of them – did you have sympathy for Jagrati?  Do you think Amrita can affect change in the caste system?

I couldn’t help feel a little bit sad for Jagrati in some respects and I couldn’t help but wonder if the black diamond had had a detrimental effect on her.  That being said – she behaved very badly and let herself be twisted by anger and hate.  Amrita on the other hand is like the opposite, she’s very calm and gentle seeming.  She has had the privilege of course of being born into a very favourable caste so hasn’t suffered in quite the same way and I suppose you could question the fact that she never saw the unreasonable treatment of the untouchables until Moirin pointed it out.  I think Amrita can start to instigate changes, I think there will be plenty of resistance, a little of which we already read about, but eventually things could change.

Moirin and Bao – they’ve made peace with each other.  Did you finally forgive Bao?  Do you think they’ve reached an understanding that will work for them?

I think I finally did forgive Bao – he explained himself well I thought and he did go through a lot in the first place simply trying to find Moirin.  I liked that he actually set out to rescue her and I thought they were very honest with each other which is a great start.  They also seem to have come to a better place in terms of sharing the diadh-anam which was good to see.

Finally – any predictions for where the journey will take us next? Can you see a purpose in Moirin’s diadh-anam??

Other than suspecting we will eventually come full circle with Moirin returning to deal with Raphael de Mereliot I’m not sure at this point where the rest of the journey will take us – but, yes, I think Moirin will have to return to see if Raphael does still have a demon possessing him.  On reflection this story is almost like a coming of age story for Moirin – like her entire journey has really been about finding herself, of course she’s helped others along the way and I found it interesting that the journey and the events involved seemed to revolve very strongly around religion and the ways in which it can be distorted or corrupted.  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Participants:
Alli at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan at Dab of Darkness

Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week 4

Today is the fourth week of our readalong for Naamah’s Curse, No.2 in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah Trilogy.  The details and schedule are here and below is a little about the book.

Naam2
Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.

Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

The questions and answers are below (hosted this week by Alli at Tethyan Books) – be warned that spoilers may be lurking.

1) Moirin makes some new friends on the way to Rasa. What do you think will come of her decision to entrust them with the jade medallion? Do you see this as a betrayal of trust or do you think the Emperor would understand?

I don’t see it as a betrayal of trust, Moirin has to use the medallion in the way that it can best help her and I think she made a good choice.  Of course it could come back to harm her in some way but I think personally that she chose well.  Plus, the medallion was intended to help her and being a lone woman on the road it was likely that somebody could have taken it from her using force long before.  I think she made a good decision and I would like to think the Emperor would understand, after all, he was trying to help her by giving her the medallion.  The only issue I have with it is that it would be very easy for somebody else to misuse the medallion but, hopefully it will now be in good hands.

2) On her way to the Lady of Rats, Moirin ends up in a dangerous caravan. What are your thoughts on what happened, both with the assault and the illness? 

I wasn’t surprised about the assault, it felt like it was going to happen and in fact Moirin had a bad feeling about it herself.  I thought Moirin handled herself well although she did seem to have let her guard down.  As it was though, I thought things went a lot better than they could have, she had to manage things almost by herself but I had a horrible feeling that much worse was going to happen and I was a bit scared for her.  The illness came as a surprise, altitude sickness hadn’t really occurred to me.

3) It seems that caste/class is going to be a major point in this story. Even if Amrita agrees that the caste system may not be just, do you think there’s anything that she and Moirin can do about it? Do you see any path to happiness for Jagrati and/or do you think she deserves to be defeated?

I think to change the caste system will be a lot harder than it sounds and will probably take years and years to achieve – deep rooted beliefs and years and years of custom would have to change and it certainly would not be easily brought about.  I’m not really sure what to make of Jagrati yet although I don’t like her at this point I don’t feel like I know enough of what is really going on.

4) There is a lot of passion in Kushiel’s Legacy, but the sex scene in this section doesn’t involve much. Given all of the focus on “love as thou wilt”, what do you think about Amrita’s gift and it’s acceptance by Naamah? What do you think about the idea of sex without desire, but for compassionate purposes?

I think that scene felt a little flat to be honest.  Amrita seemed almost amused by the idea and it was a nice gesture from her to help Moirin but I didn’t really feel like it was necessary as part of the story.  It felt a little bit forced and lacked passion.

5) Bao returns! I think we were all a little irritated with him for his Tatar adventures. Do his actions here change your opinion of him? Do you think he has escaped Jagrati’s diamond for good?

I don’t think he’s out of the trees just yet – he’s got his opium addiction to deal with and he will be weakened, Jagrati was obviously exercising a lot of control over him and I don’t think that’s quite dealt with just yet – look how easily she controlled Moirin and Amrita’s guard after all.  Not to mention Carey has already lulled us once into thinking Moirin and Bao had an easy escape in front of them and look what happened.  No, I think there must be something more yet.

Participants:
Alli at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan at Dab of Darkness

Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week 3

Today is the third week of our readalong for Naamah’s Curse, No.2 in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah Trilogy.  The details and schedule are here and below is a little about the book.

Naam2
Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.

Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

The questions and answers are below (hosted this week by Susan at Dab of Darkness) – be warned that spoilers may be lurking.

1) What stood out to you for Moirin’s baptising ceremony? Have you ever been through such a religious ceremony and did it go as you expected? 
I was a little bit surprised at how quickly the ceremony seemed to go after all the build up to it – but, in fairness, I never expected it to go well, I thought that Rostov would have some cunning plan up his sleeve that wasn’t part of the ceremony and indeed he did.  What really surprises me is the speed at which he turned and condemned Moirin to death.
2) Now Moirin and Alexsie (spelling?) are free. Alexsie has much to learn not just about Moirin but also about the larger world. What moment do you think challenged his ingrained beliefs the most? What do you think he will do ultimately with his life? 
Well, Alexsie was very naive about so many things wasn’t he.  I think there were plenty of moments that challenged his beliefs but partly I think that’s because his religion has been twisted by Rostov into something that it shouldn’t have been where the most natural feelings have been turned into something vile and sinful.  I would like to think that without such a repellant influence in his life he would go on to teach his religious beliefs in a way that is much more accepting of others way of life.  I also think he will find another love – Moirin and Alexsie just weren’t right – they had a brief and lovely interlude but it was never going to be anything more – I think Moirin had probably one too many strange ways that he couldn’t get his head around but I liked that he said sorry to her for the abduction and his part in it.
3) There comes a moment when Moirin realizes that she did come to love Alexsie, in a way, and that’s the same moment she knows she will not see him again. Naamah’s curse indeed! Have you had such a moment yourself? Do you think this curse also applies now to Moirin’s love of the departed Jehane? 
Fortunately I haven’t experienced such a moment to be honest.  It was a sad moment for both of them but like I said above I don’t think their relationship was ever going to amount to anything more – Moirin knew that herself.  Deep down they never would have been truly happy together –  I suppose Alexsie found himself first love and Moirin got to have some fun after a long period of abstinence.  I feel that the loss of Jehane has affected Moirin much more than Alexsie parting ways, but that’s not really a surprise as she will never get to see Jehane again after all – this Curse really is a bit nasty isn’t it!
4) Falcons and spiders and rats, oh my! What stood out the most for you in Moirin meeting up again with Erdina, Bao’s wife? And what do you expect Moirin will find as she heads towards the Falconer with his Spider Queen? 
I was surprised by how much trust Moirin put in Erdina – it could have been a trick after all – but at the same time I was pleased that she did decide to trust her.  I was also a bit surprised at Erdina – she’s certainly changed in terms of accepting that Bao loves Moirin – to be honest that whole chapter of their meeting and the way Erdina and Moirin behaved just served to shine Bao in a really bad light all over again for me.  Even Moirin trying to justify to herself his actions – she admitted herself that she couldn’t understand what he’d done and really he behaved very badly to both of them – it makes you wonder why they’re both so keen to help him now!  Well, I understand why Moirin has to help him but I’m surprised that Erdina doesn’t feel more anger.
This next step of the story – it all sounds very dark and foreboding doesn’t it with spider queen’s and Falcon kings.  I actually really don’t know what to expect but I’m thinking it will be a bit sinister.
That’s it for this week – feel free to join with the readalong, all welcome, or please add your comments.
Participants:
Alli at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan at Dab of Darkness
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