Kushiel’s Dart Read-along: Week 2 Update

Image credit: Imyril @ onemore.org

The wonderful hosts of Wyrd and Wonder decided to host a read-along of Kushiel’s Dart, the first installment of the Kushiel universe.

If you want to join the read-along, you can find all the info regarding the reading schedule on the Goodreads group page. The second week of the read-along is hosted by Susan at Dab of Darkness andit covers chapter 17 to 31.

We get a few more hints of magic or the supernatural in this section. Phedre sees Kushiel’s visage after Alcuin is injured; Hyacinthe’s mom & he himself both have things revealed via the dromonde; that moment of deep peace at Elua’s statue. What do you think of magic in this world?

I love it! I like the fact that the various deities play an important part in the lives of the protagonists. They are not active participants in the story but they subtly influence the characters. I don’t think I think of their influence as magic really since it’s so subtle that one could say the characters are imagining it.

As for the dromonde, I had forgotten how important the various visions and prophecies were and I’m enjoying learning more about it!

More politics! For those new to the series, what do you make of Baudoin and his mother, the Lioness of Azzalle? For those rereading, are you noticing details you missed before?

I don’t have strong feelings towards Baudoin, he’s such a puppet that I’m neither sad nor happy that his treachery was discovered. As for his mother, the Lioness of Azzale, she’s a fascinating character and I wish we could have seen more of her in this book!

What do you think of Alciun’s final assignation? Guy’s death? Would Alcuin have been happier, but perhaps less useful, as something other than Naamah’s servant?

I feel bad for Alcuin because he never wanted to be Namaah’s servant yet, he did it for Delaunay. I ache for him because he had to suffer silently for years doing something he despised. I definitely think he would have happier doing something else but, I don’t think Alcuin regret his choice since he did it for love. I’m not sure Delaunay deserves that love but, Love as thou will, am I right?

Phedre has a new bodyguard – a Casseline Brother, Joscelin Verreuil. What do you think his life was like before this posting? Are you surprised that Anafiel didn’t dismiss him after the confrontation with Childric d’Essoms?

Joscelin!! I love Joscelin! I’m sure his life was calmer before he got tangled up with Phèdre and her misadventures. Poor thing, he just wants to honor his vows and he has to protect someone who enjoys getting hurt.

And no, I’m not suprised Delaunay didn’t dismiss him for what happened with d’Essoms. Phèdre probably would have been hurt a lot more without him with her. He protected her as well as he could considering he didn’t know what Phèdre was getting herself into.

We finally meet Barquiel L’Envers. How dangerous do you think this man is? What do you make of his history with Anafiel?

Barquiel is a clever and powerful man so he’s dangerous for sure. He isn’t afraid of killing people in order to take his revenge. I also understand his complicated feelings towards Delaunay. While I don’t doubt Delaunay’s poem was telling the truth, I can’t help but to understand Barquiel’s desire to protect his family at all costs.

How did you feel about Phedre granting Childric another assignation? Was she right that she owed him a debt?

I understand where Phèdre is coming from. Even if she’s spying on all her patrons, Phèdre still loves them at least a little and she has a special relationship with D’Essoms. He was her first patron and she has been with him a lot. She has come to respecting him and, after divulving his secret, she feels like she has betrayed him. Personally, I don’t think she owns him anything, D’Essoms knew what he was getting into before he started seeing her, but I understand her point of view (and her dedication as Namaah’s servant).

Alcuin has completed his marque and displays it to Anafiel. How do you feel about the shift in their relationship? Phedre’s response to it?

Carey is a master at crafting characters and relationships: I think this shift in their relationship was inevitable. I understand Alcuin’s love for Delaunay but I don’t necesseraly understand or approve of Delaunay returning those feelings. He adopted Alcuin as a young child and he saw him grow up… I’m not into this sudden shift. I know Alcuin waited for his marque to be complete before revealing how he felt but still, I’m uncomfortable with the age gap, the power imbalance and the fact that Delaunay was Alcuin’s father figure.

I completely understand why Phèdre is jealous of their relationship. I don’t think she has real romantic feelings for Delaunay as much as she’s afraid of being pushed aside. Even if her reaction is a bit childish, I can’t help but to feel bad for her and understand why she wants to drown her sorrow in pain by seeing d’Essoms again.

And, of course, include anything else that piqued your interest from this section.

I already gushed about Joscelin but, I really love him and I’m so glad to see him again. I was a huge fan of Joscelin when I first read the trilogy at 16 and, it appears that I still am his number one fan at 23. Sure, at this point in the story, he’s acting like a rigid douche with Phèdre but, I love their dynamic. And I love the fact that each time Phèdre is talking about him, she can’t help but to gush about him. He’s annoying her because he’s judging her all the time but, she can’t help but to find him very handsome (even if he has no sense of fashion… 😂). Yeah, I love them.

17 thoughts on “Kushiel’s Dart Read-along: Week 2 Update

  1. I felt really bad for Alcuin here too, especially the last time I read this. Usually when I reread this I gloss over a lot of the beginning to get to ‘the good stuff’ LOL but last time I reread it for a read-along and oh wow it really forced me to examine some things in this book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am really enjoying the Phedre/Joscelin dynamic and am finding it encouraging that a few people have spoken about him as a favourite character, which suggests he’s going to be around for the rest of the book. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joscelin is one of my favorite characters too. I love going back to the beginning and seeing how much he has grown (I’ve read the entire series). And while he’s all judgy judgy with Phedre, she’s a bit judgy on him too at this point. There’s definitely room for both o them to grow at this point in the story. And I commend him for not beating the snot out of those silly revelers that were teasing him outside of Hyacinthe’s bar. I also like that Phedre stepped in the way she did, preserving Joscelin’s sense of honor instead of making fun of him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This reread is definitely making me confront my traditional feelings about Delaunay. In the past I think I’ve just gone with him as being as awesome as Phèdre perceives him to be, but… this time I’m full of nope for several aspects of how he’s presented. I don’t think he’s a terrible person – within the context of Terre D’Ange he’s doing nothing wrong at any point, so he’s entirely honourable – but he takes advantages of the aspects of Terre d’Ange that really bother me now. I guess I should congratulate Carey for writing the book in a way that I didn’t question any of these things in the past; presenting it through Phèdre (who sees nothing wrong with any of it) is absolutely the right thing to do. I’m curious to see how all this (the system of marques, Delaunay!Alcuin) looks through Joscelin’s eyes next year… Deeply judged, no doubt 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Carey is such an amazing writer, she crafts her characters in a way that you can’t help but to feel for them even if they don’t act the best.
      But yes, re-reading this book is a very different experience than my first read, I notice the flaws of the characters a lot more.
      I just heard that Carey wanted to write a book following Joscelin’s perspective?? I didn’t know it was a thing but I would LOVE to see the whole story from his perspective. And yes, I expect all the judgment! 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

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