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 Zezee at Zezee With Books and it covers chapter 32 to 47.
Warning: this post will contain spoilers!
Phédre slipped during her assignment with Melisande and mentioned that Delaunay is “waiting for word from Quintilius Rousse.” She believed this slip contributed to Delaunay’s murder, but Melisande assured Phédre that she’d already known that information.
Do you think Delaunay was right to keep Phédre unaware of his identity, motivations, and true intentions to prevent such slips on her assignments?
No, I don’t think he was right. I think he should have at least told her parts of his plan in case anything happened to him. It was unfair to put Phèdre in dangerous situations where she had to spy on her patrons without telling her anything. And it was also unfair to explain his plan to Alcuin and not Phèdre.
Delaunay, Alcuin, and the entire household are murdered. Do you think Phédre and Joscelin were lucky to escape, or is Phédre as unlucky as she believes her name to be?
I don’t think luck has anything to do with it… They are are only alive because Melisande let them live. I don’t buy the fact that Melisande just happened to meet them by chance at the Palace.
Is it just me, or are you also curious about this strong, compulsive attraction Phédre has to Melisande to the point where she can’t even think straight sometimes? What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Melisande is as drawn to Phédre, or is she simply fascinated by Phédre being an anguissette and what Phédre’s limits are?
During my first read, I thought the relationship between Melisande and Phèdre was completely one-sided and that Phèdre was the only one affected by it. However, this re-read shows me that it’s not as simple as that. Maybe it’s because the two women are linked by Kushiel and that they are both a different side of the same coin but, I think Phèdre and Melisande have a lot in common. They are both clever and gorgeous women who use their charms to obtain what they want. They are both underestimated by the men around them and it allows them to uncover their secrets. If Melisande didn’t feel a thing for Phèdre, she wouldn’t have let her live. The fact that she can’t destroy her shows us she is drawn to her. And I think Phèdre is Melisande biggest weakness.
We get to meet the Skaldi! What were your initial thoughts when Phédre and Joscelin were handed over to them? Were you disappointed that Phédre did not try to fight like Joscelin did or aid him? Were you frustrated by her seeming to surrender or impressed by her quick assessment of the situation or didn’t care and wanted to the story to take a different route?
I wasn’t surprised nor disappointed by Phèdre’s reaction when they were handed to the Skaldi. I think at this point, Phèdre was too exhausted and shocked by the death her entire household to try and run for her life in the middle of nowhere. I think she reacted quickly and as well as she could considering the situation. For me, the most frustrating character in this situation is Joscelin. As soon as Phèdre speaks Skaldic, he assumes that she’s a traitor without considering the fact that she’s saving both of them. Stop thinking with your sword and turn your braincells on Jos’!
As their enslavement under the Skaldi persists, both Phédre and Joscelin seem to gain a greater understanding of the sacrifices their representative angels made. What do you think about the roles Phédre and Joscelin have to play in comparison to the acts of the angels they worship?
It’s fascinating to see what their oaths actually entail. Phèdre, who always had the privilege to choose her patrons and always enjoyed the service of Namaah, is discovering that her service is a lot more complicated than she thought it would be. She’s starting to feel that her gift as Kushiel’s Dart is becoming her curse. She’s disgusted with herself for enjoying the harsh treatment she’s receiving at the hands of Gunter.
As for Joscelin, he’s doing his best to keep his oath to protect Phèdre, even if it means protecting the enemy at the detriment of the Crown of Terre d’Ange. I would love to be in his head to see how is feeling about that!
We’ve now gotten a couple scenes that show Joscelin’s badassery as a sword-dagger-wielding Casseline brother dude. Are you convinced of his abilities as a fighter?
Yep, this dude is a total badass, I’m convinced he can kick everyone’s ass.
We meet Waldemar Selig, the Skaldi who aims to unite all Skaldis and conquer Terre d’Ange. What do you think of Selig?
I had forgotten how clever Selig was, he knows what is doing, he has managed to unite rival tribes against a common enemy and he has a clear goal in mind: invading Terre d’Ange. Even if he’s a bad guy, I can’t help but to respect him. It makes him even scarier.
How did the way he was introduced in the story affect your impression of him when he does show up? Did it increase your anticipation and curiosity about him?
Of course, it has! We have been hearing about this dude for a long time and we are finally meeting him and and he’s even more clever and badass than anticipated. However, I think he’s underestimating Phèdre and Joscelin and what they are capable of doing together so, he’s not that clever.
And, of coursen include anything else that piqued your interest from this section.
I have a serious obsession with Phèdre and Joscelin’s interactions, I have highlighted waaaay too many of them on my e-reader. I love how they are slowly realizing that they are not enemies and that they can find comfort in each other.
“They mean to invade,” I whispered. “They mean to have it all, and that cursed d’Aiglemort’s given them a way to do it. Joscelin, this goes far beyond border raids. We have to find a way to warn them.” “We will.” He said it quietly, but with the implacable strength of a Cassiline vow. With unaccustomed gentleness, he took my face in his hands and brushed away the traces of my tears. “I swear to you, Phèdre, I’ll get us out of here.”
Because I needed to, I believed him and took strength from him.Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
I’m not crying okay, I swear I’m not.