Kushiel’s Dart Read-along: Week 5 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 in 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 fifth week of the read-along is hosted by Peat Long and it covers chapter 62 to 79.

Warning: this post will contain spoilers!

Since I’m writing this post a bit late, I will not be answering all the questions but you can find them all on the Goodreads group.

We’re back on the road again with Phèdre and Joscelin, and this time they’re with Hyacinthe as he finally comes face to face with his heritage. What were your first impressions of the Tsingani? What did you make of Hyacinthe’s reaction to his reception, and Phèdre’s reaction to that reaction? Finally – Hyacinthe’s choice. Could you have done what he did there? Give up finding you family just after finding them for your friend?

I’m glad we finally met the Tsingani, it was nice to see them as a people with their own traditions and culture. Especially outside the regular D’Angeline sphere where they are treated like wandering thieves.

I felt so much for Hyacinthe, he was ostracized his entire life and he finally managed to meet his relatives. However, because he decided to protect Phèdre, his secret was discovered and he had to leave again.

I think Phèdre discovered a new aspect of her friend that she never thought about before. She has always thought off Hyacinthe as her best friend who would always be there for her in the City of Elua but I don’t think she gave a lot of thoughts to what he was doing or to his cultural heritage. She is now discovering a Hyacinthe that is not just her friend but a human being with secrets and wants.

As for Hyacinthe’s choice, it was heartbreaking. Sure, he only spent a few days with the Tsingani but still, he still gave up a life he was craving for. To be honest, I don’t know if I could have been able to make the same decision in his place. Probably not.

Phèdre being Phèdre, she jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire – a handsome, sadistic fire. Does Phèdre’s pleasure at being able to resume her craft, even in these circumstances, and the description of that sense of release make sense to you?

Ah Phèdre, at this point in the novel, I’m not surprised by any of her actioins anymore especially when they concern Namaah’s art… It doesn’t always make sense to me but it does to Phèdre and it’s apparently the only way to get things done in Terre D’Ange so… *insert a Cassiline Brother’s sigh*

The Long Road keeps getting longer but Phèdre seems equal to every task and soon they are in Alba’s green and pleasant land. What were your first impressions of the Dalriada and the Cruithne, and their respective rulers? Who do you agree with on the decision to go to war – Eamonn or Grainne? And what did you make of Joscelin’s take on Phèdre’s brand of diplomacy?

Drustan is such an interesting character, like Ysandre, I can’t help but to root for him from the start. As for Eamon and Grainne, I don’t have strong feelings towards any of them. Obviously, I like Grainne better than her brother because she didn’t need to have sex with Phèdre to make a decision. I am definitely not a fan of the “since you had sex with my sister, you have to have sex with me to balance it out”. Nop.

I can understand why Joscelin was frustrated with Phèdre’s peculiar brand of diplomacy. I would be frustrated too and I’m not a former Cassiline brother in love with said Phèdre. Poor Joscelin haha.

We’ve seen blood and death before in this book, but this is the first mass bloodletting. What was your reaction? Will any moments stick with you? Were you surprised by Phèdre and Hyacinthe’s moment together?

I don’t like reading about war and I tend to lose focus during battle scenes so, except for Moiread’s death and Joscelin’s badassery, I don’t remember a lot about it.

Phèdre is a servant of Naamah and Hyacinthe has been interested by her for years. After Moiread’s passing, he needed comfort so, I guess it shouldn’t have been surprised me yet, it did. I like Hyacinthe but I don’t like Phèdre and Hyacinthe as a couple. I think that Phèdre is quick to jump to bed with people when the “regular approach” would be to speak with them instead of having sex with them, you know? Same with her moment with Joscelin in the cave. I like Phèdre and Joscelin being together but the timing didn’t feel right. I’m wasn’t bothered when she slept with Grainne, Eammon or the Duc of Morbhan but with Joscelin and Hyacinthe, it feels different. Both relationships are more complex than a contract between a patron and a servant. It’s probably because I’m not D’Angeline but sometimes I’m confused by their Love as thou wilt

It’s been a hell of a ride and as we near the end, what with Hyacinthe and Phèdre saying goodbye and Hyacinthe telling her that Joscelin has feelings for her, it seems a good time to ask how you feel about Phèdre, Joscelin and Hyacinthe – have they grown in your eyes? Has your opinion changed of any of them?

Hyacinthe’s sacrifice is heartbreaking, he already gave up his heritage for Phèdre and now he’s ready to be imprisoned for centuries in the middle of the sea. I like a him a lot, he’s an amazing friend to Phèdre (she really attracts incredibly loyal people!) and he’s a much more complex character that I thought at the beginning.

Joscelin is now way more accommodating and less annoying though I agree with Phèdre, he has a temper that he is hardly keeping under control. Thank god he is Cassiline-trained, I think he would be insufferable without the discipline. 😂

Phèdre is by far my favorite character in the book, she’s flawed but she is always trying her best to become a better person and make smart decisions. Even if she has original ways of obtaining what she needs, she’s extremely loyal and clever and I love that. She also unabashedly herself and she isn’t trying to hide anything, I wish more characters were that awesome!

And finally – any other thoughts you may have about this section!

This epic journey is almost over and what a ride, this book really is amazing! Since I’m a bit behind on the schedule, I will do my best to catch-up and post the next update quickly! 🙂

9 thoughts on “Kushiel’s Dart Read-along: Week 5 Update

  1. I was hoping Hyacinthe and Phedre would just remain great friends and not have a sexual relationship. But the more I read this story, the more I’m convinced that our perception of sex and sexual relationship is very different from this book’s society’s perception of it, so maybe it wouldn’t complicate Phedre and Hyacinthe’s relationship as much as I think it would. I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your observation that Phèdre has sex with someone when a conversation would do – you’re so right 🤣 While sex is both a more spiritual and a more casual thing in d’Angeline society – and Phèdre has become ever more aware of the spiritual aspects of Naamah’s Service – I do struggle with it a bit just because I’m somewhere on the ace spectrum so I’d much rather have the chat and a hug and a cup of tea myself 😉 But I also think she has very genuine feelings for both Joscelin and Hyacinthe, and this is her way of sharing herself with him while she can, which I can understand.

    Entirely with you at rolling my eyes at Eamonn tho. For crying out loud, boy, don’t go to war for a night in the sack. And DEFINITELY don’t tell a woman she has to sleep with you because she slept with your sister, sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also on the ace spectrum so, even if I love Phèdre, I admit that her ways often leave me a bit confused. As you said, a cup of tea and a chat are much more my style haha. But I do realize that sex in Terre d’Ange isn’t seen the same way and that it also Phèdre’s art. 🙂

      YES, I mean I can understand why he was so hesitant to go to war but, I don’t get why having sex with Phèdre would change his mind. And I’ve never heard a worst pickup line than “You know that the only way of restoring the balance between me and my sister is for you to sleep with me ;)”.
      I would run LOL.


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