Read-Along – Kushiel’s Dart – Part 9

Kushiel's_Dart

Hello everybody. I hope everybody had a great weekend. It’s American Independence Day this weekend, so I was out of town, enjoying time with family – cookouts, swimming pools, fireworks, and Terminator Genisys. It was a fun weekend, but hey let’s get on with this portion of Kushiel’s Dart.

Welcome back to the Read-Along! HERE is the schedule, if you’d like to keep up and read along with everybody else.

For this section, Emma at EmmaMaree.com is hosting, so be sure to head over there and join in the conversation.

For this section, we’ll be covering Chapters 73- 84. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

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?

Oh, I would definitely not choose to stay and be isolated my whole life. I would go crazy in a week not having that social interaction, and I’m not really a very social person overall – definitely not like Hyacinthe. I imagine it must be torture for him.

I do understand his sacrifice however. He felt like this was their only way out of the situation. So, I was wrong when I said that Hyacinthe would die, last week. Instead, this is how Carey is removing him from the story. It’s interesting, because I’m sure that Phedre will see him again in some way, maybe in the sequels to this book.

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 don’t know. I start typing one response, then change my mind. I could definitely see it both ways. Aside from the Master of Straits, there really hasn’t been much actual fantasy in the story. Then they sort of show that the Master of Straits is just a man. I believe they said that the image of the face in the water was just in the viewers mind. He has some sort of psychic power where he can speak into each of their minds, where they’re all hearing their own language coming from his mouth.

It’s interesting to me, because it is magic, but it’s not inhuman magic. It’s not Godly magic.

Back to the God blood in the veins – I’m not convinced that the Gods are real, and not human inventions, but I could be easily convinced by a bit more evidence. I haven’t made up my mind on the subject.

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?

Well, she didn’t really describe her first encounter with him, or her night with Joscelin all that much either. This is something that has me confused about this book – I’m really not sure who it’s target is. It doesn’t feel like an erotica book to me, because there are sometimes hundreds of pages between sexual encounters, and much of the sex is not detailed at all. Then you look at the first two-hundred pages or so, and it is very detailed sex – which tends to turn off a big chunk of fantasy readers.

It kind of makes me think of Magic Mike. I haven’t seen the movie, or it’s sequels, but I’ve heard discussions about it saying that men tend to like the movie more than women. Women go to see it expecting a stripper movie where they’re going to see lots of dancing and naked bodies, but while there are some scenes like that, a big majority of the movie is about the camaraderie between the guys and their personal lives.

I’m not saying anything bad about the book or the movie, but it does feel a little misleading. Almost as if the entire story was written, then afterwards the author (or maybe the publisher) was like “This book is about sex, we should really add some detailed sexual encounters in it.”  Just my scrambled thoughts.

Oh, back to the question. How do I feel about Hyacinthe. I’m glad that this happened instead of him dying, like I expected. I think he will spend much of his time watching other people through that scrying pool. I think that next time we see him (and I do think we’ll see him again, in one of the sequels), he will be a much different person. I think the solitude could drive him mad.

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 think it’s a fitting sign. She’s not a whore, and none of her followers view her in this way at all. I actually had that reaction when I read that line as well. I was all “Oh no you didn’t!” That word has a lot of power and instills an immediate gut-reaction, especially when said about somebody you love.

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 think I’d fit in with the Eglantine house or the Orchis house. Eglantine, because I am always doing something creative – either writing, painting, or building something. “The house itself is repository of obscure lore and learning” – that’s me. I’m always researching some bit of pointless trivia. Last week I spent days researching glow-worms.

I would also fit in Orchis however, because I tend to not take things very seriously. Nothing makes me feel better than to make somebody laugh.

I’ve thought a lot over the past few days about how much I’ve changed since I was younger. I look back at many of my actions with a huge amount of guilt and shame. I’m not sure what house I would have fit in then – maybe Jasmine, or even Mandrake, but I’ve definitely changed since then.

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?

I don’t think I would truly fit in anywhere in this world. Maybe as the owner of a small shop, possibly a bookstore, on the Night’s Doorstep. I would probably be a hermit of sorts, writing reams of stories that wouldn’t be found until after my death, then I would gain a great notoriety among the d’Angelines.

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

Anywhere where I would have to fight to survive. I’d say Skaldia, but a piece of me actually likes the idea of living in the tents with a small camp in the wilds. However, I couldn’t kill anybody else to survive and I would hate living in fear for my life.

Final Thoughts

I love “Phedre’s Boys”. The entire concept behind them is just great. They sing about how they, like the anguisette, enjoy getting beat and punished and it just fits so perfectly. I love it. I completely believe these guys would follow Phedre to the ends of the Earth.

To me, Phedre was a bit annoying in the chapters at the island with the Master of Straits. She says things like “it’s beautiful – and I know beautiful because I grew up in the Night’s Court.” It’s just so conceited. Then AGAIN talking about how ugly everybody else is compared to d’Angelines. And finally with the “I’ve figured out the secret riddle and I’m not telling you” stuff. Makes me want to slap her, but she’d like it.

Next week is the final section of this story. I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s going to end. I hope that most of these threads get wrapped up here and not carried over to the next book, because I don’t know when I would be able to read the sequels.

Hope you’ll join me next week!

Other Bloggers:

Allie at Tethyan Books

3 thoughts on “Read-Along – Kushiel’s Dart – Part 9

  1. Lots of good points!
    I can’t imagine anybody wanting to stay so isolated on the island. Frankly I’m rather hoping that Hyacinthe turns it all on it’s head, turns into a nice master of the straits and has everyone round for a visit – PARTY!!!! That would certainly show everyone a thing or two – I mean, there’s no rule that the Master of the Straits has to live alone on that island after all (or is there??)! I still wouldn’t choose it – although, if I could have company round and a huge ass library – maybe, just maybe I would change my mind. Plus, now I think about it – think of all the books you’d get to read in 800 years!
    The word ‘whore’ is a pretty mean term really – it always gives me pause with these books because it seems so out of place with the whole philosophy of the people and their gods.
    Lynn 😀

    1. You know, after reading a few other peoples ideas about the island, I think I would actually rather stay there. I mean, if people can come to visit me and all my needs are taken care of, I’d totally want to live 800 years. That sounds great.

      And yes, your posts about the word “whore” in this book are spot on. I hadn’t thought about it before, but it definitely feels strange.

  2. I’m with Lynn on the island idea– why can’t he have friends over? If he can control the water and weather, he can even ensure a safe and fast journey for them.

    I can see what you mean about the target audience. I’m not usually into romance, which is one reason I’d never yet tried these books out (the covers look pretty romance-y). But then, I think if you were to read this book solely for romance, you’d be pretty disappointed. There is a bit, and there is the sex, but I think it’s really more of an adventure story. I think someone reading it for the erotica would be disappointed, too, because there is so much else going on besides the sex (and, like you said, sometimes it is not detailed at all). I’m enjoying it a lot, but I can’t really see how to classify it.

    Also, I’m with you on Phedre’s vanity. By the time she was saying, “I didn’t wear much makeup– I didn’t need it,” I was rolling my eyes prettily heavily. I mean, I also wear very little makeup, but it’s just because I don’t like it, not because I’ve decided that I’m so naturally gorgeous. It will be interesting to see if Phedre becomes a bit less conceited about beauty as she grows older. I’m really curious now to see what will happen when someone doesn’t want her sexually. It has to happen sometime, no one is sexually desirable to everyone in the world, God’s blood or not.

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