Hello everybody. Sorry I’m a day late – I just didn’t have time to read much last week! This is the final post for the Kushiel’s Dart Read-along – MY first read-along.
I loved reading this with all the other bloggers. This made me read a book that I might have never read on my own. It made me finish the book (in a somewhat timely manner), when I probably would have given the book up after the first hundred pages or so had I been reading alone. I also loved seeing everybody’s ideas about the subjects that the story deals with. What I’m trying to say here is that I had a blast with this read-along and I can’t wait to do another one.
This week Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is hosting. Head on over there to join in the conversation.
I’ll be discussing events from chapter 84 – the end of the book below.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
1. Isidore d’Aiglemort comes back into play for the battle against the Skaldi, and Phedre takes a huge risk to turn him from an enemy back into an ally – to a point, at least. And d’Aiglemort’s one demand is to have Waldemar Selig left to himself on the battlefield… What were your thoughts on Terre d’Ange’s unlikely hero, when all the dust settled?
Well, in a big way, d’Aiglemort caused all this destruction to begin with, so his redemption here feels like a drop in the bucket to me. However, Phedre’s description of the scene with d’Aiglemort’s army crashing into the Skaldi, and d’Aiglemort taking 17 wounds before downing Selig is just so fricking awesome that I almost want to forgive the guy.
In the end, he’s just helping to clean up his own mess – something he wouldn’t have ever done if he hadn’t been caught and forced to. So, despite his valiant final days, he’s still scum to me.
2. After the war, we get a wedding! Ysandre and Drustan survive to unite their people after all. Did you think they’d both get this far, and do you have any thoughts on how this union (political, romantic, or both) might turn out?
I feel like their union is going to turn out just fine. They seem to truly love eachother. However their two nations may not work out as well together. There could be some strife there, which Ysandre and Drustan both being partial to their own people and culture.
Honestly, no, I didn’t think the marriage would ever happen. I thought something would occur to stop it. I love how it was used as kind of a breath of relief after all this war.
3. Melisande is finally discovered, and brought before the Queen to be punished for her treason. Though, of course it’s not as simple as that with her… Were you surprised at all when she escaped? And do you have any ideas about who might have aided her?
I was completely surprised that she escaped. I thought that she was going to be put to death, and I wondered what form of execution she would choose. I have no idea who might have aided her – I still can’t keep track of most of the names in the book.
Part of me thinks that the three Phedre’s Boys who follow her at the end of the book might be up to something. Maybe not all of them, but at least one. It’s strange to me that they are so loyal to her. Joscelin laughs it off saying he knows why – I’m guessing he thinks that they are in love with her. This seems to be trouble to me. Unrequited love can easily create a monster.
4. Ysandre and Drustan aren’t the only ones to get their happy ending – well, up to a point, anyway. Phedre and Joscelin try on the quiet country life, and it goes well for a while… Once again Phedre is unable to forget, or be forgotten by, Melisande – wherever she is. Do you think Phedre will return to her old life, as we leave her contemplating? If so, is her choice the right one?
I think she will return to some form of her old life. I think she will return to serving Nammah by sleeping with clients again – of her own choosing this time. I don’t think I can judge whether it’s the right choice or not. I mean, if it was me, I’d say just be happy with your little kingdom, your perfect boyfriend, and you easy life.
But she’s an anguisette. She desires suffering. So she’s not going to be happy in that life. When you’re only pleased when you’re in pain, how can you ever truly be happy? It’s a weird conundrum.
Phedre sneaking away from Joscelin and through the Skaldi camp was one of my favorite parts of the whole story. I love seeing Phedre putting other skills to use beside her abilities in the bedroom. I wish there had been more of this type of stuff throughout the book.
The terminus move that Joscelin almost performs – where he would have killed Phedre and himself simultaneously – is interesting, but it almost seems a little blasphemous. Like the Cassiel brother just gives up protecting his target and kills her instead. It seems contrary to many of their other beliefs. I guess that’s why it’s so rarely performed.
Selig tortures Phedre by stripping the flesh from her back. I wonder how that effected her marque. It seems like it would have distorted the image in some way, unless Selig intentionally avoided the tattoo.
The side story about Joscelin’s father and brother feels a bit forced to me, and out of place. It is one part of the story that is not fleshed out very well, and when they spot him during the combat I don’t feel the emotion I think I’m intended to, because it doesn’t feel like it’s been earned.
We see the Skaldi pony again! I’m glad his story is resolved here. I feel like that’s the only reason the Yeshuites appear at the end – so Carey wouldn’t have to listen to people asking “What happened to the pony!?”
There’s so many good things to say about this book. It has some truly amazing sequences that will be ingrained in my memory forever (Joscelin’s fight in the snow, Phedre watching the battle from the arrow slit, everything with the Master of Straits). The world-building is fantastic. I envy Carey’s ability to tie everything together so well. The plot is such an epic story that seems to completely change every few chapters. It’s just incredible writing.
There’s a few problems I have with the book – It’s a little overly long, with some boring sequences needlessly stretched, there’s too many similar names without much to identify the characters, and the plot gets very convoluted at times.
However, overall I enjoyed the book much more than I ever expected to, and cant wait to read the next in the series.
(More) Final Thoughts
The SF/F Readalong group is reading Full Fathom Five next. Since I have not read the previous two books in the series, I wont be able to participate in this one. Instead, I’m going to take the time to finish up a couple other books that I’ve left hanging. I still haven’t quite finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.
There’s already discussion about doing the next Kushiel book (Kushiel’s Chosen) soon. I will definitely participate in that.
Thanks again, everybody, for reading!