Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us.
This week, Nancy from FaeStruck Reviews was the scheduled host. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do so. So, I am your host this week. Leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.
Chapters 55-63 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.
1) What do you think of the over all connection between the Casseline Brotherhood and the Yeshuites? Are you happy with where the shaggy pony ended up?
Here we see how the author connects the characters to the world us readers know in one more way. There’s two themes about these books that I really appreciate – consent and respect. Phedre, and it seems most D’Angeline, try to respect non-D’Angeline deities wherever they find them. I think that respect is because the tales of their own deities are interwoven with these other religions. It’s really quite beautiful because it brings people together instead of being divisive.
I love that the brave shaggy pony got a home with two girls for company.
2) Phedre & Hyacinthe have a happy reunion. What do you make of Joscelin’s reaction? Do you miss Hyacinthe’s mother?
Joscelin is definitely having a lot of emotions. I think he and Phedre haven’t really talked about whether or not they, indeed, have an intimate relationship. Now that he sees her with Hyacinthe, he may feel that it isn’t his place to step in and come between things. Also, at this point in the story, he is still part of the Casseline Brotherhood.
I do miss Hyacinthe’s mom. I think she would have had wisdom to share with Phedre about all the crap she just went through.
3) Yet another happy reunion occurs with Thelesis de Mornay, the King’s Poet, who gets them in to see the Dauphine, Ysandre. Do you think there was another way to seek her audience? Such an intense meeting! What stood out the most for you?
Every time I read this book, I always think they are going to use the super secret through the mirror back door path that Phedre took note of when she accidentally spied on Delaunay and Ysandre. But that obviously doesn’t happen.
Two moments really hit me on this one: 1) When Ysandre finally realizes that they are telling the truth (after the guard verifies that they were seeking an audience those few months ago) and realizes in the same moment that she has to deal with treason and invasion. 2) When Phedre refused the pardon as it would reveal to the baddies that the now-Queen has some info that she didn’t before. Huge sacrifice by Phedre and Joscelin.
4) Phedre makes a trip to the temple of Kushiel to make atonement. Do you agree that she had things to atone for?
First, I love that the priest in Joscelin pointed out this simple truth to Phedre. She accepts Elua and Namaah and pays them homage. But she has been struggling against Kushiel these many months, feeling wretched over the gifts he has given her (such as being able to take pleasure in Gunter’s and Selig’s beds).
So I don’t know if atonement is the right word, as it always strikes me as pretty grave. But I guess you can do atonement for small slights, especially when a god is involved. Either way, Phedre felt better afterwards and I think she is more accepting of herself, the deities’gifts in her life, and her larger role.
5) After King Ganelon’s death, at the hunting lodge we learn some more politics. What stood out for you? We learned more about the Picti and the prophesy. Should the fate of Terre D’Ange be resting, even partially, on the validity of a prophesy of love and union?
Concerning the politics, I think Barquel L’Envers just might be tough enough to take a troop up into the Skaldi mountains in the heart of winter and find Gunter’s stedding to ask him what he thinks of his ex-slaves. 😉
The young lady in me desperately wants to believe in true love, sight unseen, and the union of two lands, despite the Master of the Straights. But the first time I read this, I thought there was no way that was going to happen. I thought Phedre might succeed in bringing some Pictish force back with her, but then Ysandre’s betrothed would be cruel or uninterested or foppish to would die.
6) The Casseline Prefect forbids Joscelin from serving Phedre as protector as she travels to the Pictish lands. Joscelin had to make a hard choice: did he make the right one?
Such a tough thing! Now, since I wasn’t raised in the Casseline Brotherhood, or any other strict order or religion, I automatically feel that Joscelin did make the right choice. It so cannot be healthy to be raised to have such a narrow view of the world, a narrow view of what is right or wrong. On the other hand, without the Casseline Brotherhood, we wouldn’t have Joscelin in all his fighting glory. Plus, that is pretty much the only life he has known since he entered the order at age 10. It must have been with a heavy heart that he made Cassiel’s Choice.
7) Hyacinthe comes up with the plan to get them to the coast and meet with Royal Admiral Quintilius Rousse. Do you like the fake IDs? Do you think they will make it unscathed?
I really like the idea of Joscelin as a Mendicant (spelling?) telling stories in his multicolored cloak. I forget if we get to hear how a Mendicant came by Casseline arms. By the way, it was very nice of Ysandre to get Joscelin’s family arms back to him.
Traveling that great a distance, the 3 of them together, and leaving off where we know Melisande is in the crowd…. No, I expect that getting to Rousse will be fraught with danger and one or all will have to lose something.
8) Hyacinthe meets his grandfather, Manoj, for the first time. Happy? Sad? How do you feel about how his mother was cast out?
What a mix of feelings! Hyacinthe learns that his mother was telling the truth about birthright all this time. He believed her, but to see it true must be a little bit of a shock. Then to learn how his mother lost her honor and became the outcast – AND learn that his grandfather had not known the full truth of it either! Argh! It really makes me want to slap folks – mostly those who uphold this idea that women become somehow less by having, let alone enjoying, sex. If Hyacinthe’s mom was still alive, I would want her set high in the kumpania, perhaps even equal to Manoj (if the patriarchal society could stomach it). But she’s dead. So I am not sure this wrong can be made right even with Hyacinthe being welcomed into the kumpania.
It was so very nice of Ysandre to arrange for Phedre to have her marque completed. I was sad to hear that the tattooist’s apprentice died in the plague.
So not to pick on Hyacinthe and the dromonde, but any human lying incapacitated, weak and enfeebled, for 3 days without food & water will most likely die. Probably didn’t need the dromonde to guess that.
It was very cool of Ysandre to share her father’s journal with Phedre. It shows a great measure of trust.