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, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is 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.
So just an FYI for next weekend (July 4th). I will be working an event out of state and I don’t know yet what my internet access will be, so if I post late (like Mon. or Tues.), it’s because I was busy, tired, didn’t have internet access, or all of the above.
Chapters 64-73 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.
1. We finally go sailing and everything seems to be going so well that we were lulled temporarily into a false sense of security! Sailors are a superstitious bunch, throwing coins to the Lord of the Deep, for example. What did you make of the Master of the Straits? Any similarity to other myths or legends?
When I first read this, I thought this must be some sort of ocean deity, but other than Ariel’s dad in Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Greek mythology, I didn’t have too many references. I have been land locked most of my life, so not too many ocean myths and and such in my life. Since my first read, I have read a lot more mythology mash up stories and I can better appreciate what Carey has done here. Here, the Celtic god Manannan mac Lir might be the closest. Next section we learn more.
I really love that Phedre paid their passage with a Skaldi hearth song. It was oddly fitting.
2. Hyacinthe plays a much larger role in this instalment and has come into his own, plus given a new title – ‘Waking Dreamer’. His travels so far have been very bitter sweet and you really do feel for him. Bearing that in mind what did you make of the strange dream that Breidaia had where she saw Hyachinthe on an island – this was skimmed over a little but did it give you pause for thought. Do you have any ideas of what’s in store for our Waking Dreamer?
This being a reread, I know the answer. But honestly, my first time reading this I totally missed this strange dream. After all, there were both old and new prophesies or visions being tossed around a lot in this section.
I do like that Hyacinthe had such an integral role in this section. He’s been a fun character, but a side character. Last week’s and this week’s sections really fleshed him out. Also, as Phedre does, I kind of ache to Anastazia knowing that she probably saw somewhat of what was to come for Hyacinthe.
3. You have to hand it to Ysandre for choosing Phedre as Ambassador. It seems her strange talents come in very useful indeed. What did you make of her tactics and powers of persuasion?
Well, Phedre was using the skills she has at her disposal. She was spot on with Duc de Morbhan (spelling?), guessing his deepest desires correctly. Yet she was also cautious enough to have a priestess witness the contract. Then when it came to the twins, she had to have it pointed out to her by Graine that she now had the key to push her brother into the desired decision. So I like that she isn’t totally use to thinking of how to manipulate people, even for a good cause.
Also, I find it totally believable. If you could experience a night of sexual bliss with a highly trained, experiences, and skilled lover that you found desirable in many ways, what would you give? After all, these folks only have limited adult entertainment, and extremely limited once you get out of Terre D’Ange.
4. We finally meet Drustan. He at first seems like an unlikely match for Ysandre and yet they both seem to have a shared vision. Can they make it work do you think? They have so many differences even if they do succeed in battle?
When I first read this, I really didn’t know how Carey was going to let this play out. We already have one pair of star-crossed romantically entangled yet arguing couple (Joscelin and Phedre) and to add another…. I just wasn’t sure. After all, we haven’t seen Ysandre and Drustan together yet and I think their chemistry, or lack of it, will tell the readers much more. As for their shared political dream, sure, that all sounds well and good. Plus is allows the women to hold some power in world where male rulers are the status quo.
5. Can we discuss the Dalriada and the Cruithne – do they put you in mind of any particular races? What do you make of them??
Definitely the Celtic races. I love that the women can go off to battle and the men don’t count it as odd. I also love that the women can take what lovers they like and raise their kids with love no matter the father. I’m glad to see that their fighting techniques vary from the Terre D’Ange highly organized methods. Not every culture is going to approach battle the same way, no matter how logical.
6. I’m puzzled about Joscelin – he’s always so severe on himself, particularly after the battle and Moiread’s death. I wonder why he blames himself so much – and I also wonder how he’s coping with watching Phedre’s actions – in particular her closeness to Hyacinthe.
Once again, Joscelin has been isolated in the Casseline Order for much of his life. He never thought he would have to deal with the pangs of jealousy or even (possibly) love. He probably thought sooner or later he would have to deal with the death of someone he was protecting, yet this was the first time that has ever happened to him. Also, I expect that had he been charged with protecting Moiread, as he is charged with protecting Phedre, he would have seen her death as Cassiel himself turning his back on him. The Casselines are a very stiff bunch and I highly suspect that failure is not tolerated.
Phedre and Joscelin have not talked much about their one night together nor what either of them wants from the other. Phedre may well feel like it isn’t her place to tempt or seduce Joscelin, trying her best in her way to respect his vows. Joscelin on the other hand has zero experience with women and matters of the heart so I expect he hasn’t worked out what he wants long term. Perhaps he is hoping his feelings will fade with time.
7. Finally, we’re working ourselves up for the grand finale – do you have any predictions as to how this will all pan out?
So we have 2 more weeks to go and plenty of stuff to fill them! The new readers are in for a treat! We have to get at least Phedre and Joscelin back to Terre D’Ange, but it would be very nice if they could take a fighting force with them. The Master of the Straights was a pill before, so I expect Rousse will be wary of him on the return trip.
Then there is finding out what all is going on in Terre D’Ange and getting everyone to Ysandre’s forces without causing a stir, or at least, losing too many fighters. Also, I very much doubt that Melisande is one to sit around and just wait for things to unfold. If she isn’t actively doing something now while Phedre and Joscelin are in Alba, then she has multiple plans ready to spring based on what happens.
Then we don’t know to whom the Duc de Morbhan is loyal. If he told Melisande, or just some of her informant network, then things could be afoot in Terre D’Ange already.
I’ve always wondered if the Master of the Straights would have granted Rousse and his ships safe passage if they had sailed directly for Alba instead of trying to avoid the Master’s territory and sneak by.
Joscelin’s fighting prowess was on full display once again. I love the way his fight scenes are described.
Phedre’s conversation with Joscelin about his temper and how good it feels to give in to it, even if he knows he will be beaten, etc. was very interesting.
I wanted to shake Drustan’s hand to pointing out to Joscelin that he was over-stepping his bounds in his excessive self-hate concerning the death of Moiread. No one charged or asked Joscelin to protect Drustan’s family.
Whenever I read this section I am always surprised how quickly Hyacinthe falls into (the beginnings of) love with Moiread.