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 is the last week, but no worries. We are planning a read along for Book 2. Stay tuned for details.
This week, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow 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.
Chapters 84-END are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.
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?
Carey does an excellent job of showing how human the bad guys are and d’Aiglemort is an excellent example. Using the Skaldi to put the realm in his and Melisande’s hands – sure, why not? But let the Skaldi invade willy nilly and take the country for their own? Hell no! I really like that d’Aiglemort reacts very humanely to being betrayed by both Melisande and Selig.
It is very fitting that he died protecting the realm, even if his reasons were somewhat selfish. I am sure his various family members will appreciate his final sacrifice simply because it lessens the chances that they too will suffer being outcast or stripped of lands.
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?
When I first read this book, I was truly worried for Drustan. I thought he might die a hero’s death in the war or that the D’Angelines would finally object to the union for some asinine reason. So I am very glad these two got to unite in marriage.
Since I have read the rest of the trilogy and the 2nd trilogy, I know how this plays out. I will say that some D’Angelines take better to the union and trade, etc. than others.
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?
When I first read this book, I didn’t know there was a Book 2 out there. So I totally expected Melisande to be executed. Also, I remember putting a lot of thought into who could have aided her while I waited for Book 2 to come in the mail. Several of the Shahrizai clan came with her when she was turned over to the queen, so I suspected that one or more of them pretended to be servants and were responsible for her escape.
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?
There was no doubt in my mind that Phedre would in some way (whether via a straight route or some round about happenstance) return to the life of espionage and political intrigue. After all, there’s all these other books in the series.
And Melisande is not a foe who will quietly go raise grapes and eat dolmas for the rest of her life in Caerdicca Unitas. So, yes, Phedre has to instrumental in bringing her down. Otherwise, she is a constant threat simply because she sees it as a challenge.
I have to say Phedre’s night crawl across the Skaldi camp was nerve wracking, even though I have read his book several times. I always get the chills at this part of the book. Then Waldemar catches her and starts skinning her and luckily Joscelin stepped in and provided such a magnificent distraction! Finally, Barquiel riding out in his Khebbel-im-Akkad attire to sweep them up into safety and leave the Skaldi eating dust as they race back into safety! Ah! Magnificent scene after magnificent scene!
When Phedre was being skinned, she has this moment of, dare I say, ecstasy when she feels Kushiel’s presence enfolding her and it felt so good to let it all go. I think this is a good indication that Elua and his companions are real and have pull over their chosen scions.
When Joscelin spotted his brother in the thick of battle and Phedre told him she loves him and if he ever wanted to hear those words again he would go help his brother, I just about melted. She was struggling so much with her feelings for Joscelin and I love how they tumble out and also give Joscelin what he needs to be able to go help his family.
Phedre is now a Peer of the Realm! That means she gets a title, right? And she no longer is required to bow to everyone, right? As an American, I am not sure what that means other than a cozy country house.