Kushiel's Dart Read Along – Who's Interested?

Heldig and a very good book
Heldig and a very good book

It’s time. This has been kicking around in the back of my head for some time. I love doing read alongs and discussing the minutiae of a good book. The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Dart is Book 1) is one of my all time favorite series. In particular, I am forever enamored of Kushiel’s Dart. My man and I have read this book so many times, the covers have fallen off more than one copy.

UPDATE: You can find the schedule over HERE. 1st post goes up May 10th. Folks are welcome to jump in any time.

So why haven’t I done a read along of this book before? Well, in short, it is near and dear to my heart. As such, it is with great pleasure and with a little trepidation, I put it out there for a group read (aka group dissection).

This series is full of political intrigue, spies, betrayal, sword fights, escapes, captures, and no small amount of romance. The characters aren’t static, grabbing the readers hearts as they grow throughout the series. The world is rich in deities, queens & kings, many cultures, and excellent food.

And then there is the sex. It’s one of the reasons I love it. The main character of Kushiel’s Dart, Phedre, is a prostitute, though this term doesn’t fully cover her position in society. In an alternate history, Terre D’Ange (France) is a place of multiple deities and many of those deities have houses of worship that recognize sex as a beautiful and sometimes transcendent activity. If you have ever read Gilgamesh, then you might recognize the concept of temple prostitutes.

But it goes a bit further than that. I first picked up a copy of Kushiel’s Dart when I was 23. I definitely didn’t think I was a prude at the time and yet when I read the spicy scenes I found that I was not as well versed in bedroom antics as I thought I was. Throughout the series, I expect there are intimate scenes that will push nearly every reader’s boundaries. There’s BDSM, and not the non-consensual kind that has made the big screen lately. There are bisexual and homosexual relationships, which I would like to think wouldn’t even raise the eyebrows of my readers. There are some non-consensual scenes in the series, but the author does a great job of showing what a transgression such actions are. These scenes are described in as great a detail as the rest of the book – which means great detail.

So who’s with me? I would like to start with Kushiel’s Dart and if enough folks want to continue with the next book, I am more than happy to do so. In total, there are 9 books in the Terre D’Ange Cycle, comprising 3 trilogies that are related to each other. My little heart would do a happy dance if folks wanted to do a group read of all 9 books.

So what does this read along entail? This read along is for the new-to-the-series read as well as though familiar with Jacqueline Carey’s works. Once we have a group of folks, we set a 1st post date and start reading. At ~100 pages per week (paperback version), Kushiel’s Dart will take 10 weeks. Weekly discussion questions are emailed out to the participators a few days before the post date. Folks can post on a blog, live journal, book likes, or even just comment on the host blog’s site with their discussion answers. Whatever works for you. Some folks like to simply be silent stalkers, which is fine too.

Of course I’ll host, but if anyone else would like to host as well, just let me know. Hosting consists of providing that week’s discussion questions and then folks flock to your blog (or wherever) to comment and leave a link to their post.

If you’re interested in participating in any fashion, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email: nrlymrtl@gmail.com

Once I have enough people interested, I will send out a group email to organize the schedule. Once we have a schedule, I will post here.

2014: What’s Next?

Here is an artsy wool rug. Sky Stones - because you have to name such pieces something.
Here is an artsy wool rug. Sky Stones – because you have to name such pieces something.

2013 was an extremely busy year for me, so some of my book commitments fell to the wayside. I had ankle surgery in February and that took forever to heal enough to be fully mobile. My man took an EMT course over the summer, while continuing to work 40 hours/week, and hopefully soon he will be licensed (still waiting on the ambulance ride alongs to be scheduled). Several small, intense events also happened over the summer and having them all stacked up like that took a toll. Then there was cubicle land. Yep. The office. I saw myself going down the path that leads to Dickhood and I decided I didn’t want to be just another disgruntled employee who was spending every ounce of concentration trying to hide it. I was tired of listening to my coworkers cry at work and my managers being yanked around by yet more managers. So, I looked around at what else I could do and I spotted a loom and weaving supplies. Yeah. You didn’t see that plot twist coming, did you? So on top of all the summer madness, I started a home business (Woven Hearth) while still employed at the the Cubicle Dungeon. Craziness.

In October I put in my 2 weeks notice, and my last day at the Dungeon was Halloween. It’s always been my favorite holiday, and now I see it in a liberating light also.

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

What does all this babbling mean about my reading life? Well, now I have a full-time job where I listen to audiobooks all day while weaving. Hooray! So I am tearing through those like Granny Margaret tears through pantyhose (don’t ask).

I also took up free-lance editing. I love this side job. I love being paid to take apart (politely, always politely) someone’s work. I love double checking their facts. Do herons really nest on the Nile banks in summer? What kind of trade was going on in 1580s Europe? If she’s holding a knife and a gun, where do they end up when she lunges to strangle the good guy?

You get the idea. But the other side of that shiny coin is that I now have difficulty reading ANYTHING without mentally editing it. My eyeball reading has decreased even as my audiobook listening has increased. So I am trying to get my eyeball reading groove back. Hence, the pileup of review ebooks that still need reading.

As many of you already know, I will be participating in Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage SF and in Stainless Steel Droppings’ Science Fiction Experience 2014. The Wheel of Time read along is ongoing (and lots of fun!). We’re just starting Book 7, A Crown of Swords. Also, for 10 glorious weeks we will be dissecting Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings in a read along cooked up by On Starships & Dragonwings and myself. I’ll also be participating in the February The Book of Apex Anthology blog tour organized by Little Red Reviewer. Starting up next week is the continued read a long of N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance trilogy with Book 2, The Broken Kingdoms with Books Without Any Pictures and Violin in a Void. I also have about dozen books from last year to review so that I am all caught up. Beyond that, we’ll see what happens.

HowellSummersKeplersDozenThere were so many books and authors I didn’t get to last year, so they role over to this year. David Lee Summers still has plenty of books for me to explore. Jacqueline Carey has put out one or two books in the YA genre. Of course, Brandon Sanderson‘s sequel to The Way of Kings will be out in March (Words of Radiance). I’ve been meaning to read Jay Kristoff for 2 years now. James Maxey, I’m an ass for not having listened to Bitterwood yet. Kick me in the britches if we ever meet. Since listening to Wil Wheaton read John Scalzi‘s Redshirts, I want to read Wheaton’s book, Just a Geek, and also more Scalzi. I love Mary Roach‘s investigative reporter books and I NEED, yes it is a need, to read her latest, Gulp. I’m feeling a deep, deep need to reread The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and to follow that with reading Wise Man’s Fear (which I haven’t read yet). I also need something dark, magical, and WWII, which means Ian Tregillis and his Milkweed Triptych series.

MaxeyGreatshadowHeldigYou get the point. I will be foregoing sleep.

What’s on your reading goals for 2014?