Read As Thou Wilt: Kushiel’s Dart Read Along (Pt. 4)

Imyril @ There’s Always Room For One More is hosting a read along of Jacqueline Carey’s epic fantasy Kushiel’s Dart. This has been on my TBR for ages. I’ve had a copy sitting on my shelf staring at me for about 5 years. But I haven’t wanted to dive into a new fantasy series without finishing some of the ones I have in progress. Also, the size of the book is a bit intimidating. It’s a doorstop. So I’ve put it off. But when I heard about the read along, I decided to go for it.

You can check out my thoughts on parts one, two and three at the links. I’m still interested and engaged in the book. I’m enjoying it, but I don’t find it to be something I can’t put down for a while. Here are my answers to the discussion questions to part 4:

Waldemar’s old teacher Lodur calls Phedre “a weapon thrown by a D’Angeline god” and this changes how Phedre sees herself to some extent. How does this change the way you’ve thought about Phedre so far?

I never thought that Phedre was cursed. I always thought that her being an anguisette, believed to have been marked by a god, made her more powerful than she realized. I was glad to see her come to recognize some of that. If nothing else, what she is gave her a career she enjoyed, doing something her society values highly. That’s something pretty significant.

Joscelin has broken all but one of his vows during the time he and Phedre have been in Skaldia. How do you feel about everything he has gone through? Everything Phedre has gone through? And the Prefect of the Cassiline Brotherhood’s opinion on these matters?

For the most part, I have a lot of sympathy for both of them. Joscelin is a trained fighter, but I don’t get the sense that he’s a violent, bloodthirsty character by nature. Yet he’s had to kill a lot more people than I think he ever expected or intended. Phedre, is by career and nature, a lover, not a fighter. But she’s also had to use violence. But I think in almost all cases it was out of necessity. Even the guard that they kill to escape the Skaldi, can sort of be considered self defense.

I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind the Cassiline Brotherhood’s celibacy, so I think I might have missed some of the significance of Joscelin breaking that particular vow.

Regardless, I don’t think much of the Prefect’s ruling of this. Obviously Joscelin was in extreme circumstances, and to judge him by ordinary standards seems rather shortsighted.

A whimsical question: Phedre doesn’t seem to be able to lose or give away Melisande’s diamond. What do you think this stone’s eventual fate might be?

I have no idea. Maybe it’ll make it’s way back to Melisande? Sort of bringing it full circle? I really don’t know!

And a follow-on to that: all gifts in this story, god-given or otherwise, are double-edged swords. Discuss. 😊

Well Melisande’s gift, obviously was a precursor to Phedre’s loss of Delaunay, Alcuin, and her whole world with them.

Melisande also bought a night with Phadre, as a sort of goodbye gift to Baudoin.

I think Phedre’s marking has shaped her life in many ways, good and bad. And by it’s nature it ties thought two opposites (good/bad, pleasure/pain) together.

What do you make of Ysandre de la Courcel now that we’ve finally met her? And what of her intention to honour her betrothal to Drustan mab Necthana?

I think that she’s a better leader than I initially gave her credit for. I didn’t really give her much thought before though. I was surprised that she was relatively quick to believe Phedre and Joscelin, but also glad that they didn’t have to go through a long, drawn out process of convincing her. She seems to act decisively, and I take her intention to honor her betrothal as an example of that.

Now that we know the whole of Delaunay’s story, has your opinion of him changed at all?

Not really. I was sort of surprised that that was all there was to his story. I mean, why the need for such secrecy?

Finally, Phedre’s marque is finally complete. Do you think she is free?

Free of what? I’m honestly asking. She seems to have different levels of freedom at different points. But she’s able to make choices for herself prior to the finishing of the marque. Will it free her of her nature? Probably not. So I guess, my answer Is, I don’t know!

Information for anyone who wants to join in:


Discussions will begin from Thursday 3rd September

  • Week One | Beginning through end Chapter Sixteen hosted at There’s Always Room For One More
  • Week Two | Chapter Seventeen – Thirty-one hosted by Susan at Dab of Darkness
  • Week Three | Chapter Thirty-two – Forty-seven hosted by Zezee with Books
  • Week Four | Chapter Forty-eight – Sixty-one hosted by Mayri at Book Forager
  • Week Five | Chapter Sixty-two – Seventy-nine hosted by Peat Long
  • Week Six |Chapter Eighty through the end hosted by Lisa at Dear Geek Place

If you feel like joining in, you can comment/discuss along with us via each host’s blog post; in the Goodreads group with a link to your own post; or on Twitter, tagging @wyrdandwonder and using the hashtag #ReadAsThouWilt.

You can read at your own pace, but please bear in mind that some participants are first-time readers, and be mindful of any spoilers beyond each week’s chapters. Likewise, if you don’t keep up with the schedule but still want to read and discuss, we’ll be ready when you are! More guidelines than rules, as the piratical saying goes…


10 thoughts on “Read As Thou Wilt: Kushiel’s Dart Read Along (Pt. 4)

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  7. I think you’re spot on with your comments about Joscelin here: although he’s trained as a warrior for years, the Cassiline Order seem (war notwithstanding) to be quite ceremonial when we see them elsewhere – I wonder how many of them regularly actually have to fight for their life / the life of their charge.

    With regards to why celibacy is such a big thing, I think (if I’m recalling the lore right from week ?one) that it’s all about what vows Cassiel considered himself to have held to vs broken – he turned his back on his duty to God to remain with / guard Elua, but he was the only one of the angels to remain celibate. I think it’s one of those things that has been twisted by the Order – the idea that the celibacy made him the Perfect Companion, and that love / sex would distract you from your duty – rather than them celebrating that Cassiel loved and gave loyalty to _Elua_, he didn’t betray his vows to dally with mortals. It seems to me like they missed the point, but that’s just me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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