Read As Thou Wilt: Kushiel’s Dart Read Along (Pt. 5)

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.

Posts for parts  onetwo , three and four, can be found at the links. At this point, it feels like we’re drawing to a close. I’m enjoying the read along, and the book, but I don’t think I love it the way that some do. Something about Phedre as a character keeps me at a distance. Without investing in her, it’s hard for me to be too invested in any of the other characters. Here are my responses to the questions for part five.

We’re back on the road again with Phèdre and Joscelin, and this time they’re with Hyacinthe as he finally comes face to face with his heritage. What were your first impressions of the Tsingani? What did you make of Hyacinthe’s reaction to his reception, and Phèdre’s reaction to to that reaction? How did you feel finding out about Anasztaizia’s past? Finally – Hyacinthe’s choice. Could you have done what he did there? Give up finding you family just after finding them for your friend?

I don’t think that what Hyacinthe did was entirely for Phedre. Keep in mind, what the Tsingani did to his mother was fairly heartless. She was raped and then her family and her people turned their backs on her. I think Hyacinthe made the choice that he did as a way of turning his back on them. I don’t think it was easy. I think the sense of acceptance that he found among the Tsingani made the prospect of staying with them very accepting. But ultimately, I think he chose his mother.

Phèdre being Phèdre, she jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire – a handsome, sadistic fire. Does Phèdre’s pleasure at being able to resume her craft, even in these circumstances, and the description of that sense of release make sense to you? Did the Duc de Morbhan’s gift surprise you?

I suppose I was a bit surprised, since it seemed like Phedre had moved on from being a courtesan and was now pretty into being a spy/messenger/whatever. But it does make sense that she’d take a sense of joy in a return to something familiar. It was something that she always enjoyed and felt successful at. So it makes sense that she’d take a sense of pleasure in resuming it, especially under unfamiliar, frightening circumstances.

We’ve seen blood and death before in this book, but this is the first mass bloodletting. What was your reaction? Will any moments stick with you? Were you surprised by Phèdre and Hyacinthe’s moment together?

I was a bit disappointed that they slept together to be honest. I liked that Hyachinthe was the only person in Phedre’s life who she had a nonsexual relationship with. It made what they had a bit different and special, and I felt like they ruined that here.

Were you expecting Elder Brother to take a hand again after everything – and if so, were you expecting to be this? What did you make of his history and Hyacinthe’s choice?

I think from a literary perspective Hyacinthe’s choice makes sense. On of them was going to have to stay, and if it were Phedre the book would end right there, with no resolution of the other plot lines! So in that sense I wasn’t surprised. While Hyacinthe is an important character, he’s one who can be lifted out of things without changing the dynamics.

It’s been a hell of a ride and as we near the end, what with Hyacinthe and Phèdre saying goodbye and Hyacinthe telling her that Joscelin has feelings for her, it seems a good time to ask how you feel about Phèdre, Joscelin and Hyacinthe – have they grown in your eyes? Has your opinion changed of any of them?

I’m surprised that Phedre was surprised that Joscelin has feeling for her. I thought it was pretty obvious based on his continued refusal to leave her side and his dislike of her sleeping with other people. But then people do have a tendency to be blind to things in their lives that are obvious to others. Especially when those things threaten something that’s comfortable. Phedre and Joscelin have, rather unexpectedly, formed a comfortable relationship. Joscelin’s feelings for Phedre put that in jeopardy: should she pursue something with him? How would that even work? Would she retire as a courtesan and be faithful to him?

Information for anyone who wants to join in:

THE SCHEDULE

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…

6 thoughts on “Read As Thou Wilt: Kushiel’s Dart Read Along (Pt. 5)

  1. Pingback: Read-along: Kushiel’s Dart – week five

  2. Pingback: Read-along: Kushiel’s Dart – week six

  3. Pingback: Read As Thou Wilt: Kushiel’s Dart Read Along (Pt. 6) | Fran Laniado- Author

  4. Pingback: I’ve Been (2020 Hellscape Edition) | Fran Laniado- Author

  5. The Facebook relationship status “it’s complicated” seems designed for Phèdre!Joscelin

    Wholly with you on your assessment of Hyacinthe’s choice. Phèdre was a catalyst, but not the motivator – the dromonde meant too much to him, both in its own right and as his last connection to his mother, and he was never going to symbolically reject his mother just to earn a place with the people who previously rejected her. I accept it must have still been a difficult decision in some ways – having grown as an only child with a single parent, separated from the rest of our small family by a sea, Hyacinthe’s position this week strikes a lot of chords for me – but I don’t think it was one he would ever make differently.

    Liked by 1 person

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