Weekend Reads #109: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 32-47

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

But for this post, I’ll share my thoughts on chapters 32-47 of Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Imyril of the Wyrd & Wonder crew is hosting a month-long readalong for this fantasy novel. Each week, a different blogger posts discussion questions for participants to answer. For this week (the third week of the readalong), I AM THE HOST!! 😀 😀 It’s my first time doing this, so I went a little overboard on the amount of questions, I think, lol 😊. Well, check out my thoughts on this week’s chapters below!

Btw, if you’d like to join in the readalong, you can check out the links above or visit the Goodreads group for the reading schedule or to share your thoughts on the book.

(Oh, and SPOILERS!! Totally forgot to warn about that to those who haven’t read the book.)

Do you think Delaunay was right to keep Phédre unaware of his identity, motivations, and true intentions to prevent such slips on her assignments?

I guess I’m of two minds about this. Keeping Phédre unaware of his identity helps to prevent her from slipping any information, but I don’t think he had to keep her totally in the dark about what he was up to. I don’t see why Alcuin could be privy to some information but Phédre not learn the same. It gave me the impression that Delaunay does not fully trust them, especially Phédre.

Delaunay, Alcuin, and the entire household are murdered. Do you think it’s significant that this murder takes place when Phédre has gained enough to complete her marque — that her guardian dies at the moment when she’s able to gain freedom from Naamah’s service, if she wants it?

I do. I was actually surprised at the murders. From how the story is narrated, I got the impression that Delaunay does not survive to the present that Phédre is writing from, but I thought his death was a long way off, so this part totally surprised me. Before reading about the murder, I wondered how Phédre would handle her new freedom (marque completed) and how this freedom would affect her relationship with Delaunay because we saw her testing Delaunay’s restraint on her in the previous chapters and him threatening to sell her bond, so what would have happened if Delaunay hadn’t died? How would he have controlled her then?

Delaunay’s death is obviously a turning point in the story; it makes me wonder who or what Phédre is becoming. Will she become a master of spies like Delaunay or cold, cunning, and conniving like Melisande, or something in between?

Do you think Phédre will be able to have her marque completed? Do you have any predictions of how her unfinished marque might affect her in the future?

This really worries me because I’m concerned about Phédre’s freedom from Naamah’s service. (Although I wonder that since she is god-touched with Kushiel’s dart, does that mean she’ll never escape Naamah’s service even if she gains her marque?) I don’t have any predictions about how the incomplete marque may affect her, but I do worry that no one will believe that her marque is complete since there’s no evidence of that.

Is it just me, or are you also curious about this strong, compulsive attraction Phédre has to Melisande to the point where she can’t even think straight sometimes? What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Melisande is as drawn to Phédre, or is she simply fascinated by Phédre being an anguissette and what Phédre’s limits are?

OMG! This bugs me so much because I don’t understand why Phédre is so attracted to Melisande. The idea cooking up in the back of my mind is that it has something to do with their connection to Kushiel: Phédre the dart and Melisande from the line. Maybe that makes them like magnets — drawn together.

However, I don’t think Melisande is feeling Phédre as much as Phédre is feeling her. I think Melisande is only interested in Phédre’s boundaries, pain tolerance, and loves toying with Phédre’s strong attraction to her. 😦 I hope this attraction is explained at some point.

We get to meet the Skaldi! What were your initial thoughts when Phédre and Joscelin were handed over to them? Were you disappointed that Phédre did not try to fight like Joscelin did or aid him? Were you frustrated by her seeming to surrender or impressed by her quick assessment of the situation or didn’t care and wanted to the story to take a different route?

I was a little disappointed, yes. I wanted her to show some resistance. I didn’t think of her as a traitor to her people, I just didn’t want her to go so quietly. As her narration progressed and she shared her reasons for her actions, I slowly began to appreciate her quick assessment of the situation, but I was initially frustrated.

As their enslavement under the Skaldi persists, both Phédre and Joscelin seem to gain a greater understanding of the sacrifices their representative angels made. What do you think about the roles Phédre and Joscelin have to play in comparison to the acts of the angels they worship?

I find this very interesting to the point where I began to wonder if maybe the two are in some ways physical representations (avatars?) for their respective angels. It makes me wonder to what extent do the gods in this world try to affect people’s lives (I’m still not yet convinced that Kushiel is actively working in Phédre’s life). Also, it shows how committed Phédre and Joscelin are to their beliefs.

We’ve now gotten a couple scenes that show Joscelin’s badassery as a sword-dagger-wielding Casseline brother dude. Are you convinced of his abilities as a fighter? He’s also had to loosen his hold on some of his oaths to remain by Phédre’s side. How do you think that will affect him?

Yes! I’m excited and very convinced that Josce is not one to willingly take on in a fight. Oh man! I need more fight scenes! And I look forward to see what becomes of him. I am worried about how him loosening up will affect who he is. He came across as very stiff when we first met him. I’m hoping that he becomes more chill and not totally immoral or something. I also wonder if him loosening up on those oaths will make him more likely to give in to his attraction to Phédre because I’m convinced that the two are attracted to each other.

What do you think of Selig? Were you impressed?

I wasn’t impressed, but it made me wary and a teensy bit scared for Phédre and Josce because Selig is obviously not one to mess around with. He’s obviously very smart and cunning, so I wonder if his invasion will succeed. I predict it will or come very, very close.

That’s it for this bit.

Unfortunately, I’m short on time to really go in on my answers here or dig into other thoughts.


WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING:

WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS WEEKEND?

16 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #109: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 32-47

  1. As for evidence of Phedre having completed her marque, the tattoo artist knows. He’s been paid to complete it even if he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so yet. And as Naamah would say, consent is key so it’s not a matter of escaping Naamah’s service. If you don’t consent to be in Naamah’s service, then you’re not. Naamah doesn’t judge you harshly for it either. Now D’Angeline society may judge you… or someone may push themselves beyond what they’re comfortable with (darts a look at Alcuin)….

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  2. Interesting thought on whether Kushiel is active in Phedre’s life – I’ve not really considered it but now you mention it, I feel like Kushiel has put a mark on Phedre and that’s it, other than that they watch but there’s nothing more.

    Also I think the record of making the marque is with the marquist but don’t quote me on that.

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  3. It’s my second time reading this book but I forgot that Alcuin and Delaunay were killed so quickly, it’s a bit sudden but it sure is a turning point in the story!

    As for Phèdre being very passive when she was kidnapped, I think it’s mostly due of her being exhausted and in a state of shock after the death of her adoptive family. It’s true that it can be a bit disappointing that she didn’t try to escape but I guess I understand why she acted that way.

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    1. Oh I didn’t even consider her mental and emotional state when she’s captured. You’re right. She was probably exhausted. She saw basically her adopted family dead and was betrayed and tortured by Melisande.
      I got the impression that Melisande tortured her while questioning her after the tea incident.

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  4. Selig is not one to mess with. He comes across as very ambitious but he’s got to work with what he’s got. The Skaldi aren’t like the D’Angelines or Caerdicci. He tried to do things differently with the Caerdicci but that did not work out because they were onto him really fast.

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