Gah!! I’m late again with my post for this readalong. But here, finally, are my thoughts on chapters 62-79 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 fifth week of the readalong), Peat Long is our host. Check out my thoughts on these chapters below!
(Oh, and SPOILERS!!)
What were your first impressions of the Tsingani? What did you make of Hyacinthe’s reaction to his reception, and Phèdre’s reaction 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?
Oh gosh! So many things happened in these chaps. I immediately liked the Tsingani when I first encountered them in these chapters. I liked their vibe and culture and how free they seem to be at first. I didn’t realize it before, but after reading these chapters, I guess the Tsingani were inspired by the Romani people in Europe. Actually, I laughed at myself after completing these chapters because it’s when the characters meet the Master of the Straits that I realized how much the lands and groups of people are similar to Europe and certain Europeans. (Yep, it took me this long to realize although I think Imyril mentioned it in her questions on the first set of chapters.)
Aw man! I felt it for Hyacinthe (and his mom, Anasztaizia, because she went through a lot). I mean, for a while I wondered if his mom was lying about him being a Tsingani prince and to find out it’s true and to be welcomed and accepted in such a large family… I was happy for Hyacinthe, and I know Phèdre was too although she probably was a little jealous as well, I think.
I think Hyacinthe made a really tough choice. I don’t know if I could have done it. That large family and welcome is something he’s always yearned for. But at the same time, he’s just met them and Phèdre has been friend and family to him for longer, so the bond that binds tighter won out, I guess.
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?
It makes sense to me. I think of Phèdre’s work as her craft, so she gains pleasure from it while she works. It’s something she is good at and loves to do, like a writer or an artist, so I totally get her pleasure at resuming her craft and the sense of release she gets from it because it’s been a while since she has done it. And, furthermore, it’s the first she has done it since completing her marque. I think this was a huge moment for her: being a master of her craft able to choose her own assignment and determine the terms of it. She was an artist kept too long from engaging in her craft.
De Morbhan’s gift didn’t surprise me. Phèdre is extremely good at what she does.
What were your first impressions of the Dalriada and the Cruithne, and their respective rulers? Who do you agree with on the decision to go to war — Eamonn or Grainne? And what did you make of Joscelin’s take on Phèdre’s brand of diplomacy?
I enjoyed this part and was very entertained by it, lol, especially the twins. First of all, I thought the Pictish were elves… (don’t ask me why I thought this; I wonder why too). So I kept imagining elves as I read. I think it’s when they finally went to war and “earth’s first children” (something like that) was mentioned that I finally realized they are humans and are basically in the U.K. And then I google “Picts” and then everything started to make sense.
So yea, apart from misleading myself, I was much entertained by these chapters. I like prophesies and foretellings in my fantasy, so I loved the part when the girl (I forgot her name) told Phèdre why they were waiting for them on the beach. I like that the twins are opposites of each other and Phédre had to use her unique blend of diplomacy to balance them out, lol. And I even like Joscelin’s reaction to Phèdre’s diplomacy. I thought it was funny, and I think it shows that Josce is developing some romantic feelings for Phèdre. I suspect it. And I liked how Drustan was introduced. The dude was not at all what I expected. I wasn’t expecting a warrior still holding a torch for Ysandre. I wasn’t expecting someone who cares deeply for his people. He was a pleasant surprise.
I think Eamonn and Grainne are both right about war. Patience and thought are good, but sometimes you have to take action and see where you end up.
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?
Umm, surprisingly, this one didn’t affect me as much. I was more affected when the Master of Straits showed the effects of the war back in Terre d’Ange. That made me uncomfortable, but I think it’s because we spend so much time with Phèdre and are so familiar with her love of her country that seeing the Skaldi invade was more affecting. I wasn’t affected by the passing of Drustan’s sister, although I liked that she took out four dudes with her arrows, and was surprised that Hyacinthe, Josce, and Phèdre mourned her so deeply.
I wasn’t surprised by Phèdre and Hyacinthe’s moment together but, like them, I didn’t expect it to be like that: shortly after the war and more as a balm for their wounds.
My favorite part in this part was when the big boar popped out the brush and ran back in and they all followed it and Phèdre observed that it ran “half-gaited and lame.”
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?
Hell no, man! I was so surprised. When his head popped up out the sea on their way to the Picti peeps, I was amazed and wondered if Phèdre was hallucinating. I thought it was cool and loved it. I like such amazing occurrences in my fantasy, and finally I got some hard evidence of magical, god-like beings in this world.
When the Master of Straits popped up again on their way back from Picti with Drustan in tow.. after the old man had ran up on the beach to warn him, and the men hurt the big-ass eel, and the sea got all calm, and the Master of the Straits popped up and pushed them to a little, old island and met them at a temple and gave them a riddle… After ALL that! I was like, damn, I feel like I’m reading one of those Greek poems, like “The Odyssey” or something. It was amazing and wonderful and took the story to another level for me.
I suspected that someone would have to take the Master’s place after the riddle was given because I immediately thought of Atlas holding up the world. I didn’t realize it would be Hyacinthe until it was revealed. My immediate reaction was like Phèdre’s but in slow motion: “Noooooo….” Then I wondered if this was Hyacinthe’s lot because he has the dromonde, if this was the curse everyone was talking about. I suspect Phèdre will figure out a way to save him, though.
How do you feel about Phèdre, Joscelin and Hyacinthe — have they grown in your eyes? Has your opinion changed of any of them?
Yea, they’ve grown and I’ve grown to like them more. Phèdre has grown to think a lot more before she acts, Josce has bent a bit and isn’t as stiff, while Hyacinthe has become a bit more serious. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was that Hyacinthe noticed Josce and Phèdre’s growing feelings for each other. I don’t think the two have even noticed it yet.