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?

Weekend Reads #108: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 17-31

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 17-31 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 second week of the readalong), Susan from Dab of Darkness is our host. Check out my thoughts on these 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.

We get a few more hints of magic or the supernatural in this section. Phédre sees Kushiel’s visage after Alcuin is injured; Hyacinthe’s mom & he himself both have things revealed via the dromonde; that moment of deep peace at Elua’s statue. What do you think of magic in this world?

The magic is definitely prickling my curiosity more and more. At first, I didn’t think there was anything special about Phédre having Kushiel’s dart. Characters kept saying she’s special because of it, but I didn’t see how. In these chapters, I think we begin to get hints that she is indeed “god touched” or something. I do wonder what it means when her eye is blotted red and she sees Kushiel. I wonder if it’s something that actually happens to her or if it’s figurative.

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #108: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 17-31”

Weekend Reads #107: Anger

You ever feel so angry and frustrated that it’s as if the emotions are choking you? That’s how I feel. Angry, frustrated, exhausted, and powerless.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve tried to stay on top of news and politics, but the more updates I consume, the more angry and frustrated I get. I mean… yo! Jacob Blake was shot 7 TIMES!! in his back. By the police. In front of his kids! While walking toward his SUV after trying to break up a fight. What??!!

And a White kid was going around the same area (Kenosha, Wis.) toting a big-ass gun and shooting protesters; he was able to walk by the police with his gun and go home WITHOUT getting shot by the police… or stopped by them. Apparently, he got a bottle of water from them.

This is fucking crazy world. A crazy country.

I won’t even mention what’s going on in politics regarding the antics and some of the shit said at the RNC. I just…

UGH!!!

Weekend Reads #106: On the Assumption That White Means Universal

There is an assumption in publishing (and in Hollywood, actually) that books by Black authors aren’t universal, that they won’t appeal to a wide (White) audience. I recently read two articles that touch on this topic (one on LitHub and another on Tor.com) and they reminded me of a blog post by notable sci-fi author N.K. Jemisin that I read a couple years ago on why she doesn’t want her books to be placed in the African American section of bookstores and libraries. I reread Jemisin’s blog post this morning and although it was published a decade ago, back in March 2010, it still applies today.

These days, the African American section of bookstores I visit contain sociology books and history books that pertain to Black experiences in America. No longer (it seems) is that section an amalgamation of books by Black authors no matter the genre or whether or not they are fiction or nonfiction; no longer (it seems) is it a place where all books written by Black authors are dumped. But despite this improvement, publishing still has a problem with how it promotes books by Black authors.

To me, it’s recently, within the past year or so, that publishing increased its promotion of books by Black authors somewhat. I may be wrong on the timeframe, but up until then, whenever I saw a recently published novel by a Black author, they were often pushed toward Black audiences only, unlike books by White authors that were promoted to everyone, regardless of race, because of their “wide” appeal.

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #106: On the Assumption That White Means Universal”

Weekend Reads #105: Black Lives Matter

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.

I don’t have a discussion post this week. This is just a quick chit-chat because I can hardly think straight right now. There’s so much going on at the moment. So many people are upset and in uproar. I’ve been having conversations about the current political and social climate all week that by end of the day on Thursday, my mind was so wrung out that I couldn’t think straight much less contribute well during a virtual work meeting.

Despite the corona pandemic, as a Black person, I’m happy to be alive at this time. Yes, it is a traumatic time. Yes, I’ve been anxious, depressed, confused, and angry just about everyday, but I am happy to be alive at this time to witness the movements and pushes for change to better Black lives and to see the urge for this change and support for it spread around the world, to see other nations stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #105: Black Lives Matter”

Weekend Reads #104: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 27-end

🙂 / 😥 I don’t know how to feel. This is my last (for now) Wyrd & Wonder readalong post for the Weekend Reads series.

I’m so… I don’t know. I finished the book and I love it so much because Maia is one of my favorite, all-time characters. The Goblin Emperor was a great book, and I’m glad it was selected for the Wyrd & Wonder readalong, but I’m sad the readalong and the book has ended. The Goblin Emperor is a standalone novel (a unicorn in fantasy publishing, lol!), and it made me realize even more that I prefer series, although I never complete them. I want more Maia! 😥

Well, here are Lisa’s questions (and my answers) on the latest chapters. Lisa, from Dear Geek Place, is the moderator for the readalong on Goodreads and is a co-host of the Wyrd & Wonder fantasy celebration event.

Goblin Emperor Readalong Questions for Chapters 27-the end:
Now that I’m at the end, I realize that I kept forgetting to warn about spoilers. Well, better late than never, I guess, SPOILERS!!
Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?

He was a delight. I was expecting something else from him. I was expecting someone seeking to use the opportunity (discarded grandson suddenly an emperor) for self-serving reasons, probably to gain a hold on the elf kingdom. I was expecting him to be mean… Basically I was expecting him to be like Maia’s late father, but I love how the Avar is. 🙂

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #104: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 27-end”

Weekend Reads #103: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 18-26

Weekend Reads is back with another Wyrd & Wonder readalong discussion for Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor.

Y’all, I love this book so much and it’s all because of Maia. I think it will be one of my favorites of the year, which is saying something because I have no idea who’s who, the names confuse me, and I have no idea how anything outside or inside the palace looks. I’m just going along with Maia here. And I think this may be the first that I read a book and love it although I don’t have strong images in my mind of what things or people look like.

Anyway, here are Lisa’s questions (and my answers) on the latest chapters. Lisa, from Dear Geek Place, is the moderator for the readalong on Goodreads and is a co-host of the Wyrd & Wonder fantasy celebration event.

Goblin Emperor Readalong Questions for Chapters 18-26:
These chapters open with a very candid, yet significantly warmer than most, conversation between Maia and Arbelan, and from there things begin to change as Maia learns to act with more confidence. Do you think Arbelan’s kinder treatment of him is what sparks this, and if so, how much of an impact do you think it had?

I don’t think Arbelan’s kinder treatment is the cause of the change in Maia. I think it’s simply that he’s getting used to the court and his position. He has grown since his arrival at court, since becoming emperor, and it’s showing now in how he navigates people and situations and especially as he slowly gains confidence in himself. (I can’t believe it’s only been a little over a month since he became emperor. I keep thinking months have gone by because of all Maia’s dealing with.)

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #103: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 18-26”

Weekend Reads #103: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 10-17

Weekend Reads is back with another Wyrd & Wonder readalong discussion for Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor.

I’m still enjoying the book, still can’t pronounce any of the names and mostly skip over them, and still suspicious of everyone in it and am looking forward to what happens next.

Here are Lisa’s questions (and my answers) on the latest chapters. Lisa, from Dear Geek Place, is the moderator for the readalong on Goodreads and is a co-host of the Wyrd & Wonder fantasy celebration event.

The questions and answers below will most likely contain SPOILERS so if you’re interested in what else I’m currently reading, skip to that section below.

Goblin Emperor Readalong Questions for Chapters 10-17:

So many verbal encounters. So much political muck! Let’s start with Princess Sheveän, who seemed so very outraged at the idea of the late emperor’s body being ‘desecrated.’ Do you buy that as her reasoning? Or do you think she was making a scene for another reason?

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #103: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 10-17”

Weekend Reads #102: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 1-9

My plan was to use Weekend Reads for my bookshelf tour BUT I’m participating in the Wyrd & Wonder readalong for The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison and am enjoying the book too much to not answer the readalong questions for the chapters, so… Weekend Reads will be used for that instead. 😀

So far, The Goblin Emperor is a fantasy book that seems to be about a young man who suddenly, and unexpectedly, becomes emperor of his realm. I get the impression that the story will be only about political intrigues and that this world is filled with only goblins and elves since only those two types are mentioned in the first 9 chapters.

Well, then, now for Lisa’s questions — Lisa from Dear Geek Place is the moderator for the readalong on Goodreads and is a co-host of the Wyrd & Wonder fantasy celebration event.

These questions and answers will most likely contain SPOILERS so if you’re interested in what else I’m currently reading, skip to that section below.

Goblin Emperor Readalong Questions for Chapters 1-9:

The first thing that struck me about this book is the formality in the way the characters speak. What do you think of this style? Do you enjoy it?

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #102: Goblin Emperor Readalong, Ch. 1-9”

Weekend Reads #101: Bookshelf Tour!!

Weekend Reads will now include my…. bookshelf tour!! 😀 😀

A couple weeks ago, I did my first poll to see if y’all would be interested in one and several of you voted that I should go ahead with it, so I’m happy to comply. 🙂 I keep the majority of my books on these two deep, white bookcases, which I’ll be giving a tour of in my Weekend Reads posts.

The bookcase on the left is double-stacked on each shelf, and the one on the right is triple-stacked on each shelf. I simply have too many damn books and should probably get rid of a few, but it’s so hard for me to let a book go. Is it the same for you too?

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #101: Bookshelf Tour!!”