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”

Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 1-16

Gah! I’m so late with this post. Life got busy for a minute there, but guess what?? I’m participating in a group readalong for Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. I’m very excited for this because it’s a book that’s been on my shelves for quite some time that I often hear great things about and have wanted to read but, of course, didn’t get around to it until now.

The readalong is hosted by Imyril of the Wyrd & Wonder crew, but each week someone new will pop in to host discussions. We’re now halfway through the second week, but here are my responses to the first week discussion, which was hosted by Imyril at There’s Always Room for One More.

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.

You know it’s an epic fantasy when it starts with not only a map but a list of Dramatis Personae. How do you feel about this approach to beginning a new story? Do you read the character list or use it for reference along the way?

Continue reading “Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 1-16”

Let’s Rewind: August 2020

I can’t believe I spent so much of the year working from home. It’s something I’ve wanted to do, but not under these circumstances.

Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.


August… It was a bit like July. I don’t remember much of it to the point where I’m wondering if I should try again to maintain a journal, maybe a weekly journal; but I wonder what would I write in it.

Continue reading “Let’s Rewind: August 2020”

Best Books So Far in 2020

It’s past due that I discuss the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Below are 11 of the best books I read. They are mostly listed in the order I read them. Not all of them are favorites, but I’ll certainly point out which books are as I go along.

For the most part, rereads aren’t considered, but I reread one of my favorite series in a different format and loved it so much that I had to include it on this list.

Farseer trilogy audiobooks by Robin Hobb, narr. by Paul Boehmer

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: This is a fantasy trilogy about the bastard son of a prince who becomes an assassin’s apprentice. The books closely follow Fitz growing up at Buckkeep court and becoming entangled in political intrigues and taboo magic.

Continue reading “Best Books So Far in 2020”

Let’s Rewind: July 2020

Social distancing, staying at home to avoid contracting the virus, working from home… Life has become monotonous, and the days are beginning to run into each other. I can’t remember what happened in July. It’s all a blur.

Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.


June was a blur and so was July. But this time remaining inside was starting to get to me. I experienced a serious bout of FOMO thinking everyone was hanging out without me and I was the only dummy remaining inside to avoid corona. I wanted to go outside so bad and connect with another human in person who is not a family member I live with.

It was so weird, that feeling. I’m introverted and have never minded spending time alone. I love my own company. Plus, I’m never actually alone since I live with family. But I was surprised at this yearning to interact with others outside my family unit. I’ve never experienced that before. It was weird.

Continue reading “Let’s Rewind: July 2020”

2020 Reading Wrap-Up: Second Quarter

The second quarter for the year was much better reading-wise. I kicked my reading slump to the curb, dove into some single-issue comics, and then the pandemic rolled in and grounded me so that all I had left to do was work, eat, sleep, read (and play some Sims, lol).

I read 31 things this quarter. 31! That’s a whole lot for me, although some were comic books that are as short as 20 or so pages. I’m amazed at myself.

Books | Audio Books | Comics | Picture Books

Continue reading “2020 Reading Wrap-Up: Second Quarter”

Let’s Rewind: June 2020

Things ramped up in June. The movements and protests increased. Corona infections continued to rise (in the U.S.) despite earlier claims that things might get better by now. The wind brought the U.S. a sand cloud from the Sahara, and there was news that there’s a swine flu that could reach pandemic levels (sigh).

Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.


Is it just me or are the months starting to run into each other? In my personal life, not much happened in June. I worked. I slept. I ate. I talked to folks. I stayed inside, tried to stay 6 feet away from others when outside, and reminded myself not to touch my face when out and about, which is becoming increasingly difficult. Has that been happening to you?

Continue reading “Let’s Rewind: June 2020”

Let’s Rewind: May 2020

Ah, May. It started off good and was going pretty great, but then things went downhill with the news toward the end.

Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.


Despite working from home during the corona crisis, I still crave taking some time off. I just want to check out for a few weeks and go somewhere far removed from current society. I need a break. A break from the current news cycle and the crazy shit going on right now.

You know what? My May was going pretty well. The highest point came on the second-to-last weekend in the month when hip-hop artists Swizz Beatz and Timbaland hosted a Verzuz battle on Instagram featuring two of the most popular Jamaican dancehall artists, Beenie Man and Bounty Killa. That event made my day. It brightened my month even more and brought so much joy to me that I thought the month would end on a high note. But no.

Continue reading “Let’s Rewind: May 2020”

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”