Readalong: Kushiel’s Dart: Week 05

Kushiel's Dart: a #WyrdAndWonder Read-along

This section, with the Briton-like tribes and characters, reminded me a lot more of ‘traditional’ historical and historical fantasies I’ve read in the past.

Like with the Skaldi, it’s nice to see some of the events and cultures outside of Terre d’Ange. It makes the world feel more complex and deeper, and sort of grounds the more fnatasical elements of the things going on in Terre d’Ange with the more everyday/real-feeling psuedo-historial elements.

Week Five | Chapter Sixty-two – Seventy-nine

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 did you make of Hyacinthe’s reaction to his reception, and Phèdre’s reaction to that reaction?

It was interesting to see the two different reactions to the Tsingani, Hyacinthe has such a different experience to Phèdre during their stay.

Hyacinthe’s choice. Could you have done what he did there? Give up finding your family just after finding them for your friend?

I think Hyacinthe was brave to leave them, but considering their reaction to his visions I don’t see that he had much of a choice either. He was always going to end up at odds with them because of it, and I don’t think he’d have been able to stop using his abilities.

How did you feel finding out about Anasztaizia’s past?

It adds a whole new layer to Anasztaizia’s character, especially considering we saw so little of her in person. I think she made the right choice in letting Hyacinthe think his parents were a love match. From what we’ve seen of Hyacinthe and his personality, I think knowing the truth at a younger age would have been a lot for him to deal with. I don’t think he’d have become the same person.

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?

I think it’s important for Phèdre to feel like she’s back in control of herself, especially when she’s going off into an unknown situation where she has no idea what to expect. She needs to remember why she enjoys something that’s been taken from her and soured.

The Long Road keeps getting longer but Phèdre seems equal to every task and soon they are in Alba’s green and pleasant land. 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?

As much as both of the twins made their choice (and I don’t think anyone would have gone without Eamonn’s okay), I think the decision was pretty much made once Grainne agreed. Despite Phèdre’s unlucky name or whatever, her luck actually usually seems pretty good and, in this case, the personality of the twins absolutely works in her favor and she plays them off one another perfectly.

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?

I thought it was a nice touch to contrast Phèdre’s pleasure-in-pain thing with genuine pain and suffering, to set the sex games against genuine injury. I really liked Phèdre tending to the wounded. It shows that she understands that pain isn’t the same for them. As someone as sheltered as she’s been, I think this is a huge life-shaping event for her, to meet so many people, and to see suffering on such a scale. I think it made her an even more sympathetic character.

Were you surprised by Phèdre and Hyacinthe’s moment together?

I was quite surprised by Phèdre and Hyacinthe’s moment. Not because it doesn’t make sense and right within the plot — it does — but because I’d have expected (and probably been annoyed by) the author to drag out the love triangle with pining and angst and jealousy. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting Hyacinthe to leave the team, and it does feel like we needed a closure of sorts to their relationship first.

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?

It was incredibly hard to see Hyacinthe make his choice, especially after he’d given up staying with his own people earlier in the book. It would be a horrible fate for any of the characters I think — none of them seem suited to an isolated life like that — but as “The Prince of Travellers” with all his dreams of the future and freedom, it’s particularly heart-breaking. I have to hope that, eventually, Phèdre is able to free him.

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?

They’ve actually all grown a lot in my eyes, each one of them. They’ve all grown on me over the course of the story and I like all three of them as characters.

4 thoughts on “Readalong: Kushiel’s Dart: Week 05”

  1. I did so much sniffling through this week’s read. It’s all epic and tragic and so many little things that were put in play right at the beginning come back to really sting; it’s both satisfying and devastating (especially Hyacinthe).

    I really appreciate your comment on Anasztaizia keeping the truth from Hyacinthe – well-observed, I hadn’t considered it, but you’re absolutely right. He was such a cocky, buoyant character – all charm and front and confidence – and while he might have put that on as a front, I’m not sure it would have been his natural state had he known the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right about Phedre after that big battle where she is doing what little she can to tend the wounded. I love that she is always willing to help even if the help she is willing to give is so small.

    And I think the plot loves irony and that shows up in twists like the Prince of Travellers stuck on an isolated rock in the Straights for the foreseeable future.

    Liked by 1 person

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