KUSHIEL’S DART had been on my for ages but, at over 900 pages, I found it really intimidating. When the Goodreads Wyrd & Wonder SF/F Read Alongs group announced their six-week readalong in September 2020, I took the plunge. I adored the book and loved the experience.
Now, we’re back for another six week and the second book, KUSHIEL’S CHOSEN.
Week One | Beginning through end Chapter Seventeen
Week Two | Chapter Eighteen – Thirty
Week Three| Chapter Thirty-one – Forty-four
Week Four | Chapter Forty-five – Fifty-five
Week Five | Chapter Fifty-six – Seventy
Week Six | Chapter Seventy-one through the end
What is your position on Phedre’s decision to return to Court as a Servant of Naamah – and Joscelin’s reaction to it? Do you have more sympathy with one or the other?
I can see both sides of it.
If it was me, I’d be in Joscelin’s camp: stay in my nice country estate and well out of all the intrigue and politicking.
But I think, for Phedre, finding out what happened is a sort of unfinished business, she just can’t walk away. Not when everything boils down to her own personal loses. And the thing is, this is the only card she has, she’s been trained to serve Naamah and to spy while doing it. She doesn’t have a whole lot of other ways she can get involved in the situation without returning to that world and she has to do something.
Once the decision to jump back into the game was made though, I think Joscelin needed to get onboard more though, or stay out of her way. He’s right, in that it’s dangerous, but she doesn’t need to be worrying about his reactions on top of everything else.
Phedre is quite certain that the sangoire cloak is a challenge – and a promise that she can unlock Melisande’s secrets if she applies her arts. Why do you think Melisande sent her the cloak?
I’m sure it is, because it makes for a good, dramatic story, but from what we’ve seen of Melisande’s personality, it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if she sent it just to fuck with Phèdre’s head. There’s a sort of cat-and-mouse thing between these two where I think Melisandre’s willing to risk a lot just to make sure Phèdre’s thinking of her.
She likes causing trouble!
We get to know a plethora of characters this week: Favrielle no Eglantine, Remy, Fortun and Ti-Phillipe, Nahum ben Isaac, Marmion Shahrizai, Severio Stregazza – any new favourites so far? Any thoughts on how Favrielle and Nahum flesh out aspects of the world-building?
I love Favrielle! And I think her story gives us an interesting insight into the Night Court, both in the fact of different skills and jobs, but in the way people with less extraordinary stories than Phèdre might be affected by the indenture/ marque system.
For both Favrielle and Nahum it’s nice to see a couple of character who aren’t head-over-hells for Phèdre. She’s a really likeable protagonists but it’s a little strange how almost everyone she meets seems to fall for her (whether sexual, romantic or platonic). No-one’s universally liked, and I like that — with these two — she’ll have to earn it.
Phedre comments on the Midwinter Masque as a recurring motif in her life, but it’s far from the only echo of earlier events. What do you make of the way this first act mirrors events of Kushiel’s Dart?
It’s interesting seeing Phèdre take control of her assignments and building her own little found family — the boys and Favrielle — sort of shifting herself into Delaunay’s role as she’s taken on his titles.
(First time readers) Care to place your bets on who helped Melisande Shahrizai to escape Troyes-les-Mont?
I have no idea! There’s so many characters I’m just concentrating on keeping up, not guessing ahead. I’d sort of like if it was someone Phèdre doesn’t suspect yet, one of her friends or allies.
Kushiel’s Chosen (Phèdre’s Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey
The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.
Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman, the first to recognize that she is one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. He trained Phèdre in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber—and, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze.
When she stumbled upon a plot that threatened the very foundations of her homeland, she gave up almost everything she held dear to save it. She survived, and lived to have others tell her story, and if they embellished the tale with fabric of mythical splendor, they weren’t far off the mark.
The hands of the gods weigh heavily upon Phèdre’s brow, and they are not finished with her. While the young queen who sits upon the throne is well loved by the people, there are those who believe another should wear the crown… and those who escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with their schemes for power and revenge.