It’s week one of the KUSHIEL’S DART readalong, a book I’ve been describing to friends as “GAME OF THRONES, if it was told from the point of the whores”. Which doesn’t even do this book justice. It’s pretty amazing.
Week 1: May 10, Chapters 1-8, Hosted by DAB OF DARKNESS. You can find the read-along schedule HERE, and anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. There’s also e a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs.
**SPOILERS FOR CHAPTERS 1–8 BEYOND THIS POINT**
1) Here we have the earliest days of Phedre’s life, and we have the story of Elua and his followers. Did you note any similarities between Phedre’s beginning and Elua’s stories? Do you enjoy having these stories upfront or would you rather have had the stories shuffled in later with an adult Phedre looking back?
I’m usually powerfully against worldbuilding at the start of a story, because it frequently becomes infodumps, but Jacqueline handles it really well here. I enjoyed the way the religious background clearly affects the modern world and Phedre’s upbringing. I wouldn’t change the structure one bit.
Looking back on Elua’s backstory, I love how it sets the tone for the story: we know there’s going to be adventure, travel, politics, blood and beauty. It’s one of the most subtle ways I’ve seen a story imply what lies ahead.
2) Hyacinthe has become Phedre’s one true friend. Do you think she is the same for him? The dromonde, or fortune telling, fascinates Phedre. Do you have a fortune telling story?
I’m not a great fan of Hyacinthe yet — he’s got a lot of potential, but he’s not quite clicked for me as a likable character. I’m curious to see where his story leads. When he reaches adulthood he could be very interesting.
Fortunes generally aren’t my cuppa tea, but I like star chart readers — they’re nice people, and when I got a reading from someone who was really into it I had a lot of fun. It’s a nice way to become more aware of yourself and your personality.
(For the curious: the stars say I’m going to try and rule the world from the shadows. So, you’ve been warned.)
3) The Midwinter Masque on the Longest Night is a long held tradition in Terre D’Ange. What stood out for you? Have you been to such a fete?
I’ve never been to a masquarade, but oh, I’d love to! Labyrinth has given me a real fondness for fancy masked dances.
I’ve never been to a Winter Solstice festival either, which is probably the closest I’d get to a Longest Night celebration.
The Midwinter Masque was a beautifully done scene: I loved the strong sense of culture we saw here, and the personality of all the houses.
4) Anafiel Delaunay has many secrets. How do you think those secrets will shape Alcuin and Phedre?
Delaunay’s kind of a shifty guy. I’m dying to know what his master plan is, and I have a feeling “the whoremaster of spies” is going to get these young trainees involved in a world of hurt. I get a strong Petyr Baelish vibe from Delaunay: he’s charismatic, deeply invested in politics and knowledge, and has a thing for manipulating children into serving his purposes.
Alcuin and Phedre are living the high life just now, but I’m expecting it all to come crashing down as politics escalate.
5) Delaunay has a saying; All knowledge is worth having. Do you believe this is so?
Oh, this is such a good question! My first instinct is yes, definitely: as a writer, the amount of innocuous snippets of knowledge that have come together to form stories really makes me aware of how important general knowledge can be.
But there’s definitely a thing as knowing too much, and knowing things you wish you didn’t. Knowledge comes at a price, after all.
I’m getting addicted to this story now, I can’t wait to continue on with the next chapters.
If you’d like to hear other answers to these questions, the other participating websites are below:
Week 1: May 10, Chapters 1-8, Hosted by DAB OF DARKNESS.
Week 2: May 17, Chapters 9-18, Hosted by Allie at Tethyan Books
Week 3: May 24, Chapters 19-26, Hosted by Lisa at OVER THE EFFING RAINBOW
Week 4: May 31, Chapters 27-36, Hosted by Caroline at Beauty Is a Sleeping Cat
Week 5: June 7, Chapters 37-45, Hosted by Igret at Igret’s Corner
Week 6: June 14, Chapters 46-54, Hosted by Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Week 7: June 21, Chapters 55-63, Hosted by Dolce Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza
Week 8: June 28, Chapters 64-73, Hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 9: July 5, Chapters 74-83, Hosted by meeeeeeee!
Week 10: July 12, Chapter 84-END, Hosted by Lisa at OVER THE EFFING RAINBOW