There’s no Writing Wednesday this week, because I’m basically on a writing holiday and it’s great.
(I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been writing some of the time, but shhhh, if I tell myself I’m on holiday it’ll happen.)
This week is all about catching up on reading — both books, and beta reads. So in that spirit, it’s time for (a late) Week 4 of the Kushiel’s Dart read-along.
Week 4: May 31, Chapters 27-36, is hosted by Susan at DAB OF DARKNESS. You can find the read-along schedule HERE, and anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. There’s also a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs.
**SPOILERS FOR CHAPTERS 27–36 BEYOND THIS POINT**
This was a really fun set of chapters. Politics are reaching new heights, and amazing new characters are appearing, while old characters are becoming more and more fleshed out.
1) Alcuin finally talked with Delaunay about being uncomfortable serving Naamah. He spent 3 days in the sanctuary of Naamah and came out with a lighter heart. What do you think occurred there?
I imagined him spending a lot of time talking with the priests of Naamah, talking out his issues, confessing his problems, and unraveling why he felt this way and how he wanted to continue on from here. The priests would, I hope, have been supportive — ‘Love as thou wilt’ encompasses *not* wanting to serve Naamah as much as serving them — and they would already have experience with helping people uncomfortable in their service.
I love Susan’s idea that flowers would have been a key part of his time here, making flower crowns and arranging flowers. That sounds like a wonderful way to clear your mind in the temple of Naamah.
2) We are introduced to the new protector of the Delaunay household, Joscelin Verreuil. What were your first impressions? Would you find it harder to pay homage to: Naamah or Kushiel or Cassiel?
Oh man, I *adore* Joscelin! New favorite character, by far. He’s such an awkward, angst-ridden dork, he really adds a great new element to all of Phedre’s life.
As for which house I’d find it hardest to pay homage to…. probably Naamah, actually. That whole thing’s not really my cuppa tea. Cassiel would be the easiest: all that studying would suit me just fine, and wearing grey and skulking about would be fun.
3) Phèdre visits Childric D’Essoms two more times; once to beg a boon for Delaunay and again because she feels she owes him a debt. Do you think she was right to go on either of these occasions?
These two have the most dysfunctional relationship in the book so far, so it’s hard to say what’s right when they both behave in really messed-up ways. Phèdre’s first visit was really really risky, and if she didn’t have Joscelin she’d have been in a lot of trouble. I’m not sure it was the best way Delaunay could’ve handled it, and I’m surprised he wasn’t more shaken up by his mistake there. It was very close to being a repeat of what happened with Alcuin.
The second time I understood — it made perfect sense for both of them.
4) We meet the Duc Barquiel L’Enver, who has spent much time in Akkad. What do you think lies in the past between him and Delaunay? What do you think of his methods to dealing with Vitale Bouvarre?
Duc Barquiel L’Enver is an interesting figure, he’s basically a French mob boss: extremely powerful, and cruel when wronged. I wasn’t surprised by how he dealt with Vitale, though I did expect his assassination to be a good deal crueler and slower — in the end, he went for a quick, easily-swept-under-the-rug killing, which says a lot about his character. Her doesn’t let his temper make him stupid.
5) At the palace, after a meeting with Clavel, Phedre sneaks off. In the hall, she overhears Isidore d’Aiglemort talking about the Glory Seekers along the Skaldi border. Then she finds herself hiding under some furniture when she witnesses a secret meeting between Delaunay and Ysandre de la Courcel. What do you make of this latest political intrigue?
Oh my gosh, this book is getting SO HARD TO FOLLOW when dipping in and out of it each week. I need a map!
The secret meeting is very interesting. I’m not sure I can even speculate as to where it’ll lead, but it seems to signal a very dangerous turn in Delauney’s life….
6) Melisande Shahrizai points out to Phedre that she both despises and loves each of her patrons, if only a little. Do you think this is true for Phedre? For most human relationships?
I don’t think it applies to most human relationships — if you genuinely hate your partner, that’s probably not a good sign — but it definitely applies to Phedre’s relationships so far. She’s a lassie of very extreme temperament, and I doubt one person could ever give her everything she wants out of life. She’s a very unique person, even by Terra d’Ange’s standards.
7) Phedre is contracted for the Longest Night by Melisande to be shown off to the Duc de Morhban. What stood out for you the most this night? Now that Phedre can complete her mark, what do you think she will do?
A lot of the symbolism here was lost on me, but Lisa pointed it out wonderfully: Melisande was showing off Phedre as *hers*, her pet anguisinette on a velvet leash, in what seems like a direct challenge to Delauney. And just after that, she freed Phedre from her debt to Delauney.
Melisande is definitely going to be one to watch over the coming chapters. Phedre’s experience freedom for the first time, and is in a prime position to make dangerous mistakes….
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 Susan at DAB OF DARKNESS.
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