It’s time for another week of the KUSHIEL’S DART read-along! This week we’re bobbing along, singing a song, across the beautiful briny seaaaa~
This post is really late, which is frustrating, because I read this section a fortnight ago and had the questions all ready to go until fates conspired to stop me finishing the post. Ah well.
Week 8: June 28, Chapters 64-73, Hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog. 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.
Follow below the cut for a spoiler-y discussion of our adventures along the long road ahead.
1) We finally go sailing and everything seems to be going so well that we were lulled temporarily into a false sense of security! Sailors are a superstitious bunch, throwing coins to the Lord of the Deep, for example. What did you make of the Master of the Straits? Any similarity to other myths or legends?
This was such an unexpected scene — I didn’t expect the story to go fully mythological, but it happened, and it was pretty great.
I’ve only faint memories of sea gods and ocean mythology, apart from Poseidon, but both Lisa (Over the Effing Rainbow) and Nrlymrtl (Dab of Darkness) mentioned the similarity to Celtic god Manannán mac Lir. The Master of the Straits is a really interesting god: a scheming, selfish trickster on the one hand, but on the other hand he seems to have genuinely good intentions for the world. He’s been dealt a really rough deal in life, no wonder he’s so messed up.
2) Hyacinthe plays a much larger role in this instalment and has come into his own, plus given a new title – ‘Waking Dreamer’. His travels so far have been very bitter sweet and you really do feel for him. Bearing that in mind what did you make of the strange dream that Breidaia had where she saw Hyachinthe on an island – this was skimmed over a little but did it give you pause for thought. Do you have any ideas of what’s in store for our Waking Dreamer?
I skimmed over the dream of the first read, it seem a bit bland and uninteresting: it showed Hyacinthe on an island, and here he was, arriving on an island.
Looking back… I missed some very nicely done foreshadowing there.
I really liked how this part of the story fleshed out Hyacinthe. His romance seemed a bit rushed, but it was nice to see him move away from his obsession with Phedre, if only for a little while. And after his awful experience with the Tsingano, it was great to see him welcome and loved by the Cruithe — I wish he’d had more time to spend with them, learning about the abilities of the oldest children on earth.
3) You have to hand it to Ysandre for choosing Phedre as Ambassador. It seems her strange talents come in very useful indeed. What did you make of her tactics and powers of persuasion?
Oh my gosh, it’s PERFECT. I was sitting waiting for Phedre to behave like Delauney, diplomatic and persuasive, but instead she just… stayed herself. Still Delauney’s pupil, but her primary skills are with Kushiel’s Dart and she uses Naamah’s skills whenever possible. Absolutely fantastic to see.
Lisa mentioned that it’s nice to see Phedre move beyond being Delauney’s puppet, and I completely agree — as lovely as Delauney was, he was just using the kids for his own gain. Without the sad events at the start of the story, we’d never have seen Phedre grow into the strong, experienced woman she is now.
(Imagine how poor Alcuin might have turned out in a similar situation!)
4) We finally meet Drustan he at first seems like an unlikely match for Ysandre and yet they both seem to have a shared vision. Can they make it work do you think? They have so many differences even if they do succeed in battle?
DRUSTAN IS A CUTIE. I really don’t think they’re an unlikely match, they’re perfect for each other: both young, romantic kids thrown into roles of power but handling it all well and fairly. They still have their innocence, but they don’t let it weaken their abilities as rulers.
(They’ve both been betrayed by close family in the past, as well. They really are opposite sides of the same coin.)
5) Can we discuss the Dalriada and the Cruithne – do they put you in mind of any particular races? What do you make of them??
HEY HEY IT’S MY TRIBES. Kushiel’s Dart is an alternative history story, so it sticks fairly closely to a lot of old Celtic history here: Cruthin/Cruithne are officially an early Irish people, but the world was also used by Irish writers to refer to the Scottish Picts, and the descriptions in the story seem more Scottish than Irish to me: Pictish face-paintings (though this is a subject of BIG debate now, and I reckon it’s more likely they used a blue-black tattoo ink than woad), Scottish burial cairns, lime-washed hair. I’ve got a feeling the Cruithne are mostly from central and Northern Scotland.
The Dalriada are, historically, from the east and west coasts of Scotland — they joined with the Picts to form the Kingdom of Alba.
7) Finally, we’re working ourselves up for the grand finale – do you have any predictions as to how this will all pan out?
Oh man, I have absolutely NO idea. There’s so many ways this could spin, I can’t even guess — but I’m really looking forward to our crew crossing the Straits and seeing what’s befallen Terra d’Ange while they were away.
If you’d like to hear other answers to these questions, the other participating blogs 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