Welcome to part 2 of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. I am actually hosting the questions this week, and they cover chapters 9-18. Keep in mind, therefore, that there will be spoilers up through chapter 18 in the questions and answers below! Also, remember to visit all the participants blogs to see what they have to say about this week’s section:
Allie (me) at Tethyan BooksLisa at Over the Effing RainbowLynn at Lynn’s Book BlogGrace at Books Without Any PicturesLauren at Violin in a VoidCeline at Nyx Book ReviewsJenn at Morrison GirlIgret at Igret’s CornerMichael at Nashville Book WormKheya at Not Food PornEmma at EmmaMaree.comNancy at FaeStruck’s Reviews & MoreKelly at Orange Pekoe ReviewsSusan at Dab of Darkness
1) In these chapters, Phèdre finally gets to have her own dedication ceremony. Were you surprised by what they did with the dove? Also, do you think it is fair to ask people to make a life decision about serving Naamah at such a young age?
I imagined that they were going to sacrifice the dove, so I was really happy to see that it was more of a symbol, with the dove flying up to freedom. Thinking on what Phèdre is dedicating her life to, it would not have made sense to kill the dove. I think it’s just what I have grown to anticipate from these kinds of scenes.
I don’t really think it is fair to treat Phèdre’s adolescent decision as one that is completely un-coerced, even though I think her guardians have made it as free a decision as they can. Phèdre has been educated a little by the Night Court about what to expect, but she has also been a little bit indoctrinated by them. Also, she knows that this is the path Delaunay has planned for her, so there is additional pressure even though he doesn’t intend to actively apply it. Furthermore, given her inexperience and age, I don’t think she could truly understand what she is agreeing to in the long run. For instance, younger-adolescent Phèdre would have happily gone to Valerian House, but just a few years later she realizes that she would have regretted that decision.
2) Sex ed is definitely different in Terre d’Ange. Do you think the Showing was useful for the teenagers? Do you think, at their age, you would have appreciated something like the book-learning they received in the art?
I’m pretty sure that most teenagers would probably enjoy that kind of a Showing, but I don’t know if I would say it was useful in their case. If it was to learn the mechanics, the two principle actors’ hair seemed to have covered most of that up. Also, it featured one possible pairing which doesn’t seem to be Alcuin’s most common, so far. Maybe it was more intended to get them excited about the future? In that case, I think it served it’s purpose! The classes, on the other hand, sound very useful. In a society where everyone is just expected to magically know what to do (like modern-day society), I think it would be very cool to have some kind of formal theoretical training.
3) Hyacinthe has some neat theories about Delaunay’s past. What is your favorite theory?
I’m falling down as a reader in puzzling this out. It’s probably partially because I still have to keep reminding myself all of the courtiers names right now, and also because I read these first two sections sleepily on airplanes. I think my favorite theory so far is that Delaunay was the King’s first betrothed’s lover, and that he is trying to bring her killers to justice. There also seems to be a bit of a Count of Monte Cristo thing going on, since it seems like Anafiel Delaunay has a different previous name, and this is known to some of his closer friends.
4) Phèdre seems to be making a name for herself as an anguissette, known for never giving the signale. Do you think she would ever actually choose to use the signale, even if she were in real danger? Do you think her inability to do so might get her into trouble?
This seemed like a danger sign to me. She gets so caught up in the moment that it doesn’t seem to me like she would ever use her signale. That puts all the responsibility for not seriously injuring her on the patron, and we know that some of the patrons hate Delaunay, at least. Also, I think that having that kind of a reputation might attract patrons who want to do more and more extreme things, which would make it more likely that she would need to protect herself. I hope nothing terrible happens to her.
5) Do you think Alcuin is enjoying his career as much as Phèdre, or do you think he has a different focus? Do you think their differing appeals and tastes will drive them apart?
I thought Alcuin seemed less excited than Phèdre about the actual assignments, especially about his first one. I am wondering how much his decision to follow this path of service was due to personal desire, and how much was to please Delaunay. If he really doesn’t enjoy this life, then it seems like that might start to grate a little between him and Phèdre. I think we’ve also seen a little distance already between Delaunay and Phèdre, due to the fact that he doesn’t really understand her tastes. I’m wondering if that’s going to cause any problems between Phèdre and Alcuin as well.
—To keep up my comments on real-world Terre d’Ange, from what I can gather, I am not all that close to the Skaldic raiding. I think my little village (near the French-Swiss border) is pretty safe.
—It seems like la Confédération Helvétique has collapsed in this fictional world? Is this a clue as to the corresponding real-world time period?
—I’m wondering what’s going to happen between Kushiel’s Line and Kushiel’s Dart! Future-Phèdre is seeming to say it’s something serious.