Welcome to part 3 of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. Our host this week is Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow, and her questions cover chapters 19-26. Keep in mind, therefore, that there will be spoilers up through chapter 26 in the questions and answers below! You can find the schedule HERE. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Also, remember to visit all the participants blogs to see what they have to say about this week’s section!
1) We get a lot of political intrigue to wade through this week, plus a couple of pretty big dramatic revelations, not least of which was the twist of fate for Prince Baudoin and his mother. What did you make of the trial, and what became of these two?
I was shocked by how honest Lyonette was, but maybe she knew there was no point in lying since the evidence would condemn her. I also found it surprising that Prince Baudoin did not expect to be sentenced to death— throughout history, I think treason has always been dealt with pretty horrifically. I was actually relieved that they got to choose their own method of execution, so that we wouldn’t have to read about them being hanged, drawn and quartered or something equally horrible.
2) On a rather different, much more personal note for the House of Delaunay was the drama that unfolded surrounding Alcuin (poor Guy!). What do you think might become of Alcuin now that he appears to be out of the game?
Based on the things that Delaunay said during this chapter, I get the impression that he would have had an alternate plan for Alcuin, if he’d known how much the boy hated the idea of serving Naamah. Maybe he would have trained him in arms, and had him serve others as an escort or bodyguard, and he could fulfill his work as a spy in that way. Maybe, if he is trained up quickly, he could be Phèdre’s escort, now that his marque is complete?
3) As we'd suspected last week, Phèdre's refusal to use her signale gets her into some trouble with d'Essoms - but it also gets her the result that Anafiel had hoped for... Do you think she'll be more careful from here or will this only make that addictive slope more slippery for her?
The trouble it got her into was pretty trivial, though. I think the injury would be serious for a normal person, but her fast-healing ability means that she won’t even have a scar. Instead of being more careful, I think this has probably confirmed her sense of her own invincibility. Also, she got some nice information for Delaunay in the process! Rather than being more cautious, I would expect the opposite.
4) Speaking of Phèdre and trouble, what do you make of the 'relationship' building between her and Melisande?
I think something major is going to happen. The night with Prince Baudoin and Melisande was pretty tame, I think mostly because Baudoin didn’t really have much interest in that sort of thing. Phèdre suffered mostly from neglect, when Baudoin got distracted with Melisande and just left her tied up. I could be wrong, but I felt like the point of it for Melisande was to make Phèdre feel involved in her betrayal of Baudoin. That’s a much more subtle kind of pain than the sort you get from a whip. I expect there will be more brewing between the two of them, as we continue.
—It’s hard not to blame Alcuin for Guy’s death, but I can see where he was coming from. He had to know that meeting was going to be dangerous, and Delaunay would have stopped him. If he’d warned Guy, though, I wonder if that would have allowed Guy to take enough precautions to keep them safe.
—I am pretty disappointed that Phèdre’s first safeword disaster was just a side note story, and one that basically came out great for her in the end, at that. I imagine we’ll see more trouble on this front.
—Phèdre’s latest assignation was surprisingly sweet.
—I’m worried about what Delaunay is going to do to bring Bouvarre to justice.