Read-along: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Week 6)

It’s the final week of our read-along and Lisa of Dear Geek Place is our host, helping us give shape to our (many) thoughts and (all the) feelings as events draw to a close. Most participants have been providing links to their posts here on the Goodreads page (not me, because I’m a lazy toad, but all the good people I’m reading along with have) if you fancy reading some more coherent thoughts than mine. If you’re still with me, then let’s dive in…

…I don’t have to warn you about SPOILERS, right? We’re talking about the end of the book here, people! There will be SPOILERS! All of them!


Phèdre risks everything yet again on a chance to finish what she started and keep her word to Ysandre. Joscelin does the same trying to thwart Selig, if not stop him. What were your thoughts about their last confrontation with the Skaldi warlord, and what it means for their relationship?

Oh. My. Goodness. Phèdre nearly skinned alive, Joscelin ready to perform the terminus and kill them both – these two are just so … badass!

But what really got me going was when Phèdre met Joscelin’s father and brother. I loved everything about this – how they weren’t stiff or disapproving about Phèdre or about the path Joscelin has taken; how Luc was like a more jovial, relaxed version of Joscelin; how they invited Phèdre and Joscelin to visit them and see his mother who misses him and the nephews and nieces he’s gained while he’s been gone. And I loved her embarrassment over the Chevalier and Luc’s knowledge of the marching song sung by Phèdre’s Boys.

I loved it all, and I’m not crying, you’re crying.


Isidore d’Aiglemort turns out to be the hero that Terre D’Ange needs, if not the one they want. Do you think Phèdre made the right call, making him that offer? What do you think of his final act, and the reasons that drive him to it? Is he a hero or was he ultimately still only a tool in the hands of others?

Heck yes, she made the right call! His situation was awkward, to say the least and you have to admire Phèdre’s stroke of genius here. He’s no hero though. He planned to take the crown for himself (it doesn’t matter that he wouldn’t have achieved his goal because of Melisande’s connivance, he was and is a threat to Ysandre’s throne as long as he lives) and is therefore a stinking traitor. I think Phèdre played him well here – she gave him a way out and used him as a weapon against Selig. So yeah, ultimately a tool (*snigger*).


Melisande faces the consequences of her actions, though it seems her ‘deep game’ is not over. Do you think she was prepared for her plan to fail, or was she seizing any opportunity to save herself with that escape? What are your thoughts on her after her last conversation with Phèdre?

No, I don’t think she was expecting her plan to fail, but turns out she was prepared after a fashion, huh? That she had an escape route suggests she had considered failure, or at least a change in direction. My heart sank when Phèdre agreed to go and see Melisande in her cell (what did Hyacinthe tell you, young lady? Dagnabbit!), because I really don’t like the effect she has on our girl. Even knowing that Melisande is the schemer behind everything that’s happened, Phèdre still desires her and I can’t help but worry that that will eventually be a fatal weakness. Despite what Hyacinthe said about that which yields not always being weak.

And Melisande’s given reason for doing what she’s done? “Because I could”. This doesn’t bode well. She wasn’t motivated by greed alone, but by a love for Machiavellian manipulation … she will never be done, I don’t think, until she is dead.


Finally, everyone gets a chance to rest and recover, and Phèdre is richly rewarded for her deeds – in a few senses. How do you feel about her (double-edged) Happily Ever After with Joscelin? And do you think she’s doing the right thing, choosing to find the traitor who freed Melisande in her own way?

She’s a Comtesse, a peer of the realm, the Lady Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève! Woo! She has her own country estate! Woo! She’s going to get a town house! Woo! She and Joscelin have reached an understanding over their feelings for one another (I don’t know how that will play out, but they know they love each other and that’s enough for me, for the moment). She has friends in high places and a plan of action. She’s going back into the fray. I am here for everything this promises. All the woo!!

Having been slow to warm to this book (I hate to feel stupid) and uncertain of what I was getting myself into, I am now super enthused to read more. There are still so many questions I need answering, about the roles of Kushiel and Cassiel in Phèdre and Joscelin’s lives, about the further machinations and eventual fate of Melisande, about Hyacinthe’s new role in the world and whether he will ever win free of it (I still have hopes for that Phèdre-Joscelin-Hyacinthe polycule! – thank you imyril for teaching me that word!)

Kushiel’s Chosen here I come!




  1. I am so glad you warmed up to this one enough to want to read the next book. (That was how I was the first time I read it.) I had a lot of fun rereading this with everyone. Phedre meeting Joscelin’s family was hilarious.

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  2. I’m actually glad Phèdre went to see Mélisande because I’m fascinated by Mélisande and I wanted to read more about her. I know their relationship is toxic as hell but the events and emotions that link them both are so intense!

    I’m glad you warmed up to this book, it was great to read your thoughts! 🙂

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  3. I’m so glad you plan to continue on with the series. It’s one of my favorite trilogies in the epic fantasy genre.
    And I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of Melisande. She’s in it for the game, not for greed or fame. Do you think she could ever change?
    Thanks again for joining the readalong. It’s been great to share this story with so many.

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    • I’ve loved every minute of it, thank you for having me! 😃
      Will Melisande ever change? It’s a good question. I can’t imagine what would need to happen for her to change, but Carey has surprised me so many times already …
      Can’t wait to continue reading this series! 😄


  4. I love a good read along and think all the discussion really helps. You might not have warmed to this one if you’d read it alone – although I think you would have personally because Phèdre, Joscelin and Melisande are such great characters and the world building is so rich.
    Lynn 😀

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