Queens of the Realm Book Club 2019 discussion

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Kushiel's Dart > Kushiel's Dart (Non-Spoiler

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message 1: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Apologies for the dealy in getting this posted. Life got topsy turvy over past couple of weeks and I forgot to post this. This is the thread for all your non-spoiler thoughts. I just started this last night and read the first chapter. I love the writing, if right now I'm a little confused. Can't wait to see what everyone thinks :)


message 2: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 3 comments I'm totally going to just be a lurker on these threads. I read Kushiel's Dart a few years ago and really loved most of it. I'm not doing a re-read but I'm excited to hear what others think! Happy reading!


message 3: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina (bookish_sabrina) | 5 comments I decided to join in on this one because I was so sure this book would be for me, and I had heard so much hype about it. Unfortunately, I gave up around 100 pages. I think it was mostly the writing, which felt a little weak in places, and I found myself having to re-read sentences a lot.

Also, I found the pacing to be strange, both too fast and too slow at the same time. I found some of the time jumps to be jarring and I feel like I was missing out on a lot already.

I figured 100 pages was fair for a book of this length, and I hope other people love it as so many have. It just didn't seem like it was for me!


message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie  | 10 comments I’m about a third through the book and am really enjoying it so far😊. Hard to believe that this was a debut. I think it is really well done and well written!


message 5: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Okay so I’m about 250 pages into this bad boy, and ummm... I’m struggling to be honest. The writing is wonderful, no doubt. There are moments when I love the characters, the dynamic between Hyacynthe and Phedre is great. Alcuin is also a fave for me. But the plotting is tough for me. There’s a ton of political intrigue, and very little of it is emotionally impactful for the protagonist. Like yeah I guess there’s all these marriages and networks to keep track of, but why does Phedre care about any of it? What are her stakes in any of it? The only stakes she has are tied to her devotion to her employer, which keeps everything kind of at a distance for me (cuz I couldn’t care less about her employer) So I feel like there’s this whole network of political intrigue that could be really interesting to me, but because it’s so disjointed from the protagonist, I lose interest. In terms of complexity, I think something like Wolf Hall is more complex, but because all the political intrigue leads back to Thomas Cromwell, who you follow in that book, I as the reader was more inclined to strain my brain to figure everything out. Cuz I liked Cromwell. But here, I just let the names wash over me cuz there is literally no emotional investment in any of it.

Also, while the writing is excellent, very little of it is spent describing the physical environment around Phedre. Like, I have very little idea of what this city actually looks like, the types of buildings it has, the clothes that most citizens would wear. Even at the novel’s most descriptive, Carey’s attention to detail is spent on other things, facial expressions and attitudes of people. Which like cool, but I really want her to just describe the environment. I am a reader that really likes to visualize things, and I find this whole book very difficult to visualize.

So overall, really mixed thoughts. I feel like I could read it for hours. The writing is compelling. But I don’t think I really love this one.


message 6: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Okay... I’m making a decision. I’m DNFing. I feel pretty bad about the frequency with which I am DNFing the books for this club, so I stuck it out longer than I would have otherwise with this one. I made it through 550 pages. But, nonetheless, I am DNFing. Carey just really couldn’t make me care about these people. And it’s not that she can’t write (her writing is beautiful) or flesh out the characters. But I just don’t care about their fates. Phedre could die at any moment in this book and I would not care. The politics are complex, and I really do appreciate the depth Carey goes to with the politics here. But trying to figure out why I should care about the politics, let alone invest in it, was a mystery. Like, Phedre cares about the politics cuz her boss wants her to... her boss wants her to because of a mystery that Phedre needs to unravel. And yeah it eventually gets unraveled, but it was so obvious that the denouement felt weak. Like, how did Phedre not figure it out earlier? The other problem I have with the politics, is that so many of the main political figures you’re trying to keep track of in this book have almost no on page time. It’s just a bunch of other people talking about them. Like the reason that the complex politics of something like ASoIaF works is because the political figures are fleshed out characters in their own rights, with interesting arcs and compelling narratives; they’re not just whispered about phantoms in the background. There’s a lot to individually pick out of this book and praise, and yet it just never pulls together into a convincing and compelling narrative for me. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m in the middle of the worst reading slump of my life, I might have stuck with it. But, I’ve not finished a physical book in ages, and having this one hang over my head just made me feel even more slumpy.


message 7: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Ryan | 7 comments I've only just started so can't comment on the book itself. So sorry to hear that you are in a reading slump, not something anyone who loves to read wants to happen.

For next month, maybe you could think about something shorter or a book you haven't read by an author that you know you will enjoy. There must be some good fantasy novellas by women authors or books that you haven't read by authors you already enjoy. I always find comfort reads or short books are a good way to get into a better frame of mind for reading.


message 8: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (romeowyn) | 5 comments Same thing for me. Worldbuilding is interesting, characters are original, plot isn't following an overdone structure... But I just felt "outside" the story, as if I was watching an excellent play muffled through a window. I quit about 30% into the book.


Elena (Elemar Books) (elemarbooks) Sad to say this was a DNF for me too. I'm still in though and looking forward to July's pick :)


message 10: by Natalie (new)

Natalie  | 10 comments still slogging through this one.... I feel that it has lost some momentum after a certain event happened, the story feels adrift.... I want to finish, but am taking it slowly with one chapter a day


message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily (rubeushagrid) Are there any books that haven't been DNF'd by the majority yet?


message 12: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (romeowyn) | 5 comments Emily wrote: "Are there any books that haven't been DNF'd by the majority yet?"

I feel so bad for Christopher. All the books we've picked were really interesting, but just didn't work.
I'm still in for next month, though !


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