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  1. #1
    The Puppy Whisperer
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    So I'm struggling a bit with `Kushiel's Dart'... [SPOILERS!]

    ... because I just don't know how into a book I can be where ...
    Spoiler:
    children are sold into life as prostitutes and where the main religious figure seems to have been more like a nutbag cult leader and a sixteen-year-old gets brutally raped as her first sexual encounter and actually enjoys it???


    Does it get better than this? I mean, is there anything more to this series than how it appears? I've just wasted my time finishing a book I didn't really enjoy, hopefully I can not waste even more time on this one if it's not worth it.

  2. #2
    Here's the thing. If the events you refer to above happened in our world, your description of them would be accurate and yes, they would be appalling. However, these events do not occur in our world, but rather, in a world where...
    Spoiler:
    ...it's not viewed as prostitution, but as a religious calling...the religious figure is not actually a nutbag... and certain people by their very nature enjoy abuse.

    If you cannot make the distinction between how these events would be viewed in our world and how they are viewed in the one created by the author, or if you can make that distinction but still cannot suspend disbelief in order to accept that distinction, then I doubt you will enjoy these books no matter how well-written they are; which is quite, in my estimation.

    To be clear, there is no criticism in what I am saying here. I completely understand why some will not be able to enjoy these books, and in fact I had my own, similar struggles when I first started the series.
    Last edited by Obtuse; June 29th, 2009 at 12:09 AM. Reason: Bacon

  3. #3
    Peckish hippokrene's Avatar
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    Can we just add [spoiler] to thread title? It's going to be hard to have a discussion when every post is all black.

    Anyways: spoilers ahoy!

    Yes, children are sold to the Night Courts as apprentices. This is because the Night Court houses are modeled on Japan’s geisha houses as opposed to medieval Europe’s brothel system as, so they need to learn a wide range of skills. Bear in mind, her mother was also a servant of Nammah and considered it a respectable profession.

    I had no idea why you think Eula is a ‘nutbag cult leader.’ He’s an obvious parallel to Jesus Christ in that he wanders the land gathering disciples and teaching people to love one another. In fact, in the story itself, he’s the son of Jesus.

    I don’t recall Phedre being brutally raped. Childric d'Essoms buys her virgin-price, but Phedre does consent to having sex with him.

    In answer to your question: Phedre is a protitute and a masochistic. She never stops, or is even interested in stopping, being either of those things.
    Last edited by hippokrene; June 29th, 2009 at 12:54 AM.

  4. #4
    The Puppy Whisperer
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    I do understand these things, and of course understand that Elua is supposed to be the son of Jesus - the reason I said that is because the story goes that Naamah sold herself to all and sundry for him, which puts me in mind of other cult leaders across time.

    And yes D'Essoms buys Phedre's virgin price, and she does consent, so `technically' it is not rape, especially since she has her safeguard word to use if she needs to. It's my feeling that even if she did use her safe word, he would not have stopped. It's also my feeling that she probably got more than she bargained for with that first exchange. I've only just started the novel and so haven't got much further than this, to be honest.

    I think Obtuse had it pretty accurately, I can suspend my disbelief to understand that on Phedre's world these things happen and are perfectly acceptable, however my `ethical code', I suppose you could call it, makes me profoundly uncomfortable with it even though it is a fictional story, set in a fictional world.

    So, whilst being able to intellectualise all of the rationalities involved, it's not so easy for me to emotionally detach from a culture I find to be abhorrent due to my values in real life. If that makes sense.

    You guys probably feel like I did when trying to explain to my husband that even though Thomas Covenant rapes someone very early in the first book of the series, that the story is worth continuing with anyway. He just couldn't get past it, regardless of all the extenuating circumstances etc. I guess if you feel strongly about certain subjects it makes it hard to move past that in order to enjoy a story.

  5. #5
    Too many books to read... Siberian's Avatar
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    These books deal with a culture where prostitution and more 'deviant' sexual practices are acceptable and high level courtesans are treated with respect (think Renaissance France with Geishas). And the children are not slaves, but more like medieval apprectices who had to return the cost of their living and training with their work.

  6. #6
    I think it's safe to say that if you're struggling with it now, that problem won't go away for the rest of the book (or probably the rest of the trilogy, but I didn't read past the first book so I couldn't say for sure). So if it's severely interfering with your enjoyment of the novel, it might just be that this one's not for you.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by FirePrincess View Post
    ... my `ethical code', I suppose you could call it, makes me profoundly uncomfortable with it even though it is a fictional story, set in a fictional world.

    So, whilst being able to intellectualise all of the rationalities involved, it's not so easy for me to emotionally detach from a culture I find to be abhorrent due to my values in real life. If that makes sense.
    Makes complete sense, and in fact, I'm pretty sure that much of what you're feeling is exactly what Carey intended with these books; knowing that she would be crossing the line with some readers. If she has crossed the line with you, then as Cranky Hamster suggests, it probably isn't worth it (from a pure enjoyment standpoint) to continue reading.

  8. #8
    Registered User owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirePrincess View Post
    I think Obtuse had it pretty accurately, I can suspend my disbelief to understand that on Phedre's world these things happen and are perfectly acceptable, however my `ethical code', I suppose you could call it, makes me profoundly uncomfortable with it even though it is a fictional story, set in a fictional world.
    I have little to no ethical code (at least when I'm reading fiction), but I still couldn't get into the story.

  9. #9
    The Puppy Whisperer
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    And it's not so much the issues with the themes in the books, I just don't really like any of the characters that much or care about what happens to them. Although having said that, I've just finished the part where Melisande betrays Boudoin to his death - so I'm starting to get a bit more interested ... up until now it's pretty much been exposition and now there seems to be an actual story developing...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirePrincess View Post
    And it's not so much the issues with the themes in the books, I just don't really like any of the characters that much or care about what happens to them. Although having said that, I've just finished the part where Melisande betrays Boudoin to his death - so I'm starting to get a bit more interested ... up until now it's pretty much been exposition and now there seems to be an actual story developing...
    The story heats up quickly soon when the scene above will be small potatoes so to speak...

    There are so many twists, turns and action in the series that the first 200 pages in volume 1 and the first 200 in volume 2 seem indeed slow, but there are desperate battles, knife fights, duels, naval combat, single handed assault on a prison and much more only in volumes 1 and 2, not to speak of what follows...

  11. #11
    suciul is right. Things are going to pick up, don't worry. I've read 5 of the 7 books Carey has written in this world and she does have a tendency to write long sections where there is a lot of set up and maneuvering, and character development, but not a lot of action. When the action arrives, though, it really arrives. The payoff in these books is always worth the investment.

  12. #12
    Yeah, keep reading the story. The action and character developement during and after the action is totally worth getting past the beginning character setups. JC created a great world w/interesting cultures and characters, especially Phedre, Joscelin, and Hyacinthe. Keep reading!!!

  13. #13
    The Puppy Whisperer
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    Well, I've taken everyone's advice and I was starting to enjoy it anyway and I'm so glad I stuck with it! I haven't really been able to put it down and am now up to the part where Phedre and Joscelin have escaped from the Skaldi and told Ysandre and her companions of D'Aiglemort's/Selig's plans. Talk about the story warming up! Woah!!

  14. #14
    Something witty! Bridie's Avatar
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    I had a similar probelms Fireprincess! i didnt get how everyone and everything could be so beautiful and Phedre seems to solve all her problems through sex- it started really started to annoy me! But i carried on and it turned out ok in the end, i started to take most of the use of sex with a pinch of salt. I dont have much of a problem with sex used in books but everything seemed sex centered... which i found crazy!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by FirePrincess View Post
    And yes D'Essoms buys Phedre's virgin price, and she does consent, so `technically' it is not rape, especially since she has her safeguard word to use if she needs to. It's my feeling that even if she did use her safe word, he would not have stopped.
    He absolutely would have stopped. To rape a servant of Naamah would be pretty much the worst sacrilege possible in Terre' Dange and the consequences severe indeed.

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