Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: Kushiel's Dart

Title: Kushiel's Dart
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Genre: Fantasy
1015 pages
Release Date: September 2003

The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission...and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair...and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear. 
-taken from Goodreads

A friend of mine recommended this book to me a while back and I finally got around to reading it recently. I really knew nothing about it - my friend mentioned it when I was talking about loving the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon) and the A Song of Ice and Fire series (George R.R. Martin). I assumed it was another sort of epic series based in a well imagined world.

I was correct.

What a great book! I was immediately sucked in. I love how this imagined world was so different than mine and yet there were also certain aspects of my world shadowed in this one. The story of their gods and demigods is very similar to our stories of God and Jesus - some of their religious words even mimic ours. It was great to walk a line between familiar and yet unfamiliar storylines.

I did have a hard time keeping up with all the names and histories and places and intrigue - there was just so much going on with so many people. Luckily this is a long book so the further in you get, the more you start to put things together with ease. I also didn't realize that BDSM is involved - however I will say that, for me at least, the use of BDSM didn't feel jarring. Props to Jacqueline Carey for making such seamless transitions to and from the sex scenes and making it all seem normal and a genuine part of living in this story. The age of a couple of the main characters (Phedre and Alcuin) is also a little hard to swallow, but again, it fits the story and just seems to work.

Overall this was a wildly imaginative book with compelling characters and interesting plot twists. It's impressive how much thought was put into creating an entirely made up world as well as weaving the threads of a complicated mystery.

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Buy it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

1 comment:

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