Kushiel's Dart - Kushiel's Legacy, Bk 1 Author:Jacqueline Carey The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassed 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. — Phedre no Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indenture... more »d 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.
Phedre 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, Phedre 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 Phedre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.
Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart -- a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.« less
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A fascinating tale of love, lust, betrayal and power, finely plotted and set in a lavishly imagined alternate renaissance Europe. Long, but fully realized and well worth the time spent on both this debut and the sequels.
The story includes some very adult (erotic) situations but the descriptions are not as graphic as can be found in other books.
#1 Kushiel's Legacy fantasy series, and first novel for Carey. Quite an ambitious first book at over 900 pages, but it captivates you right from the beginning and seems to read much quicker. WOW! This fantasy series is loosely based on our world, probably in medieval times, with fairly easily identifiable parallel countries/cultures, and a similar religion to Christianityâyet totally different. LOL I know that makes no sense but it's hard to describe. The story is told by PhÃªdre, a Servant of Naamah (basically a well-trained whore whose service is seen as a religious offering) whose marque (an intricate tattoo done on the backs of these Servants) is bought by a powerful, mysterious man involved in many political intrigues. PhÃªdre is trained not only to please her patrons sexually, but as a keen observer who reports back to the head of her household. Intricately woven, well-written and totally amazing first novel.
Although this book took a bit to get going and to read (900 pages), the story was excellent. Contrary to popular belief, the sensuality of the book was less than I had expected. Very good adventure, spy story, war story with a satisfying conclusion. A very good read
Bookfanatic reviewed Kushiel's Dart (Kushiel's Legacy, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 5
Intense, fabulous, wonderfully detailed, erotic, one of the best fantasy novels I've read. Be warned there is some S/M and bondage though not overly graphic or very uncomfortable for the reader. However, this isn't for people who are put off by reading things like that. If you get embarassed easily by fictional love scenes, skip this book. The mild S/M and bondage are essential to the storyline for the heroine has the rare birthmark of Kushiel's Dart meaning she experiences both pain and pleasure in the same way without any distinction between the two.
This is a hard review to write, because this book is so complex. Overall I enjoyed reading it. It has a lovely, literate, richly descriptive prose style that suits Carey's carefully constructed fantasy/adventure world. There are great characters, and a terrific plot that kept me coming back for more even when I didn't have time to read.
But good as it is, the book is too long, with too much repetition. It would have benefited enormously from ruthless editing. There was too much detail, so many names and relationships that I could only get through and follow the basics of the tale by letting most of the detail go. It all but overwhelmed the story. Things did begin to make sense, oh so slowly, but it was often a struggle, and I still skipped the more tedious and repetitive chunks.
Also, while I liked Phedre, the main character, she was sometimes a tad too lucky, too clever, too perfect to be believable. There was also the matter of her sex scenes. The religious faith of this narrative is essentially a deeply ingrained system of prostitution, and Phedre is of a certain, very dark, persuasion--I get that, and it's certainly interesting from any number of cultural viewpoints. But the sex made me uneasy; it was too often gratuitous, with pain, torture, and abuse that did not need to be detailed either to understand the main character and her society or to move the plot forward.
At the end I was satisfied but exhausted. I liked the book, its world and characters, but am not sure I have the will or the stamina to continue with this series, no matter how well written. I would recommend Kushiel's Dart, though, to broad-minded readers who enjoy a nicely crafted fantasy tale.