- Mass Market Paperback: 912 pages
- Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (March 15, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765342987
- ISBN-13: 978-0765342980
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 754 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kushiel's Dart Mass Market Paperback – March 15, 2002
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“A very sophisticated fantasy, intricately plotted and a fascinating read.” ―Robert Jordan
“This brilliant and daring debut catapults Carey immediately into the top rank of fantasy novelists . . . . At the end, the heroine reminds one of an equally strong-minded sister whose home was Tara.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Jacqueline Carey is the author of the bestselling Kushiel trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar) and her epic fantasy duology, The Sundering (Banewreaker and Godslayer). She has won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her books have been listed on many booksellers' top ten fantasy books lists. Always an avid reader, Carey began writing fiction as a hobby in high school. After graduating from Lake Forest College, she worked for six months at a bookstore in London, and returned to the United States with a driving passion to write professionally. She resides in western Michigan.
Top customer reviews
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I'm an avid reader; I love historical fiction primarily, but am a big fan of post apocalyptic fare, the occasional romance, suspense and detective novels and of course, Jason Bourne types. What draws me to these genres aren't the genres themselves, but the quality and depth of the characters as they face whatever task or situation that has come to hand. I've never, in the thousands of books I've read over my life, encountered a character, a heroine quite like Phedre no Delauney. She is at times much like the women in my life in her strength of character, intestinal fortitude but at other times so beyond anything or anyone I've ever known or contemplated.
It is our 'modern' sensibilities that would cause many people to throw down this novel without ever getting beyond what her initial motivation is- to be a courtesan. I wonder what sort of world this would be if we treated the women who undertake the profession with the sort of love and reverence like the D'Angelines do? A better one, I'd think. But I digress.
There will be times when you may say to yourself that one or another is the typical this or that- and that might even be true, for not everyone can be as magnetic as our heroine, nor as stalwart as her Cassiline protector. I'll not spoil any details but suffice it to say the two are paired exceedingly well despite the many differences in philosophy and make up. And I fear no disparagement by admitting that I am not half the man he is, nor could I ever be. But I could try...I definitely could, and so I do.
Allow yourself to move beyond that and sink deeper- I swear to you that you will not be disappointed; even if you are not a fan of the genre. Carey is a consummate storyteller; it is inspiring, heart warming, scary, frightening at times, maddening, even disgusting- it's...it is one of the greatest stories ever told, in my not-so-humble opinion. As I've said, I've read thousands of books at least once, but few of them have I read multiple times. I was first introduced to this series while working for a book buyer some 15 or so years ago; an advanced copy that once I started reading, continued until I'd finished. A whole weekend gone in a blink; and none of it was wasted. I remember even then, the sense of awe and wonderment that I'd not felt since I first read Lord of the Rings as a 10 year old. If I had to use one word to describe it: sumptuous. It was almost too much at times- when an author displays such a command of not only the language but the artistic ability to make you FEEL, to see, hear, smell and even taste what is going on- that is a mastery that can only be claimed by a relative few.
Long before Game of Thrones, long before the craze and the sex, there was Kushiel's Legacy, which reads much like Martin's GoT series, except there's hope, redemption and fulfillment at the end of the journey. To me that is much more palatable than constant railing at the author's cavalier attitude towards my favorite characters but again, I digress.
It was a year or two later before I discovered that Ms. Carey had actually written it as a trilogy; luckily for me, I'd shared this book with my sister who is as avid a reader as I am and it was she who discovered the other two books. Since this was pre-Kindle days we shared the actual books; back and forth as one or the other finished it and then we'd pass them back again because well...you'll want to read it again. And again.
I've read the Kushiel's Legacy series at least 5 times that I can recall off the top of my head and it is worth noting that even knowing what's to come, even knowing how it has to happen- it never gets dull. The pulse pounds, the eyes go wide as you continue on the adventure with Phedre and her companions and even knowing all of that, it is still hard to put down. I love these books, the rich and well-developed (and intriguing) characters, the span of travels - the lands that are described in passing are as different yet interesting as anything you'll find in the real world and much of it was taken from parts of said real world, but re-imagined in such a way as to be exciting and not a little bit intimidating.
And once you've worked your way through the 3rd book, Kushiel's Avatar, have a crack at the second half of the overarching storyline, the second trilogy, which starts with Kushiel's Scion. You will not be sorry. And lastly, would that we could but we can at least try: love as thou wilt.
I’ve read this book many, many times and listened to the audiobook a few more times. Recently, I engaged in a read along of this book with several other bloggers (which was magnificent) and I figured it was high time I write a proper review of this most beloved book.
Over the years, I have recommended this book to many people. Some have shied away from it because they believe it to be a romance novel first and foremost. That could not be further from the truth. The story is rich and complex, the characters deep and conflicted, and the setting is full of grace. There’s love & betrayal, for sure, but also sword fights, brilliant escapes, brutal warlords, torture, a good deal of kindness unlooked for, poetry, royalty teetering on the brink of collapse, and so much more. In short, this book is not for the faint of heart.
The culture of Terre D’Ange is one of ‘Love as thou wilt’. Courtesans are not looked upon as scum but rather are cultured, highly trained, educated persons who have goals and lives beyond the bedroom. Phedre’s training started as a young child with simple things, such as learning to serve unobtrusively. As she ages, her training becomes more complex and more adult themes are introduced. Once her indenture is sold to Anafiel Delaunay, her training in espionage, languages, politics, and history begins. Truly, Phedre is often hard pressed to say which she enjoyed more, or which served her better in the trials that were to come.
The world building is simply magnificent in this book. The setting is nearly a character unto itself, affecting the plot and the shaping of our main characters. A whole religion is contained within this fantasy world. Elua walked the world, loving all. His closest followers reflect the various faces of love. Serving Naamah is not a simple exchange of money for sex. It is a sacred calling first and foremost with full consent and deep pleasure for all being the goal. Indeed, the theme of consent runs strong throughout this novel.
Phedre herself is fascinating and she is surrounded by most interesting characters. Once she goes to Anafiel’s house, she is raised side by side with another orphan, Alcuin. Together, they learn the arts of espionage eventually being set to small tasks. However, Anafiel plays his cards close to this chest, not wanting to put his two young charges in danger. Yet betrayal eventually strikes and Phedre finds herself a slave to a foreign warlord. Her only companion during this harrowing time is Joscelin Verreuil. He is trained as a protector in the Cassiline style. Not only is he a magnificent fighter, but he is also a bit of a prude. There is much that Phedre and Joscelin have to learn from each other.
While this book has a fair amount of politics and a large cast, the key players are always set front and center. And don’t be intimidated by the politics. When you truly need to understand some key point, some character will explain it. Primarily, this is Phedre’s story and her role in things. It is through her eyes that we see and understand the higher machinations of rulers and officials.
One can not talk about this book justly without talking about the sex. There are some scenes that are erotic. Some of these scenes are BDSM. Jacqueline Carey doesn’t flinch from describing these scenes in as much detail as she does the politics, or the beauty of a masked ball, or a swift fight scene. She does do a magnificent job of including the emotions, the reasons for engaging in such activities or relationships, and the aftermath. These scenes are small but important windows into the characters. They add to, instead of distract from, the plot. Indeed, there are times when the sex happens off stage because it would not have added to character building or the plot.
When I first read this book, probably in 2002, I thought I had a pretty open mind about relationships and sex. However, this book challenged some of those beliefs, just as the characters themselves are challenged in their beliefs. Reading this book was like holding up a magnifying mirror and taking a good hard look at what I saw there and why I believed certain things were good or bad. In short, this book, and the series, did me the service of pushing my boundaries, as any great novel should do.
The Narration: Anne Flosnik is great for Phedre. She has a cultured voice that ranges in emotion and a little in age. Phedre does a lot of growing in this book. She also has quite a range of voices for the other characters, both male and female. In addition, there are several French and Gaelic words and phrases in this book and Flosnik pulls them off excellently.
Most recent customer reviews
You will follow the life and trails of Phedre as she embraces, and...Read more