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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.
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The book is told in first person from Phedre's point of view. I really enjoyed this as it gave it a more personal feel. It felt like I was someone who lived in her world reading her accounts of history. This also made it easier to understand Phedre. Some of her actions I think would not come off as well in the third person. I also enjoyed this because it meant the depictions we got of characters were more personal as they were coming from Phedre.
This book has a lot of politics. Which is understandable as the one who buys up Phedre's mark, Anafiel Delaunay, is someone who is very good at playing the game of politics. Phedre is taught by him how to listen and to remember. How to use her skills as graduate of the Night Court to gain special information. However it is these very skills that cause Phedre to be caught in a very dangerous game where she can never be sure just who to trust.
If you are looking for a book that has great world building, interesting characters and a strong female lead then you need to consider picking up this series. I am absolutely devouring and I have yet to be disappointed.
The Kushiel's Legacy Trilogy first and foremost is an epic fantasy built on a sprawling world filled with a unique religion, political intrigue, multiple cultures, a heroine that is soft but strong, a warrior who is strong but soft, enemies that do bad things but are not always evil.
This story does have sex as part of the foundation of the society and it's religious beliefs that this world is built upon.
This story does NOT have gratuitous sex scenes, it is not smutty (maybe just a wee bit), it is not Fifty Shades of Grey, if you want that type of raunch, go elsewhere.
This story does have some type of BDSM but it's mostly off scene unless it's integral to the story. It is tastefully done, it is not gratuitous.
The main character is a God marked by Kushiel and feels pleasure from pain, but this is something she was born with, not necessarily something she flaunts or even always enjoys, it does not mean that she runs around asking to be spanked.
This story IS an amazing epic adventure narrated by the main character Phèdre nó Delaunay of her adventures and misadventures. The story starts in french inspired Terre d'Ange where Phèdre is purchased from the Cerus house (religious house of pleasure) by Anafiel Delaunay who trains her to be a courtesan spy due to her rarity as a god marked Anguisette. Wrapped up in court intrigue she gets caught up in life altering events and will have to fight and scheme to warn the Queen of the plot of treason that is already set into motion, and hope that they will make it in time.
The world buildling is just so amazing and deep with a variety of cultures and religions and belief systems in play. The twists are foreshadowed but not any less shocking or gut wrenching because of it. The characters are nuanced and well developed, there is no "good" and "evil". Anafiel Delaunay was a great mentor who gave Phèdre all her skills and education, but he was also doing it for selfish reasons. Melisande Shahrizai as a villan will give anyone in the Game of Thrones a run for their money, she's utterly selfish and charismatic and loves power but isn't overtly evil or unnecessarily cruel.
This series to me is true Fantasy, where you need to drop your preconceptions and biases from this world and completely immerse yourself in a different culture, planet, world.
I have a few categorical musts in any favorite story of mine, world building, characters, and romance. This one has it all.
The plotting and intrigue were wonderfully intricate, and the personalities of the characters were interesting and diverse. If I had to complain about anything, it would be that the ending dragged a little long for me. Doesn't matter. I'm still looking forward to reading the next book.
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