Review: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's DartKushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Read: March 7 – April 15, 2013
Book club selection – fantasy romance

Book Blurb: 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.

My Opinion: Oh man. This book had been on my to-read list for forever. I was really excited when it came up for book club, because I finally had a “reason” to read it. And with a book topping 900 pages, I needed a reason.

I am still not entirely sure how I feel about this book, and I finished it a while ago. I loved the world that Jacqueline Carey built. I liked Phèdre well enough as a character. I didn’t even mind the somewhat gratuitous sex. I hated the politics, though.

Politics are one thing that generally take a story from wow to snore for me. And Kushiel’s Dart has a lot of politics. A lot of intrigue. To be perfectly honest, I glossed through most of the political stuff. It lessened my understanding of the story somewhat, but it also pumped up my enjoyment, I think.

This is not fantasy in the strictest sense of the term. It is set in an alternate Europe, with parallels to our own world drawn generously. There was no magic, so to speak, but the world was so different from our own, it really transports you.

There is so much to this book that I don’t really know how to review it.

Bottom Line: A detail-rich, intrigue-driven book. Alternate history, and a fantasy twist. This book has a little bit of everything, and is beautifully written to boot. Heavy on the politics.

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