Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy, #1)
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Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy #1)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  37,944 ratings  ·  2,434 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 1015 pages
Published September 5th 2003 by Tor Fantasy (first published May 31st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kat Kennedy

tortoise sex

Did you cop a big eyeful of that? That's right. Those Tortoises are totally boning. Now, I'm sure there's many a tortoise out there who would find that image very appealing. Unfortunately, I don't.

And this is my BIG PROBLEM with Kushiel's Dart.

Not that it's full of tortoise sex, mind you. There's almost no tortoise sex at all! It's that the sex in this book just does nothing for me. In fact, I'd probably enjoy tortoise sex more.

I'm hardly going to elaborate on my proclivities in the bedroom. It'...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Just a disclaimer here: This will be a very difficult review to write. In order to truly review this book, I have to talk about my own views on things and how books affect me personally. I am opening myself up here, which always makes me squirm. If you are reading this review and you don't agree with my beliefs on things, that's totally fine. But, I am not going to deny how I feel, because that is very important to me when I review a book, since I read books emotionally and not from a detached s...more
Zen Cho
Dec 31, 2007 Zen Cho rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sff
I enjoyed this a lot at first, in a stupid trashy way, but got bored after a while, which is why I took so long to finish it. I think it reaches its height of trashy fun in Terre d'Ange; all the bits with Phedre living with the Skaldic tribes, getting away from them in the wintry tundra etc. etc. drag a lot for me. Maybe it's just 'cos "swept away by a barbarian!" isn't my kink.

Carey has a habit of saying really obvious things in a hilariously portentous way, e.g.

I asked him to pass the butter,...more
There is this new guy at my office. The moment I learned he used to work at B&N, I wanted to run to his desk and start hounding him about books. Don’t scare him off, Cassy. Pace yourself. I started stealthy checking the cover of the books he’d read during lunch. I tested the waters before team meetings – dropping the names of authors from different genres. Turns out he reads a lot of fantasy, which is great. I have always enjoyed the genre and seem to lean heavily toward it this year. When I...more
The first thing everyone usually talks about regarding the Kushiel books is the sex, so I'll get it out of the way first: S&M, not for the faint of heart, absolutely integral to the plot.

It's easy to summarize the book very briefly or very in-depth; it's almost impossible to do anything in between, so I'll keep it brief; Phedre is an elite courtesan in Terre D'Ange, a land whose residents boast traces of angelic blood in their veins. She is trained as a spy by a mysterious courtier, and mus...more
mark monday
once upon a time, in response to the question What Would You Like To See In Fantasy, i responded:

1. i would like to see an old woman as a protagonist.
2. or an interesting demon - but not a 'sexy' PNR demon.
3. or more epic fantasies set in steamy, wet jungles rather than european-style forests or meadowlands.
4. or a hero who is also a slut (male or female).
5. or a YA fantasy series in which the hero grows progressively more villainous.


i felt confident that Kushiel's Dart would allow...more
This is going to be a very unpopular review. So, to all of you who may hate me after reading this, I apologize in advance.

From the rave reviews, and based on the vast number of people who seemingly loved this book enough to tattoo a representation of it on their body, I expected it to blow me away. I love fantasy, I love stories with a kick-ass female lead, and despite the fact that this might tell you a bit more about me than you bargained for, I was really looking forward to enjoying a bit of...more
Emily May

I don't care how long a book is, if it's failed to wow me by page 361 then I think it's time to give up, right?

I understand a few things about this book. Firstly, that Jacqueline Carey is actually not a bad writer, that the world created and the politics of it are well thought out... but I still don't understand why this book hasn't got more mixed reviews. Are there that many people into hardcore bdsm? Let's face it, that's what this book is really about.

Yeah, so... sex. I am open-minded about...more
This book is so overwrought, so full of tangled, convoluted prose, that I found it hard to take seriously. The world, instead of being built up as an original creation, seems to be taken fairly whole cloth from the French Court of Louis XIV. I know everybody steals, but the best writers steal the most, and I could have used some more depth of inspiration.

Then, of course, there is the sex. The constant rampant, submissive, fetishy, 'pain=pleasure' sex. Sex is fine, even porn is fine, but the shee...more
Tight, intricate plotting, side characters with a mythological flavor (I swear The Master of the Straights came right out of The Odyssey), And Phedre- the heroine of the story.

Never would I have guessed I would like a character with masochistic tendencies who sleeps with "whoever she wilt". But I did.

I also liked the way the author weaves politics, war, betrayal, treachery and love into this story, and rather adeptly in my opinion.

Such intricate plotting can often get tangled and leave open ends...more
Everyone recommends these books to people who liked Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy; they're both "dark fantasy" and have sex in them. However, I only got halfway through the first book before giving up completely.

I don't like Carey's writing style at all. It bores me to death. I don't mean to say there's anything in particular wrong with it, but it's just not my cup of tea. Instead of racing along, I find myself bogged down and rereading the same paragraph ten times and getting nothing from...more
I don't normally do a very long or thorough review for books that are part of a trilogy: I tend to wait for the end of the trilogy. But Kushiel's Dart is an exception, mainly because there's enough action and intrigue for a whole trilogy in the first book alone. A lot of people start their reviews by saying that this book is not for everyone. Well, bah to that. No book is for everyone. Kushiel's Dart does deal with a lot of sex. Kinky sex. I thought, on the whole, that part was well done -- and...more
Kushiel’s Dart is an epic book, which I enjoyed. In fact, I long to read another book of this epic scale. The world Jacqueline Carey presents is rich and beautiful, with its own mythology and its own customs. Little details like the exotic wines, elaborate tattoos, and breathtaking fabrics, make my mind swim with ideas. Truly the book is a feast for the imagination.

I was intrigued with all the characters too. Everyone, Delaunay, Alcunun, Hyacinthe, Joscelin and of course, Phedre herself, all se...more
Noticed this has been shelved several times as 'Romance' and even as 'erotica', but I think its important to note that there is a difference between books which are actually Romance, but contain fantasy elements; and books which are Fantasy but contain some romance. I'd say this book definately falls into the latter category. Certainly some parts are somewhat graphic on the bdsm parts, but thats where it's important for plot and character, a lot of 'encounters' were suprisingly of the tasteful f...more
No. Didn't really like it. Still haven't gotten halfway into it. Sadly, I also bought the next two volumes. Just too slow and convoluted and uninteresting. Maybe I'll give it another try sometime, but...

Okay... so... three years later, I gave this novel a second chance, and my opinion of it could not have changed more drastically! Whereas the book began very, very slowly and introduced so many characters that they were difficult to keep track of, after I picked it up again and kept reading, I fo...more
4.5 stars. A little too long generally, the beginning is too dense especially with regard to the world building in the beginning. But after the beginning and aside from the length, I loved this book. It is beautifully written, the main character is inspiring, the side characters are fun to read about, the romance is very sweet, the world created is enormous and creative. I love how the author pushes beyond what is comfortable for many people in terms of relationships and sexuality. Unlike other...more
Scribble Orca
Sep 09, 2012 Scribble Orca rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: multi-gender romance fantasists
This novel is one of those which could come carrying a warning label: "flammatory material", or a back cover blurb including: "no liability accepted for wanton acts of a prurient nature."

Kushiel's Dart is fantasy without the Elves, Dwarves etc, a pseudo mediaeval and feudal Europe in which each character claims allegiance to one of the ruling gods. It also constitutes soft/hard-core pornography of various persuasions, and is laced with scenes of brutal savagery - the heroine is delightfully reli...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I read and enjoyed Kushiel’s Dart years ago after it won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and I’ve recently re-read it so that I can finish the series (I’ve read only the first trilogy) and move on to Ms. Carey’s newer books. This time I listened to Tantor Audio’s version, which was read by the incredibly talented Anne Flosnik.

The Kushiel series is set in an alternate Europe which is easily recognized by its geography, language, culture, religion, myth...more
May 09, 2007 Nowie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
Shelves: fantasy, romance, favorite
This is one of my favourite books for these two reasons, "Love as thou wilt" and "That which yields is not always weak." This book (and the books that follow) is an incredibly detailed, involved, beautiful story and I can't really do it any justice. The plot is intricate, the characters are vivid and Carey rarely leaves you a moment where you're not anticipating... something. That said, it is graphic (to an extent. It's not quite romance novel graphic, but it's close) and it depicts violent acts...more
This is one of those series I've seen around for years but have never happened to pick up. In my mind I linked it with the lusty-but-wholesome Outlander books, I think, so when I finally read the back of the first volume my eyebrows nearly climbed up into my hair. An alternate medieval Europe, where Christianity has not caught on, and where the (alternate) French have raised prostitution and pleasure to an art form and turned sex into a religious act? A heroine who is marked from birth as a tor...more
I usually don't like to review books until I finish them, but I don't think my complaints with this book are ones that will be rectified in the rest of the tome.
-Very few authors do political intrigue well. Carey is not one of them, since I have no idea what's going on half the time.
-Part of the reason for this is that characters are poorly introduced, often with little context to remember them by or in groups of several people such that you have no idea which characters to remember and which on...more
Re-Read May 3, 2011

Just thinking that I would have missed or not enjoyed this lush, well-crafted first novel because it did not fit many of the standard romance tropes makes me so thankful that I am a fantasy reader FIRST and a romance reader afterwards. I realize that may sound a tad elitist, but I've found that romance and its readership tend to be pretty hidebound when it comes to tropes. That means for a novel like this one where the heroine is a courtesan (and her assignations are not hinte...more
I put it down after a couple of chapters and moved to a different book.
It's done. I have read this book. And I am not quite sure how to really put into words what it made me feel and what I thought of it. Sometimes words lack to really convey what you'd like to say, but I will try to the best of my ability.

This is one of the best books in the fantasy genre I've read in a while. I don't fancy myself to be very knowledgeable in the workings of the genre, since I haven't read half as many authors and books I would like to, but I can say without a doubt that few of the...more
Amber Rose

“There is no fulfillment that is not made sweeter for the prolonging of desire”

I am not sure how to write this review, to write a review that would give this book justice that it deserves. Ya.... I will probably not be able to do it but, I will try my best.

This book is 1,000 pages. Yes, that is a long book. But honestly I would not have it any other way.

This writing is the best writing I have EVER read. The author does a amazing job with the story and characters in this book. She creates...more
I just seem to pick good things to read and watch! Maybe I don’t take enough chances in my selection of what to watch and read, only going with things that I’ve heard positive things about. In this case, I heard about Kushiel’s Dart in the [infrequently updated] weblog of one of my favorite fantasy writers, Steven Brust.

I’ve already warned you, this is going to be a positive review. The characters (if you’ve been reading my blog long, you know how important those are to me) are well-drawn, belie...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I read and enjoyed Kushiel’s Dart years ago after it won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and I’ve recently re-read it so that I can finish the series (I’ve read only the first trilogy) and move on to Ms. Carey’s newer books. This time I listened to Tantor Audio’s version, which was read by the incredibly talented Anne Flosnik.

The Kushiel series is set in an alternate Europe which is easily recognized by its geography, language, culture, religion, myth...more
Ben Babcock
I picked up Kushiel's Dart because I noticed one of the later books in this series at the library, but I wanted to start at the beginning. I'm glad for that. Jacqueline Carey weaves a dense, intricate narrative--I would have been lost had I started in the middle!

Carey's writing was great, although the prose was often indigo-bordering-on purple, and I could have done with a little less exposition. There were times when the world-building was laid on thick. Even though the story was told in first-...more
SubterraneanCatalyst -Censorship is for the Weak
Here's my ADHD take on this (yeah I have ADHD I'm not making a stupid joke):

This isn't as dark as a lot of people harp on about- maybe I'm just jaded like a Night Court whore but I'd say this has a decent edge of "darkness" and some kink but I wasn't really freaked out. I guess I've read worse in the kink department. With that said- this is certainly beautifully and artfully written. Wish I had a better grasp to describe her style but sentences are phrased in a specific way that can make a moder...more
This was recommended to me by a colleague who prefaced the recommendation with, "Give it the first 200 pages. Then it gets really good." This almost turned me off from it, not because I don't trust this colleagues recc's (she's never lead me astray yet), but because I don't really have time to "give a book 200 pages" to convince me to like it. If a book doesn't catch me in the first 50 pages, it gets dropped. I'm a curmudgeon like that.

Kushiel's Dart was worth the 200 pages, and, in fact, caught...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.

She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a wo...more
More about Jacqueline Carey...
Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre's Trilogy, #2) Kushiel's Avatar (Phèdre's Trilogy #3) Kushiel's Scion (Imriel's Trilogy, #1) Kushiel's Justice (Imriel's Trilogy, #2) Kushiel's Mercy (Imriel's Trilogy, #3)

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“All knowledge is worth having.” 412 likes
“That which yields is not always weak.” 391 likes
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