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Kushiel's Dart (Kushiel's Universe #1)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  45,313 ratings  ·  2,783 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
Paperback, 1015 pages
Published September 5th 2003 by Tor Fantasy (first published May 31st 2001)
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Michael That he intended to comply with his oath to protect Ysandre de la Courcel. He made the promise to Rolande, but Melisande did not believe he would…moreThat he intended to comply with his oath to protect Ysandre de la Courcel. He made the promise to Rolande, but Melisande did not believe he would honor it.

Ysandre's intention was to wed Drustan mab Necthana, which eventually would have led to an heir to the Courcel rule. Of course Melisande didn't want to see this, because she was plotting for their overthrow along with d'Aiglemort.

Note that the only reason Phedre knew this is because she snuck into the palace when she should have been (less)
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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'
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
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,
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
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
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
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
J.G. Keely
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Fantasy Review Barn

It has been a little while since I read a book that gave me a ‘oh hell yes,’ stand up and cheer type of scene. And if the one in the waning pages of Kushiel’s Dart consists of the type of thing that can only happen in movies or books, so be it. Because it was the accumulation of events set in motion many chapters before, with everything finally lain before the reader, and it was a rare climax that matches the buildup. The strangest thing about it? It is pure action in the midd
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
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
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
Tabitha (Lovely Books Blog)
Read more reviews like this at!

Kushiel's Dart is one of those books that, for some reason, I got in my head that I wanted to read and I couldn't stop thinking about it once I decided I wanted to take on the challenge. At over 900 pages this book is a big commitment. I was a little wary of starting this novel, because I knew it contained BDSM, something I'm not a fan of, but the rest of the story sounded interesting enough that I decided to give it a shot.

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 to ...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
Somewhat appropriate that so much of this very, very, very long book is about masochism.

Just saying.
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
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
TW for this review: long discussion of rape and consent.


Edit x2: Is it bothering anyone else that Phedre's name is apparently pronounced close to 'FAY-dra', but the accent on the first e is an accent grave? as opposed to an accent aigu, which would actually produce that hard 'a' sound in French? Because it's bothering me. If you're gonna do expy!France, don't fuck up the language. What's written there is closer to 'Fedruh'.
Edit x3: I
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
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
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Eclectic Readers: Episode 5: Kushiel's Dart 7 9 Sep 16, 2015 04:40AM  
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Girls, Guns and G...: Kushiel's Dart (Spoiler Free) November 2014 BOM 16 35 Nov 17, 2014 02:28PM  
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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 about Jacqueline Carey...

Other Books in the Series

Kushiel's Universe (9 books)
  • 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)
  • Naamah's Kiss (Moirin's Trilogy #1)
  • Naamah's Curse (Moirin Trilogy, #2)
  • Naamah's Blessing (Moirin Trilogy, #3)
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.” 491 likes
“That which yields is not always weak.” 444 likes
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