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

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4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  56,886 Ratings  ·  3,344 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
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Audio CD, 0 pages
Published February 9th 2009 by Tantor Media (first published June 23rd 2001)
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Popular Answered Questions

Rebecca
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Flamewielder I'm a middle-aged male reader of sci-fi and fantasy, both contemporary (The Expanse series, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc...) and classic (Isaac Asimov,…moreI'm a middle-aged male reader of sci-fi and fantasy, both contemporary (The Expanse series, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc...) and classic (Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc...). I really didn't know what to expect when I picked up Kushiel's Dart, the cover intrigued me, as well as the stated premise on the back.

Perhaps it would be simpler to define what audience this novel will turn-off: readers that prefer fast-paced action over deliberate world/character building will be turned off and likely abandon the book; and you definitely will never finish it if you are strongly uncomfortable with male homosexuality (i.e. homophobic). If the mere idea of a gay relationship turns your stomach, this series is not for you.

Now, I found the world/character-building was top-notch, which also included the spiritual/religious setting (i.e. religious beliefs and their influence on the D'Angeline culture. Sex, as an expression of love or affection, infuses D'Angeline society, but the author uses its depiction sparingly and always to drive the story along. This is still primarily a fantasy novel (set in a very sensual society) that features some sex; it's not 50 Shades of Grey. Gay relationships are depicted in a way that makes sense to a married, very heterosexual male in his 50's (me).

The story is written from the main character's perspective who, while trained as a courtesan and spy, doesn't necessarily see or understand everything that is happening (i.e. she is an imperfect narrator). She sometimes misjudges situations, sometimes with tragic consequences. Readers that find the political intrigue confusing forget that Phèdre is just as confused as they are; we can only figure it out as fast as Phèdre, because we only share her perspective and not that of other characters (like in A Song of Ice and Fire).

She is torn between her nature (a servant of the angel Naamah, but marked by the angel Kushiel), her affections (friends and lovers) and her sense of justice. She is a flawed heroine. The setting is what I'd qualify as "low-magic", but where divine elements play an important role.

I hope that answers your question!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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'
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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 it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Cassy
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
Jessica
Jun 10, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Emily May
Apr 09, 2011 Emily May rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dnf, 2011


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
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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
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Becky
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
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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
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Manny
KushielsDart

Awww, Goodreads Recommendations Engine! I suddenly feel we're friends! Just hope this doesn't get you into trouble...
Ashley
This book was soooooo not what I was expecting it to be.

For some reason, I had it in my head that this was some sort of paranormal romance? And that it was sort of trashy? I have no idea where I got those ideas from, because they couldn't be further from the truth. This book is epic fantasy, well-written, has intricate plotting, seriously intense worldbuilding . . . and it's not your mom and pop's epic fantasy, either. It's sexy. Like, SEXY sexy. Sex is a vital part of the world in Kushiel's Dar
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Mars
Jan 16, 2009 Mars rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Zeek
Feb 12, 2010 Zeek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨

On sale for $2.99 at US Amazon: January 7, 2017.

OMG why is this book so long? No wonder it's been on my TBR shelf for over two years. I'm getting heavy R. Lee Smith vibes... I have developed an allergy to long books like this.
Sath
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
Willow
Dec 11, 2010 Willow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
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
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Kogiopsis
TW for this review: long discussion of rape and consent.

Edit: No, one more thing. WHERE ARE THE CONTRACEPTIVES. WHERE.

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
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M.
Jul 17, 2016 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I honestly don't know
Recommended to M. by: a lot of people
Feels like I just finished a whole series in a matter of days.

Not quite fantasy but epic in scope and depth. There's a lot of world building that can seem like tedious writing at first, but all the disordered pieces of the puzzle do come together at the end and there's a huge pay off--the battle at the end had me on the edge of my seat for days.

Star rating to be determined at a later date because I just don't know at the moment. There's a lot to unpack, still, but I'll definitely finish this se
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Nikki
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
Christian
Oct 22, 2007 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Nathan
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
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Regina
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
j
Somewhat appropriate that so much of this very, very, very long book is about masochism.

Just saying.
Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Dichotomy Girl
This is Tor's Book of the month for July 2017, and available for free download (you need to provide an email address). So if you've somehow managed to not read this...now is the time!

***Added 12/28/11*** Just finished this for the 3rd time, in as many years. The world that Carey created has become like an old familiar friend to me. Her books, like comfort food. Which means of course, that I can no longer reliably give this an impartial or unbiased review. Yes it has flaws. (A bit too much foresh
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Scribble Orca
Oct 12, 2010 Scribble Orca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tabitha (Lovely Books Blog)
Read more reviews like this at http://lovelybooksblog.blogspot.com!

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.

In
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TheFountainPenDiva
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
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Nowie
May 09, 2007 Nowie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
CalypK
Apr 11, 2016 CalypK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Si te gusta la combinación fantasía y BDSM, este es tu libro
Recommended to CalypK by: Internet
Esta reseña también puedes encontrarla en: Soy gente de libros

En Francia también tildan, o como sea que ellos lo llamen, I mean, ‘Phèdre’. No lo sabía. Tengo que tomar Francés.

Terminado de leer 17/01/2016

Leído para el 2016 Reading Challenge: #18. Libro de más de 600 páginas
Leído para el Bingo Literario 2016: Libro escrito por una mujer

Love as thou wilt


¿Oyeron eso? ¡¿Lo oyeron?! Ese fue el sonido de mí arrojando los shorts que cargaba puestos a través de mi pieza. Quería que fuesen mis pantal
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For Love of a Book: Kushiel Universe 3 18 Jan 26, 2017 07:33AM  
Around the Year i...: Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey 3 16 Aug 31, 2016 08:24PM  
Sci-Fi & Fantasy ...: July 2016 - Kushiel's Dart 26 27 Aug 18, 2016 10:22AM  
Eclectic Readers: Episode 5: Kushiel's Dart 7 20 Sep 16, 2015 04:40AM  
Eclectic Readers: Kushiel's Dart 17 19 Jul 16, 2015 09:36AM  
SF/F Read Alongs: Kushiel's Dart Read Along 39 63 Jul 11, 2015 10:34AM  
  • The Black Jewels Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness (The Black Jewels, #1-3)
  • The Virtu (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #2)
  • The Bone Doll's Twin (The Tamír Triad, #1)
  • Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2)
  • Swordspoint (Riverside, #1)
  • Archangel (Samaria, #1)
  • Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2)
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan
9237
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
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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 (Naamah Trilogy #1)
  • Naamah's Curse (Naamah Trilogy  #2)
  • Naamah's Blessing (Naamah Trilogy, #3)

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“All knowledge is worth having.” 583 likes
“That which yields is not always weak.” 519 likes
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