Abby's Reviews > Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
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175709
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May 27, 08

bookshelves: favorites, romance
Read in May, 2008

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 me a lot sooner. The basic plot is set in an alternate-history of Western Europe, with the main characters in a Renaissance-like France, and the surrounding areas being vaguely Irish-Scotch, Viking-Germanic, Italian and Moorish. This is some of the best world building I have ever read and cannot recommend it highly enough for that alone. What makes this book above and beyond is that the characters are just as well-developed, fallible, interesting, heroic, needy and fascinating as real individuals.

Another point in Jacqueline Carey's favor is how she flipped so many of the traditional conventions of "romance" on their head. Setting the book as a fantasy obviously gives her more leeway with this, but I appreciated her courage nonetheless.

If you're looking for a good, all-consuming fantasy novel for some summertime distraction, Kushiel's Dart will provide more than enough. It's a sumptuous read.

NOTE: Kushiel's Dart is part of a trilogy. However, it can be read as a stand alone, since the story is so fully fleshed out and complete.
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