Apr 03, 08
Read in April, 2008
I would sum up the plot as an S&M bottom saving France before it was France by sleeping with powerful people. The main character is a trained courtesan who happens to be turned on by pain. She uses her unique skills, both in and out of bed, to further the cause of her mentor and eventually that of her country. She is joined by an interesting group of people along the way, all of whom are outcasts of some sort or another.
There is a lot of sex and some pretty detailed descriptions of violence in sex so it's not for the faint of heart. Although these descriptions might be a bit graphic for many I didn't find it any worse than what you might encounter in some more mainstream literature. Despite that the author does a good job of focusing on how a simple person can become embroiled in greater political machinations. I liked the interesting mix of characters and felt the interactions between them were mostly believable. In a few cases the "sex will save you" theme was a bit over the top. I did like the strong female characters and especially appreciated the emphasis on how marginalized people can fill unique and vital roles.
I would recommend this book to anyone who like fantasy that is a little racy. I would also recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy with heavy political overtones.