Susan's Reviews > Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
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's review
Jul 27, 11

bookshelves: fantasy
Read from November 08 to 15, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 2


Amazing, amazing, amazing.

I'll just warn you before hand, this is going to be a rave review.

1. Carey is an epicly good writer who somehow knows exactly what to say to make you care about her characters. She also has that George R. R. Martin/Scott Lynch trick of not refraining from killing her own precious characters down really well. She's not scared to tread the line of propriety in her writing (I'm referring to the mature scenes in this book, which, admittedly, are very X-rated - but, they are tastefully done for the most part and I really don't think anyone should let the sex keep them from reading this epicly good novel) and explore all sides of the human psyche, resulting in incredibly rounded characters which come alive to an insane extent. Personally, I believe that fantasy is one of those fields where anything should be allowed, and to the ones getting squeamish about the BDSM and such in this book, I say the following; 'What are you doing reading fantasy anyway?'

2. One of the great pleasures of reading a fantasy novel is getting to discover a whole new world. However, in my experience, that is sometimes also one of the downfalls. Just because an author loves the world he's created in his mind and thinks it's amazing, doesn't mean he'll be able to get the picture across to me. I personally enjoy my fantasy worlds with a tad of familiarity (one of the reasons I shy away from most science fiction and too-magicky fantasy). Jacqueline Carey's world in this novel is exactly the kind of fantasy world I like; inventive, original, but based on an already existing blueprint of our own world's geography. The novel's Terre d'Ange is our France, the novel's Skaldia is our Germany, the novel's Alba is our Britain. The history of Carey's world is a spinoff of our own history (the story is set in a kind of 15th, 16th century setting) and the religions are a spin-off of our own as well. I like that element of familiarity a lot.

3. Carey is really good at little inobtrusive details that end up being super meaningful in some way. I don't quite know how to explain it, but... Everything means something. Everything is remembered, connected somehow. All I can say is, go read the book yourself and find out. For those of you who came here wanting a summary to get more of a feel of what the book is about, I'll indulge you real quick; Phedre is a courtisane, part of the tradition of the believers of the angel Naamah who lay with strangers for the greater good. Taught by Anafiel Delaunay, her master and saviour all in one, she acquires the means to survive and overcome all the things that fate and the world are going to throw at her during the rest of the novel; loss, pain, captivity, hardships, travel, battle, loss, pain... But all interspersed with hope somehow.

Even the bad guys are well-written, human, in a way. All the characters are wonderfully real, and Carey manages to have none of them be Mary Sue's or Gary Stu's, eventhough they're almost all of them insanely beautiful and gifted. This novel is an absolute delight to read and I promise you, once you pick it up it will devour you - and you'll love every minute of it.

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