Jessica's Reviews > Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
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's review
Jun 10, 2008

it was amazing

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 must navigate the dangerous waters of intrigue both at court and internationally in order to save the homeland she loves.

Of intrigue, high adventure, and sensuality (both sexual and non-), this book boasts plenty. Carey is good at all of them. But where she truly excels beyond most of the brightest stars in the fantasy firmament is in her depiction of the subtleties of relationships, in the minute shifts that may bring down a country, and in unflinching examination of both the bright and dark sides of love, desire and loyalty. She also takes the magic in Christian and Jewish mythology to a new level, exploring their implications, their resonance with pagan belief, and what would happen if a state religion made pleasure sacred, rather than taboo.

It's about the magic of language, too; the way words can kill or save, create a world or destroy one.

And all of it is told from the viewpoints of one of the paradoxically strong, courageous, wry and magnanimous characters ever to grace the page.

A lot of people have claimed this book is "slow," or that it takes a while to get started. They're missing what it's really about. This is not a sword & sorcery novel. The adventure elements are important for how they affect the relationships of the characters, but they're not the point.

If the characters aren't what make you love books; if the subtleties of court politics and alliances and love bore you, this isn't the book for you.

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Reading Progress

06/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Anni Webster Brilliantly reviewed!

Rande Baird Great review, I wish I had read it before I started the book. It might have cleared up alot of my confusion in the beginning. Well said.

Tracey I found the S&M not really that intimate. Ok the book contained some detail about it, but for some reason I never found it offensive, maybe because it was not written in a sexual way, really not trashy, just standoffish.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I am currently reading this book. I am only on page 8, but already pulled in. Very good review.

message 5: by Benita (new) - added it

Benita Great review!

Ayla great review, am almost done reading it, she is a brilliant writer!, the complexiety of the plot, and all the twists and turns, I find it hard to put down!

message 7: by EJ (new) - added it

EJ MACK I don't understand this book and I am mid way through. author knows so far knows anything about honor. I hope the next half is better.

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