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Kushiel's Chosen

(Phèdre's Trilogy #2)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  38,930 ratings  ·  1,103 reviews
Mighty Kushiel, of rod and weal
Late of the brazen portals
With blood-tipp'd dart a wound unhealed
Pricks the eyen of chosen mortals

The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. H
Mass Market Paperback, 678 pages
Published March 14th 2003 by Tom Doherty Associates TOR Fantasy (first published April 6th 2002)
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John Mendez I just finished listening to this audiobook yesterday. First of all Joscelin is in it plenty, it's Hyacynth who's missing.

I thought the first book wa…more
I just finished listening to this audiobook yesterday. First of all Joscelin is in it plenty, it's Hyacynth who's missing.

I thought the first book was quite a bit more charming, the characters forgot their lessons from the first book. The prose was just as good as book one, maybe better in places if you can overlook the fact that there is so much less lore in this book than the first (I like reading worldbuilding/lore quite a bit). Plot wise, it was almost as if the author re-used a small parts of the first book's plot. I liked book 1 better due to the lore and how Phedre's perspective changed from pawn to player, whereas in this book I didn't get a sense that Phedre became a substantially better player.

So... maybe?(less)

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mark monday
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-modern
I was waffling between 3 & 4 stars on this one, but since the second book in this series was a marked improvement for me on the first book, 4 stars it is.

our intrepid heroine Phèdre - courtesan supreme with a very special talent for transmuting pain into pleasure - makes her debut redux as a titled Lady and so re-enters various schemes and plots at a very different level. and with that elimination of class issues (as well as the death of her charming pimp patron in the first book) came the erasu
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
*** 4.35 ***

A Buddy Read with the FBR group!

This second book in the Phedre Trilogy was, in my opinion, better than the first. The pacing was much better and it kept you on your toes throughout. It had some lull moments, but they were well spaced and gave the main heroine time for some angst and going through all the facts and things she had done wrong and has to plan to do still... The more dynamic format might have positively been assisted by the smaller page count, although at 678 pages it is
With the expectations Kushiel's Dart gave me, I might have been worried that Kushiel's Chosen wouldn't match up. I wasn't, but I wouldn't have needed to be anyway. I loved this book just as much as the first one. Everything I've said about how it's not for everyone still stands (see my first review), although there was less sex, I think, and perhaps more of the politics. Somehow, this book didn't feel as dense as that one, but there's still a lot of content considering it's the second book of a ...more
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, erotica
Perhaps some day I will read one of these BDSM courtesan-spy epic fantasy doorstops and actually be able to talk about it afterwards, but today is not that day. Because right now, I am just so fucking grateful to this book, it has eclipsed the book itself – unintentionally hilarious, strangely unproblematic – almost entirely. This is what I read during the final two weeks of my last semester in law school. It’s what I read on the eight minute dog walking breaks, what I read when I snapped awake ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Mar 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 500-pages, fantasy
4.5 Stars
This was such a wonderfully immersive fantasy novel. I liked the first novel, but I really fell in love with the characters and the story in this second book. The worldbuilding is incredibly rich and the character work is equally as deep. I really appreciated the nuanced conversation surrounding culture, societal roles and sexuality. Once again I really enjoyed the steamy bit, which played with themes of consent and stigma. 

The plot in this second book was absolutely engaging from start
Wanda Pedersen
I think Jacqueline Carey was channeling Mary Renault and Guy Gavriel Kay while she was writing this novel. The fantasy setting is recognizable as a version of historical Renaissance Europe, altered to accommodate Carey's plotline. Straight historical fantasy would be too limiting, so she makes adjustments like Kay does. She also includes supernatural elements, slightly more prominently than Kay's work. Once the action arrived at Carey's version of Crete, I couldn't help but think of Mary Renault ...more
Sarah Mac
Another beautifully written epic fantasy.

Kushiel's Chosen picks up where Kushiel's Dart left off. But whereas Phedre is initially drawn into intrigue for the sake of her murdered mentor & foster-brother, the tragedies & travails in this second installment are a product of Phedre's own impetus. She doesn't have to become involved, but she makes that choice -- the same way she submits to a patron's whims, but on a larger political scale. Likewise, the intrigue in this book has a more personal note
Kara Babcock
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Screw magic. Give me some political fantasy any day, and I'm a happy reader.

I liked Kushiel's Dart. I'm not sure if there's a definite quality improvement or if I'm going too easy on this one, but I loved Kushiel's Chosen.

The Kushiel's Legacy series takes place in a sort of Fantasy Counterpart Culture world where it's Europe, only not. From this starting point, Jacqueline Carey creates a world that, while somewhat similar to our own, nevertheless has unique societies and politics. As she crisscr
Ellen Gail
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, doorstop
There is a wild and piercing sweetness in celebrating life after a long sorrow; all of us felt it that night. Spring is ever a time of renewal, and it seemed fit, after so long, to rediscover pure, unalloyed happiness.

I love this book as much in 2021 as I did in 2015. Perfection.


[Mild non-specific spoilers for Kushiel's Dart below]

Top 5 Reasons I Loved Kushiel's Chosen

1) The first thing I see when I open the book is a map and a cast of characters sorted by location. I aske
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, fantasy, bdsm, lgbt
The second in the Kushiel's legacy series, continues on exactly where the first novel left off.

Phedre no Delaunay, now the comtesse de Montreve, comfortably living in her country home with Joscelin and her three chevaliers, and spending most of her time learning Habiru, in the hopes of discovering the key to freeing Hyacinth from the yeshuite curse. But then a parcel comes from Melisande Sharizhai - Phedre's sangoire cloak - and there is only one way to interpret it; Melisande's games of politic
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kushiel’s Chosen is the second book in the first of three trilogies in the Kushiel’s Universe books. It picks up not long after the first book left off, and Phèdre decides to pursue one of the loose ends from that first book. As before, the story ends with a satisfying conclusion to the main issues, but with some loose ends left to carry into the next book.

I enjoyed this as much as the first book, but not as evenly. The first half was on the slow side and easy to put down, but things really pick
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Kushiel's Chosen was my least favorite of Jacqueline Carey's trilogy featuring the anguisette Phedre no Delaunay. In this novel, the action shifts from Terre d'Ange to Carey's version of Venice (La Serenissima) so Phedre is free to display her snobbery and chauvinism to a grating degree (no one else is as beautiful as Angelines, no other place is as lovely, cultured, fashionable or interesting, no other language is as beautiful, yadda, yadda, yadda. By the time I'd read 700 pages of this, I want ...more
A solid 3.5 stars.

This is the 2nd book in the series and while good and true to the story line, it just seemed to drag on.
It's a chunkster and I probably wasn't in the right head frame to be reading something that required me to remember a lot of names, places and previous story lines.

Jacqueline Carey is an excellent writer. It is her beautiful writing style that kept me going with this one.

This is part of an epic long series (7 books in all, I believe?) and each of them is well over 500 pages+.
Megan Baxter
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I wrote my first review, I wondered for a while if this was really fantasy - or rather, said that up until one particular thing happened, there was nothing that made this particularly fantasy in terms of magic. I'm not sure what genre non-magical but certainly not Earth-based historical fiction would fall under.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read t
Dichotomy Girl
After 1st Re-Read:

In many ways this is the "hardest" for me to re-read because I find the first half just a bit tedious with all the stregazza politics, but the 2nd half more than makes up for it!

Original Review:

I read this in a day. And it leaves me wondering how in the world I thought her first book was average. I am already a few hundred pages into #3, and am very glad that she writes very long books, and that there are 4 awaiting me.
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
So, while I don't plan to give away any major plot twists, I'm reviewing the second in a series, so spoilers, of course, if you haven't read the first, and probably light spoilers here anyway.

I'll note that my copy of this arrived while I was 18 chapters into the first Game of Thrones book. NIGHT AND DAY. Carey's prose is so much richer, her characters so much more complex, her paragraphs so much more unified-in-a-single-thought (okay, that last is just uncharitable; sorry to Martin). Sincerely,
Cozy Reading Times
Despite the 150 pages Odyssey in the middle of the book, I'm too in love with Joscelin and Phèdre to give this less than 4.5*.
I can't remember the last time I rooted this strongly for a m/f romance.
I can't remember I tolerated this much drama in a fictional relationship.
But they did it.
They are perfection.

Aside from these rather gushy thoughts, I do believe this book is extremly good on many fronts.
Jaqueline Carey's writing is outstanding as always. There is so much compassion and tendernes
steph // bookplaits
Although this isn’t a perfect book, it made me feel *so* deeply and think about the characters *so* much that I can’t rate it less than 5 stars!

I found Kushiel’s Chosen a lot easier to get into than the first book - because I knew the world and characters, it was easy to be swept away by the story immediately. Sure, the intricate politics still go over my head a bit, but I was captivated nonetheless!

Phèdre remains a compelling heroine and I still love her, despite her numerous flaws (e.g. how sh
Sotiris Karaiskos
This second book of the series follows broadly the pattern of the first. We have a first part - almost one third of the book - especialy sexually charged where we are watching the political controversies and the various scheems that are knitting in Terre d'Ange, followed by a second where we go out on the road and wander around the world where the series takes place - who is essentially the world that we are living quite ... mixed - and we end up in the fight that resolve most things. In spite o ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

-Phèdre's pms was terrible
- Joscelin is still a cutie patootie
- Melisande is the best villain ever

I liked it less than Kushiel's Dart. That's the only certain thing I can tell you to be honest.

The problem for me was Phèdre. Even in the first book I had liked her less than the so-called secondary characters and she certainly didn't do anything to "redeem" herself in my eyes this time around. It's not a matter of her beliefs or her personality, but simply of taste: I do not feel like I can care f
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was almost scared to read this, because I was just sure it wouldn't be able to measure up to Kushiel's Dart. If I'd known how wrong I was, I wouldn't have waited two months to pick it up! I probably won't be able to wait even a week to start the third one.

So often, books in a series have different vibes, and the feelings you get while reading them are so varied that its hard to consider them connected. Not so with these, Kushiel's Chosen was very much a continuation of the first, and I can't r
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Truth be told, there were a few small things in this book that annoyed me a little (mainly the 1373829 side quests inside each side quest), but in the end the amazing world building and the glimpses of so many different cultures, and especially the characters and the political intrigues made it so worth it!

It also made me enjoy Melisande a lot more as a villain, and I adore her complicated relationship with Phèdre.

And now I’m an even bigger trash for Phèdre/Joscelin lol.
This is a joint review with book #2, Kushiel's Avatar.

I am not rating either of the second two books in this trilogy, and here is a review length treatise on why that is not at all actually a review:

Sometimes you make a mistake and then instead of admitting it, you just double down. Or, you know it's a mistake and you double- and triple down anyway. This is both of those in one instance.

I read the first book in this (well-written! imaginative! sexy!) series back in 2015 after my lovely internet
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The W
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it
W Rating : B-(C+ is more appropriate)

Well, this was not a let down sequel, per say, but was definitely a lesser novel than the first. Your sequel really should always be better due to your readers knowing the characters and what the world is about so you, the writer, can spend more time on the rest of your story.

The first 350 pages are Phedre, blindly confident in her vision/hunting. She screws over Joscelin and continues throughout. Basically, she was selfish which is pretty annoying. Carey ha
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Yes, there is erotica, and not necessarily the kind I like, but it is well within the plot and story so take no offense at this. Until you have started reading this books you will not understand their depth. Rather try to look at these books as an adventure in another Europe of such. Ladies and Lords and Queens and battles and deception, intrigue abound. The map and cast of characters are in the front of the book to keep you informed.

Then there is Kushiel, herself. Never have I met a follower of
Jamie Collins
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 stars. This is almost as good as the first book, with the same lovely overwrought prose that I am finding quite absorbing.

Unsatisfied with her triumph of the previous novel, our heroine travels to a foreign land seeking a traitor who escaped justice. It’s interesting to have a strong female character who isn’t a warrior, although making her a sexually submissive masochist is going rather far in the other direction.

I’m not quite convinced by Melisande’s supernatural power over Phèdre, and the
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A brilliant second instalment in the series. This one focus's on finding Melisande and some brilliant if predictable twists happen though out the book. I feel the character development is good and I found myself speeding to the end of the book eager to know what happened to everyone. This is definitely a series I recommend but would make no sense without reading the first one.
A great political intrigue book without all the hype of Game of Thrones and actually I prefer this series.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing

Loved this one though after a great beginning it sagged a bit in the middle but the rousing finale more than made up for that. I plan to read books 3-6 faster since I want to have them done by the time book 7 is released later this year.
Kushiel's Chosen is the second book of Phèdre's Trilogy. As with the first one, this started rather slow. I would rate the first half probably around 2 stars, but then there were a few turns of events that re-kindled my interest and I quite enjoyed the rest of the story (4 stars for the second half). So, I think 3 stars are justified for my overall experience.

Like with the first instalment, the author managed to take me by surprise – just when I thought I knew where the story would go … (vie
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/r/Fantasy Discus...: Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre, #2) 1 10 Feb 22, 2019 04:58AM  
So who killed this character? (spoilers beware) 5 38 Mar 31, 2018 11:24AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Kushiel's Chosen [Feb 1, 2018 ] 115 47 Feb 17, 2018 01:48PM  
SF/F Read Alongs: Kushiel's Chosen Read Along 21 21 Sep 09, 2015 11:29PM  
Horror Aficionados : Kushiel's Chosen - Buddy Read (Spoilers) 52 51 Jul 15, 2013 11:14AM  
Vaginal Fantasy B...: Jun 2012: Hangout for the later books? 1 39 Sep 06, 2012 09:42PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Phèdre's Trilogy (3 books)
  • Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy, #1)
  • Kushiel's Avatar (Phèdre's Trilogy, #3)

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