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Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  58,604 Ratings  ·  3,455 Reviews
A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...

Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign langua
Hardcover, 701 pages
Published June 23rd 2001 by Tor Books
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Flamewielder I'm a middle-aged male reader of sci-fi and fantasy, both contemporary (The Expanse series, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc...) and classic (Isaac Asimov,…moreI'm a middle-aged male reader of sci-fi and fantasy, both contemporary (The Expanse series, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc...) and classic (Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc...). I really didn't know what to expect when I picked up Kushiel's Dart, the cover intrigued me, as well as the stated premise on the back.

Perhaps it would be simpler to define what audience this novel will turn-off: readers that prefer fast-paced action over deliberate world/character building will be turned off and likely abandon the book; and you definitely will never finish it if you are strongly uncomfortable with male homosexuality (i.e. homophobic). If the mere idea of a gay relationship turns your stomach, this series is not for you.

Now, I found the world/character-building was top-notch, which also included the spiritual/religious setting (i.e. religious beliefs and their influence on the D'Angeline culture. Sex, as an expression of love or affection, infuses D'Angeline society, but the author uses its depiction sparingly and always to drive the story along. This is still primarily a fantasy novel (set in a very sensual society) that features some sex; it's not 50 Shades of Grey. Gay relationships are depicted in a way that makes sense to a married, very heterosexual male in his 50's (me).

The story is written from the main character's perspective who, while trained as a courtesan and spy, doesn't necessarily see or understand everything that is happening (i.e. she is an imperfect narrator). She sometimes misjudges situations, sometimes with tragic consequences. Readers that find the political intrigue confusing forget that Phèdre is just as confused as they are; we can only figure it out as fast as Phèdre, because we only share her perspective and not that of other characters (like in A Song of Ice and Fire).

She is torn between her nature (a servant of the angel Naamah, but marked by the angel Kushiel), her affections (friends and lovers) and her sense of justice. She is a flawed heroine. The setting is what I'd qualify as "low-magic", but where divine elements play an important role.

I hope that answers your question!(less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Kat Kennedy

tortoise sex

Did you cop a big eyeful of that? That's right. Those Tortoises are totally boning. Now, I'm sure there's many a tortoise out there who would find that image very appealing. Unfortunately, I don't.

And this is my BIG PROBLEM with Kushiel's Dart.

Not that it's full of tortoise sex, mind you. There's almost no tortoise sex at all! It's that the sex in this book just does nothing for me. In fact, I'd probably enjoy tortoise sex more.

I'm hardly going to elaborate on my proclivities in the bedroom. It'
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Just a disclaimer here: This will be a very difficult review to write. In order to truly review this book, I have to talk about my own views on things and how books affect me personally. I am opening myself up here, which always makes me squirm. If you are reading this review and you don't agree with my beliefs on things, that's totally fine. But, I am not going to deny how I feel, because that is very important to me when I review a book, since I read books emotionally and not from a detached s ...more
Zen Cho
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
I enjoyed this a lot at first, in a stupid trashy way, but got bored after a while, which is why I took so long to finish it. I think it reaches its height of trashy fun in Terre d'Ange; all the bits with Phedre living with the Skaldic tribes, getting away from them in the wintry tundra etc. etc. drag a lot for me. Maybe it's just 'cos "swept away by a barbarian!" isn't my kink.

Carey has a habit of saying really obvious things in a hilariously portentous way, e.g.

I asked him to pass the butter,
There is this new guy at my office. The moment I learned he used to work at B&N, I wanted to run to his desk and start hounding him about books. Don’t scare him off, Cassy. Pace yourself. I started stealthy checking the cover of the books he’d read during lunch. I tested the waters before team meetings – dropping the names of authors from different genres. Turns out he reads a lot of fantasy, which is great. I have always enjoyed the genre and seem to lean heavily toward it this year. When I ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 mus
Emily May
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dnf, 2011

I don't care how long a book is, if it's failed to wow me by page 361 then I think it's time to give up, right?

I understand a few things about this book. Firstly, that Jacqueline Carey is actually not a bad writer, that the world created and the politics of it are well thought out... but I still don't understand why this book hasn't got more mixed reviews. Are there that many people into hardcore bdsm? Let's face it, that's what this book is really about.

Yeah, so... sex. I am open-minded about
mark monday
once upon a time, in response to the question What Would You Like To See In Fantasy, i responded:

1. i would like to see an old woman as a protagonist.
2. or an interesting demon - but not a 'sexy' PNR demon.
3. or more epic fantasies set in steamy, wet jungles rather than european-style forests or meadowlands.
4. or a hero who is also a slut (male or female).
5. or a YA fantasy series in which the hero grows progressively more villainous.


i felt confident that Kushiel's Dart would allow
This is going to be a very unpopular review. So, to all of you who may hate me after reading this, I apologize in advance.

From the rave reviews, and based on the vast number of people who seemingly loved this book enough to tattoo a representation of it on their body, I expected it to blow me away. I love fantasy, I love stories with a kick-ass female lead, and despite the fact that this might tell you a bit more about me than you bargained for, I was really looking forward to enjoying a bit of
J.G. Keely
This book is so overwrought, so full of tangled, convoluted prose, that I found it hard to take seriously. The world, instead of being built up as an original creation, seems to be taken fairly whole cloth from the French Court of Louis XIV. I know everybody steals, but the best writers steal the most, and I could have used some more depth of inspiration.

Then, of course, there is the sex. The constant rampant, submissive, fetishy, 'pain=pleasure' sex. Sex is fine, even porn is fine, but the shee

Awww, Goodreads Recommendations Engine! I suddenly feel we're friends! Just hope this doesn't get you into trouble...
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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
More about Jacqueline Carey...

Other Books in the Series

Phèdre's Trilogy (3 books)
  • Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre's Trilogy, #2)
  • Kushiel's Avatar (Phèdre's Trilogy, #3)
“All knowledge is worth having.” 587 likes
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