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What kind of audience is this for? As a male I was looking for a good romance /fantasy book to get into.. Struggling to find a good one wondered if this is a book aimed at a certain audience?

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Eric 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, 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!
Ravenswan This is more a book of political intrigue and spies, with some sex thrown in.
Chance Late answer but this will be mainly for others who come along.

I say the audience is for a crowd who enjoys alternate history fantasy, court-intrigue, and long-steady stories. It may look like erotica at glance, but that's not the reason why these books were written. This book/series is not for those looking for a "sexy story" if that's what you're worried about.
Ante Benić i would not call this a YA book at all. It has a bit extreme plot devices and sex as the main motivator. There is romance, but it is subtle.
Max This book is probably best for mature YA readers. It has sex and violence in it, but not so explicitly as in Game of Thrones or Anne Rice books. It has some romance in it. If you like the historical fantasy or the romance in the Outlander series, then you will probably like this one. The history in this series however is mainly made up based on medieval France.
Ante Benić i would not call this a YA book at all. It has a bit extreme plot devices and sex as the main motivator. There is romance, but it is subtle.
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by Jacqueline Carey (Goodreads Author)
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