Nikki 's Reviews > Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
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's review
Jul 16, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, queer, historical-fiction-alternatehistory, favourites, angels
Read in August, 2008

I don't normally do a very long or thorough review for books that are part of a trilogy: I tend to wait for the end of the trilogy. But Kushiel's Dart is an exception, mainly because there's enough action and intrigue for a whole trilogy in the first book alone. A lot of people start their reviews by saying that this book is not for everyone. Well, bah to that. No book is for everyone. Kushiel's Dart does deal with a lot of sex. Kinky sex. I thought, on the whole, that part was well done -- and a lot of Phèdre's assignations were also plot points. I think that even a person with no interest in BDSM in itself could enjoy the books, and just skim or skip the sex scenes if they're that troubling. Now, some of the torture scenes: they made me wince.

I wasn't fond of the narrative voice, at first, but once I got into it, I quite enjoyed it. The voice is quite distinctive, being decidedly not modern English, although it does remind me a little of Fitz and Nevare in Robin Hobb's work -- I think it's mostly that they and Phèdre tell their stories from the same distance.

This book is incredibly rich in terms of world building. There is so much depth to it, woven into the story. Perhaps a little more than is exactly necessary, but if you appreciate a lot of world building, it's brilliant. You probably have to lay aside any scepticism about a land where everyone is beautiful, having the blood of the son of Jesus, but if you suspend your disbelief and let the details build up, I think it's a very compelling world. The politics that drive the plot are also amazing, and this is one of few books that kept me guessing a lot. Melisande really does play a deep and subtle game.

The characters themselves, again, you have to be willing to buy into, I think. I know that some people think she's a "Mary Sue" because she's beautiful and she's special and she's marked by a god and all of it. Yes: okay. I can see that criticism. But once you're drawn into the story, once the setup is over, the characters become incredibly compelling. The complex relationships between them are very, very interesting, and I can't wait to see how things will play out. My favourite characters were Joscelin and Hyacinthe, fairly predictably. There's something I find incredibly compelling about the depth of loyalty Joscelin and Hyacinthe have for Phèdre in their different ways. Melisande is also incredibly interesting, of course.

I loved the subplot of Ysandre and Drustan, too, including the part with the Master of the Straits. Hyacinthe's subplot in that breaks my heart, and yet I love it.

Jacqueline Carey keeps a lot of threads on the loom, in this book, and I think she manages them all admirably. I'm eager to read Kushiel's Chosen -- though I might have to take a day or two to recover first!
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Reading Progress

01/15/2009 page 506
49.85% "Currently much of the way through a reread."

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

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Susan the intrigue and plot detail is so ... (sorry for the redundancy) detailed and intricate that it's supported 6 linked books each able to stand on their own. And JJPalencar does such lovely, evocative art for the covers...

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