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06/28/2004 Entry: "KUSHIEL'S DART by Jacqueline Carey -- I read every word (Preeti)"

Kushiel's Dart

You have to know KUSHIEL'S DART, by Jacqueline Carey, is an absorbing, interesting, readable book since nothing less would get me through such a fat novel without skimming.

KUSHIEL'S DART is set in an alternate-reality dark ages (I think) France that has a culture and religion based on free love. Yes, you will get sick of seeing the phrase "Love as thou wilt." The heroine, Phedre, is born equating pain with pleasure and is trained from a young age to be a courtesan and spy. This story is about her rise in the world and how crucial she and her disturbing and fascinating sexuality are in shaping the events of her country. (Of course she falls in love with a warrior-monk. I need to read--um, make that skim--the equally big, fat sequels to see if that's going anywhere.)

I wasn't sure whether there was going to be "real" magic on this alternate world, but the gods, angels, etc, do seem to be rather more than religious mythology. I think I would have preferred more ambiguity on this point. Also, while I managed to make some connections between Carey's world and our "real" history and religion, I'm sure there are just as many allusions I missed.

Anyway, there's so much you could talk about in this book that I honestly don't know where to begin. This is one of the problems with such long books! I recommend this book for the richness of the world-building and characterization. The most memorable thing a reader takes away from this book, though, without a doubt, is the heroine's sexuality and the role it plays in the her adventures, survival, heroism, and rise in the world. KUSHIEL'S DART wasn't always comfortable reading, but it was consistently good. Recommended.--Preeti

--KUSHIEL'S DART at Amazon
--Kushiel's Legacy Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3

Replies: 2 Comments

The sequels are both just about as good. All big, long books, but I don't remember ever being bored. A very satisfying trilogy.

Posted by Jill @ 06/28/2004 11:52 PM ET

This trilogy is amazing. Its story captured my imagination. It is a must read!

Posted by Amie @ 07/08/2004 03:32 AM ET

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