I’ve just finished such a great book that I think it deserves its own blog post … “Kushiel’s Dart” by Jacqueline Carey. A friend recommended her books about 6 weeks ago (thanks Chris!) So I added her to the list and last night decided to tackle the mammoth 990 page tome.
I was hooked on the first page, the clever story telling paired with the wonderful way that Carey tells the story from what we presume is Phedre’s memories and recollections is truly captivating.
I read the book in about 7 hours and I was drawn to Elua, Naamah and Kushiel (the deities) who settled on Terre D’Ange (medieval France for all intents and purposes.) This is a world where prostitution is not frowned upon but is a religious calling (Naamah’s calling.) Rich patrons will regularly buy the virginity of young Naamah acolytes and those that do see their social standing and position increase.
The book follows a young girl called Phedre who was sold at the age of 4 by her courtesan mother to a pleasure house, by the age of 10 her indenture is transferred to a political meddler whose keen gaze spots that she is different, her left eye bears the mark known as “Kushiel’s Dart” a red blemish.
She is trained in the art of pleasure, espionage, language and art and Phedre is thrown into the world of Terre D’Ange.
As “Kushiel’s Chosen” she is an anguissette – she draws her pleasure and strength from sexual pain. True S&M style. Her virgin price is high and she becomes a coveted creature for the higher echelons of the court. She is the only chosen known to be alive.
As Phedre discovers her “gift” we discover more and more about the royal court, the land of Terre D’Ange, her master and then the elusive and damn right gorgeous Joscelin – a celibate warrior sworn to Phedre’s service by her master.
She starts to pay off her indenture and to show the world that she is working towards freedom, the work on her “marque” begins, a large tattoo covering her entire back.
I wont go on with the story, but Carey has won me over, this was a HUGE novel to devour, but I did so with joy, the erotic scenes are just beautiful and the whole S&M description really hit a chord with me … Wonderful eye opener in that sense and very emotional.
Carey isn’t just another cheap “Mills and Boon” writer looking for quick sexual kicks, she is a master of her art. Each word and sentence beautifully thought out and constructed. I genuinely CARE for the characters, I understand their pain, their love, the reasons for their very being.
I would recommend this book to both male and female fantasy readers, the prose is excellent, the sex is mind-blowingly hot, the political intrigue is full of twists and turns, the battle scenes top notch and the overall pace superb … Can’t really say anything more than that!
Oh and Robert Jordan loved her books …