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Kushiel's Dart Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reissue edition (March 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765342987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765342980
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

HThis brilliant and daring debut, set in a skewed Renaissance world (people worship Jesus-like "Blessed Elua" but also demigods), catapults Carey immediately into the top rank of fantasy novelists. In the character of PhŠdre n¢ Delaunay, "a whore's unwanted get" sold into indentured servitude in opulent Night Court, the author has created a particularly strong and memorable female lead, and has surrounded her with a large and varied cast, from nobles and priests to soldiers and peasants. An engrossing plot focuses first on court intrigue and treachery, then, in a surprising shift, on high adventure, travel in barbarian lands including Alba (England) and war. Two demigods rule PhŠdre: Naamah, for sensual love; and Kushiel, for sado-masochistic pain, his "dart" being a blood spot in PhŠdre's eye. Not everyone will go for PhŠdre's graphic if elegantly described sexual encounters, which usually involve the infliction of pain, whether from lashing, branding or even cutting. PhŠdre, however, is no clich‚d sexpot but a complex character motivated by religious zeal. In one amusing scene, a group of sailors on the march chants: "Whip us till we're on the floor, we'll turn around and ask for more, we're PhŠdre's Boys!" At the end, the heroine reminds one of an equally strong-minded sister whose home was Tara. No mere feminist novel, this is an assured and magnificent book that will appeal to both male and female readers. (June 4)Forecast: With blurbs from Delia Sherman and Storm Constantine, plus major print advertising both genre and mainstream, this first novel could rack up impressive sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Trained from childhood to a life of servitude and espionage, Ph?dre n? Delaunay serves her master, Anafiel, as a courtesan and spy, ferreting out the dangerous secrets of the noble houses of Terre d'Ange. When she uncovers a treasonous conspiracy, however, her life takes on a new and deadly purpose. Set in a world reminiscent of late medieval and early Renaissance Europe, Carey's first novel portrays a society based upon political and sexual intrigue. The author's sensual prose, suitable for adult readers, should appeal to fans of Tanith Lee, Storm Constantine, and Terry Goodkind. Recommended for adult fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read many novels where the main character has been god touched, and uses his or her skills as an emissary of the gods to help save the lives of others but never in this way. Kushiel's Dart a novel by fantasy newcomer Jacquline Carey is a unique story. I can seriously say I have never seen anything quite like it before. It tells the story of, Phedre, a girl born with an ill luck name and a scarlet mote in her left eye. Considered to be cursed, she is sold in indentured servitude into the Night Court where she hopes one day to become a servant of Naamah, the goddess of sexual pleasure. Her life is changed forever when she is taken in by Anafiel no Delauny, a courtesan and spy. He sees her for what she really is, an anguissette, a child touched by the God of punishment Kusheil. This means that she is forced forever to feel pleasure and pain as one. As she begins to train for Naamah's service it is Delauny who teaches her the skills she will need to know to survive. He teachers her languages, history, and how to listen and pay attention in a world of dangerous politics.
There are so many good things to be said about this novel and I cannot possibly list them all here. One of the most attractive things about this book, in my opinion, is the elegant prose it is written in. Certainly not for everyone, Ms. Carey writes in a very descriptive manner filled with beautiful picture of the D'Angeline world. Although some would consider this to be too drawn out and lengthy is fits the character, a strong woman who is taught to listen and pay attention to every detail, perfectly. Another strong point would have to be the instantly likeable characters. Phedre for all of her strengths is a wonderfully flawed character.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book blew me out of the water. It is well written, full of rich imagery and description that often borders on the poetic. The plotline is simple, as all good plotlines are, but it is butressed by a complex web of intrigues and mysteries that can't help but keep the reader in suspense, needing to read just one more chapter before turning the lights out. The story is populated by a great number of characters, and where Carey shines here is in breathing life into each one, making them really come alive. The heroine is a solid, believable character, full of depth, bravery and flaws.

A word of caution, as has been mentioned: this book contains some S&M scenes that may be faintly disturbing to some readers. Not because the scenes are long and overly-described, but simply because they are there and they explore an aspect of sexuality that exists in reality and that makes a lot of people squeamish. Not everyone enjoys sado-masochism, and Carey has carried this into the world of Terre d'Ange. The S&M aspect of the heroine's sexuality is not the main drive behind the plot, but it does move the plot forward, in ways unexpected and that make sense in light of her personality.

"Kushiel's Dart" is written in the first-person narrative. I'm usually not a fan of this writing style because it limits the storytelling to the point of view of the main character. But I have to tip my hat at Carey and how she managed to draw me in almost in spite of myself. I actually put the book down after the first couple of lines, thinking, "Ugh, not in the first-person!" But then I picked it up again and decided to force myself to read the first chapter. I was hooked after the first five pages and finished off the 900-page paperback in four days.

Needless to say, I'll be reading the next installment.
A superb book. Highly, highly recommend.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ignore the previous review of one star this is one of the best books you will ever read! The first chapter does go a bit slow but it lays the groundwork for the novel introducing characters and helping you learn the world of D'Angelines which is not much like ours. After that it is such a fascinating read Phedre is the heroine of all heroines. Carey's writing does have a lot of prose and explanation but it is beautifully written and it takes you from reading a book to being immersed in an alternate world. I will take Carey's trillon dollar words over fifty cent ones anyday. And her writing is as mature as it gets! She is the writer of all writers and my idol. Definately a must must read!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The literature of SM seems have started with poetry: the exquisite, transformative agony of one-sided love as described in "courtly love" sonnets, a French tradition said to have started as early as 1000 AD, and in religious poetry about the suffering and devotion of saints. Then there was the savagely satirical fiction written by the Marquis de Sade on the eve of the French Revolution. The classic novel of female domination, Venus in Furs, appeared in the nineteenth century, and its author, Sacher-Masoch, suffered more than he wished for when he came to be associated with the newly-diagnosed psychological "illness" which was named after him; he had hoped to be remembered for his literary skill. The Story of O, a Frenchwoman's tribute to her lover, appeared under a pen name in 1954, and was widely believed to be the work of a male chauvinist. Before the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, these were the classic texts of "perversion."

Times have changed. Literature on specialized sexual tastes which were formerly veiled in metaphors and Latin words is now clear, thorough, often written as non-fiction, and easily available on websites. Although certain writers of SM fiction have carried on the literary traditions of their predecessors, the current classic texts are how-to manuals that are often recommended for beginners. As useful as this material is, it leaves out the poetry of the earlier works. Some concepts still seem better-expressed in the form of teaching stories.

Kushiel's Dart is a big (700-page) novel that refers to an older French literary tradition while reconstructing French history. In this setting, an attraction to pain is a spiritual gift from a dark angel, Kushiel (the Punisher of God), who presides over a rocky coastal region in the area of real-life Normandy.
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