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Kushiel's Dart Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 2002
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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 Phdre 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 Phdre: Naamah, for sensual love; and Kushiel, for sado-masochistic pain, his "dart" being a blood spot in Phdre's eye. Not everyone will go for Phdre's graphic if elegantly described sexual encounters, which usually involve the infliction of pain, whether from lashing, branding or even cutting. Phdre, however, is no clichd 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 Phdre'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
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I continue to read this book over and over. I love everything about it. I love the characters, the setting and the religious elements. Read morePublished on May 9 2014 by Amazon Customer
What captured me most about this series was how the writing style complemented the world and themes explored. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2013 by bookworm_storyteller
This book captured my full attention from the get-go years ago and I went on and read the entire series. It was worth every minute. Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2012 by SS
this book about about a girl who was born with the mark of a god on her and the story basically follows her life and the trouble she faces because of this mark. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2006 by elfdart
While this book might not be for everyone due to the BDSM eroticism, it is superbly written. The geography and cultures consist of both fantasy and historical elements blended... Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2004 by Lara
Simply a wonderful, refreshing read. It took patience to stick with at first since the world of politics is always an entangled one but, it is so important to understanding the... Read morePublished on Aug. 17 2004 by Lynn Holtz
This was truly a great book. However, I have specific reasons for giving it four stars instead of five. Read morePublished on July 19 2004
I picked up this book because the characters and plot sounded incredibly interesting, and because I had been recommended it since I like Anne Bishop's work. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Seana Miller