Saturday, June 28, 2008

Review - Kushiel's Dart

Title: Kushiel’s Dart
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Publishing Date: 2001
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

First let me start off by saying that Kushiel’s Dart is not a romance. There are relationships in the book, but they are not the main focus of the story. The story is told in the first person point of view by Phedre no Delaunay. Phedre is a very unique character. She is marked with a red dot in one of her eyes. What this means comes to light early in the book. The story begins with her childhood. Her mother sells her as a slave to one of the thirteen houses of Namaa. Essentially this means she will become a whore. In this unique society, a whore does not have negative connotations. She is revered and blessed for her service. At ten years of age she is sold to a nobleman. In his household she is trained to become a spy. To listen to what is not said and put together pieces of a puzzle. This is her story.

Seeing how I am a huge fan of romance, I was a little disappointed with the lack of romance in the story. Don't get me wrong, Phedre does have many relationships with people, but there wasn’t much romance to them. Kushiel’s Dart can be divided into three parts. The first part of the book revolves around Phedre’s childhood and her growing up coming into womanhood. The second part of the book is when Phedre’s life is turned upside down and she is betrayed by someone close to her. The third part of the story is when Phadre becomes and emissary to the Queen and her country is at war.

What I liked about the story was that Phadre was prized for her uniqueness instead of ostracized. Phadre’s growth over the story was also very pronounced and she was a very strong, courageous character. I loved her friendship with Hyacinthe, The Prince of Travelers and wish that there would have been more screen time with them together. There are a whole cast of interesting characters in this book. One who stands out more than most is Jocelyn Verreuil, a Cassiline Brother sworn to protect Phedre. Their relationship is unusual to say the least; a priest sworn to celibacy and a spy trained in the arts of physical pleasure. At first meeting, they are at odds with one another, to say the least. Then when they are thrown together through dire circumstance, they come to respect and love one another.

I did have trouble keeping track of all the different characters of the court. There is a long list of nobles and keeping them all straight was an exercise in futility. The names after a while would blend together. Other than that, the mythology of Phedre’s world and the political intrigue was very interesting and kept me turning the pages. Kushiel’s Dart is just the beginning of Phedre’s story and the ending is left open with a few things unsettled. Kushiel’s Chosen is the next book in the series that will continue Phedre’s story.

Here is what others had to say:

The Book Smugglers


Amy said...

I've had this book on my TBR since not long after it was originally released, and I've never quite been able to bring myself to read it, despite all of my friends who adore the series.

Maybe this year I'll actually pull it out and give it a try. It seems my tastes in fictin have been sprouting wings and veering off my regular path.

Jill D. said...

Amy, One of the reason's I read it, was because I wanted something a little off the beaten path. I have been in a reading slump and thought that maybe changing things up might help. I did enjoy the book. It was a very interesting story. The only thing is that you have to commit a lot of time to the book because it is 700 pages long!

Kris said...

There is romance in the series jut not in the first book. But romance is not the primary focus. I love this series and encourage you to keep reading.

Jill D. said...

Kris, So the romance picks up a little more in the other books? I was hoping for more of a relationship between Phedre and Jocelyn. Can you tell me anything without giving away to many spoilers? :)

Kris said...


Jill D. said...

Kris, So it's going to be like that, huh!