REVIEW: Kusiel's Dart by Jaqueline Carey

Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey

Written in first person view, this book deals with the life of Phèdre who is sold into indentured servitude as a child. She is revealed later to be god touched (by Kushiel's Dart), which grants her the power/curse (take your pick) to experience pain as pleasure.

 

A particular aspect is that the world is an alternate version of earth. Terre d'Ange, home nation of Phèdre is France, Alba is Britain, and so forth. It's an interesting take, but I found it annoying somehow. While Terre d'Ange itself is a unique culture, the nations that surround it are cultural carbon copies with slightly altered names for their gods. The Skaldi as shown in this book are vikings without the longboats. The name Skaldi itself is derived from Skadi, which is the North goddess of Winter, and that just one of countess examples.

 

Some more deviation here would have been welcome. Both in the cultural display and the naming of things.

 

The rest is all good. This book is heavy on the intrigue, and the author doesn't flinch from killing major characters. The plot is interesting and—because of the limited information the reader has—not easy to predict. Action scenes are present, but written in a subdued manner as they are not the point of a novel like this. Finally, there is some (real) mysticism as well, but it's subdued and not part of the daily lives of the people.

 

The only other minor gripe I have is that the prose becomes a bit too florid on occasion, which makes the book thicker than it needed to be.

 

Final Verdict

Excellent fantasy reading. If you enjoy reading about a young woman rising to prominence in a world where prostitution is a divine calling (and all the intrigue that surrounds it) this is the book for you.