Review: Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Dart

Kushiel’s Dart
Jacqueline Carey

Phedre has been both blessed and cursed with Kushiel’s Dart. Born to a whore, she’s brought up to be a whore – but in the end she ends up being so much more. An epic that could have been split up into multiple parts in my opinion.

153008The tone and narration of this novel made me feel distanced from the main character. Even as she was describing things to me, they were narrated as if they were distant events in the past. That’s how the first say, 300 pages got to me, but then I started really getting into the novel and I didn’t pay any attention to that anymore.
I often forgot Phadre’s name because the novel is told from the first person perspective. I eventually caught on though, I kind of had to with the length of the book.
This is a 900 page epic in tiny writing, so it’s no wonder it has taken me so long to get around to reading it. Plus it was on the reward book shelf anyway. The progression is very slow – on page 100 Phadre is only just getting out into the ‘community’ now that she has undergone years of book training. You just wonder what on earth is going on.
It is not explained clearly what exactly Kushiel’s Dart is for a long time, and it frustrated me almost to the point that I wanted to google it! I think the crux of it is that she gets sexual pleasure out of being hurt. I didn’t really understand why it was such a big thing, as there is a whole house of those people available in her city.
This is an epic. A true epic. Just as one ‘story’ comes to a close, the next starts up. You get to travel the breadth of the land, and it’s a descriptive, pleasurable journey that I can’t complain about. I’m going to get my hands on the other books in the series as a must have as soon as I have a chance to shop (and have money).
I found myself struggling to care about the intrigues presented in the first part of the book. They even didn’t become clear to me as I continued reading – the overall impression I got was that there was too much going on for me to really grasp in one read. This is a reread to be sure – there are things I am sure I have missed.
I imagined that her tattoo was a little different from what you can see on the front cover. In fact, when I compare this cover to the other, I can’t see how her marque could possibly look like that from that angle. It is still pretty cool though. I liked the description of how it was done as well, and the way she responded fit in with the rest of her characterisation.
Phadre is pushed to the limit in so many different ways. So so many! Just as you think she’s getting there on improving things for herself and enjoying life, it turns out that Kushiel’s Dart is doing an awesome job of dodging things up for her.
The ending was quite bittersweet, which I enjoyed. It wasn’t a happily-ever-after, which sometimes irritates me, as you don’t really worry about the characters in the book because you know they will all survive.
I’d recommend this for adults and mature teens. The sex in it is not gratuitous, it is used as currency, but it’s not offensive. Certainly not the erotica I was expecting, after being recommended this book after reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

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