So far this has been my favorite choice from the Vaginal Fantasy bookclub. Albeit, there have only been six books, of which I’ve only read four, having missed the first and fifth book- but still, I loved this. The Iron Duke is a very close second though; need more Archimedes Fox in my life- obviously, I’m going to read the second one in the series!
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Kushiel’s Dart is set in an incredibly rich world that slightly resembles a France of days long past with an intriguing Apochryphal-esque mythology. Phedré, the heroine, is both pensive and brazen, without a clichéd spunkiness. Not that it’s always a bad thing! There’s strong characterization throughout the whole novel; even the antagonists are well fleshed out. Although, that should always be the case, right? Perhaps it’s because of all of these strong characters that it’s not surprising that political chaos ensues.
Suffice it to say, it’s a dense read. Not merely a lengthy one, but quite complex as well, with the political history and drama more convoluted than Phedré’s intricate
tattoo marque. However, following in the vein of algolagnia, whatever pain is required for comprehension is immensely pleasurable.
(That’s not too bad a joke, is it? Anyhow…)
My favorite aspects of the book are the characters and mythology. Everyone is well-written; I’m absolutely in love with Joscelin! His humor and obstinacy (the latter of which is often to the amusement of others) are refreshing, especially in comparison to Phedré’s personality. On the flip side of things, there’s Hyacinthe, her best friend, who is so mischievous and charming! The progression of relationships between different characters are also incredibly plausible and believable.
As for the mythology, throughout much of the story, any mystical or mysterious presence is pretty in name and faith only but when ~magic~ does show up, it’s quite sudden, but poetically executed. There’s also this wonderful overarching theme of choice versus fate, that’s done in a way that’s not glaringly obvious; more importantly, it’s never just Phedré that must make the difficult decisions.
Finally, despite any suggestiveness the cover or Phedré’s occupation as a courtesan of sorts may imply, the book wasn’t as graphic, or rough, as expected. There are definitely scenes that give detail, but this was in no way a PWP. It may even be a transition book for anyone who reads general fantasy looking for a more steamy read.
I’m excited to read the rest of the series!
This book was the 21/25 of my 25 in 2012 book challenge. For past reviews, check out the tag: