Kushiel’s Dart by: Jacqueline Carey

Book: Kushiel’s Dart
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Date Published: Feb 28 2002


A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger… a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm…

Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy… and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice.

Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.

Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm’s deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world.

Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess… all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

Why I read this Book:

I had scene this book some time ago, and thought maybe.  I had read what it was about, and thought nope this book is not for me.  A friend read it and loved it, and I thought maybe again.   Then I was in the mood for both high fantasy and some romance, and so I put on my big girl pants and read this with some trepidation.


It took me at least 50 pages to get into this book.  The problem for me was that the author had too strong of a voice.  Their was a lot of information she was trying to impart on the world building that was so foreign to me, it was hard to get through.  I am happy I got through it though.

She had a rich way of speaking, a past tense with a hint of the present and things to come and all first person. Once I got into the flow of it, I marveled at her ability to pull it off, because it is the type of voice that would be easy to slip up, but she doesn’t.

Their were several love story arcs that I wanted explored, and the love interested she ends up with, I knew from the moment he was introduced that it would turn out with him.  I knew it, yet loved watching it develop, because it was an unlikely love story.

This book is loooooonnnnnnnggggggg.  So long infact I probably could have read 4 other books that would have added up to the same word count.  It also could have neatly been broken down into 3 books.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they didn’t.  I’m glad they made us read the hole thing all at once. Once you are committed you had to finish the book.  Their was no putting it down between books 1 and 2.  It was straight through to the end.

I know I haven’t really told you much about the story.  I can’t.  Their really is just too much story.  But it is a good story.  The sex part of it, the way Phedre loves, her talent.  I thought that would give me the heeby jeebies and push me away. And some scenes she does go far with, and others she shuts the door before we can see in the room.  I would never be a Phedre, that is not my type of love.  But while reading it I emphasized with the character.  I never begrudged her her decisions.

Final Thoughts:

This book will be my main book of the summer that I will look back upon and shape this period of my life.  There are books just like there is music that defines parts of your life.  This book is one of them.  This is the book were I started my new job, and got my feet under me in it and learnt how to be more of who I was as a person.  This book was along for that journey of my life.  This book will be more than just its story for me, it will be a marking point in my life.   It may not do the same for you, but I was glad I read this book.  I can honestly say I do not know if or when I will read any more Jaqueline Carey.  Quite frankly her work is a bit overwhelming still for me, as it is so much and I now know what I am getting into.  However, at some point there may be a day, were I will need another Jaqueline Carey, and with a little help from my friends, I hope I do take that journey again.

Rating: 10/10 (yup, it earned it)

4 thoughts on “Kushiel’s Dart by: Jacqueline Carey

  1. I had the same issue with Dart. It took a few pages to find the groove and enter the world but once you enter it is hard to escape.

    Carey’s work is very intense and very deep. There are 5 more books in that world (in Phedre’s time at least, 8 overall) and they just get better and better. Phedre’s journey is a long and wonderful one that if you ever get the chance I highly recommend. Kushiels Avatar is one of the best books I have ever read second only to Kushiels Justice.

    Great review. 🙂

  2. Kushiel’s Mercy made me cry. I loved the whole set. I found them all in hard back and read and reread. I loved how easily I could just get lost in her world. But you’re right. The first 50 pages, when you read it for the first time, are rough.

    Still love Carey, and I read most everything she publishes. I’m a groupie.

  3. Thanks Abbey and Melissa. Now I have even more of a shove to get through the series. I think I might just buy them to plod through at my own pace during the winter. These are kind of long books that you just kind of want to cozy up with and loose yourself to the world on a cold winter day.

  4. Friendly FYI:

    “but while reading it I emphasized with the character. I never begrudged her her decisions.”

    I believe here you meant empathize, not emphasized.

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