Following hard on the heels of Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey’s spectacular debut novel, comes Kushiel’s Chosen, a glittering and riveting historical fantasy.
The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. It is said that the angels found the land and saw it was good, and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.
Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye and sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with a very special mission–and the first to recognize her for who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.
Phèdre has trained in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Having stumbled upon a plot that threatened the very foundations of her homeland, she gave up almost everything she held dear to save it. She survived, and lived to have others tell her story, and if they embellished the tale with fabric of mythical splendor, they weren’t far off the mark.
The hands of the gods weigh heavily upon Phèdre’s brow, and they are not yet done with their charge–for while the young queen who sits upon the throne is well loved by the people, there are those who believe that other heads should wear the crown. And those who escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with their schemes for power and revenge. To protect and serve, Phèdre will once again leave her beloved homeland.
From the sun-drenched villas of La Serenissima to the wilds of old Hellas, from a prison designed to drive the very gods mad to an island of immutable joy. Phèdre will meet old friends and new enemies and discover a plot so dreadful as to make the earth tremble, masterminded by the one person she cannot turn away from.
“I wish sometimes that the gods would either choose better, or make their wishes clearer”
I liked this one a lot. It may be because I’m already invested in the story, it may be because it is a better book. I don’t have as many complaints this time around, again it may be because I got used to it, it may be because they aren’t as present. I think if you got throughKushiel’s Dart and didn’t utterly hate it, Kushiel’s Chosen will be readable as well.
This book has another slow start, but it is much more tolerable this time. The action of the book doesn’t really start until midway through the book. This time, though, we know what to expect out of the series. We know the people, the players, and the stakes. Also, there is no horny Phèdre stage, that is a definite plus in favour of this book.
The narration is exactly the same as in Kushiel’s Dart. I don’t know whether to despair or to be glad that Carey stuck to what she meant to do. Phèdre weaves future, past and present all in the same paragraph in her narration. It is frustrating, but it is her style. Also, that seems to be the priority. If she can, she talks of the future, if she can’t she’ll talk about the past, and only when she runs out of those two things to talk about does she return to the present. (Sidenote: I really hope the sequel series don’t do this..)
The plot is more interesting this time to me. Phèdre is on a crusade for vengeance and for justice. She wants nothing more than to see Melisande to pay for what she has done. Instead of having to pursue this totally selfish goal, she has to instead once again help her nation. Phèdre is not allowed to be selfish. The book was helped by Phèdre being an actual part to the story, instead of being told by her mentor that she shouldn’t know. It was also helped by having a new crop of nobles that were actually much more interesting this time.
Phèdre ends up seeing a lot more of the world this book, and it is really fun. I actually had a side game of trying to figure out what nationality what culture is supposed to represent in this book. It also has the side benefit of making this series really feel like it is an entire world, and it isn’t centered on Phèdre’s magical vagina. I really like seeing the other parts of this world, even though I get a bit exacerbated at times over why it is necessary that she sees so much.
This book relies a bit more on coincidence than I would like. Now, I don’t know what the proper amount of coincidence is. Perhaps it is the amount of coincidence that you don’t happen. Every story relies on it to a certain extent. And indeed, Kushiel’s Dart relied on it a bit heavily as well. It just felt more pronounced in this book. It felt like several (most) of the major plot points in the book were all solved or caused by or both by coincidence in this book. It felt like the book was cheapened a bit by this, because Phèdre works so hard to accomplish what she does, only to have everything end up being a coincidence in the end.
Phèdre is a very strong character. She isn’t strong like Joscelin is strong – in fact Joscelin is a weak character in the ways Phèdre is strong. She isn’t physically strong. She is strong in constitution. Once she knows the path she has to take, she does it, even if it causes physical harm to herself, or worse. She is different than the other strong females I typically come across in books, where they seem to have to prove that they are just as good as the males. No, Phèdre knows who she is, what she is, and her path in life.
There is less sex in this book, and less time is spent on wanting and thinking and doing it. Phèdre uses sex to her own advantage this book. I like this direction because as much as I don’t mind it in my books, it felt like a bit overkill in the last one. This felt like more the proper amount to put up with. However, I fear it may still be way too much for those who don’t care for a lot of sex in their books, or don’t like this particular form of it.
The relationship in this book is interesting. It doesn’t take the normal course of relationships in books. There are conflicts of interest, there is desire, there is love. There is a lot of love. However, it has to come to where it is going. Last book, I said that there is potential to be one of the best relationships. There is still potential, but it is taking the long way around to get there. I like this direction, it would lead to a more natural, long-lasting relationship in the long run. I just…want to be there already.
I really enjoyed this book. However, I did find that I just wanted to get where it is going. Middle child syndrome perhaps? Not certain. I might just be impatient.