This wonderful novel is a sensuous fantasy of sacrifice and conspiracy, which will be loved by fans of George R. R. Martin and Sylvia Day alike.
Phèdre has been trained as a skilled spy, courtesan and strategist under her tutor's watchful eye. He was the first to see she'd been touched by the god Kushiel's dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. And above all, Phèdre was taught to observe, remember, and analyze, skills that may yet save her life.
Once before, Phèdre gave up everything she held dear to save her homeland, but the gods wishes still cast a shadow over her. For while their young queen is well-loved by her people, there are some who believe other heads should wear the crown. It seems factions who previously escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with schemes for power and revenge.
To protect and serve, Phèdre must once again leave her beloved homeland. She will meet old friends and new enemies . . . and uncover an earth-shattering plot masterminded by the one person she cannot deny.
Kushiel's Dart, the first in this trilogy, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. It also won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Fantasy.
After Carey's boldly imaginative fantasy debut, Kushiel's Dart (2001), in which the dauntless Ph dre n Delaunay used intelligence and sexual skill to triumph in politics and war in a Renaissance-like world, Ph dre, elevated to the peerage and resuming her anguisetteduties, returns for further fabulous, if at times redundant, adventures, determined to rest on something other than her laurels. While the first novel told a coming-of-age story, the sequel covers only a relatively brief period, though it has enough plot lines and melodrama for six heroines. The action first focuses on the recapture of Ph dre's evil nemesis, the dominating Melisande Shahrizai, who has escaped from prison and death. Alas, the initially fascinating Melisande turns into a tiresome harridan. Later plot twists include everything from a journey to the Venetian La Serenissima to imprisonment at Melisande's hands in a mountainous jail on a lonely island. For opulence, a costume ball rivals that of Broadway's Phantom of the Opera. Carey is adept at bringing both her exotic settings and vast cast of characters fully to life. The dream of every man and not a few women, Ph dre is too much to handle for all but her faithful Joscelin, the Cassiline monk who defied his vows to remain her loving companion. Ph dre's first outing deservedly won her a host of followers, but wordiness and needless complexity combine to make this hefty novel less of a stellar achievement than its predecessor.