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Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Chosen

September 12, 2012

98. Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (2002)
Kushiel’s Legacy, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Kushiel’s Dart

Length: 688 pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy

Started: 27 August 2012
Finished: 02 September 2012

Where did it come from? The library booksale.
Why do I have it? I decided last time that blame was to be split between Memory, Meghan, and Clare. More blame points for all!
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 August 2012.

With a traitor close
to the throne, it’s Phèdre’s job
to find out the truth.

Summary: Phèdre nó Delaunay helped save her beloved homeland of Terre d’Ange from a barbarian invasion, and now Ysandre de la Courcel is safe on the throne. Phèdre has been adjusting to life as the Comtesse de Montrève, but when a mysterious package arrives from the city of La Serenissima, she knows that her brief respite is at an end. Because the barbarian invasion was defeated, but Melisande, its mastermind, escaped from custody… which means that there is a traitor in the very highest echelons of the government, and Ysandre’s throne may not be secure after all. In order to find out, Phèdre must re-enter Namaah’s service – something that does not sit well with Joscelin, her loyal yet conflicted guard and sometime lover. But even as Phèdre’s decision drives them apart, it will take her deep within the politics not only of Terre d’Ange, but La Serenissima as well.

Review: Oooooh, these books are so good! I didn’t love this one *quite* as much as I loved Kushiel’s Dart (for reasons I’ll get to in a minute), but overall: SO GOOD. These books are big and fat and totally absorbing, drawing me into the story even when I’m scatter-brained and otherwise short of attention. They have a good mix of sexytimes and scheming and action. Phèdre’s voice is wonderful and rich and evocative, even more so the more I read. Carey’s writing continues to be wonderful, and there are these little sparkling lines or moments or scenes that are simply perfection. The books manage to be epic in scope and yet very immediate in feeling and detail. The characters are absolutely wonderful, completely winning me over and then breaking my heart, again and again. In short, every wonderful thing I said about Kushiel’s Dart applies here, just as much.

Love as thou wilt.

They are fools, who reckon Elua a soft god, fit only for the worship of starry-eyed lovers. Let the warriors clamor after gods of blood and thunder; love is hard, harder than steel and thrice as cruel. It is as inexorable as the tides, and life and death alike follow in its wake. –p. 532

So why dock it a half-star? Joscelin. Or rather, the lack of Joscelin. I understand the narrative reasons why Phèdre and Joscelin had to spend most of this book apart, but I got surprisingly attached to him by the end of Kushiel’s Dart, so it felt like the story was missing that little spark when it was just Phèdre by herself. I also thought the subplot with the Yeshuites (i.e. what Joscelin was doing in the meantime) was not as well developed as it could have been, although I don’t know that I would have been completely happy with any explanation.

Even so, I loved the pants off this book, and can’t wait to dive into the third one in the series. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Oh my goodness, yes, highly recommended to people who like epic fantasy. Read this book. Well, read Kushiel’s Dart, since they are not at all stand-alone, and then you will be totally hooked like I was, and not need my advice to read this one too.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Experiments in Reading, Val’s Random Comments
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: No one would deny that I have known hardship in my time, brief though it has been for all that I have done in it.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 21: ““You promised me a game of batarde.”” – the direct translation is “bastard”; I can’t find a game with that name, so it may be an invention.
    .
  • p. 85: “He danced with consummate grace, and no one but I knew that his hips moved with the subtlety of a skilled tribadist, moving against me as his iron grip held me in place.” – a lesbian practice in which one partner lies on top of the other and simulates the male role in heterosexual intercourse.
    .
  • p. 87: “Accepting the scroll, I glanced at the seal; too crudely drawn for D’Angeline work, it depicted a Serenissiman carrack at harbor, a tower in the background.” – a large galleon used in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.
    .
  • p. 195: “Joscelin wore his own attire, dove-grey shirt and trousers with a long, sleeveless mandilion coat of the same drab color over it.” – a loose outer garment worn the 16th and 17th centuries.
    .
  • p. 241: “To my surprise, Severio sent his own bissone, a splendid affair with a canopy of midnight blue, the Stregazza arms worked in relief on the sides, depicting a carrack and the tower I now recognized from the Arsenal.” – a gala gondola, a boat about twice the size of an ordinary gondola.
    .
  • p. 259: “One of the schismatics, I thought; even so, his interest in Joscelin was pecuiliar.” – a person who promotes schism; an adherent of a schismatic group.
    .
  • p. 374: “La Dolorosa would have been easier to defend with proper ramparts and arrow-slits, muertrieres such as Troyes-le-Mont had sported.” – an arrow slit.
    .
  • p. 407: “Of a surety, the creature I’d seen – or thought I’d seen – had an incarnadine gaze, and I harbored no illusions but that I’d feel the prick of Kushiel’s Dart soon enough.” – blood-red.
    .
  • p. 507: ““…I adjure you to hold…”” – to command or enjoin solemnly, as under oath.
    .
  • p. 668: “…responded by shying a grape at _____’s head…” – to throw (something) with a swift motion; fling.
    .

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2012 11:50 am

    The books manage to be epic in scope and yet very immediate in feeling and detail.

    That, right there, is exactly why I love them so much. I think the reason I didn’t connect as strongly with KUSHIEL’S DART as with the later books in the series is that it took me longer to find that mix of immediacy and epicness. I suspect I’ll have better luck when I reread it (which should be soon; you’ve given me terrible Jacqueline Carey cravings!).

    • September 13, 2012 3:14 pm

      Memory – It seems only fair that since it’s your fault I’m reading these in the first place, it should be my fault that you’re re-reading them. :)

  2. September 12, 2012 10:21 pm

    I have not read this post. I am commenting to tell you that I rented this novel from the library, took forever to get to it, got eleven pages in, and it was due the next day, so I had to give it up. Your review seems oddly connected to this fact.

    • September 13, 2012 3:16 pm

      Omni – Heh. Now I’m trying to remember if anything crazy-compelling happens in the first 11 pages…

  3. September 14, 2012 1:56 pm

    Lack of Joscelin is practically a crime. But yes – these books are, for me, the perfect level of epic. I adore them, and, like Memory, I am seriously craving a reread. I wonder if I can get ebooks so I don’t have to haul them around countries any more …

    • September 17, 2012 9:37 am

      Meghan – It looks like ebooks are available, at least through Amazon US… these would get seriously chunky to cart around with you internationally!

  4. January 5, 2013 7:20 pm

    Oh, I agree with you completely about the lack of Joscelin. He’s such a perfect match for Phedre – they are so beautfully complementary – that his absence means that she has no-one to strike off. Kazan is not the same, though still an interesting character.

    I read Kushiel’s Dart back in 2003, I think, and never read the sequels until a week ago. Isn’t that astonishing?

Trackbacks

  1. REVIEW: Kushiel’s Chosen – Jacqueline Carey | Ela's Book Blog

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