This is a book of love and hate and the fine line between the two...as a story and for the listener. This may be one of those books better read than listened to, unless you already read the book. Reason being, the first 7 hours are a first person narrative of lands, people, clans, cultures, houses, roles, gods, relations, duties and more...you need a map and outline which the book provides (after I googled in frustration with my utter confusion). During the first part, the first person narrator reminded me of a foreign correspondent report for CNN...I was just waiting for the "this is Christine Amanpor reporting from the Middle East". Because the ratings were so high I figured the book had to get better and less confusing...and it does. The second have of the book continues Phedre narration but with more character dialogue and less summary. What follows is a unique take, a rollicking medieval tale of love, war, friendship, oaths, sword fights, honor and duty, and bettrayal...and the narration becomes more interesting and at times riveting. Yes there is "deviant" sex (in our 21st century standards)on the part of Phedra,the narrator, who must experience pain with pleasure but you understand her plight more as the story evolves and are taken with her courageous spirit and appreciate her forgiving nature. By the end of the book you truly admire the message provided in the story. This is a first book for Jacqueline Carey, and for such an intricate sage it is very impressive. Two books follow this one. If you google Kushiels Chosen at books.google.com you can see a map and list of families/lands which will help in understanding the plots and dimensions of the book. There are three other books developed with different characters.
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