Phèdre nó Delaunay is a woman pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Her path has been strange and dangerous, and through it all the devoted swordsman Joscelin has been at her side. Her very nature is a torturous thing for them both, but he is sworn to her and he has never violated his vow: to protect and serve.
But Phèdre's plans put Joscelin's pledge to the test, for she has never forgotten her childhood friend Hyacinthe. She has spent ten long years searching for the key to free him from his eternal indenture, a bargain he struck with the gods - to take Phèdre's place as a sacrifice and save a nation. Phèdre cannot forgive - herself or the gods. She is determined to seize one last hope to redeem her friend, even if it means her death.
The search will bring Phèdre and Joscelin across the world, to distant courts where madness reigns and souls are currency, and down a fabled river to a land forgotten by most of the world.And to a power so mighty that none dare speak its name.
©2008 Jacqueline Carey; (P)2009 Tantor
A published novelist and technical writer, who lives in Northern California with a cranky but loveable parrot and lots of books.
This is one of my favorite fantasy series, and Anne Flosnik's narration really helps to bring Phedre, Joscelin, Imriel, Melisande, and others to life. The first Kushiel trilogy comes to triumphant conclusion as Phedre and Joscelin embark on a quest to find the kidnapped boy Imriel, son of Melisande and third in line to the throne. Their search leads them to Ptolemaic Egypt, then to Khebbel-im-Akkad, as they pursue a dangerous and degrading undercover mission to the harem of a mad cult leader.
Carey's alternate-history Europe, where Christianity remained a minor Jewish cult and Islam never rose in the Middle East, is brilliantly realized, as are her landscapes and cultures. The D/s themes and frank sexuality of these books mean they're not for everyone, but they are an amazing escape to another world... Highly recommended, and I look forward to starting the next Kushiel trilogy.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Carey is obviously a gifted writer in many different ways. The world she has created (actually just a variant of our own but with a new cast of characters) is richly researched, reimagined and rendered. Her plotting is as sure handed as it is intricate. And she mines some pretty unorthodox psycho sexual material fearlessly. Her characters are engaging and consistent. Now if she could just shake her self indulgent penchant for spending huge amounts of time reminisciing about the events in her previous Kushial stories, she would cut the length of her book by thirty percent, move it along at a much more enjoyable pace and lose nothing. If I want the details of what went before, I will read the books I have missed. I came very close to giving up on this one by the end of the first section. Happily the story finally began to happen, gradually, at that point, though there were still far too many flashbacks for my taste. Between those flashbacks there was a really good book.
This book is #3 in the Kushiel series.
Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's Mercy.
I loved Phedre from the start. The book does stand on its own but it would really be better if you read the first two.
The adventure, the exotic places, customs, and the horrors Phedre and Joselin face were so well written and narrated that I felt I was with them.
It was perfect. A lot of unexpected turns and events happen but at the end Phedre does succeed in things she even didn't know she wanted.
Listen to it!
Hate the narrator
In order to get the rest of this series, I am forced to endure her voice, severely dissapointed.
I originally bought the series in paperback and was overjoyed to find them on audio, until I heard her voice. I wasn't aware that every woman in the world was either squeaky and annoying or obviously fake sultry, nor did I know that every man was a deep forced baritone that would put the Christian Bale Batman voice to shame. Wonderful story, needs a new voice talent.
I've enjoyed a love-hate relationship with this series so far. The first two were good, but the violent sex stuff is not my thing. Well, this book takes it to a whole new level, and I found myself questioning if am otherwise good story is worth the damage to my psyche. In the end, I decided that the damage had already been done before I knew to stop... I may be overreacting, but it was bad enough that I spent a couple days debating whether or not I should finish the book. Luckily I had already gotten past the worst of it, and the rest of the boom was pleasurable.
I still think the story is great, but I wish there were sensors versions of these books that gloss over the horrific details, and just give me the story.
I mistook this for SF&F. I was initially put off by the narrator's flossy, snotty style. But I was soon far more put off by the S&M undertones--which, by the second part, had become overtones. Too bad, because it is well-written for the most part, but I couldn't finish it because of the masochistic and increasingly brutal sexuality. However, if that's what floats your boat, you'll love this.
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