Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission...and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair...and beyond.
Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart - a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new.
©2008 Jacqueline Carey; (P)2009 Tantor
"This brilliant and daring debut catapults Carey immediately into the top rank of fantasy novelists." (Publishers Weekly)
"A very sophisticated fantasy, intricately plotted and a fascinating audiobook." (Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series)
The story is intricate and subtle. As the story weaves its web you are drawn in and find it hard to believe that you have reached the end even after all the hours required to get there. Time passes quickly as you are waiting for the next harrowing chapter. Simply loved it!
Author Jacqueline Carey's prose lingers lustfully over every syllable. As she invents nations, customs, creeds, gods and half-a-dozen languages, she twists her syllables around with care and wit. When narrator Anne Flosnik pronounces a word strangely, it usually seems like a reasonable alternative. This perfect pairing of story and narration is quickly captivating so that one begins searching the schedule to find time to hear more.
It's a ride, an extravagent adventure that surpasses anything I've encountered before and my most satisfying audiobook experience yet. Characters grow and learn in realistic if unexpected ways. The storyline grows with them, in fact, with vividly depicted scenes in a remarkably real world.
She doesn't enact the story, but the quiet urgency in her tone sounds like she's as interested in the next page as we listeners are.
Lots of them, all of which are too important to the narrative to reveal here. Joys and sorrows, victories and defeats, challenges met and missed are all woven into this mesmerizing narrative.
Every hero must have an Achilles heel. For Phaedra, it is her intoxication with pain. But do not mistake this for a formulaic Middle Ages S&M saga. The author's skill and taste do not linger explicitly but use this kink - and other behaviors sexual, tender, noble, greedy and violent - to form extraordinary characters in a bold, energetic storyline of how powerfully will and duty can drive a person, and a nation, forward. Phaedra starts the book as a lost child with no resources and two curses; I assure you she doesn't stay in that condition for long.
Spellbinding. Heroine. Exciting.
When Phedra was being skinned alive.
I love her voice - her many voices. If I don't like the voice of the person reading the book, it's next to impossible to listen to the book. I love her voice.
When Phedra and Jocelyn realize they love each other.
I loved this book so much. I can't wait to read/listen to all of the books in the trilogy. I'm completely and totally hooked on this series. It was highly recommended to me and I'm highly recommending it to everyone who will listen to me.
The detailed description of how Kushiel's maiden was brought into his service and the deceit and intrigue of the nobility that drives the story.
Her Castilene guard was my favorite, he takes on te distasteful task of guarding Kushiels chosen but does it with all of his ability.
When they are captured and enslaved after being betrayed by a supposed ally.
I was a very interesting story and I probably could have listened to it all in one sitting.
This book is interesting enough to encourage me to get the whole series.
Young mom living in Japan, dealing with commute with audiobooks and knitting.
There were so many characters, names of places, and general history, it was hard to keep track of who did what to whom and why... Made it easier for me to "forget" to listen. Other books (like Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay) do deep/complicated intrigue much better, by keeping things simpler and easier to follow.
I could see where the story plots were headed from a mile away, so in that respect the story wasn't all that interesting, as it kept confirming my guesses.The most interesting element I guess was the religious aspects of the world. It was an interesting idea.
No, this was my first time listening to her. I think her voice suited the main character well.
It doesn't *need* one, but there were a few story elements that were left open, and indeed there's a follow-up book already.
The story felt a bit slow and the steamy parts (the reason why a friend recommended the book to me) weren't great. Not a bad read, but not a great one either. I'm glad the story concluded as it did, because it left me with the certainty that I don't need to read the next book of the series... reading the publisher's summary was enough.
If you want world building followed by BDSM, then this could work for you.
Move the pace faster.
quiet and slow
This was a bit too much explicit BDSM for me. I don't mind sex in a book, but this was a bit beyond where I can go and enjoy it.
I've enjoyed Anne's voice in other stories such as the Dragonkeeper stories by Hobb. Her voice takes a little getting used to, but now I love it.
This is not my usual type of book. The story of young girl sold into servitude similar to a geisha. Add the backdrop a a society rife with ambitious Counts, Marquis, of various sexes and appetites. Good story but the sex is bdsm and other alt lifestyle. The children are raised to be spies.
This book is geared to the erotic taste. I fast forwarded though a lot of the sex scenes. They were just to rough for my taste.
Phedre was done very well. She is the main character.
I have listened to the second trilogy in this series already, and I found it very engaging too. This book, the first of three parts is an excellent read/listen. The story is very good, and I found the characters engaging and fun. The narrator herself was solid, but I found her labored annunciation of the character names and places to be a bit annoying at times. The male narrator in the second trilogy was far better on this point. Overall, I really liked this and would definitely recommend.
I would recommend this book carefully, because of the amount of kinky sex.
Wow. I'm not sure I've read anything quite like it. The closest thing I can think of is the movie The Secretary... only set on another planet in a King-Arthur style world. And the Secretary is a spy.
She was perfect for the part. The main character/narrator is very melodramatic, and Anne Flosnik was able to capture her personality perfectly
Not really, I'll be honest. Sometimes the painful sex scenes made me have to turn it off.
The initial shock aside, this character grows into an amazing woman, who uses her 'god given gifts' to be a spy and save the kingdom. About a third of the way through the book, the sex tones down a little (or you get used to it?) and I began to love her character and I was hooked. The idea that sex is worshiped and being a sexual object of desire makes you priest(ess)-like in nature makes this book a must read for anyone who likes to stretch their definitions of how the world works and think about things in a slightly different way.
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