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Kushiel's Dart Audiobook

Kushiel's Dart

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Publisher's Summary

The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 02-20-17
    Carol Massachusetts 02-20-17

    Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!

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    "A unique (and complete!) epic fantasy series"

    Noticed this title, a long-time favorite of mine, is being offered in a “first-in-series” sale on Audible, and decided to give this book and the whole series a shout-out.

    The books of "Kushiel's Legacy" are a finished and polished epic, no wondering about when the next volume will come out. Comprising two connected trilogies, each of the six books is complete in itself, but they need to be read in order. They are remarkable for the complexity, likeability, and immediacy of the many characters, their unique take on religion, and an amazing world that’s recognizably based in medieval Europe, but with a slight shift to the magical. It’s as if author Jacqueline Carey thought, “What if instead of a middle ages dominated by religious hatred and persecutions we had a Europe where many different religions, as well as magic, were accepted at face value, and instead of moral certitude there reigned an attitude of ‘love as thou wilt.’”

    This is the world of Phaedre, born an anguisette who experiences pain and pleasure as one. Kushiel, as in some Judeo-Christian traditions, is the angel of punishment. Phaedre, narrator of the first three volumes, is raised as a courtesan of exquisite and unique talents and is exactingly schooled in the politics of Terre d’Ange (“Land of the Angels,” analogous to France) and its potential allies and enemies, which she visits (voluntarily or not) in the course of the first trilogy. In the second trilogy, the focus shifts to Imriel, prince of Terre d’Ange, who has been fostered by Phaedre and her consort Joscelin (a warrior-priest of the celibate order of the Angel Casiel—and how *that* love story plays out is worthy of Shakespeare!).

    The Phaedre volumes are narrated by Anne Flosnik, who took some getting used to but I came to accept; having already read the books, Phaedre was so indelibly etched in my own mind that I’m not sure any narrator could have satisfied me. Imriel’s books are narrated by the ever-reliable and always enjoyable Simon Vance.

    A quick rundown of the series in order:

    “Kushiel’s Dart.” A superb classic. Phaedre’s life from early childhood to about 20. Can be read alone or as the start of the series, but is an absolutely necessary foundation for the rest of the books. Explicit S&M sex scenes and one heartbreaking loss.

    “Kushiel’s Chosen.” My favorite of the six books. Swashbuckling adventures in Serenissima (Venice) and on the islands of the Mediterranean. Pirates. Plot twists and turns that I never saw coming. More sex scenes. Love triumphs.

    “Kushiel’s Avatar.” In many ways the most violent of the trilogy. Takes Phaedre into slavery in the mystical Mideast in a quest to save the life of young Prince Imriel and to fulfil her vow to rescue a dear friend from a life of eternal isolation and misery.

    “Kushiel’s Scion” Shift in focus to Prince Imriel de la Courcel, from his adolescence in Terre d’Ange through his college days in Tiberium (Rome). Starts slow, boffo ending.

    “Kushiel’s Justice” The slowest of the six books. A sexy start turns into Imriel’s tortured quest for vengeance and atonement. The journey takes him through Skaldia (northern Germany) and into Vralia (Russia). Too much snow and angst, and not enough of the supporting characters that make the other books so wonderful.

    “Kushiel’s Mercy” AND it all comes together. The journeys set in motion in Phaedre’s first adventures reach a climax, and it all meshes wonderfully. There’s more magic and less sex in this one than the others, but there’s plenty of edge-of-your-seat adventure and what-will-happen-next.

    It should be obvious from all the reviews that if you dislike explicit and/or non-traditional sex, or are troubled by stories that treat religion in highly non-orthodox ways, this series is not for you. But if you like epic fantasy, I think this story equals (although it is much different from) Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” (aka “Game of Thrones”)—*and* it is complete!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olivia 12-18-16
    Olivia 12-18-16

    Eclectic bookworm...I listen to a little bit of everything. Give up after listening to something for 20 minutes and don't like it.

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    "Different, to say the least"

    In my opinion, the audiobook was well worth the credit. At 31 hours, the story was long and immersive. The plot was elaborate, clever, and certainly very unique. The narrator was excellent. Still due to the somewhat taboo nature of the plot, my guess is it's not for everyone. 

    In Carey's imagined country of Terre d'Ange, prostitutes are "servants of naamah," a religious / spiritual designation. The protagonist Phedre is sold into indentured servitude by her mother at the age of 4. Fortunately for her, she is purchased by a cunning but ultimately kindhearted nobleman who sculpts her into a first-class courtesan with espionage capabilities, and the ability to speak multiple languages.

    Phedre is unique among her kind in that she is marked by a god called Kushiel with a red mote in her eye. This mote essentially signifies that she enjoys being on the receiving end of s&m. Accordingly, her "patrons" tend to be on the more brooding and aggressive side. 

    Surprisingly, though, the book really is not that erotic. The sex scenes are glossed over and often all together omitted, serving mainly to move the plot and Phedre’s character development along.

    At times the story seemed a bit dull and drawn out. I felt there could have been more romance and that some of the characters like Hyacinth, Joscelin, and Melisande could have been more developed. They seemed a bit two-dimensional and I couldn't get myself to care that much about them. I also noticed that Phedre continually (as in every 2 minutes or less) would say something like "whether it did any good I do not know," or "what they thought of me I cannot say," or "how much it grieved him I cannot guess." I'm sure Carey, clearly a skilled and gifted writer, was aware of this tendency so I'm wondering if this was merely a literary crutch or intentional, as in that was the manner of speaking in Terre d'Ange. Either way, I found it distracting.

    All this being said, overall I thought it was a great audiobook and those who like historical fantasy novels with intricate plots, without the excess blood lust / testosterone of Game of Thrones, ought to give it a try.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Trefan Calgary, Canada 06-01-12
    T. Trefan Calgary, Canada 06-01-12 Member Since 2016

    Compulsively Reading

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    "I don't know if I can finish this"

    After listening for 11 hours, I've had to switch to something else more fast paced. This book is so ploddingly slow, I just can't endure it right now. It's putting me to sleep at work while I listen to it. Who knows if I'll ever come back to finish it. In my experience, if the first several hours have put you to sleep - it generally doesn't get much better.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tke 01-12-11
    tke 01-12-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Great listen!"

    This is a great book, and the narrator is one of the best I've listened to. I generally only listen to audiobooks while I'm cleaning house, working out, ect, but I was so captivated by this series that I found myself staying up late to listen and my house sparkled! At first I thought it might be better to read it to help keep all the intricate details straight, but ended up preferring to listen because I enjoyed the narrator so much (I also would have driven myself crazy trying to figure out all the correct pronunciations). Although I would not recommend this to someone who is easily offended by graphic sex scenes or someone looking for a "light read", it is definitely right up my alley and I very much enjoyed it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Kawaguchi Redmond, WA 03-17-10
    M. Kawaguchi Redmond, WA 03-17-10 Member Since 2013

    An eclectic wordist. YA? Fantasy? Sci-fi? Humor? Yes. Yes, please. I like what ifs, relatively happy endings, and strong narrators.

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    "Brits in Terra D'Ange?"

    I love this book. I loved it on paper and I love it in my ears. It's rich and dark, like good chocolate. And the reader is very good, with a nice set of voices for the characters. However, I was unable to get over having a British accent in the voice of the narrator, Phaedra, because the novel is very clearly set in an alternate version of France. It was very jarring, and the pronunciation of some words and names was different from what I expected. Still, an excellent version of an excellent book. Recommended highly.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 05-13-09
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 05-13-09 Member Since 2011
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    "Amazing when I read it years ago . . ."

    Even better as an audio book! I have always promised myself to go back and read this series again, but I've never found the time. BUT! As an audio book, the Kushiel series is AWESOME! I highly recommend it for adult readers who like their fantasy on the spicy side. (I also LOVE the narrator!) Be smart -- buy this one, and prepare to be amazed!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 06-28-12 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

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    "Thought my player was broken"

    I looked at my player and could not believe I had only been listening for seven hours. I thought I had been listening for seven days. I tried to get into this, the language is beautiful and it is about a whore and her pimp. The first four chapters were ok, when are little dart is coming of age, and she actually does things. After chapter four it is blah, blah , blah, blah. I wanted to throw my player out the window.

    If you like the movie Tess, you might like this. If you like George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb or Orson Scott Card, you will be so disappointed.

    At one point the main character complains about having to study boring history and then she turns around explains the boring history to us!!!

    I don't get it.

    Anne Flosnik is an excellent narrator. I did not give her five stars, because she is popular enough to pick her own material and she should have never agreed to this mind numbing dribble.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica ROMA, Australia 03-27-17
    Jessica ROMA, Australia 03-27-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Wrong narrator"

    I love this book but AF is a terrible choice for narrator. Phedre (pronounced Fairdra) is a god-touched courtesan of the highest quality. She is a sensual, poetic, delightful character, best summed up by the phrase "That which yields is not always weak."

    The tale takes place in what we now call France but all other countries, near and far, are referred to by their ancient names: Arigonia, Bhodestan, Carthage and so on. It's an alternative history, a "what if" Elua (son of Yeshua/Jesus and Mary Magdalene) walked the Earth and had a following of fallen angels, and together they bred with mortals and settled a country whose name would become Terre D'Ange.

    With angelic heritage still singing in their veins, the people of Terre D'Ange pursue wholesome lives filled with religion (love as thou wilt) and, for the more adventurous, the game of thrones.

    JC is a poetic writer, encompassing ever so much in such a short book. But it would best have been served by someone with a lustrous, rich voice. AF's voice is too high pitched, she is terrible at men's voices and she pronounces almost everything incorrectly. Seriously! Terre D'Ange becomes Terre D'ARnge, Phedre becomes Feddra, and ... oh way too many to keep score on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennie Mars Colorado 09-30-15
    Jennie Mars Colorado 09-30-15
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    "I'm going to dig out my eardrums"
    What would have made Kushiel's Dart better?

    A better narrator! Did no one screen this woman for her ability to do anything except pronounce pseudo-french words?! Awful voice overall, terrible accents, grating and grotesque.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Anne Flosnik?

    Literally anyone else. Dear lord, Dobby from Harry Potter would have been easier to listen to. Ramming nails in my ears would have been a more pleasurable experience.
    She does not know how to pace. Parts that are read with a pause for effect she bowls over with the grace of a steamroller. She reads the Viking-esque barbarians as pseudo-asian Hun type characters. They're Nords! Are you so damned limited in your accents? Oh, thank the LAWD you don't pronounce the last three letters of 'linguisement' but all forbid you give the damn Nords Nordic accents. AUGH.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara 10-17-13
    Tamara 10-17-13

    Book Addict.My preferred books are historical fictions, fantasy (supernatural) fictions, or just good fiction.

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    "An Epic Adventure well read and engaging."
    Where does Kushiel's Dart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've read over 250+ books, and it is definitely in the top ⅓rd of my favorite books.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Even though Phèdre is the heroine of the story, I also felt a strong connection to the supporting characters such as Anaphaèl (her master), Iacente (her best friend), and Joceline (her companion).


    What about Anne Flosnik’s performance did you like?

    Love her reading and truly appreciated giving each character their own voice and personality.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The story and thanks to the narrator, I felt as if I were part of the adventure too as a silent friend and felt strong emotions at times, enough that I cried over the loss of some of Phèdre's companions as if I had lost someone dear to me myself. I strongly felt some of the stress and weight that Phèdre's decisions could entail for herself.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for a new and different epic adventure, you won't be disappointed. The story is beautiful and beautifully read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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