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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

Critic Reviews

"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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,112
  • 4 Stars
    526
  • 3 Stars
    262
  • 2 Stars
    145
  • 1 Stars
    119

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    951
  • 4 Stars
    410
  • 3 Stars
    183
  • 2 Stars
    58
  • 1 Stars
    64

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    963
  • 4 Stars
    355
  • 3 Stars
    173
  • 2 Stars
    104
  • 1 Stars
    90
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  • Overall

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

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  • Story

BORING.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

More explicit sex. Seriously, it's okay to have sex scenes in a story with plot. Also, a lot less politics. So much politics involving people you only know by name.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The talk about this story involved the main character being a true masochist, and the masochism scenes were diappointingly glossed over. I feel like I fell for a con.

What does Anne Flosnik bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her reading was excellent, it was the story that resulted in me not finishing this book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment!

Any additional comments?

Politics, politics, politics, badly summarized sex scene, more politics.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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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  • Benjamin
  • Kalamazoo, MI, United States
  • 03-11-13

About What Happened, I Will Not Speak...

What disappointed you about Kushiel's Dart?

That phrase I've cited in my headline shows up entirely too much in such a long book. It seems everything that is interesting, Phedra (the protagonist and narrator) doesn't care to elaborate on. Oh she will drone on and on about the beauty of her people or the mythology of their creation, but get to something with some pathos and it's fade to black. The book already limits the readers vision by giving us everything from its protagonist's point of view exclusively. To have her censor for us as well leaves us feeling second step removed from the entire tale. Hint, if something is not important enough to be spoken of in your account or if its too delicate a matter to confide to your reader, DON'T MENTION IT.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

By the ending, my give a damn was just about busted. Every time the author would pull me in, get me caring about something or someone, she'd shuffle the moment off screen. There was one liaison between Phedra and Hyacinth, two of the main characters, that had been building the entire book. When she finally got there though, it was two sentences and fade to black. The author wasted hilarious amounts of time on banal details of setting, but come a moment of true feeling (or even just carnality) and she'd shy away.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator was fine. She had a good voice, acted well, carried multiple roles. Nothing wrong with that at all.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I'm am giving Kushiel's Dart a hard time. The book had an elaborate detailed and intricate plot. It's what kept me going through all the frustrations with the method and style of its telling. I wanted to know what happened. That's why story wise I rated it higher than the overall rating. She developed a rich world. It was a terrible pity that she decided only to let us peek through a knothole to have a look at it.

Any additional comments?

This has the feel of an older style of writing. It is very classy and demure. For a barbarian like me, it was a bit too cultured maybe. If you like material like the Bronte's, I think you would enjoy this text. Don't come looking to be shocked though, because Ms. Carey won't let you see anything too terribly shocking. Her protagonist is too much of a lady to talk about such things.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Overall Very Satisfying

Who was your favorite character and why?

Phèdre steals the show - despite it all. She is an Anguisette - which in modern parlance probably means sexual masochist. I cannot say i completely 'get' the draw as described - but i did get the eloquence with which it was described. I totally got the stream-of-conscience type explorations into Phedra's thought processes as she grew up and into herself. And although her being an Aguisette was a pivotal reality - it was only a portion of the person we learned of, and that she grew in to! Phèdre was one of the most realistically crafted characters I've encountered in a long time! She was hot, she was cold, she loved as she hated, she vascillated, she fought and she won and she lost, she made decisions and doggedly stuck to them - despite! That was her gift to the reader - being real.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was just too long for one sitting - and i found the enforced breaks in listening great opportunities to think on the way Carey gently challenged religious and moral tomes.

Any additional comments?

Carey has crafted an interesting world - with a different moral and religious structure - giving one pause to consider their own beliefs on occasion. There are many paralells that can be made between Jewish tennets and those Carey has laid out. It is all done without intent to insult, and i believe she has accomplished that! The blending of various cultures is well done! I am amused that this series, this first book written so many years ago, is only now coming to general popularity, as our society is starting to openly explore and be more accepting of "alternate" lifestyles and sexual practices.

Carey takes us on a long trip, where we meet some lovely people, and some very scarey ones, and some very very memorable ones, but they are all real! Despite the Medieval-style timeframe, the intrigues and betrayals, loyalties and conflicts, the myths and legends, and loves, it all feel very timeless. There are those little bits of detail in the descriptions of a setting or situation that Carey does so well, without the violence necessarily becoming overpowering.

Phèdre and Joscelin are. What they are evolves, changes, becomes victim and beneficiary of wants, needs, desires, schemes and betrayals, and friendships and loves and loyalties of all types, from almost every possible direction. And yet ...
I am going to continue with this series - I enjoy Phèdre's world. I want to see where she has yet to go - what she can accomplish! What she and Joscelin can accomplish.
And she reminds me in so many ways - that which yeilds is not necessarily weak!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C.
  • 07-17-12

A fascinating look in a new world!

If you like immersing yourself in a new world- detailed descriptions and plots of religions, politics, cultures- this is a great book. The narrator is great for the most part, because her tone gives an ethereal ambiance. Her voice for male characters could be a little more varied; sometimes I lost track of which male character was talking, despite the accents. Kushiel's Dart overall is a terrific story and great audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Katherine
  • LEXINGTON, KY, United States
  • 07-06-12

Complexly delicious

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the world of believable fantasy that is weaved. The story is a bit complex to follow in the beginning, but quickly becomes one that is easily and enticing to follow.

Heads up for some slight S&M and sexual references, but nothing is as obvious and extensive as with say 50 Shades, but enough that it makes for a good addition to the credibility of the main character.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sarah
  • willimantic, CT, United States
  • 10-20-10

A beautiful read (or listen)!

This book is amazing in its scope, detail and complexity. It is also beautifully and intelligently written and researched. Carey's alternate world is detailed and believable, with clear parallels to our world. Anne Flosnik also does a fantastic job of narrating it. While it has sexual content of the more adventurous variety and is clearly not a book for those uptight about sexuality, the sex is never gratutious. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fanstasy, or just good literature.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Erin
  • Westminster, MD, USA
  • 05-26-10

Breathtaking

I can't give enough praise to Jacqueline Carey and her unforgettable heroine Phedre. The writing is gorgeous, the scenery lush, and the characters are complex and believable. It was slow at first and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get into the story. But stick with it. After a few hours, you'll be hooked. Anne Flosnik is a talented, talented narrator. She really brought the beautiful prose-like quality of the author's writing to life and her emotional reading made the audiobook fly by so fast I was ready to cry when it was over. I didn't want it to end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful