Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Intricate plotting, beautiful writing, and impressive characterization weave together to make Kushiel’s Dart an unforgettable story. An epic fantasy which draws you in slowly and sets its hooks deep, making you feel as if you’re reading about friends or family members whose history you know and whose future you cannot wait to discover.

I had been putting off reading this book because I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about a masochistic main character. What I discovered was a fantastically developed and rich character who, in her world, served her God and those she loved in a truly heroic fashion.

The number of characters, sub-characters, nations, and houses reminded me of George R.R. Martin in their detail and development, but the story remained focused on the character(s) that I wanted to know about. I flew through this book and enjoyed every minute of intrigue and tension. I might have to go to a bookstore today to find Kushiel’s Chosen and Kushiel’s Avatar.

Fantasy readers, this is a book you don’t want to miss!

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16 Responses to Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

  1. You use the word ‘might’ in regards to reading on. If you really aren’t sure, you have better willpower than I do. I tore through the series until I was caught up. Then she started releasing the Naamah trilogy. Boy, you talk about setting the hook deep! My adoration for Phedre is only exceeded by Moirin of the last trilogy.

    I suppose it’s no secret that JC is my literary hero–her name is among the top tags on my blogsite, behind only ‘writing’ and ‘historical fantasy.’ And she’s got a new one (set in a renamed version of her hometown of Saugatuck, MI) coming in September. She’s an auto-buy for me.

    So glad you enjoyed Dart, Nicole!

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’m excited to hear that she has a whole new series to read after this one. Hopefully she can keep one book ahead of me and I’ll never run out of something to read. :)

      • jaggedtoothgrin says:

        actually, she’s got three other serieses: Santa Olivia + Saints Astray, Banewreaker + Godslayer, both sets of which are great (i’m currently rereading Banewreaker) and the new Dark Currents thing, which one can only assume will also be excellent. i’ll not try to sell you on them, explain them, or otherwise convince you to read them aside from saying they’re great, and just like the masochist angle in Kushiel’s Dart, if you read the blurb to one of her other books and think “i’m not sure i’ll like this” then you’d be wrong.

        • Nicole says:

          I don’t think I will ever doubt again. :) It’s exciting to know there’s such a huge body of work waiting for me to dive into. Thanks for letting me know, and for stopping by jaggedtoothgrin (fun user name by the way).

  2. D. D. Falvo says:

    I’ve never read anything by this author but you have convinced me, with your very engaging review, that this is a must read for me. I’m in currently the middle of Robin Hobbs’s Assassin Series, but after that– Kushiel’s Dart is next. :D

    • Nicole says:

      OOH, I also LOVE Robin Hobb! Have fun reading that, and when you get around to it I’m confident you’ll enjoy Kushiel’s Dart. To make it extra special, as Vaughn mentioned, the author is from Michigan! Woohoo!

  3. jess says:

    Agree about the George RR Martin comparison on the first trilogy. Phedre’s Kusheil books only get better through the trilogy. Nice write-up.

    • Nicole says:

      I’m so glad to hear that the series keeps getting better, not that it would need to! Thank you for the compliment and taking the time to comment Jess! I hope to see you back sometime.

  4. Ed Akehurst says:

    Jacqueline Carey is at the very top of my favorite fiction authors list, bar none.

    Glad to see you enjoyed the story. I stumbled across her works quite a few years ago and have read everything she has ever written. Truly amazing and inspiring.

    There are many more volumes for you to tackle in this series and it’s follow ups, as well as several others. She also has an excellent two-part series called The Sundering, consisting of Godslayer and Banewreaker – this one has a very interesting twist on the protagonist. Imagine Sauron being the “misunderstood protagonist” of Tolkein’s Middle Earth and you’ll have an idea of the fresh and unusual viewpoint she comes from in this set.

    Would love to see your thoughts on some of her other works. Kushiel’s Dart is truly awesome, but it’s just the beginning!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you for those recommendations Ed. I love your description of Sauron as the misunderstood protagonist, I’m intrigued. I am also genuinely grateful that you stopped by! I hope to hear from you again and talk books, I love talking about books. :)

  5. Saleigh Strohl says:

    Kushiel’s Dart series is wonderful and the second trilogy Kushiel’s Scion is equally as good. Ms. Carey is equally good in either male or female POV. She is on my re-read list yearly along with Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series.

    • Nicole says:

      I completely understand why she’s on your re-read list. I am so impressed with this book! I’m not familiar with Anne Bishop but I will definitely look up the Black Jewel series. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Kate says:

    Robin Hobb and Jacqueline Carey are my two fave authors of all time. They both do epic amazingly! If you love one – for sure try the other! These are cannot put down, reading til 4 in the morning even though you have to get up at dawn books. And they only get better with each successive volume – trust me and go get the next 2 right away, you’ll be glad you did!

    • Nicole says:

      I’m convinced! Going now Kate! :) I love it when I find books that keep me up late into the night. It’s amazing what power a story can have over us isn’t it? All the stumbling around and extra coffee for a few days is totally worth it!

  7. Jude says:

    Beautifully written Nicole!

    I’m currently reading Kushiel series for umpteenth time and it always feels like I’m back with people I adore. Characters and plot are so beautifully and richly developed by Jacqueline Carey.

    Nodded in agreement when you said she “…remained focused on the character(s) that I wanted to know about…” and when Saleigh commented “…equally good in either male or female POV.” So true!

    That’s precisely what lost my interest in George R R Martin’s works, and here I must vent: I invested so much in the characters of the first book or two of Ice & Fire, only to have most of them killed off or ignored in later books. He’s lost me I’m afraid. Couldn’t sustain my interest due to increasing ho hum factor of new characters (really, who gives a shit about most of later-introduced characters?), plus the smatterings of predominantly misogynistic and ‘cheap shot’ sexual liaisons throughout the series. Meh!

    Complete opposite to Jacqueline Carey. Any confronting brutality (sexual or otherwise) in Carey’s work is depicted such that I don’t feel like I need a shower afterwards – as with Martin’s – yet she doesn’t spare us the gory details. Am I missing something in Martin’s writing? Apologies to those who love his work, I struggle to do so. There was so much promise and richness in his I & F Book 1, only to descend into disappointment for this reader. Funny, but I feel respected as a reader by Carey, but not by Martin. Is it just me..?

    Carey’s second Kushiel trilogy is as delicious as the first, and the characters are as lovable and engaging as Phedre and Joscelin. Moirin (Naamah series) is also gorgeous, but I have to disagree with you Vaughn: NO ONE surpasses Phedre, NO ONE!

    No one here has mentioned author Patrick Rothfuss’ ‘The Name of the Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’. Beautiful fantasy writing and characterisation. Book 3 in the trilogy has not been released yet, and no fixed release date. The wait is killing me…

    Kushiel series: desert island books for sure.

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Jude! Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful comments.

      I am a fan of George R.R. Martin because, as you said, books one and two are amazing. He is a phenomenal writer, and I am awed by the complexity of the plot and character relationships through the entire series. I can appreciate the kind of time and effort which has gone into the work. That being said, I agree with many of your points. I think I am still a fan because I am an eternal optimist. I keep thinking things are going to get better (for the characters). I keep believing that someone I like is going to make it. If I am wrong, as the ending to Dance With Dragons might lead one to believe, I will be deeply disappointed. I did have a harder time getting through DWD since much of the dark violence seemed unnecessary for the story as a whole and there were fewer characters in whose stories I felt invested. I certainly do wonder how he’s going to clean it all up and bring it to conclusion, so I must keep reading. It’s like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (which Brandon Sanderson is doing an amazing job with I think). Once I’ve read a dozen books in a single series I really want to know how it’s going to end, preferably soon!

      I like your point about feeling respected as a reader. I’ve never thought of it in those terms, but it’s true. Readers love the world and characters that stories pull them into and it’s like losing a friend when a favorite character is gone. I think there’s a fine line between making a reader genuinely scared for a character, and losing his/her loyalty, as has happened with you.

      I LOVE Patrick Rothfuss! He is an incredibly talented storyteller and from his blog and personal comments seems to be a genuinely good person. I was able to attend a book signing for The Wise Man’s Fear and Patrick is as witty in person as he is on paper, or screen. He has a talent for connecting with an audience and for comedic timing. I am also eagerly awaiting the third installment of his series.

      You’ve given me a lot to think about Jude! I appreciate you stopping by and I hope to see you around again!

I would love to hear from you!