Mighty Kushiel, of rod and weal
Late of the brazen portals
With blood-tipp’d dart a wound unhealed
Pricks the eyen of chosen mortals
The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.
Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman, the first to recognize that she is one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. He trained Phèdre in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber—and, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze.
When she stumbled upon a plot that threatened the very foundations of her homeland, she gave up almost everything she held dear to save it. She survived, and lived to have others tell her story, and if they embellished the tale with fabric of mythical splendor, they weren’t far off the mark.
The hands of the gods weigh heavily upon Phèdre’s brow, and they are not finished with her. While the young queen who sits upon the throne is well loved by the people, there are those who believe another should wear the crown… and those who escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with their schemes for power and revenge.
Title : Kushiel’s Chosen
Author : Jacqueline Carey
Series : Phèdre’s Trilogy (book two)
Format : physical
Page Count : 678
Genre : fantasy romance
Publisher : Tor Fantasy
Release Date : April 6, 2002
Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 3 star review
As I said in my review for my reread of book one, I couldn’t actually think of where the story went next. I thought everything I had remembered was contained to book one. But, like has happened before, once I was in this instalment.. it did start to come back. Not all, but some. Having said that, I imagine that’ll be my experience for book three, too, because from here.. I don’t know what comes next. Maybe I’ll remember that one, maybe I won’t. It’s just funny to experience the “nothing nothing noth– oh, wait, here we go” switch.
Now, the question for book one was whether the enjoyment was nostalgia or not and actually in hindsight I don’t think it was the latter. I do think that’s a strong book, with adventure times and romance and intrigue, and this one has much of that as well but somehow didn’t quite land the same way. At least not until closer to the end where things were juicier and the confrontations that had been building for hundreds of pages finally happened.
Part of this feeling could also be attributed to the fact that our lovebirds are at odds and then separated for the majority of this. While I thought their wee confessions in book one kind of out of sync with events, this time? This time their reunion, their feels, everything was perfect. Which I guess means it was worth them going through all those horrid motions up until that point.
And speaking of motions.. the whole Melisande/Phèdre thing perplexes my adult brain. Like, I get it but I don’t get it. And I have to think that ends in book three, though at this time I cannot remember, but like talk about a toxic dynamic and I want to be free of it. But as much as it makes me want to pull a Phèdre and smash my head against the wall, I do have to admire the powerplays and countermoves between these two women. I know this book isn’t that old but it is ancient as far as modern publishing is concerned and I do love that Carey made this main conflict between two women and gave it so many complex layers.
Actually, much of what Carey did, starting with book one, seem to differ much from a lot of fantasy that was written at the time. And even, sadly, up until recently. I couldn’t have predicted how this series would hold up but, again, despite some of the content (which you’ll either run with or run away from), it doesn’t seem to stumble over a lot of the pitfalls of the time. Or, again, it’s nostalgia leaving me blind to them (I will do some review reading once I’m done the third book). This isn’t really a series I would push on anyone but hey, if it sounds like you’re thing and you have time for an epic (or three..), why not try it out.