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!Pdf ⚇ Kushiel's Dart ☲ 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 Ph Dre N 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 OnePh Dre 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, Ph Dre 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 Ph Dre 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 I don t care how long a book is, if it s failed to wow me by page 361 then I think it s time to give up, right I understand a few things about this book Firstly, that Jacqueline Carey is actually not a bad writer, that the world created and the politics of it are well thought out but I still don t understand why this book hasn t gotmixed reviews Are there that many people into hardcore bdsm Let s face it, that s what this book is really about.Yeah, so sex I am open minded about it and like books that use it in moderation and don t swamp the story with it Kink No problem, spices up the dullest relationship but even I have my limits You see, there s a HUGE difference between a bit of handcuffs and hair pulling, and flogging someone until they bleed and have an orgasm No, I m serious I saw before I picked it up that this book had been tagged as bdsm but when I read the description and found out that the book s all about sex and violence, I thought the GR members were being melodramatic and silly.But no, this is a fantasy world built upon some hardcore bdsm schmexing Phedre the protagonist was born with a scarlet mote in her eye, thus making herone pricked by Kushiel s dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as oneOooh, what a fanciful way of saying that she gets off on having the crap beaten out of her literally Not just that but she likes being mentally tormented as well, through harsh words and humiliation I don t think I will ever appreciate this kind of sexuality, I only got so far into the novel because I was filled with a kind of morbid fascination.I find it weird that this is so very highly rated Books that contain subjects that are a bit edgy usually end up with mixed ratings but I constantly find this series on lists of the best fantasy books of all time I m clueless Especially when it is pretty much all about sex Yeah, it s about kingdoms and politics as well but even these matters are settled with sex Andsex.Also, the politics of the book I found to be very dull It had no relation to politics in our world so I couldn t draw any parallels just the politics of a sex ruled world Ah, sex and politics, two things that can add that special something to a book or ruin it Guess which I think is the case here I enjoyed this a lot at first, in a stupid trashy way, but got bored after a while, which is why I took so long to finish it I think it reaches its height of trashy fun in Terre d Ange all the bits with Phedre living with the Skaldic tribes, getting away from them in the wintry tundra etc etc drag a lot for me Maybe it s just cos swept away by a barbarian isn t my kink.Carey has a habit of saying really obvious things in a hilariously portentous way, e.g.I asked him to pass the butter, for though as one marked by Kushiel s Dart, my greatest pleasure lies in pain, yet I am D Angeline, and appreciate the finer things in life Golden butter, springing from the roseate udders of the exquisite cattle of L Agnace, was a pure joy I had neither strength nor inclination to deny It s the butter you desire said Joscelin, my beloved, brave Cassiline Well I knew the agonies that tore him even to acknowledge my desires, for the Cassiline brethren are trained to asceticism Though they appreciate the beauty that is their birthright, as any born on Elua s blessed land must, the beauty they are drawn to is stern and cold, allowing not for butter Yes, said I and truly, it broke my heart to say it.He passed the butter, but I could tell with by one glance at his white face, still and beautiful as suffering carved into marble, that it cost him much I do not think his heart could grievethan mine did, that day when I asked him to pass the butter.This isn t even that great a parody, cos that s exactly how she writes.I did really like the worldbuilding, with all these prettily named AU versions of European countries I think probably my favourite character was Hyacinthe he was the only one who seemed to have a sense of humour. There is this new guy at my office The moment I learned he used to work at BN, I wanted to run to his desk and start hounding him about books Don t scare him off, Cassy Pace yourself. I started stealthy checking the cover of the books he d read during lunch I tested the waters before team meetings dropping the names of authors from different genres Turns out he reads a lot of fantasy, which is great I have always enjoyed the genre and seem to lean heavily toward it this year When I mentioned this book, he started blushing It piqued my interest immediately He stammered a little and won t out right recommend it, but I knew When I got back to my desk a few minutes later, there was the confirmation An email clarifying that he really loved it Read the series seven times I started the book two days later I would hold it at weird angles to hide the half nude woman on the cover from other completely oblivious people at the airport, in the hotel, outside museums, on the subway I read 300 pages during a weekend trip to NYC This book distracted me from NYC, people I am impressed by this debut It is beautifully written Sure, the sentences are a little convoluted Foreshadowing is rampant The phrase my lord peppers the pages If only I d known, in my na ve blossoming, then mayhap my beloved, my lord may have lived to see his oath satisfied and his dear homeland avenged and dipped in honey I ll admit it got old I will also confess I was moderately confused throughout the whole book Even now, I think I only really understood 85% of the intrigue The book is intricately plotted to borrow from Robert Jordan s blurb Battles, oaths, secrets, revenge, alliances, betrayals, and politics abound It poses a healthy challenge to keep up And the characters, oh, the characters They are all well drawn Not only could I tell them apart, I actually cared if they lived or died Phedre s relationship with Joscelin morphs in fascinating and subtle ways Speaking of which, Carey has an excellent sense of pacing The book spans over a decade and is already over 900 pages long She craftily speeds up a few sections while telling me just enough Last, there is strong world building I normally find invented religions boring, but hers is poetic and important to the plot In fact, everything is essential to the plot For being so long, the book is oddly concise Given all these positive feelings, I am surprised the book is not better known I would expect a Patrick Rothfuss scale excitement when her name is mentioned Well okay it is time for The Talk Maybe one sixth of the book is full of sex Some of it is standard, tastefully written sex The type and frequency you expect in this type of fantasy novel Some of it could isolate readers Think whips, punches, blades, humiliation That kind of sex Remember, in crude terms, Phedre is a prostitute who experiences pleasure through pain Innuanced terms, she is a highly intelligent spy marked by their gods and respected by the highest echelons of society Bisexuality is also accepted in this world I d say I am pretty prudish in my day to day behavior But it takes a lot to offend me when reading This sex tested my limits It puzzled me too She likes that Upside down in chains ReallyBut Carey s writing is ever elegant and thoughtful Even if I am not rushing out to buy a paddle, she helped me understand Phedre s perspective and find the entertainment value Most importantly, every scene is integral to the plot They reveal Phedre s strength of purpose, her occasional self hate, her shrewd gauge of people, political intrigues, relationship progressions, and so forth I cannot guarantee you can stomach these scenes But I won t let it turn you away from at least trying the book They are not graphic and extended If you can handle a standard torture scene, you can get through these Just think of them as adding a little spice A sprinkling of cayenne pepper on dark chocolate Beware that the book differs from a canonical fantasy novel in some aspects There are no sentient creatures other than humans Magic is limited to a couple fortune tellers and a mysterious force who commands the waters between two kingdoms There is, however, a medieval type setting and lots of lore If you are a fan of epic fantasy novels and can handle this type of sexual content, I would 100% recommend this book to you And although it is part one of a trilogy, the ending is conclusive You can clearly see the direction of the next book, but there is no great cliff hanger I very much appreciate this While I obviously enjoyed this one, I would have resented being forced into reading another 900 pages so soon. This is going to be a very unpopular review So, to all of you who may hate me after reading this, I apologize in advance From the rave reviews, and based on the vast number of people who seemingly loved this book enough to tattoo a representation of it on their body, I expected it to blow me away I love fantasy, I love stories with a kick ass female lead, and despite the fact that this might tell you a bitabout me than you bargained for, I was really looking forward to enjoying a bit of pain and pleasure vicariously through this book Unfortunately, every single one of those things fell very short for me I consider myself to be a pretty patient person I can wait through a not so great beginning to get to a great story I can even wait through a bad beginning, and a lukewarm middle to get to a great, everything comes together in the end ending But, no It started so promisingly, the very beginning setting the stage for an intricate world, society, plot, and story and then proceeded to annoy me for the next 296 pages After page 300, it did pick up, but fast paced doesn t always equal good.Some of the annoying stuff Foreshadowing Allusions Foreshadowing Euphemisms Foreshadowing Wordiness ForeshadowingFORESHADOWING narrows eyes Oddly enough, before reading this, my friend said something along the lines of, I have to warn you, the foreshadowing is very heavy handed To which I replied, Oh, I probably wouldn t have even noticed if you hadn t told me Oh silly me To which SHE replied, Yes You would Friend, 1 Becky, 0.I have never, ever, seen clumsier foreshadowing in my life Had I known, then, that this book would test my patience, stamina and sanity, would I have kept readingNo I wouldn t have I finished this book because I promised that friend I would read it, so I did Every page contained a new attempt at suspense If books came with soundtracks, this one s theme would be DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN But let s move on and not beat a dead horse The foreshadowing wasn t the only thing to aggravate me, although it was the most prevalent We also have the irritating allusions to things that apparently we re supposed to know already The first, and the one that sticks out most in my head, is a reference to a poem that Phedre read in which a man, who was in love with a woman, unmanned himself for her No further detail than that What does that mean Did he humble himself before the woman, therefore removing any manliness from his status Did he physically cut off his manhood What was the point of the throw away reference It never comes up again, so it s not a Hey, you might want to remember me for later tidbit, it s an annoying slice of Haha Bet you d like to know what I m all about, wouldn t ya There were several other situations in which Phedre mentioned things like the whole world knows this, so I won t mention it Oh OK Thanks Wouldn t want you to strain something Then there were the euphemisms My favorite being Pearl of Naamah Why do men have anatomical boy parts albeit called the annoyingly repetitive phallus , but girl parts are given a name like the Pearl of Naamah Moving on to the general wordiness Carey must have had her thesaurus handy while writing this book So many of her sentences just seem to wander around without actually going anywhere I m sure she was going for an old world feel People back in the day didn t speak like we do now Got it But there s a line that when crossed takes you from perfectly worded and appropriate for the theme you re going for to Can we possibly say something in between the twixts and tweres So now let s look at some of the words, shall we In no particular order Bistre Cool word for brown Overused.Thus Thus it was that the word thus was thus overused.Somewhat My absolute favorite of the annoying words Universally used to replace something , this word just crawled onto my last nerve and dug in its heels It jarred in every single usage and ruined the flow of every sentence that contained it VERY overused and unnecessary.Vaster Just sounds grammatically wrong Plus overused Betimes Overused.Compass Apparently used to replace comprehend in certain scenarios I searched, and can t find a single reference to the word being used in this way anywhere if you can, please link me to it, it s making me crazy There were many others, those are just the ones I wrote down Miscellaneous other bothersome things Seed Yes, this is euphemism for semen, and you might be asking yourself why I didn t mention it above Well, I will tell you why Seeds grow into stuff when planted Can someone please explain to me how it is that Phedre had so many romps with so many men releasing themselves into her and yet never got pregnant You might be saying to yourself, but this is fantasy, it doesn t matter Yes, it does This is a realistic story set in an alternate world, and obviously since Phedre herself is a whore s unwanted get , the subject might be addressed as to how she prevented her own unwanted get Melisande Pointless Plot Device Forced sequel Carey could have should have and DID end this book perfectly And then she kept writing, and in so doing, forced the ending into a situation that would require a sequel Nice try I m forgetting I read the last few pages as I type This story is ended for me, I think There Now we can talk about what I liked Joscelin Thank goodness for Joscelin I really would have had to give up on this book if it wasn t for him He was really predictable, but I loved him anyway He kicked ass, like a ninja priest Hyacinthe Loved him too he was fun, and one of the only unique characters in the book Delaunay He was awesome Smart, honest, honorable I did like the concept of love as a sacred act, and I liked the references to different religions I enjoyed the different people and their customs, and enjoyed the intricate relationships between everyone and the political aspects of the story I liked the fact that Delaunay taught Phedre to learn and think and analyze I like the concept of the thirteen houses, which reminded me of Geisha houses I liked the Tsingani people, who were fun and boisterous and superstitious and sly I loved Rousse s men, who were brave and smart and thought of cool songs I liked Ysandre, who was young and wise and fair I liked Drustan, too And Alcuin who was soft hearted but had a will of steel I can see how some people would like this book Unfortunately, I can t count myself among them Too much annoyed me for me to say I liked it, but I didn t hate it either I just think it could have been so much better had Carey had an editor with balls It s always easier to rip apart what you didn t like than enumerate what you did, and I did NOT outline everything that I liked in the book here, so this review is a bit one sided Sorry about that I hope you all don t REALLY hate me. The first thing everyone usually talks about regarding the Kushiel books is the sex, so I ll get it out of the way first SM, not for the faint of heart, absolutely integral to the plot It s easy to summarize the book very briefly or very in depth it s almost impossible to do anything in between, so I ll keep it brief Phedre is an elite courtesan in Terre D Ange, a land whose residents boast traces of angelic blood in their veins She is trained as a spy by a mysterious courtier, and must navigate the dangerous waters of intrigue both at court and internationally in order to save the homeland she loves.Of intrigue, high adventure, and sensuality both sexual and non , this book boasts plenty Carey is good at all of them But where she truly excels beyond most of the brightest stars in the fantasy firmament is in her depiction of the subtleties of relationships, in the minute shifts that may bring down a country, and in unflinching examination of both the bright and dark sides of love, desire and loyalty She also takes the magic in Christian and Jewish mythology to a new level, exploring their implications, their resonance with pagan belief, and what would happen if a state religion made pleasure sacred, rather than taboo.It s about the magic of language, too the way words can kill or save, create a world or destroy one.And all of it is told from the viewpoints of one of the paradoxically strong, courageous, wry and magnanimous characters ever to grace the page.A lot of people have claimed this book is slow, or that it takes a while to get started They re missing what it s really about This is not a sword sorcery novel The adventure elements are important for how they affect the relationships of the characters, but they re not the point.If the characters aren t what make you love books if the subtleties of court politics and alliances and love bore you, this isn t the book for you. once upon a time, in response to the question What Would You Like To See In Fantasy, i responded 1 i would like to see an old woman as a protagonist 2 or an interesting demon but not a sexy PNR demon 3 orepic fantasies set in steamy, wet jungles rather than european style forests or meadowlands4 or a hero who is also a slut male or female 5 or a YA fantasy series in which the hero grows progressivelyvillainous i felt confident that Kushiel s Dart would allow me to eliminate number 4 alas, tis not to be Phedre is no slut i don t care how much Carey tries to convince us otherwise, the girl is no slut.let me just start off by venting my confusion okay, in this world, Phedre is an anguisette, which means that she gets off on 1 ANY sexual contact OR 2 PAIN, the kind experienced by a submissive during an sm scenario i put the OR in there because the novel can t seem to make up its mind which kind she is that was really frustrating if it was the first kind, well, bravo i suppose that would make her a kind of natural born slut, and that s awesome for her, it s your thing, you know, do what you want to do.but she s not a natural born slut she doesn t get hungry at the sight of a cute lad or lassie, she just doesn t have that kind of slutty appetite i think someone who is chemically castrated may actually havehorniness than Phedre.so maybe it is the latter PAIN but then i bumped into a bit of underlying ridiculousness there that i just couldn t wrap my little mind around the novel takes, um, great pains to note that Phedre is the first of her kind in 3 generations to have such receptiveness to PAIN apparently other folks couldn t possibly enjoy any level of pain, not ever not even the subs of the Harlot House dedicated to servicing sadists really seriously what kind of world is this, Narnia the Lollipop Land i found that to be entirely naive, and annoying having genuine responsiveness to or enjoyment of a certain degree of pain in sex, let alone within an sm or even rough sex scenario, is not exactly the rarest of sexual attributes perhaps this strange lack of a not uncommon ability, one that is actually widespread, is why this novel would be shelved within the Fantasy genre what next a fantasy world where no one s heard of doggy style okay, i guess i should actually review the book FOUR STARS for the first third some excellent world building, a sophisticated take on religion, and the emphasis on both politics and alternate sexualities was pleasing the sex scenes were alternately graphic and subtle i liked that, it lessened the monotony that comes with constant sexual description the story was different things at different times a coming of age tale a novel of political maneouvering, treachery, and deceit an elegant and erotic series of escalating sexcapades Phedre Delaunnay Joscelin Hyacinthe were all fun and enjoyable characters overall, the country of Terre d Ange is a fascinating place if i were nobility, i would like to live there two quibbles first the novel becomes rather repetitious when trying to convince the reader that Delaunnay is so muchthan a glorified pimp and that Phedre is totally fine with whoring herself out, no prob at all it remained somewhat unconvincing but maybe that s just my non fantasy world perspective speaking.second all doms were portrayed as at least semi villainous, and brutal beyond the bedroom as well OH COME ON JACQUELINE CAREY that isn t fair Joscelin a man who clearly needs tosuccessfully sublimate his anger should have the wherewithal to top Phedre, and he s no bad guy Jos, get with the program you too, Jacqueline Carey.sadly, TWO STARS for the rest of the novel it was just okay, and it paled in comparison to the originality of the first third there was nothing new, just alternate fantasy versions of the early germanic tribes, early england, early ireland the pages turned quickly but that feeling of reading something very different evaporated quickly the ending eh i kinda got tired of everyone practically shitting themselves at the awesomeness of Phedre and Phedre s Boy s ugh, that s so corny and the use of magic, whether it be the dromonde or the Master of the Straits was unconvincing, abrupt, and rather amateurish ah well.overall, the writing was above average at times flowery, but that fits the novel and there was enough promise in that first third that i ll probably take a chance on the second book it would pain me to not find out where Phedre s freaky future sexploits take her. DNF at 21% Finally A DNF Believe it or not, it s been such a long time since I added a book to my beloved DNF Graveyard that my murderous babies were getting super concerned and stuff So much so that they even considered calling Dr Prawn to the rescue eyeroll Foolish if bloodthirsty crustaceans can be so foolish if bloodthirsty sometimes Worry not, homicidal children mine, for your beloved father still is as easily peeved and bored as ever Yay and stuff Okay, I don t want to spend the rest of my life hours ranting about this book, so let the crap be cut dramatically So I kinda sorta like Carey s prose maybe a little perhaps , BUT Call me weird and a ridiculously over principled, old fashioned shrimp, but auctioning 16 year olds virginity and institutionalizing prostitution in the name of a religion doesn t sit very well with me Neither do objectifying and humiliating people for one s personal enjoyment Utterly Boring Boredom of Boredness UBBoB is me Quod erat demonstrandum, methinks Call me stupid and silly and stuff, but the medieval France inspired setting, and ensuing excessive use of French names and words bugged the fish out of me being somewhat 38.45866% French, I think I have the lawfully lawful right to be ever so slightly exasperated here Still, I have to admit the narrator did a pretty good job with the pronunciation I don t think she mispronounced a single annoying French word or name at any time while I was listening to this most fascinating book Which is very lucky for my phone Eminently Nefarious Listening Device ENLD I probably would have thrown it into the deepest depths of my cherished Mariana Trench, had it not been for Ms Flosnik s Otherworldly Pronunciation Skills OPS So Pop Goes the Weasel Phew Goes my SNLD and stuff And the moral of this I Might Be Ancient and Ever Decaying But the Force of the DNF is Still With Me So Yay and Stuff All Hope Is Not Lost and the World Will Not End Just Yet Crappy Non Review IMBAaEDBtFotDNFiSWMSYaSAHINLatWWNEJYCNR is I think there s a moderately good chance I quite possiblydidn t like this book very much Not sure though I might have to get back to you on that later Much much much later Say in 2458 or something Maybe.P.S Now patiently waiting for the Ph dre Tattooed Hordes of Doom PTHoD to unleash their vindictive legions on me for DNFing reading this book right wrong But hey, I m not scared I ve got Lucinda my pet ninja hamster to defend me and stuff view spoiler hide spoiler Just a disclaimer here This will be a very difficult review to write In order to truly review this book, I have to talk about my own views on things and how books affect me personally I am opening myself up here, which always makes me squirm If you are reading this review and you don t agree with my beliefs on things, that s totally fine But, I am not going to deny how I feel, because that is very important to me when I review a book, since I read books emotionally and not from a detached standpoint Having said that, let s get this show on the road.I can think of a list of reasons why I should not have liked this book, and I will start there 1 I really dislike long books As I told a friend on here, I am a hit it and quit it reader meaning, I like to read shorter to moderate length and occasionally longer books, get them read, and move onto the next book This book was a massive 901 pages 2 Prostitution and paid sex is something that I absolutely detest the thought of It squicks me out that someone would pay for sex or have sex for money or financial support livelihood I generally avoid this content like the plague, although a big part of my nature is to occasionally challenge myself and my perceptions of the world It s good for me, even if the process is painful at times This book has a heroine who is a courtesan, although she is calledugly terms that I don t use Not only that, her prostitution is a form of worship and honor to one of her dieties if you want to call Fallen angels dieties.3 I don t like books where the main characters sleep with a lot of people during the book Promiscuity and sleeping around is another area that I am just not comfortable with I especially don t like reading about sex with no love emotional bond This book was kind of interesting in that Phedre s sex is a form of worship She didn t love most of the people she was intimate with, but she loved Elua, Naamah, and Kushiel, and that was expressed through her sex with her patrons The genesis of the sacred nature of sex in this culture relates to the fact that the angel Naamah would lay with strangers to support Elua and the angels as they traveled through the Terre D Ange It s probably necessary to mention that the patron can be male or female Elua s dictate is Love as thou wilt, which eliminates any stigma to same sex relationships Although I amof a male female romance reader, I don t necessarily dislike same sex interactions, so that wasn t a huge issue for me.4 I am very vanilla about sex Meaning, I don t like reading about kinky, dark, twisted sex at all I especially don t like reading about sadomasochistic painful humiliating sex I don t understand that need and it s not something that I personally feel okay about The main character in this story is a masochist She was pricked by Kushiel who is the angel who is the keeper of Hell and punishes the lost That punishment is out of love to save their souls Phedre possessing Kushiel s Dart marks one of her dark brown eyes with a dash of red, which is a visible manifestation of her being favored or cursed to have a physiology which made pain pleasurable for her, including emotional pain which means that she got sexually aroused by being humiliated or forced or treated badly by her partner I m not going to go into detail here I think you could use your imagination I ll just leave it with two words to express my feelings Ick Factor Most of the sex scenes were very uncomfortable for me to read In the author s defense, this book has very elegant sex scenes for the subject matter Somehow, she managed to avoid them coming off as repulsive and tawdry My repulsion was based on my own comfort zones being exceeded, instead of deliberate acts of prurience on the author s part.5 I typically don t care for stories with a lot of political intrigue and situations Surprisingly, I found that I really got into that aspect of this story, and I was quite enthralled with the tangled web of conspiracies against members of the royal family and nobles I believe it was because Ms Carey did a great job of entwining Phedre into this Gordian Knot in a very intimate manner through her adoptive father, Anafiel Delaunay Phedre becomes Delaunay s bondservant, and is trained to be a master spy as well as courtesan Her skills aid him in his secret avocation to the royal family, hearing and seeing all, in the line of her duties as a courtesan.6 The whole cultural set up of this story is very different from what I am used to Surprisingly, this part was the easiest thing to get past When I read fantasy, I expect that the author will build her own world from the ground up, and that might include other religious beliefs It s easier for me if the author founds a whole new religious world divorced from the real world I can easily separate myself from what I know and accept the concepts from the story and read it with a fresh mind In this book, Ms Carey takes a left turn from Christianity, and creates a world in which the main diety worshipped, Elua, is the son of Jesus blood from when he was wounded on the cross and its union with Mother Earth The other members of the pantheon are angels that chose to fall to accompany Elua in his exile In other words, turning their back on God to follow Elua The people with these beliefs are called D Angelines, because they live in the country founded by Elua and his Angels called Terre D Ange Land of the Angel in French Christianity still exists in the world, and its practitioners are called Yeshuites, after Jesus Hebrew name of Yeshua I believe there are also Muslims, but they are called Akkadians The people who correspond to the Celts and Picts of Alba Britain and Eire Ireland have their own beliefs, and the Skaldi, who are like Norsemen, worship the Norse pantheon Even though it was pretty different, I thought it was a pretty creative cultural genesis that Ms Carey accomplished in this story.Yes, that s a lot of reasons why I shouldn t have liked this book Despite these things, I loved this book It was fascinating It kept my interest I cared about the characters Phedre was a heroine that I loved I didn t like her assignations, and I would sort of roll my eyes when she took another one, much like Joscelin did But, I liked her as a person I could see that she was being true to herself, and I couldn t fault her for that I loved how she came from very humble origins and made something wonderful of herself I loved her loyalty and her caring heart I loved how clever she was She used every thing she had been taught and all her assets to accomplish what needed to be done Even though I didn t always like what she did, I respect why she did it It was profound to see how her view of herself and her place in the world changed People looked down on her for being a whore , but she was a great spymaster, a diplomat, and an incredible tactitian I cheered for her to find her rightful place in her world, because she earned that after all she d suffered and lost I loved Joscelin as well Although he was a bit judgmental at times, so was Phedre towards him, but in a different way It was very clear how devoted to her he was, and he was very true to his beliefs, following Cassiel, the angel who still loved God, but felt that he had to follow Elua out of loyalty I admired that he made sacrifices to follow his beliefs, but his love for Phedre often caused him to break his vows, which in a way showed how true to following Cassiel he was Even though he was not the main character, my mind always went back to him, wanting to see what he was doing and how he reacted to the situations around him All the characters were real and lifelike, some in a good way, some in a bad way But, there weren t any disposable characters in this story, even if they played small roles And when some of the characters I grew to love got harmed and died, it made for painful reading At first, I had a lot of trouble with all the names of the characters and people, and countries But, after a while, it started to make sense, and I was able to connect them to an existing frame of reference pretty well I think it was pretty brilliantly conceived The various peoples were extremely culturally distinct, and I really appreciated the time that Ms Carey took to explore their cultures It was interesting how the D Angelines had a lot of cultural superiority that they had to get past, in order to face a huge threat from within and from the warlike, intimidating Skaldi race.What surprised me was that I found the military aspects very fascinating Maybe I shouldn t be surprised, because I ve always had an admiration for warriors and the culture of warriors I thought that seeing the battles and war unfold through Phedre s eyes was very interesting I liked seeing how she used her particular skill set to aid her country in winning the war The sacrifices she made for her country were very admirable She showed that although she wasn t a warrior in the traditional sense, her heart was that of a warrior, willing to give everything to win and prevail, even if that involved personal sacrifice and surrender.This was a deep book It took me through a gamut of emotions, many not comfortable at all It truly was epic, and I really didn t get bored, surprisingly considering its length and complexity There were some very unpalatable aspects to this story, and the values seemed very alien to what I feel I hold sacred However, underneath there is a commonality Love is sacrifice, love is giving When something is important to a person, one devotes herself to it Even though the creeds of the people in this book seemed alien, I could identify with the idea of holding something sacred in life, and that dictating one s actions As one can imagine, it s not easy to sum up my thoughts on a book that is so long and rather complicated I think I have done as best as I can, and I won t make this review any longer than necessary I have to be honest and say I highly doubt I ll keep reading this series It s a huge investment of my time and energy when books are this long And since it took me to some uncomfortable places, I m not sure I want to go through that process anywith the following books In my mind, I want to think of Phedre and Joscelin being happy, able to find a compromise that works for both of them, and having a great love I want to leave things that way The good thing is, this book is a keeper, and will have fond memories of these characters who came to mean so much to me Perhaps I will reread this book one day to revisit this fascinating world of the D Angelines. This book is so overwrought, so full of tangled, convoluted prose, that I found it hard to take seriously The world, instead of being built up as an original creation, seems to be taken fairly whole cloth from the French Court of Louis XIV I know everybody steals, but the best writers steal the most, and I could have used somedepth of inspiration.Then, of course, there is the sex The constant rampant, submissive, fetishy, pain pleasure sex Sex is fine, even porn is fine, but the sheer redundant volume of the stuff made it less than exciting, after a while mostly because it all seems to come from the same angle, the same point of view.It s a problem in most fantasy the author wants to write about what interests them, and apparently, only that I always appreciate an author a bitwhen they are able to put in some conflict, try to provide a few sides to the story, and get out of their own heads a little When an author is truly skilled, you ll come out not knowing which side they re on.But that s not this book This book is self indulgent, and makes no apologies, and there is something I can appreciate about that It s not like the eye rolling fetishism of most male fantasy authors, like Goodkind or John Norman, whose sexuality always feels confused, conflicted, and furtive Carey seems to know what she wants and doesn t let anything get in her way.Unfortunately, it was all too much for me The purple prose, the repetitive sex scenes, the single source world, and the sheer length of the thing Unfortunately, Carey and I do not share a fetish, because mine at least when it comes to books is novelty, and while she may be vastly different from her modern fantasy contemporaries, in the end, I found her book was too similar to itself.My Fantasy Book Suggestions