Series: Kushiel's Legacy
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Books read: 2/50
Synopsis: (from back of book)
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."
Phedre no 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 Phedre 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 Phedre'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.
I have to say, I really devoured this book after having read the first one. Carey is a very clever writer. It is definitely more politically complicated than the first, as a whole new country (Serenissima) and it's (complex) system of leadership and lordship is introduced, but again, worth the effort. On reading this one I did notice some slight similarities to Feist's Empire Trilogy, mostly in the complexities of the 'court maneuvering', so if you like that you'll probably like this.
Phedre and Joscelin's relationship was hard reading for me this time as I found some aspects frustrating, and the death of one of my favourite characters was pretty heartbreaking (yes I cried), but it was all so worth reading.
If you have trouble reading the first book you should really persevere, because this one makes all the effort worthwhile.
As in the first, there are some aspects that may disturb some readers, like the fact that there's a world of courtesans and their clients, and that experiencing "pain and pleasure as one" effectively means that she's a BDSM submissive.
It is also hugely focused on religion, particularly that of the Yeshuites (Jews).
Oh, and there's a shocking twist!
Love as thou wilt.