Book: Kushiel’s Dart
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book for all the research and world-building that went into it. Each culture is meticulously explored, vivid. In general I liked the arc of the plot and how things seemed to follow a destiny. Another interesting aspect was using real history and skewing it to create just a slightly different world with it’s own version of gods and cultures. You still have the Picts and the Celts and the Germanic and Roman lands but they’ve been altered just enough to make them seem new.
I did find the book a bit long. Yes, things did move along at a steady pace, but it was long and it felt long. This is the first book in a series, and I just can’t fathom delving into the second book which is just as long. My loss, perhaps, but there wasn’t quite enough to pull me into reading more. I finished this one and I’m happy I finished it. The story for me is complete enough as it stands.
While there was a tiny bit of magic in the book with the Master of the Straits and visions/precognition, it felt more like a historical novel than a fantasy novel, really. I would probably group this in with the ultra-realistic fantasy trend that seems popular lately.
So basically I enjoyed the richness of the journey and would recommend the book for those who enjoy epic journeys and political fantasies with lots of machinations and secret plots. It’s not really my thing, but I think the book did it well. Note the BDSM content, which was understated but prevalent throughout the book.
I don’t know if the author is French or has any background in France, but this book felt very European. I know that’s difficult to explain, but just watch a few French films and you’ll get what I mean. Note that French movies don’t always end well for everyone.
So basically this wasn’t really the book for me, but I recognize superior talent when I see it.