Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Jaguar Knights by Dave Duncan (A Chronicle of the King's Blades: Book 3)



The realm's most feared swordsman, Sir Wolf has earned his name, the "King's Killer," well. Unlike many of his brother Blades, however, Wolf detests his sworn duty to do the bloody bidding of a liege he can never respect. But when an impregnable fortress is breached and a former royal mistress is abducted by brazen assailants, Wolf must leap into the fray.

Burdened with the company of his disgraced brother, Sir Lynx—the only Blade ever to lose his ward and live—and shadowed by a mysterious Inquisitor with a secret agenda, Wolf must make his way across a landscape of nightmares vivid and terrible enough to chill any fearless heart. For somewhere in this dark, unfamiliar world, the fate of all Chivial hangs in the balance—and it is the destiny of one reluctant Blade to tip the scales to salvation . . . or doom.

*Blurb source*Eos
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Book Cover of The Jaguar Knights by Dave Duncan (A Chronicle of the King's Blades: Book 3)
| Author: Dave Duncan
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0060555122
| ISBN-13: 9780060555122
| Publisher: Eos (August 30, 2005)
| Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 4 Stars
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The Jaguar Knights (King's Blades, #6)


♥ Mini Review ♥
Sir Wolf is the answer to what happens when a good Blade is bound to a bad master. Labeled the "King's Killer" Wolf is reviled by almost all of the Blades, Guard and Court but no one hates him more then he hates himself. However, Wolf is bound to the King and must do his bidding so when the former consort of King Athelgar is kidnapped by mysterious furred and feathered warriors, Wolf, along with a White Sister are put on their trail. The journey will take them across oceans and into unknown dangers, to lands where men are sacrificed in the hundreds to fuel powerful sorcery. Everyone has an agenda, Wolf wants to rescue his brother who has gone in search of his kidnapped ward, White Sister Dolores wants Wolf...and the secrets of a new magic and the King wants to know if his country is under threat of invasion. First Dolores and Wolf must survive a land where warriors are more animal then human.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 9:00 PM | 5 Comments so far
Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
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♥ Mini Review ♥
Dragonriders of Pern is a HUGE series containing trilogies and standalones. This is the first trio of books written and a great start to a series that is still having books added to it today. The dragons and the system of Lords, Holders, and Weyrs gives the series a fantasy air but it also takes place on a colonized planet. The inhabitants in this part of the trilogy have forgotten their origins, knowing only that their ancestors possessed technologies that have been lost to time.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 1) by Anne McCaffrey

Mulluane | 12:01 AM | 3 Comments so far


HOW CAN ONE GIRL SAVE AN ENTIRE WORLD?

To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.

But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .

*Blurb source Random House
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Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 1) by Anne McCaffrey

| Author: Anne McCaffrey
| Genre: Science Fantasy
| Content: Dragons, 13+
| ISBN-10: 0345335465
| ISBN-13: 9780345335463
| Publisher: Random House
| Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
| Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 1) by Anne McCaffrey



♥ Mini Review ♥
For 400 turns (years) the planet of Pern has been safe from the horrors of vegetation destroying thread. The fire breathing, telepathic dragons bred to fight thread storms have been relegated to the role of nuisance. However, a few still believe in the old traditions and stories handed down by the harpers. F'lar and others live in the fear that one day; thread will reappear in the sky and threaten them all. It is not just the old traditions that have changed. Where there were once five weyrs of dragons, now there is only one and the population of dragons has dwindled by an alarming amount. F'lar knows that if things are to improve he must find a strong weyrwoman, someone with the power to impress a new dragon queen and stand by F'lar's side. He finds what he seeks, in the most unlikely of places, but will it be enough or is Pern doomed?


Monday, November 24, 2008

Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 2) by Anne McCaffrey



Another Turn, and the deadly silver Threads began falling again. So the bold dragonriders took to the skies and their magnificent dragons swirled and swooped in space, belching flames that destroyed the shimmering strands before they reached the ground.

But F'lar knew he had to find a better way to protect the peoples and lands of Pern, and he had to find it before the rebellious Oldtimers could breed any more dissent...before his brother F'nor would be foolhardy enough to launch another suicide mission...and before the mercurial fire lizards could cause even more trouble.

*Blurb source Transworld
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Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 2)

| Author: Anne McCaffrey
| Genre: Science Fantasy
| Content: Dragons, 13+
| ISBN-10: 0345335082
| ISBN-13: 9780345335081
| Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (October 13, 1986)
| Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
| Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Dragonflight (Pern: Dragonriders of Pern, #1)



♥ Mini Review ♥
I love rereading a favorite series right from the beginning. It is a joy to me to watch an author grow and develop her skills. Each book gets a little bit better and the writing a little bit tighter. There are a lot of things happening in this installment and they flow beautifully for the most part. There are a few sections that feel a bit rushed but overall the pacing is good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 3) by Anne McCaffrey

Mulluane | 4:00 PM | 1 Comment so far


Never had there been as close a bonding as the one that existed between the young Lord Jaxom and his extraordinary white dragon, Ruth. Pure white and incredibly agile, Ruth possessed remarkable qualities. Not only could he communicate with the iridescent, fluttering fire lizards, but he could fly. Back in time to any WHEN with unfailing accuracy. Nearly everyone else on Pern thought Ruth was a runt who would never amount to anything, but Jaxom knew his dragon was special. In secret they trained to fight against the burning threads from the Red Planet, to fly Back in time as well as Between, and finally their close and special union was to result in the most startling and breathtaking discovery of all...

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The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 3) by Anne McCaffrey

| Author: Anne McCaffrey
| Genre: Science Fantasy
| Content: Dragons, 13+
| ISBN-10: 0345341678
| ISBN-13: 9780345341679
| Publisher: Del Rey (November 12, 1986)
| Mass Market Paperback: 468 pages
| Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5/5 Stars
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The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern: Book 3) by Anne McCaffrey



♥ Mini Review ♥
Jaxom is the heir to Ruatha Hold and Lord Holders cannot be dragonriders! Therefore, when Jaxom impresses Ruth, a mutated runt of a dragon, he creates all sorts of problems for the leaders of Pern. Now Jaxom must learn to balance his duties to Hold and Weyr with his love and responsibility to his beloved dragon. However, the changes in tradition caused by Jaxom are the least of Pern's problems. The Oldtimers are dying out and getting desperate as only those who have nothing left to lose can. Masterharper Robinton, F’lar, and Lessa have their hands full as they try to balance the past with the present while planning for the future of them all.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rai Kirah by Carol Berg (Series Summary)

An Epic Fantasy Series Review

Transformation by Carol BergRevelation by Carol BergRestoration by Carol Berg
Transformation (Rai Kirah)Rai Kirah by Carol Berg - Revelation (Rai Kirah)Rai Kirah by Carol Berg - Restoration (Rai Kirah)Rai Kirah by Carol Berg
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Rai Kirah is not your typical series but Seyonne and Aleksander are not your typical heroes. Seyonne is an Ezzarian, member of a reclusive race whose task is to fight demons. In addition, Seyonne is a former Warder, one of the elite warriors who do the actual battle for a human's soul. Aleksander is a Prince of the realm and heir to the Dezhi Empire. Cold, arrogant, cruel, and intolerant, on the surface, Aleksander is your typical spoiled despot. However, if there is one central tenet of this series it is that nothing is ever exactly as it appears. When we meet Seyonne, he is a slave and has been for 16 years. In order to survive, Seyonne has learned to live only in the moment, eradicating all emotions, hopes, and dreams. This is until he becomes a slave scribe to Prince Aleksander and sees that within his new master there is the blinding light of destiny. To make matters more complicated, demons arrive on the scene and Seyonne discovers that he must honor his oaths, even if it means his life.

This is a fascinating series where nothing is ever black or white. Demons are not considered evil but simply true to their nature. Aleksander has the potential to be the savior of the world, if Seyonne can teach him humanity - and keep him alive. Seyonne is complicated beyond simple explanation. Carol Berg creates not one, but three distinct worlds for her characters and does so in vivid detail. (4 if you count the internal landscapes where Warders enter into a person's soul to battle the demons.) She also manages to pull off writing in first person, Seyonne being the only narrator throughout. In addition, Carol Berg's system of magic is unusual and well thought out. This series has a lot going for it!

Transformation, the first book is exceptional. The characters jump off the page and dive right into your heart. The plot twists are delightful and keep you on your toes. This is true throughout the series but in my opinion, book one is one of the best fantasy stories I have ever read. The remainder of the series is good, but Transformation is excellent. Books 2 and 3 concentrate more on the origins of the demons and, in my opinion, less on the characters. For me, this is a slight drawback but my fascination with the story helps to make up for this. For others, this fact does not play into their enjoyment of the series at all so please take my opinions with a grain of salt.

The main protagonists are adults, the battle and torture scenes are graphic, but there are NO love scenes. I feel like this series will hold more interest for adults, though as long as you do not object to intense torture and gory battle, teens will find value in the issues that are explored. The pacing in Transformation is flawless, it is less so in the following books but the story and the plot twists still make them all fun reads. For more information on all three books, I highly suggest reading the individual reviews. For something different, a bit dark and often times intense, I recommend this series.

My Book Reviews of:  Transformation - Revelation - Restoration
(Additional Info)

Author: Carol Berg

Genre: Epic Fantasy series,

Content: Hero, Sorcerers, Adult

Series: Rai Kirah

Publisher: Roc

Source: Personal Copies


Read a 5 page Interview with Carol Berg

Author's Web Presence
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Available in Kindle and Audible
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Review of the Epic Fantasy Series Rai Kirah by Carol Berg - Reviewed by Mulluane - on November 22, 2008 - Rating: 4


Friday, November 21, 2008

Transformation by Carol Berg (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 1)

Mulluane | 11:40 PM | 2 Comments so far


Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden's power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons.

Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne's uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place...

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Fantasy book review of Transformation by Carol Berg (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 1)

| Author: Carol Berg
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0451457951
| ISBN-13: 9780451457950
| Publisher:Roc (August 8, 2000)
| Transformation cover art by Kevin Murphy
| Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
| Content: Hero, Sorcerers, Adult
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
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Transformation (Rai-Kirah, #1)

Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane


♦ The Story. Seyonne finds himself on the auction block once again, this time he becomes the writing slave of a Derzhi prince. Not that it matters to Seyonne, he has been a slave for the past 16 years, one master is just as good, or bad as another is. Prince Aleksander is exactly what you would expect the heir to a conquering race to be, arrogant, cocky, cruel, and vindictive. Typical fare you would think, but Carol Berg has some surprises in store. Neither Seyonne nor Prince Aleksander is exactly what they seem. Seyonne is an Ezzarian; a proud people whose sole purpose in life is to fight demons and save people from demonic possession. Imagine Seyonne's surprise when he discovers that within Prince Aleksander there is a spark of greatness; a light of destiny that requires that Seyonne become both his guide and his protector. Talk about an improbable task! How can a slave befriend the future heir of the empire that enslaved, killed, and destroyed the magic of his people? However, protect Aleksander he must for one part of Seyonne's abilities was not destroyed, his ability to see demons and there are those close to the Prince that are possessed and determined to make the Prince one of their own.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Revelation by Carol Berg (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 2)

Mulluane | 3:35 PM | 2 Comments so far


Two years after his battle with the Lord of Demons, Seyonne is tired, troubled, angry, and frustrated. As Ezzaria's only remaining Warden, he carries the entire burden of the worsening demon war on his shoulders. But a demon encounter unlike any in Ezzarian memory leads Seyonne to question everything he has ever believed. And his search for a demon-possessed child becomes the search for his own soul and the soul of his people.

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Epic Fantasy Book Review of Revelation (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 2) by Carol Berg

| Author: Carol Berg
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0451458427
| ISBN-13: 9780451458421
| Publisher: Roc (August 8, 2001)
| Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
| Revelation cover art by Matt Stawicki
| Content: Hero, Sorcerers, Adult
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4 Stars
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Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2)

Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane


♦ The Story. Seyonne has returned to his old life but not unchanged. Despite being the only experienced Warder and fighting 3-4 demons a day, Seyonne finds that his entire attitude has changed. Now he has questions, questions about demons, and questions about the long held beliefs of his people. Then Seyonne faces a demon the likes of which he has never seen before. This demon has no malicious intent, does not feed on pain and fear, but delights in art and beauty. Seyonne, confused, allows the demon to live and earns further distrust from his own people. This combined with a personal tragedy will send Seyonne on a quest, a quest for the truth about demons and the task given to his people to fight them. I can promise you this, the answers he finds will surprise you.



Sunday, November 16, 2008

Restoration by Carol Berg (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 3)

Mulluane | 2:40 PM | 2 Comments so far


In the Third Book of the Rai-kirah, Seyonne is besieged by doubt, madness, and visions that insist that he will destroy the world. Even his steadfast hope, that somehow Prince Aleksander is destined for greatness, seems doomed. For a royal murder sends Aleksander on the run as the Derzhi Empire crumbles around him. Faith, friendship, gods and demons drive sorcerer and prince to the final battle of the demon war--each man facing an opponent he could never have imagined.

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Epic Fantasy Review of Restoration (Rai Kirah Trilogy: Book 3) by Carol Berg

| Author: Carol Berg
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0451458907
| ISBN-13: 9780451458902
| Publisher: Roc (August 6, 2002)
| Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages
| Restoration cover art by Matt Stawicki
| Content: Hero, Sorcerers, Adult
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4 Stars
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Restoration (Rai-Kirah, #3)

Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane


♦ My Thoughts. I have a love/hate relationship going on with this book. I loved the premise behind the origins of the demons. I hated the pacing of the story. I also found myself missing the connections I had felt to the secondary characters in the previous books. Aleksander has a very important role to play in this story but I could not seem to care about anything he did. Fiona, Seyonne's shadow, is relegated to a small role, we barely get a few glimpses of Seyonne's son, and even Blaise seemed less real. Being as I am more of a character loving reader then a plot one, I was very disappointed by this. The other thing that bugged me was how events would happen; closing a chapter in a dramatic way, then that was it. It was like watching a cliffhanger scene right before a commercial, then after the commercial, the scene completely changes and you are left going "what?" I will give you a vague example so I do not give anything away. Seyonne causes the death of a compatriot during a battle due to a huge misjudgment on his part. The chapter ends with a very poignant and touching display of grief, but leaves you wondering how the events turned out, who else died, who else survived, whether or not the battle was successful or failed, how did his friends react to his mistake. In terms of well-written drama, it is one of the best scenes in the book, but it left out too much information in the process. (Note: you do find out some of the answers but much much later and they are treated as a minor part of an unrelated discussion long after you stop even wondering about that part of the story.)



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Phèdre Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's Legacy Series Summary)

Mulluane | 9:06 PM | 2 Comments so far
Kushiel's Dart by Jaqueline Carey

An Alternate History Fantasy Series Review

Author: Jacqueline Carey
Genre: Fantasy Series, Alternate History, Erotic, Adult
Series: Kushiel's Legacy: Phedre Trilogy
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Book Reviews: Kushiel's Dart - Kushiel's Chosen - Kushiel's Avatar
Phèdre is labeled as "a whore's unwanted get,” and sold by her mother into servitude to the greatest of the 13 houses of the Night Court. However, Phèdre is flawed goods due to a scarlet mote in her eye and therefore unsuited for full status as a courtesan. That is before it is discovered that she is one for who pain and pleasure are the same. The Dowager of Cereus House, thinking herself shrewd, contacts a nobleman who is known to appreciate unique individuals. Anafiel Delaunay takes one look at Phèdre and recognizes her for what she is, an anguissette and the demi-god Kushiel's chosen. He eagerly purchases her indenture, for a fraction of what it is worth, and adopts Phèdre into his household. Once Phèdre is released into Delaunay's custody at the age of ten, her training begins in earnest. Under Delaunay's tutelage, she will learn no less then five languages, the arts of a highly trained courtesan and the skills of an accomplished spy. These talents will take her to places she could have never imagined, place her in the role of both slave and heroine, and forge her into a weapon used ruthlessly by gods. Along the way Phèdre will find love and lose it, suffer from pain, and find pleasure in it, but through it all she will remain true the main tenet of her faith, "Love as thou wilt".

Kushiel's Chosen by Jaqueline CareyThis is not your typical fantasy and Phèdre is not your typical heroine. In a world that resembles Renaissance France, Jacqueline Carey creates a society based on the worship of love and sex and peopled with the descendants of angels. Then, as if that is not interesting enough, she creates a heroine who is a spy, a courtesan and not even your normal courtesan, but one who derives her greatest pleasure by receiving pain and yielding to it. Carey goes on to create a great cast of secondary characters and throughout the series, explores other ancient cultures and religions adding her own special flavor to each. You will find very little magic in this series outside the magic of her lyrical prose. The few instances of magic are spiritual in nature and so reserved for gods, angels and the occasional seer. Not to fear though, the creativeness of the world, the intense political intrigue, the high adventure and intricate swordplay will cast their own spell.

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline CareyOK, that was the good stuff, now for the warnings. This is not a series everybody can enjoy. Masochism, torture, and sadism are an important part of whom and what Phèdre is and play an active role in the story. So does sex in all its forms and in very erotic and sensual detail. Granted it is all handled in a mature and reverent manner, it is after all, in the majority of instances, part of Phèdre's religion but if you are bothered by that sort of thing then you might want to avoid reading this series. Another minor consideration is the fact that this entire series is written in first person and from Phèdre's viewpoint. Personally, I think it is one of the best first person series I have ever read but I am aware that some readers dislike first person narratives. My last warning is on the prose. Carey writes with a lyrical, elegant prose that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some of you however may not like it but the story is set in a Renaissance type world and I feel the prose fits both the setting and Phèdre's personality.

Now, that I have all that out of the way, let me say that this series is one of my personal favorites. Not only does it deviate from the normal fantasy tropes, it does so in an engrossing and captivating way. Phèdre is everything I love in a strong heroine, flawed but determined, loyal to a fault, willing to put her goals before her own safety and happiness and yet not so strong that she ever forgets that she cannot do everything alone. To make things even better, the secondary characters are every bit as endearing as Phèdre. In most cases, even the main antagonists have understandable motives. This is one of those series that I will likely read repeatedly, picking up details I missed each time, while enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first time around. That is, in my opinion, the highest praise I can ever give a series. There is another trilogy that is a part of Kushiel's Legacy that was written after this one and centers on one of the characters who appears in Kushiel's Avatar. If you enjoyed the Phèdre Trilogy I highly suggest moving on to the Imriel Trilogy.

Read an Interview with Jacqueline Carey
Jacqueline Carey Website
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Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar are available in Kindle
Kushiel's Chosen is available in eBook.
All are available in Audio
See individual reviews for more information.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kushiel's Dart (Kushiel's Legacy: Phèdre Trilogy: Book 1)

Kushiel's Dart

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Jacqueline Carey

Genre: Fantasy series, Alternate History, Erotic, Adult
ISBN: 0765342987
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (March 15, 2002)
Mass Market Paperback: 816 pages
Excerpt
Publisher's Blurb:
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.

Phèdre nó 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 one.

Phèdre 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, Phèdre 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 Phèdre 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.
This book starts slow, typical for the first novel of a trilogy, then takes off and pages start to just fly past. Phèdre is not your typical heroine and Terre d'Ange, though loosely based in medieval France, is not your typical society. Phèdre's story begins with her mother selling her to the "Night Court" a section of the city where the thirteen houses of Naamah reside. Each house represents a different form of sexual pleasure and its indentured courtesans, both male and female, are trained to the arts of that house. Phèdre is considered flawed however and will never be granted a place as a full courtesan. This is where Anafiel Delaunay comes in. When it is realized that Phèdre enjoys pain, her indenture is sold to Delaunay and the real story begins.

Phèdre's life takes her from the Night Court to the bedrooms of royalty, from pampered courtesan to the slave of barbarians, from revered to reviled as a traitor. This story also shows what a thin line there is between love and hate, pain and pleasure and plums the depths of what a person will go through just to survive. You will find yourself turning pages far into the night.

Without a doubt, this is a story for adults and open-minded ones at that. Even though the material is handled in a mature and reverent manner, some may find it disturbing. Masochistic, sadistic and bisexual encounters do comprise a portion of this story, not a large portion but seeing as Phèdre is an anguissette a necessary one. By comparison, the battle scenes are not very detailed or gory. Phèdre is an endearing and complicated character who is surrounded by a host of equally complicated characters. Plots are nestled within plots, heartwarming romance, deadly intrigue, and high adventure abound, and demigods and angels play with lives. This story truly has a bit of something for most anyone who loves fantasy and I am looking forward to reading book two.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 4+/5

Librarything Rating 4.29/5

Amazon Rating 4 out of 5 stars
(318 Customer Reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: No

Ebook: No

Audio: Kushiel's Dart (Kushiel's Legacy)(CD)

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kushiel's Chosen (Kushiel's Legacy: Phèdre Trilogy: Book 2)

Mulluane | 4:20 PM | 6 Comments so far
Kushiel's Chosen

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Jacqueline Carey

Genre: Fantasy Series, Alternate History, Erotic, Adult
ISBN: 0765345048
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (March 14, 2003)
Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
Excerpt
Publisher's Blurb:
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.
Phèdre, peer of the realm, has been issued a challenge. The challenge comes in the form of a gift, her sangoire cloak, last seen in the possession of Melisande Shahrizai. Trained as a courtesan fit to pleasure royalty, skilled in the art of spying, it is a challenge Phèdre cannot refuse. Her quest to solve the riddle of Melisande Shahrizai will carry her to distant shores, and put her in extreme danger, but the greatest danger of all is to her beloved queen. Can Phèdre stop an overthrow of the throne or will Melisande Shahrizai win the game. The stakes are high and not least of these is the possible loss of Phèdre's one true love. How this story plays out may just surprise you.

As a second book in a trilogy, this book seems to suffer from the middle book blues. It does not seem to flow as well as Kushiel's Dart, the middle of the book itself just dragged along. However, the beginning and the ending more then make up for this. The ending brought a tear to my eye, something that NEVER happens, (I am not an emotional person), while making me want to cheer at the same time. This fact points directly to Jacqueline Carey's ability to make characters you love, or hate and she has done a great job of creating both in this series.

Another thing I love about her writing style is the prose, while some readers hate lyrical prose I happen to enjoy it. It is obvious to me that Carey loves words and knows how to use them to beautiful effect. The world she has created, an alternate Renaissance, is so well crafted that you can actually picture yourself as being there. While the names she uses to label the various countries are obscure ones, you will have no problem recognizing Venice or Crete, as they might have been if the world she envisions actually existed. All of these factors combined with a world with the worship of sex at its heart make for a very fun read. Now this is not a series for just anybody, Phèdre is an anguissette, marked by the gods to experience pleasure from pain. This proclivity is one she uses often and it may make some people very uncomfortable. It did not bother me however mainly because of the way it was handled. By placing myself into the world as it is portrayed, a world founded on the precept of "love as thou wilt,” her talents are very natural and normal within the confines of the setting. If anything, I admire Jacqueline Carey for daring to create such an atypical heroine.

The characters are great, the love story is heartbreaking and beautiful by turns, the political intrigue is masterful, there were surprises I definitely did not see coming and there was tragedy as well. As an added bonus, there is some great swashbuckling action also! If you are not offended or made uncomfortable by detailed sex scenes and you love high adventure, romance, political intrigue, and swordplay, I highly recommend this series. Now on to book three to see what kind of trouble Phèdre gets into next.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 4+/5

Librarything Rating 4.29/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(93 Customer Reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Kushiel's Chosen

Ebook: Diesel ebooks (Palm only)

Audio: Kushiel's Chosen (Kushiel's Legacy) (CD)

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

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