Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

The tales of the old are dead; the tales of a new birth begin.
Kushiel's Dart book cover

“When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity on me.”

Born into a life of mysterious circumstances, Phedre no Delaunay’s scarlet mote in her left eye has left her marked. Sold into the servitude of Anafiel Delaunay, Phedre learns what it means to be an adapt of the night court. Set in the world of deadly beauty, where ones beauty surpasses all imagination and expectations, the D’Angeline features are almost as swift in their beauty as an assassin is with his deadly knife. Marked by Kushiel himself, Phedre must undertake a journey that is filled with self-discovery and self-indulgence, for she is only Kushiel’s born.

The world of deadly poets, deadly courtiers and heroic traitors, Phedre must learn to control her desires to find the truth that surrounds her birth.

An epic journey awaits the young D’Angeline with the scarlet mote in her left eye. The tales of the old are dead; the tales of a new birth begin.

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Kushiel's Dart reader reviews

from United States


I was entranced by Jacqueline Carey's writing. From the first chapter, it felt like I was reading something forbidden. With a society reminiscent of the French rococo lifestyle, but the fantasy of an alterative religious history that shapes the main foundation of this book (and series). Full of highly crafted characters you have to read in the appendix. Carey's vision of the world was enough to hold me captive, even when the book's protagonist turned into a courtesan assassin. Phedrè initially a child orphan, slave to society, learns that she is different. She does not understand why she is shunned and ignored. When her life changes, we follow the education she attains in court intrigues. Then, the book evolves into erotic machinations and the floor drops out from under you. Everything about the differences she faced in adolescence now make sense and life gets more complicated. It gets dark, on so many different levels, that we just hope she survives society's worst events toward women and the friends that keep her sane. Royal intrigue, tragedy, kidnapping, romance, high fantasy epic. All wrapped up in neat little package or three... Truly, one of my top 5 fantasy books series writers where Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson are.

from Bangor


Very nearly perfect. Provided you can stomach some of the darker moments, these books will not disappoint. They do have a tendency to drag a little in the second act, but Carey more than makes up for it with her immaculate prose and exquisite descriptive powers.

from Essex


I stumbled across this and Carey's subsequent Namaah Series quite by accident, but I'm so glad I did. Carey's tale of betrayal, destiny, intrigue, mysterious and ferocious magics and, most important of all, love, is one of the most well-written and thoroughly enjoyable series I have ever have the pleasure of reading. A compelling narrative and poetic writing style made the complex and interwoven plot easy to read, introducing well-rounded, flaw bitten characters to life. Phedre's character is unlike any protagonist I have ever experienced before, as through the mysteries and intrigue of the high European court in which she is thrust, her most violent battle is against herself, and unlike many 'strong' female characters, Phedre is not without vulnerability. Although you are gifted with 6 books in the Kushiel series, you are left craving more, turning then to the Namaah series, which is like a chocolatey dessert to the hearty meal of Kushiel. A definite 10 out of 10! Recommended to lovers of historical fantasy, romance, crime and intrigue and great writing.

9.3/10 from 4 reviews

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