Kushiel's Chosen: A Novel

Kushiel's Chosen: A Novel

by Jacqueline Carey


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Following hard on the heels of Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey's spectacular debut novel, comes Kushiel's Chosen, the second in the glittering and riveting Kushiel's Legacy Trilogy.

Phèdre nó Delaunay has survived much in her short life; she is an anguissette, a courtly spy, and the keeper of a nation's secrets. She has saved a kingdom, kept her people from a barbaric invasion, and thwarted Melisande Shahrizai, a ruthless, Machiavellian villainess.

But her gods are not yet finished with Phèdre, for while the young queen who sits upon the throne is well loved by the people, there are those who believe other heads should wear the crown-Melisande was able to escape the royal guard, and is not done scheming for power and revenge. To save all she holds dear, Phèdre will travel from the sun-drenched villas of La Serenissima to the wilds of old Hellas, and will discover a plot so dreadful as to make the earth tremble . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765307347
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 08/25/2015
Series: Kushiel's Legacy Series , #2
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author JACQUELINE CAREY holds B.A. degrees in psychology and English literature from Lake Forest College. An affinity for travel has taken her from Finland to Egypt; she currently resides in western Michigan. Her previous publications include various short stories, essays, a nonfiction book, the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar), Banewreaker, and Godslayer.

Read an Excerpt

Kushiel's Chosen

By Jacqueline Carey

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2015 Jacqueline Carey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-0734-7

No one would deny that I have known hardship in my time, brief though it has been for all that I have done in it. This, I think, I may say without boastfulness. If I answer now to the title of Comtesse de Montrève and my name is listed in the peerage of Terre d’Ange, still I have known what it is to have all that I possess torn from me; once, when I was but four years of age and my birth-mother sold me into servitude to the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, and twice, when my lord and mentor Anafiel Delaunay was slain, and Melisande Shahrizai betrayed me into the hands of the Skaldi.
I have crossed the wilds of Skaldia in the dead of winter, and faced the wrath of the Master of the Straits on the teeming waters. I have been the plaything of a barbarian warlord, and I have lost my dearest friend to an eternity of lonely isolation. I have seen the horrors of war and the deaths of my companions. I have walked, alone and by night, into the vast darkness of an enemy encampment, knowing that I gave myself up to torture and nigh-certain death.
None of it was as difficult as telling Joscelin I was returning to the Service of Naamah.
It was the sangoire cloak that decided me; Melisande’s challenge and the badge of my calling that marked me as an anguissette, Kushiel’s Chosen, as clearly as the mote of scarlet emblazoned since birth in the iris of my left eye. A rose petal floating upon dark waters, some admirer once called it. Sangoire is a deeper color, a red so dark it borders upon black. I have seen spilled blood by starlight; it is a fitting color for one such as I, destined to find pleasure in pain. Indeed, the wearing of it is proscribed for any who is not an anguissette. D’Angelines appreciate such poetic niceties.
I am Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève, and I am the only one. Kushiel’s Dart strikes seldom, if to good effect.
When Maestro Gonzago de Escabares brought the cloak from La Serenissima, and the tale by which he had gained it, I made my choice. I knew that night. By night, my course seemed clear and obvious. There is a traitor in the heart of Terre d’Ange, one who stands close enough to the throne to touch it; that much, I knew. Melisande’s sending the cloak made it plain: I had the means of discovering the traitor’s identity, should I choose to engage in the game. That it was true, I had no doubt. By the Night Court and by Delaunay, I have been exquisitely trained as courtesan and spy alike. Melisande knew this—and Melisande required an audience, or at least a worthy opponent. It was clear, or so I thought.
In the light of day, before Joscelin’s earnest blue gaze, I knew the extent of the misery it would cause. And for that, I delayed, temporizing, sure in my reasoning but aching at heart. Maestro Gonzago stayed some days, enjoying the hospitality I was at such pains to provide. He suspected somewhat of my torment, I do not doubt. I saw it reflected in his kind, homely face. At length he left without pressing me, his apprentice Camilo in tow, bound for Aragonia.
I was left alone with Joscelin and my decision.
We had been happy in Montrève, he and I; especially he, raised in the mountains of Siovale. I know what it cost Joscelin to bind his life to mine, in defiance of his Cassiline vow of obedience. Let the courtiers laugh, if they will, but he took his vows seriously, and celibacy not the least of them. D’Angelines follow the precept of Blessed Elua, who was born of the commingled blood of Yeshua ben Yosef and the tears of the Magdelene in the womb of Earth: Love as thou wilt. Alone among the Companions, only Cassiel abjured Elua’s command; Cassiel, who accepted damnation to remain celibate and steadfast at Elua’s side, the Perfect Companion, reminding the One God of the sacred duty even He had forgotten.
These, then, were the vows Joscelin had broken for me. Montrève had done much to heal the wounds that breaking had dealt him. My return to the Service of Naamah, who had gone freely to Elua’s side, who had lain down with kings and peasants alike for his sake, would open those wounds anew.
I told him.
And I watched the white lines of tension, so long absent, engrave themselves on the sides of his beautiful face. I laid out my reasoning, point by point, much as Delaunay would have done. Joscelin knew the history of it nearly as well as I did myself. He had been assigned as my companion when Delaunay still owned my marque; he knew the role I had played in my lord’s service. He had been with me when Delaunay was slain, and Melisande betrayed us both—and he had been there that fateful night at Troyes-le-Mont, when Melisande Shahrizai had escaped the Queen’s justice.
“You are sure?” That was all he said, when I had finished.
“Yes.” I whispered the word, my hands clenching on the rich sangoire folds of my cloak, which I held bundled in my arms. “Joscelin…”
“I need to think.” He turned away, his face shuttered like a stranger’s. In anguish, I watched him go, knowing there was nothing more I could say. Joscelin had known, from the beginning, what I was. But he had never reckoned on loving me, nor I him.
There was a small altar to Elua in the garden, which Richeline Friote, my seneschal’s wife, tended with great care. Flowers and herbs grew in abundance behind the manor house, where a statue of Elua, no more than a meter tall, smiled benignly upon our bounty, petals strewn at his marble feet. I knew the garden well, for I had spent many hours seated upon a bench therein, considering my decision. It was there, too, that Joscelin chose to think, kneeling before Elua in the Cassiline style, head bowed and arms crossed.
He stayed there a long time.
By early evening, a light rain had begun to fall and still Joscelin knelt, a silent figure in the grey twilight. The autumn flowers grew heavy with water and hung their bright heads, basil and rosemary released pungent fragrance on the moist air, and still he knelt. His wheat-gold braid hung motionless down his back, runnels of rain coursing its length. Light dwindled, and still he knelt.
“My lady Phèdre.” Richeline’s concerned voice gave me a start; I hadn’t heard her approach, which, for me, was notable. “How long will he stay there, do you think?”
I turned away from the window that looked out at the garden loggia. “I don’t know. You’d best serve dinner without him. It could be a good while.” Joscelin had once held a vigil, snow-bound, throughout an entire Skaldic night on some obscure point of Cassiline honor. This cut deeper. I glanced up at Richeline, her open, earnest face. “I told him I am planning to return to the City of Elua. To the Service of Naamah.”
Richeline took a deep breath, but her expression didn’t change. “I wondered if you would.” Her voice took on a compassionate tone. “He’s not the sort to bear it easily, my lady.”
“I know.” I sounded steadier than I felt. “I don’t chose it lightly, Richeline.”
“No.” She shook her head. “You wouldn’t.”
Her support was more heartening than I reckoned. I looked back out the window at the dim, kneeling figure of Joscelin, tears stinging my eyes. “Purnell will stay on as seneschal, of course, and you with him. Montrève needs your hand, and the folk have come to trust you. I’d not have it otherwise.”
“Yes, my lady.” Her kind gaze was almost too much to bear, for I did not like myself overmuch at this moment. Richeline placed her fist to her heart in the ancient gesture of fealty. “We will hold Montrève for you, Purnell and I. You may be sure of it.”
“Thank you.” I swallowed hard, repressing my sorrow. “Will you summon the boys to dinner, Richeline? They should be told, and I have need of their aid. If I am to do this thing before winter, we must begin at once.”
“Of course.”
“The boys” were my three chevaliers; Phèdre’s Boys, they called themselves, Remy, Fortun and Ti-Philippe. Fighting sailors under the command of Royal Admiral Quintilius Rousse, they had attached themselves to my service after our quest to Alba and the battle of Troyes-le-Mont. In truth, I think it amused the Queen to grant them to me.
I told them over dinner, served in the manor hall with white linens on the table, and an abundance of candles. At first there was silence, then Remy let out an irrepressible whoop of joy, his green eyes sparkling.
“To the City, my lady? You promise it?”
“I promise,” I told him. Ti-Philippe, small and blond, grinned, while solid, dark Fortun looked thoughtfully at me. “It will need two of you to ride ahead and make arrangements. I’ve need of a modest house, near enough to the Palace. I’ll give you letters of intent to take to my factor in the City.”
Remy and Ti-Philippe began to squabble over the adventure. Fortun continued to look at me with his dark gaze. “Do you go a-hunting, my lady?” he asked softly.
I toyed with a baked pear, covered in crumbling cheese, to hide my lack of appetite. “What do you know of it, Fortun?”
His gaze never wavered. “I was at Troyes-le-Mont. I know someone conspired to free the Lady Melisande Shahrizai. And I know you are an anguissette trained by Anafiel Delaunay, who, outside the boundaries of Montrève, some call the Whoremaster of Spies.”
“Yes.” I whispered it, and felt a thrill run through my veins, compelling and undeniable. I lifted my head, feeling the weight of my hair caught in a velvet net, and downed a measure of fine brandy from the orchards of L’Agnace. “It is time for Kushiel’s Dart to be cast anew, Fortun.”
“My lord Cassiline will not like it, my lady,” Remy cautioned, having left off his quarrel with Ti-Philippe. “Seven hours he has knelt in the garden. I think now I know why.”
“Joscelin Verreuil is my concern.” I pushed my plate away from me, abandoning any pretense of eating. “Now I need your aid, chevaliers. Who will ride to the City, and find me a home?”
In the end, it was decided that Remy and Ti-Philippe both would go in advance, securing our lodgings and serving notice of my return. How Ysandre would receive word of it, I was uncertain. I had not told her of Melisande’s gift, nor my concerns regarding her escape. I did not doubt that I had the Queen’s support, but the scions of Elua and his Companions can be a capricious lot, and I judged it best to operate in secrecy for the moment. Let them suppose that it was the pricking of Kushiel’s Dart that had driven me back; the less they knew, the more I might learn.
So Delaunay taught me, and it is sound advice. One must gauge one’s trust carefully.
I trusted my three chevaliers a great deal, or I would never have let them know what we were about. Delaunay sought to protect me—me, and Alcuin, who paid the ultimate price for it—by keeping us in ignorance. I would not make his mistake; for so I reckon it now, a mistake.
But still, there was only one person I trusted with the whole of my heart and soul, and he knelt without speaking in the rain-drenched garden of Montrève. I stayed awake long that night, reading a Yeshuite treatise brought to me by Gonzago de Escabares. I had not given up my dream of finding a way to free Hyacinthe from his eternal indenture to the Master of the Straits. Hyacinthe, my oldest friend, the companion of my childhood, had accepted a fate meant for me: condemned to immortality on a lonely isle, unless I could find a way to free him, to break the geis that bound him. I read until my eyes glazed and my mind wandered. At length, I dozed before the fire, stoked on the hour by two whispering servant-lads.
The sense of a presence woke me, and I opened my eyes.
Joscelin stood before me, dripping rainwater onto the carpeted flagstones. Even as I looked, he crossed his forearms and bowed.
“In Cassiel’s name,” he said, his voice rusty from hours of disuse, “I protect and serve.”
We knew each other too well, we two, to dissemble.
“No more than that?”
“No more,” he said steadily, “and no less.”
I sat in my chair gazing up at his beautiful face, his blue eyes weary from his long vigil. “Can there be no middle ground between us, Joscelin?”
“No.” He shook his head gravely. “Phèdre…Elua knows, I love you. But I am sworn to Cassiel. I cannot be two things, not even for you. I will honor my vow, to protect and serve you. To the death, if need be. You cannot ask for more. Yet you do.”
“I am Kushiel’s chosen, and sworn to Naamah,” I whispered. “I honor your vow. Can you not honor mine?”
“Only in my own way.” He whispered it too; I knew how much it cost him, and closed my eyes. “Phèdre, do not ask for more.”
“So be it,” I said with closed eyes.
When I opened them, he was gone.
Copyright © 2002 by Jacqueline Carey

Excerpted from Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey. Copyright © 2015 Jacqueline Carey. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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"Reminiscent of the best efforts of Tanith Lee and Anne Rice.... Highly recommended." —-Library Journal

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Kushiel's Chosen (Kushiel's Legacy Series #2) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 reviews.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
If you liked the first book, you will love the second. It's full of intrigue, politics, religion, and sex...along with a healthy dose of adventure. This series is by no means a light read, but avid fantasy readers should definitely give it a try! If you liked this book, you might also like "Wayfarer Redemption" by Sara Douglass, "A Shadow in Summer" by Daniel Abraham, and "Magician: Apprentice" by Raymond E. Feist!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my ALL TIME favorite series! Please don't get turned off by some of the more colorful subject matter. There is sooo much more. Look deeper, by the time you get to the 3rd book in the series you will see a much bigger picture and a deeper message. After i finished Kushiels Avatar i slapped myself on the head and said 'WOW'! I'm not the only one out there who has thought this. Maybe if some of the religeous zealots in the world read this they would realize they were missing the 'big picture' and how futile being a fanatic is. I work part time in a local book store and recommend these so often that we have to order extra copies
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
In the second book of the Kushiel's Legacy series, Phedre and her Cassiline, Joscelin, journey to La Serenissima in search of Melisande. But, as always, there is more to the game than anyone suspects at first. Phedre must learn to navigate her way through a whole new politcal climate and use all her wits to try and decipher the clues she has which lead her on a not so merry journey across the seas, where she encounters pirates, gods, and ancient rituals. She is forced to look at herself in a new light time and time again, and make sacrifices she never thought she would have needed. I was happy to see so many of my favorite characters back for a second book. The change of scenery and introduction of the La Serenissiman characters was the perfect addition to her already fantastic mix. The people and the setting meshed in a way that improved the flow of the story. Throwing in the action, which never seems to stop for Phedre, you have the perfect combination for an amazing book. 5/5
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series justs keeps getting better! It's hard for a second book to top the first, but this one did! Can't put it down once you start!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very exciting and intruging book. it has aspects of medival history hidden in it and it is hard to put down.
WitchyWriter More than 1 year ago
If you’re looking for some fantastically suspenseful writing, this is the series to beat. Jacqueline Carey has already given us a complex, compelling world complete with fascinating mythos in Kushiel’s Dart. In this sequel, we travel with the protagonists away from their home again, this time to a place that feels like Italy/Venice. Phedre is again the only person with the unique skills, knowledge, and influence who can save her country from deadly intrigue. When I was praising these books the other day to my husband (trying to get him to read them) he mentioned that he doesn’t really want to read a “romance.” I guess people hear about the courtesan with BDSM leanings and assume they’re looking at a romance or even erotica novel. This series is far from typical of either of those genres. I would say it’s more similar to Romantic literature, almost, though a better description would probably be “alternate history Earth with compelling female protagonist.” The books they remind me most of are actually Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle, though that might have more to do with the narrative style and the fact that you’re starting out with a particularly naturally-skilled protagonist. Any “romance” in these books is more slow-burning, almost like how we had to wait so many books to see Ron and Hermione finally happen in the Harry Potter series. The relationships between characters are intricate, and never simple. I have an immense amount of admiration for how Carey can write a character at war with themself. She doesn’t skimp on the secondary characters, either. Everyone feels complete and complicated, like normal humans are. The stakes feel higher in this book than the first, which I wouldn’t have thought possible. Strangely enough, Carey is able to raise them even more in the third book. I don’t know that I even need to urge anyone to read this second installment—if they aren’t automatically picking it up right after finishing Kushiel’s Dart, then my words would probably be falling on deaf ears. I have trouble imagining a person who would dislike these books (how can you dislike writing that is THIS good?), but I suppose they probably exist somewhere. If you like compelling characters, intricate worlds/mythos, and suspense, you’re missing out until you’ve read these.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This second volume in the Kushiel's Legacy series continues the story of Phedre, concentrating on her search for the traitor Melisande. I'd put off reading this, but I enjoyed it more than the first volume. While the first book had to cover Phedre's childhood and early adulthood, the events in the book take place in a much swifter timescale.The formal and flowery narrative style, which I found overbearing in the first book, seemed to intrude less on the story.I'm ready to dive right into the third volume.
raylay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series! Unlikely heroine, conflicted loves, intrigue and fast paced adventure, plus some interesting sex scenes that were much more titillating than mawkishly amorous.There is so much about this series that I love. The alternate history, intrigue, travel, intelligence, and overall romance and sexiness all tied in. A must read!
jasmyn9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the second book of the Kushiel's Legacy series, Phedre and her Cassiline, Joscelin, journey to La Serenissima in search of Melisande. But, as always, there is more to the game than anyone suspects at first. Phedre must learn to navigate her way through a whole new politcal climate and use all her wits to try and decipher the clues she has which lead her on a not so merry journey across the seas, where she encounters pirates, gods, and ancient rituals. She is forced to look at herself in a new light time and time again, and make sacrifices she never thought she would have needed.I was happy to see so many of my favorite characters back for a second book. The change of scenery and introduction of the La Serenissiman characters was the perfect addition to her already fantastic mix. The people and the setting meshed in a way that improved the flow of the story. Throwing in the action, which never seems to stop for Phedre, you have the perfect combination for an amazing book.5/5
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book lives up to the precedent that Carey set in her first novel. The writing is gorgeous, and the book overall is one that you simply can't put aside. It takes some time to get back into the characters if you're reading the book a while after you've read the first one (and I wouldn't suggest reading them out of order), but you get there fairly quickly, and the energy is well worth it. There's not too much repetition to catch up first time readers of the series, and the characters are even more engaging than they were in the first go round. These books are full, exotic, and undeniably engaging.
mssbluejay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This sequel was just as good as the first novel, if not better. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so good that once finished, I immediately purchased the third novel in the series.
silentq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can never seem to stop with re-reading just the first book in this trilogy. :) Phedre is challenged by Melisande to reenter the service of Namaah in order to thwart yet another plot. She ends up in this world's version of Venice, afloat amidst plots and counter plots, trying to resist falling prey to Melisande yet again.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kushiel's Dart is the first book in this series, and if you haven't you really should read that first. There is a lot of adult material in these books--of a kind frankly I'd ordinarily find off-putting. The heroine is an anguissette--a masochist for whom pain is not just an integral part of her sexuality but her profession--she's a prostitute. Despite that, I loved these first three books centered around Phedre among my favorite books in the fantasy genre, and this middle book in my opinion doesn't fall off from the first. In this book we travel to an land reminiscent of Venice and the political intrigues is deftly done--it helps that this book features Melisande, a terrific and complex villain. This novel is a fast-paced read and Phedre's voice is so engaging and Carey's writing often so evocative and sensuous I just fell into the book and it didn't let go onto the end. The concluding book after this, Kushiel's Avatar, in my opinion is even stronger.
laileana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel picks up directly where the first left off. Phedre and Joscelin each seem to reach a peace with who and what they are in the end of the book. Phedre has all new adventures as she searches for the traitor Melissande-who has not stopped playing her yet.
andersocheva on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A sequel to _Kushiel's Dart_, wherein Phèdre attempts to find out what happened to the beautiful traitress Melisande Shahrizai. The search brings her to the republic of La Serenissima, to the terrible prison island of La Dolorosa, to the archipelagoes of Illyria, and to the brink of madness and death...The book starts off well, but a little more than 200 pages in I got stuck for over a month. For nearly a hundred pages, the only thing that really happened was a lot of scheming in Serenissiman politics, a young Serenissiman (one-quarter D'Angeline) nobleman unsuccessfully wooing Phèdre, and Phèdre and Joscelin quarrelling, which bored me stiff in the long run and almost killed my desire to finish the bloody thing.Once I got through that part, the pace picked up again, and it took me only a few days to finish the rest. Overall, I'm not too displeased, but those 100-ish pages were almost too much by being too little, as it were.
dbhutch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again Ms. Carey immerses us in the world or Terra D'Ange - and gives us more of it. Our lovely Phedre gets pulled back into the fate of the realm after she gets her beloved cloack in a package, and from the onely person who would have it - Melisandre. so the traitor is still somewhere, and puts Phedre on notice that she is up to something. Phedre sets out to find out what, with old friends and new, gets proposed to, locked up in jail, sees close friends killed, captured by pirates, promises to clean a Goddess's temple, and much more. The reader cannot helped but be pulled in quickly, in this well paced tale, with incredible detail.
molliewatts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Queen of Terre D'Ange, Ysandre de la Courcel, once again is in need of the services of the lands most herioc courtesan, Phedre no Delauney de Montreve. This time Phedre and Joscelin must travel to La Serenissima, where the game of political intrigue, while played with less finesse than in Terre D'Ange, is still played with ferocity. There Phedre must flush out the latest conspiracy against her queen, while ensuring that her own life remains in the balance.
RogueBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second installment in the Kushiel's Legacy series continues the high quality and gripping qualities of the first. The world gets a bit larger here, and Carey adds several new cutures to her fascinating alternate history. The intricacy and detail is astounding -- you really get the sense that the world could have turned out this way, given the alterations to history she makes several centuries before the story's timeline. Added to that is Phedre's increasing awareness of her role in the universe and no end of romantic entanglements. A truly brilliant novel.(And Ysandre's climactic scene -- but that would be telling! -- is still my favourite part of the entire series).
ConnieJo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this immediately after I read the first one, which is something I never do since I tend to wear out halfway through the second title when I marathon an author like that. I disliked the first one for the use of flowery language, and while that's still being used, I've either gotten used to it or it's been toned way down.This volume is about Phedre going after Melisandre, and what happens when she succeeds. The first... third or so of the volume is a little slow since it's mostly Phedre and her Chevaliers looking for clues. There is also a slow buildup of a side story involving Jocelin and the Yeshuites, basically those who worship Christ instead of Elua, and how Jocelin has to make a choice between his rough relationship with Phedre and as a leader of the Yeshuites. Phedre's interest in the Yesuites lies in studying their ancient texts looking for a way to free Hyacinthe.After the first third, Phedre starts out on another extremely epic adventure through the neighboring countries and their different cultures. I didn't enjoy these countries as much as I enjoyed the country from last volume with the Dalriada and the Cruinthe, but it still made for a really enjoyable story, with a similar, possibly more suspenseful, conclusion for the story.Unfortunately, there's a really easy loose end left open for the next book. I'm not a really big fan of the most obvious path, but I'll still read the next volume and likely enjoy it quite a bit. The links between Europe and the countries surrounding Terre d'Ange was a little less obvious in the last volume (save for the parallels between Hellenic culture and the Nordic/Skaldic gods as well as the Picts), in this volume, right from the redrawn map, it's pretty obvious that every country links to one in Europe. It was kind of a relief to me, because it really helps me picture the geography better.I didn't like it quite as much as the first one since a lot of what happens seems a little less exciting, but it was still a fantastic read.
JKCollins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The tale of Phedre continues and is even better than the last! Many 'omigod!' moments!
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After very much enjoying the first book of this series, I was looking forward to reading the continuing adventures of Phédre and Joscelin. In my opinion (which doesn¿t appear to be shared by other raters of this book), Kushiel's Chosen is not nearly as good of a book. Partly this is an issue of pacing: the first half of Chosen is very slow, much heavier on intrigue and speculation than action. In fact, by the half way point I was almost ready to give up on the book as not being my cup of tea, but then things suddenly picked up. The last 300 pages or so are a return to the non-stop action and compelling storytelling that marked Kushiel's Dart. But the problems with this book go beyond a slow beginning. The villain in Kushiel's Dart was a Great Man who just happened to be a Barbarian king out to conquer Kushiel's homeland. He was an interesting character whom we saw lots of. The villain in Kushiel's Chosen is a simpering fool whom we barely see. In Dart, Melisande is an active, brilliant manipulative femme fatale, a delicious villainess. In Chosen, she is a hiding blackmailer with an over-reaching plot, and gets little screen time. Joscelin¿s fascination with all things Yeshuite was disappointing, and his absence for vast portions of the narrative was a loss. In Dart, sadism seemed the passion of a dark sliver of Terra d¿Ange high society; in Chosen it seemed implausibly universal. Some of the plot left me scratching my head as well. I never really understood Phédre¿s decision to return to Namaah¿s service. Kazan¿s ransom plan seemed unlikely given his sailors¿ prowess and his most wanted status in La Serenissima. The side trip to visit the Unforgiven seemed an obvious, yet not terribly plausible, setup for the later necessities of the plot. The quickness of the return to the capital seemed contradictory to earlier travel realities (from both books). And the fact that a young Yeshuite girl would know of the secret entrance and to the temple where the climax would play out, not to mention the carefully guarded secret of how the Goddess ¿speaks¿ to the people, seemed ridiculous. And I am astonished to say that even the sex scenes came off as almost boring. Nicola¿s knots were the hottest thing in this book. Still, I have no doubt that I will eventually pick up the later books of the series to see what comes next.
inserttitlehere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is a continuation of Kushiel's Dart (which I have already reviewed), and although this book seems to be more of a segue into the next book, there's still plenty to keep you enthralled and wanting more. Another well-written novel that develops our beloved Phedre's and Joscelin's characters more deeply. Highly recommended for any lover of epic novels.
xicanti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the second installment of the Kushiel¿s Legacy trilogy, Phèdre travels to La Serenissima in search of Melisande.I found Kushiel¿s Dart rather disappointing, given all the hype, but I figured I¿d try at least one more volume. I¿m very glad I did; I loved this! It¿s exactly what I¿d hoped the series would be like.I found the story much more personal this time around. My largest complaint with the first book was that it was rarely Phèdre¿s story. Things happened around her, not to her. Here, she has a much larger stake in the action, mainly because of how each development impacts her relationship with Joscelin. I could really feel the tension between them, and it made all the difference. I¿ll admit that I¿m a sucker for a good love story, and this one made an excellent book of what would otherwise have been simply a good one.The character interaction isn¿t the only thing that¿s improved this time around. The pacing is also better; there are some truly exciting moments here, though I found that the story lagged a little near the end. The intrigue is top notch and cleverly plotted. I was often hard-pressed to put the book down, I was so involved with what was going on.I still found fault with a few aspects. Once again, the multiple changes of scenery seemed a little superfluous; it was almost as though Carey just wanted to show off this (admittedly fascinating) alternate world of hers. While one particularly vital thing happens on Kriti, I have to wonder if it was worth the long, less intense build-up.But regardless, this is definitely worth reading. Highly recommended, though it¿s probably best if you read Kushiel¿s Dart first so you know where everyone¿s coming from here.
Aerrin99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A villain from the first novel throws a gauntlet at Phedre's feet, a message that our heroine interprets as a challenge, both to her skills and to the safety of her queen. The ensuing story pushes the boundaries of Carey's world, taking us out of Terre D'Ange and into La Serenissima, a reflection of medieval Venice.In glancing at the professional reviews on Amazon, I see that they found this an inferior work to the first - I disagree. I think Carey grows stronger here, her world richer and more interesting, and her characters deeper.I also think that Carey's ability to write political intrigue saw a marked improvement in this novel. While it helped that I already knew the important names of Terre D'Ange, she still had an entire country's worth of important figures to dump, and not once did I feel boggled or baffled. The mysteries and secrets flowed much more naturally here, and as a result, Phedre also felt much more competent.What I really adored about this novel, though, was the thick tension between characters, and the way difficult circumstances forced them to grow, both in each other and as individuals. Their struggles felt very real and very intense.I also adore the way Carey keeps adding to her world brick by brick. The reflection of cultures we know - Roman and Greek gods have counterparts in this world, as do Nordic and Gaelic deities - makes it fairly easy to follow, but doesn't grow dull, primarily because Carey isn't afraid to let her characters truly and completely /live/ in a world shaped by these individuals, and she isn't afraid to tackle questions of religion, of devotion, honor, blasphemy. Because of this, the cultures we encounter and the gods they worship remain, always, something more than window dressing.Which is probably what appeals to me most about these books - they feel so vibrant and alive, in place, in character, in rich emotion. It's hard not to want to live there.
thelorelei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was not sure how well Carey would pull off the follow up to her wildly inventive debut, "Kushiel's Dart." As I got a few chapters into the book, I found myself breathing a deep sigh of relief, because Phèdre's personality and wit were intact, and so was Carey's lush prose. The only challenge that remained was for the plot to equal or surpass the first book in urgency and intrigue. In a roundabout way, I'd say that it does match up to its predecessor, but takes a slightly different tone in doing so. I think that the most intelligent thing Carey did was to take the action beyond the borders of Terre d'Ange. The first book did take Phèdre to her country's nearest neighbors, but in "Kushiel's Chosen," she finds she must travel even further to continue her game of wits with the escaped traitor of the first book. This is also a great strength of Phèdre's character arc; Carey is relentless in her exploration of the thin line between love and hate, and Melisande is the perfect vehicle. Through her we see the depths of Phèdre's capacity for love, as well as for strength of character and determination. "Kushiel's Chosen" takes the characters to whom we've grown quite attached, and throws them into something of a swashbuckler of a tale. Considering the act it had to follow, I think this was the best possible choice of narrative. All in all, it's a worthy sequel to "Kushiel's Dart."