Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
A friend recommended the books to me. We both love SF and Fantasy and I found this
book definitely great from a storytelling perspective. It reads as a fairy tale and yet
manages to maintain a link with reality. The idea of using an alternative history by
changing a few events about 2,000 years ago is certainly interesting and a lot of the
subplots are well done. The growing up of Phedre over the three books is good.
Some people found that the book is over the top is using poetic descriptions and
difficult words. The latter I found not at all true and the former I actually found a
positive feature. It helps to “see” the book, but then again I love 19th century
literature as well and that is full of these types of things.
As for the people that found the names hard. They are not. Most of them are
French(ish) with a contineous disrespect for French grammar rules. I do admit having
a book literacy exceeding SF/Fantasy and speaking more than one language does
You may say why then the 3 stars if you did like it? Well for two reasons.
I found the Melisande character as the really bad girl very very weak. The so-called
attraction between her and Phedre is under whelming. This important plot that goes
on for three books is just not believable. But my main criticism lies in the fact that I
found the descriptors used for the various people in Europe extremely condescending
to the point of insulting. The Germanic tribes are barbarians as are the people living in the low lands. The people on what we know as the British and Irish isles are
considered to be warmongering brutes with a very new age slant on the druidic and
Celtic cultures. The face paintings described are worse than any Pict ever wore. The
Greek are described mainly as day dreamers who live by what their oracles are stating
Only the French are worth anything. Don’t get me wrong I love France and the French
but they are described as if they are the only people in this alternative Europe that
have developed a more enlightened society. Certainly the first book as a result gave
me a very nasty aftertaste in my mouth.