Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey: the first book in the stunning Kushiel’s Legacy series
The narrator: Phèdre nó Delaunay, a trained spy, courtesan worthy of kings, a god-touched mortal and anguisette (one who feels intense pleasure in the place of pain). The setting: Terre D’Ange, a land graced by the feet of angels who left their legacy permanently, and elegantly, stamped on the faces of their descendants.
Her journey starts as an adept at Cereus House, the first of the fourteen Houses of the Court of Night Blooming Flowers. Her future is uncertain, due to a slight imperfection, a red mote in one of her otherwise dark brown eyes. But one man recognizes her imperfection as a prize. The mark of Kushiel, the angel of punishment.
“When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity upon me,” Phèdre says. Her savior, Anafiel Delaunay trains her in the arts of espionage, pleasure and pain. She becomes the realms most sought-after courtesan, using her wiles to collect information from her patrons. But, as she soon finds out, the god’s use their chosen cruelly. Her life is not to be one full of riches, pleasure and comfort. A traitor is sitting at the heart of Terre D’Ange, eyes set on ruling the land, and only Phèdre blocks the way.
The remarkable heroine, her rascal of a best friend, Hyacinthe, and her overbearing protector, Joscelin, set off on a journey that will take them to lands untraveled by D’Angelines in centuries to defeat the worst traitor Terre D’Ange has ever seen.
Kushiel’s Dart stuns the reader with it’s beauty, elegance, complexity and depth. It’s one of those books that you can’t stand to set down, but also never want to end. Luckily for the reader, however, it is only the first of seven (so far) in the remarkable Legacy series.