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Kushiel's Chosen (book 2 of the Kushiel Series) by Jacqueline Carey

Review by Caleyna

Spoilers for Kushiel’s Dart!!!

In Kushiel’s Dart Jacqueline Carey created a rich world with a daring heroine and striking language. Kushiel’s Chosen picks up the story, thrusting Phedre into even more adventures and giving her even more challenges that she must face. The Queen’s life is in danger from an old foe, and Phedre is the only one who can save her. She must travel, along with her faithful Boys, to the source of the rumors and try to find a snake in the grass. Her success only brings her more challenges, though if I made any mention of them I’d really be giving too many spoilers.

Once again, the first third of the book focuses on sexual perversion, but if you are a mature reader it should be no problem for you. I can understand why Carey chose to use that particular area as the backbone of her story, but I am not really thrilled or titillated by it.

That aside, Kushiel’s Chosen is a very good read. Carey’s use of language is strong, immediately drawing me into the world and wrapping me in magic. Her characters are back, Phedre the spy, Joscelin the almost chaste man who loves her, Ysandre the young queen, and Melisande, the cunning and ruthless woman who would stop at nothing to gain power for herself. The old are joined by the new, a delightful bunch of characters that range from a surly old pirate to a group of pseudo-Christian warriors. I really enjoyed reading the character because they felt very real to me. Almost all of them are flawed in some way, yet they are still likeable and fun to read about.

There is a flaw in the book, a flaw which could also be pointed out in Kushiel’s Dart. There are simply too many coincidences and spectacular saves for the tale to be truly believable. I’ll buy one, two, maybe even three miraculous saves, but KD combined with KC brings us at least six of these little boogers. The saves are good in that they lead to new parts of the world, allowing Carey’s imagination to combine with her knowledge of history in some wonderful world building sequences, but they just don’t ring true. Carey seems to realize this is a problem and has a nifty little explanation, but I still don’t buy it.

Overall I’d rate this a very good read, even if the plot is a little shaky. There’s a stroke of brilliance within the story, but I won’t dare spoil it for you. Four out of five amulets.

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