20 May 2012

Sexy Times: A Review of Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey

One of the most surreal and pleasurable moments in my life was late one winter night, coming home on the subway.  It had been a long day at the office and I was bone-tired. I was seated alongside two well-dressed, middle-aged women of a certain dignity.  I overheard one of them go on at great length about a book she was reading, a book that struck her to the core and made her think about her life as a woman and how she had the power to re-invent herself.  

And with this great impression I went on-line googled, bought and started reading Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Much to my surprise  this books is filled with sexy sex sex. So much sexy sex sex that I feel like I have passed over into the erotica/fantasy genre unable maybe even unwilling to find my way back.  I must admit I am not one to gravitate to novels filled with bosoms and bulges and was a little shocked once I knew what direction this book was going.  (It was going to sexy town in case you didn't catch that earlier.) Researching for this post, I am discovering that I know little of this sub-genre and am interested in discovering if Kushiel's Dart is a typical example or a purely unique idea.  

Kushiel's Dart follows the life of Phedre no Delaunay, a child sold into indentured servitude.We follow her willingness to serve Naamah and quickly become not only a courtisan but spy. Carey spins the idea of prostitution by placing it within a religious framework. 'Love as though wilt' is the motto by which the city of Elua lives.  While the sexy sex sex is pretty overwhelming there is a great plot hidden in its sexy depths. 

My issue with this novel is its flowery, over-descriptive narrative.  It is this style that questions my ability to truly like this book and resulted in me not even finishing it.  I agree that without this type of narrative the elegance of Terre d'Ange   (...a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing  race that rose from the see of angels and men live by one simple rule:  Love as thou wilt.")would have come out flat. A great amount of patience was required of me to work through the first 50 pages. At times I was drowning in adjectives, skimming through dense paragraphs hoping the plot would reveal itself.  Eventually it did and I am deep in a world filled with intrigue and despair that seems to accompany feudal ruling houses.