Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy, #1) Well well well. I loved this book all over again with this reread. :) Yet I see the beginnings of why after falling in love with so much of Jacqueline Carey's work, I fell out of love. :( She is a brilliant writer, such beautiful, beautiful prose. Kushiel's Dart especially has such a beautiful style. The teller of the tale, Phèdre, uses hindsight to add weight to events, to tragedies, to victories. So many things are told with such a quiet intensity of emotion.

But as I continued reading through the two Kushiel series my love of her books diminished. And I think there are two reasons. The first is that she is a better writer than storyteller. I've recently seen a good quote about writing that says story is more than just a series of events. And I think that's where Carey falls a little short. Every Phedre novel was just a series of events leading to a bigger, badder antagonist to defeat. Imriel's novels had even less than that. I found the first two almost boring to read. So much so that the third novel in the Imriel series sat on my bookshelf for years before I could bring myself to read it out of obligation. But I must say... that one, Kushiel's Mercy, was an excellent suprise! It had an exciting and more intricate plot! Much like Kushiel's Dart, but lacking in the 4 books between those two.

I think the second reason I fell out of love with Carey's books is setting. I LOVE the world of Terre d'Ange that she created! I'm intrigued by all the different Houses of the Night Court, I'm intrigued by all the different companions of Elua and their heritage found in their scions and provinces. And I realized how much I wanted to learn more about them. I feel there's so much to explore there! And yet out of 6 Kushiel books so little time is spent in Terre d'Ange! And while rereading this book I realize that only the first third of the book is in Terre d'Ange, and then we're off to Skaldia and Alba. And the next few books, we're off to more distant lands or Alba or Caerdicca Unitas. Sigh. I miss Terre d'Ange and wish for more books set there.

But I will always love Carey's books and some of the messages I will always treasure. These ones most of all: That which yields is not always weak. And Love as thou wilt.

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