Okay, so I know I'm late to this party. Thirteen years late, to be exact. . .
Since all the recent/new SFF releases I've read since returning from the Middle East have more or less killed my reading pleasure, I wanted to try something tested and true. I've been meaning to read Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books for years, so this seemed to be as good a time as any!
And 250 pages into Kushiel's Dart (Canada, USA, Europe), I'm loving everything about it! I'm aware that Carey has since published over a dozen novels, but this was her debut and it's as impressive as it is awesome! Head and shoulders (thus far at least) above debuts by such quality writers as Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Naomi Novik, and Peter V. Brett, Carey's Kushiel's Dart has left me quite impressed on all fronts. Don't know if the author can maintain such quality and intrigue till the very end, but so far Kushiel's Dart could well be the best fantasy debut I have ever read. . .
I commend this one to your attention!
Here's the blurb:
The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission...and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair...and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear. Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.