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I am extremely busy on the farm right now, peeps (you can find what I'm doing through FB page Olives and Acorns) and wilting in the terrible heat. As a consequence, my reading schedule suffered and while reviews will continue trickling in, normal schedule won't resume until September. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey REVIEW

Kushiel's Chosen (Kushiel: Phèdre's Trilogy #2) 


Synopsis from Goodreads
Following hard on the heels of Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey's spectacular debut novel, comes Kushiel's Chosen, a glittering and riveting historical fantasy.

The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. It is said that the 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 and sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with a very special mission--and the first to recognize her for who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.
Phèdre has trained in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Having stumbled upon a plot that threatened the very foundations of her homeland, she gave up almost everything she held dear to save it. She survived, and lived to have others tell her story, and if they embellished the tale with fabric of mythical splendor, they weren't far off the mark.

The hands of the gods weigh heavily upon Phèdre's brow, and they are not yet done with their charge--for while the young queen who sits upon the throne is well loved by the people, there are those who believe that other heads should wear the crown. And those who escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with their schemes for power and revenge. To protect and serve, Phèdre will once again leave her beloved homeland.

From the sun-drenched villas of La Serenissima to the wilds of old Hellas, from a prison designed to drive the very gods mad to an island of immutable joy. Phèdre will meet old friends and new enemies and discover a plot so dreadful as to make the earth tremble, masterminded by the one person she cannot turn away from.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK |  The Book Depository US/UK

* * * 
According to Tor, Carey's first book Kushiel's Dart is one of the best fantasy novels of the last decade. 

Frankly speaking, I agree. I've never read anything quite like that before. Kushiel's Dart blew me away, and Kushiel's Chosen with its 700+ pages was not far behind. It's extremely intricate, intense, darkly erotic and has layers upon layers of meaning. It celebrates feminine strength, because most of the main players in this series be that villains or heroes are women.

Book #2 starts a year and a half after the end of book #1 (if I'm not mistaken). Phedre had time to recuperate from her ordeal, and she receives a disturbing gift from her archenemy, Melisande, which makes her decide to leave her country estate and test the dangerous waters of capital of Terre D'Ange again as a courtesan and a spy.

While she uncovers more and more evidence that Melisande is still alive and extremely dangerous and while her beloved Josselin becomes more and more unhappy with her service as Kushiel's Chosen, the trail leads her to La Serenissima (an equivalent of Renaissance Venice) where she promptly gets trapped in such a dangerous and grandiose plot, that she would need to travel through half of the world, if she has any chance to thwart her enemy and save her queen again.

The adventures she is going through are incredible, the tension and the feeling of time running out is palpable. This was such a wild ride I again stayed awake until the early hours of the morning (which happened to book #1 too) to finish Kushiel's Chosen.

I have only one word for this series, and it's EPIC.

* * *
Как и первая книга, Избранница Кушиэля взорвала мой мозг. Вычурно выписанная, деликатно выстроенная, тёмная и эротичная, эта фэнтэзийная серия не сравнится ни с одной другой, хотя бы потому, что все главные герои и злодеи в ней - женщины.

Книга номер два начинается полтора года спустя событий первой книги. Федрэ получает таинственный и тревожный подарок, который она идентифицирует с Мелисандой - главным вилланом и её личным врагом предыдущей книги.

Федре решает покинуть своё загородное поместье и вернуться в столицу в качестве куртизанки и шпиона, что понять, что за игру играет её враг.

Пока она всё больше и больше запутывается в интригах Мелисанды, а Джосселин, её возлюбленный всё больше и больше отдаляется от неё из-за того, что она вновь берёт на себя роль Избранницы Кушиэля, расследование приводит Федрэ и её команду в Ла Серринисиму (эквивалент Винеции эпохи Возрождения), где она попадает в ловушку Мелисанды и становится частью грандиозного плана свержения королевы.

Федрэ предстоит проплыть полмира, пройти сквозь немыслимые приключения и много раз ускользнуть от неминуемой смерти, чтобы разрушить планы Мелисанды.

Вся книга, все приключения Федрэ - это напряжённая гонка со временем, и оторваться от неё невозможно. Как и с первой книгой, я дочитывала вторую под утро, так и не сумев уснуть пока не узнаю концовку.

Эта серия просто ЭПИЧНА, и читать её безусловно надо!


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