Polyphonist’s #CBR5 Review #10: Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel’s Chosen is book two in the Phèdre no Delaunay trilogy cycle. My review of the first, Kushiel’s Dart, can be found here. Of the three, this was probably my least favorite, though it wasn’t because it was bad. I just preferred book three (review coming soon) most, followed very closely by book one.

The story of Kushiel’s Chosen still centers, of course, around Phèdre no Delaunay (de Montrève) and her sworn protector, Joscelin. Phèdre, with the scarlet mote in her eye and God-prescribed ability to translate pain into pleasure. Joscelin, with his austere loyalty to and love for Phèdre along with his precision Cassiline training. The two embark on a mission to uncover a traitor in the heart of their city and in the process, discover a much more intricate and deceptive plan than they could’ve ever imagined.

Phèdre winds up being betrayed in a fairly surprising turn and imprisoned in one of the most maddening high security prisons in her world. Because it is a heroine’s story, and this happens a little over half way in, you know she’s going to get out, but it’s the how that was interesting, but with a heavy dose of deus ex machina…literally.

Phèdre’s complex relationship with the enigmatic, dominant Melisande only becomes more complicated, but for me, there wasn’t nearly enough of their interactions in this book. However, there’s political intrigue to spare, battles for a kingdom, treachery from within a sect of the population supposededly immune to it, fantastic rescue/escapes, and as always, a lush world brimming with sexuality and sensuality.

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