Kushiel’s Chosen is the sequel to Kushiel’s Dart, which I reviewed yesterday. We’re back to Terre D’Ange about a year after those events, and Phèdre is now the Comtesse Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève. As much as she enjoys the nice, peaceful life she has in her country estate, the unresolved events from the last book still leave her restless, and she still has the talents Anafiel Delaunay has trained her in. So she heads back to the City of Elua and rededicates herself to the Service of Naamah with the express purpose of hunting a traitor.
I’m always in a bit of dilemma when I write about books in the series that aren’t the first – do I include spoilers for the previous ones? It’s a impossible not to, but I’ll do my best not to spoil any big events from Kushiel’s Dart in this review.
One of the great things about this series is that each book is pretty self contained – there are slow building arcs for the characters and events which will probably culminate at the end of the series, but you’re only left with one or two loose ends in each book. This helps Kushiel’s Chosen avoid the middle-book slump, and we get a fulfilling story.
This book is more mature than Kushiel’s Dart – from the beginnng, Phèdre is more considered and Ysandre has really grown into her role. We see a great deal more of the world including other gods and magics associated with them. It was nice to see how the people outside Terre D’Ange lived. In the first book, I was under the assumption that the gods were just mythical, but it seems as though they’re still playing a role, if not directly. I also really loved the major role than the interplay between the different religions played in this book – all these ambiguous and complex things makes the world feel truly complete.
Both Phèdre and Joscelin both really come into themselves in this book. In much of the first book, they are victims ending up in dangerous situations because choices others have made for them. In this one, they make their own choices and face the consequences, discovering important things about both themselves and others along the way. I almost feel proud of the people they’ve become, just by being along on their journey.
One last fun thing:
I don’t often see my name in books. This is the second, the first was a book about the first Indian sailing expedition around the world – Trishna, where I discovered that Crete is often transliterated as Kriti. And that’s exactly where Phèdre ended up (bonus for everyone being awed and reverent.) This was a pretty major part of the book, too.
Kushiel’s Avatar – you’re next.
Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's Legacy, #2)
Tor Books, 2002 | Buy the book