61. Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey - 816 pages (7.5/10)
Firstly, I must say I absolutely hate these covers. Her mark looks like a giant tramp stamp. It doesn't even look like a real tattoo--it looks like a peel on sticker you'd get from a machine for a quarter, honestly.
Secondly, I re-read this for the first time since I was 15. All I can say is: wow, I can't believe I read this kinky stuff when I was so young! This novel tells the story of Phedre no'Delaunay, a girl sold off as a whore from a young, tender age to the god (of love) Naamah's service. Luckily, she is fostered first by the Night Court and then by a handsome and mysterious man alongside a fair boy and becomes a learned and multi-talented courtesan, among other things.
Phedre has been marked from birth with both an unlucky name and an unlucky scarlet mote in her eye. The scarlet mote represents Kushiel's Dart, meaning she's been struck by the god to be very kinky, horny, and submissive. This makes her a one-of-a-kind commodity among the rich sadists of Terre D'Ange (Land of Angels), a near-medieval France.
The setting was quite interesting. There is the nearly French Terre D'ange, the Nordic Skaldi, the Scottish Alba, the Roman Tiberius, among others. The reader ends up seeing several of these lands throughout the course of the novel. The varying religions and politics were engaging enough to keep me interested.
In general, the writing is fairly good, but the prose can be much wordier than it need me. Over and over Phedre says things like "although how this happened, I cannot say" or "I did not learn it then, but I learned of it later." Just explain at the beginning that this is your "memory" and it's imperfect, and leave it at that! Phedre also weeps frequently and usually has sex with most of the men she meets.
Overall, it's an entertaining enough novel and worth reading if erotic fantasy is your cup of tea.
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