Jacqueline Carey,
Kushiel's Chosen
(Tor, 2002)

With Kushiel's Chosen Jacqueline Carey continues from where she left off in Kushiel's Dart. The book takes some of the threads from the first book and weaves them in with new intrigues. One warning about Kushiel's Chosen, it does contain graphic sexual descriptions, some of which include violence and bondage.

The ever-changing relationships between characters are just as important as the intrigue in the story. Both parts of the story build from the first book and there are frequent references to what happened before, enough that you can get a feel for what happened in the first book without having read it. Very early in the story you see both the subtly and the relational in work as Phedre no Delauney receives a message from an adversary in the form of a returned cloak. The decision she makes from there has a marked impact on her relationship with Joscelin Verreuil. Relationships and enmities from the past also influence how others are seen while plots are discovered and combated.

The characters are complex bound by oaths to the living, dead and the gods. Joscelin Verreuil's oaths and loyalties come into conflict due to his relationship with Phedre no Delauney. Phedre was trained in the service of Naamah in a land where all are taught to love as they will. (The servants of Naamah are more akin to courtesans than prostitutes.)

Melisande Shahrizai is an exquisite adversary, a skilled player in the games of thrones. There are so many well-developed and interesting characters, it would be easy to get caught up in listing them all and not touch on the story itself. However, all that happens stems from who they are, the ties that bind them (yes, sometimes literally) and their various needs. There is both betrayal and unexpected assistance; the best-laid plans sometimes go astray.

Kushiel's Chosen is full of intrigue and intriguing characters. Jacqueline Carey pulls both together skillfully, creating characters you care about, enemies you love but want stopped, and a story that is a joy to read.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 13 September 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.