Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

It seriously took me about three weeks to read Kushiel's Dart, the February selection for the sci-fi/fantasy book club my husband and I belong to.  Hubby stopped even trying by the time he got 150 pages or so into it, and most of the other members of our book club gave up on it too, but I finished it the evening of book club (I read the last 30 pages or so after the actual meeting).

Having plugged away at it, I have to say I am glad I forced myself to finish, but I am not sure I will ever read the others in the series.  Maybe -- I liked the world and characters Jacqueline Carey has created, but the sad fact is simply that it just takes too long to read.  The lyrical writing style is beautiful and flowing, but it makes everything take about four times longer than it normally would have in another writer's style.

The author does a wonderful job of creating a believable world, complex political intrigue, and orchestrating a dramatic war for the characters' homeland, but it takes a long time -- about a third of the book -- to get to the interesting parts.  I even started joking calling the book "Fifty Shades of Kushiel's Dart" because the first third of the book was largely about her education as a prostitute, and the assignations she went on once she came of age.  There was political intrigue mixed in, but you don't see where the story is going with it until about a third of the way through the novel.

So would I recommend the book?  That's a difficult question, but I think I would, with several caveats: Only read the book if you can be patient with a very wordy, if rather poetic writing style, and if you can stick with it through the slow-moving first third of the book.  It's a big, sweeping story and I think it becomes worth it in the end, but even so -- if I take three weeks to read a book, you know it's long and tedious!

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