Adding some swashbuckling never hurt anybody Mar 24, 2010
I was not sure how well Carey would pull off the follow up to her wildly inventive debut, "Kushiel's Dart." As I got a few chapters into the book, I found myself breathing a deep sigh of relief, because Phèdre's personality and wit were intact, and so was Carey's lush prose. The only challenge that remained was for the plot to equal or surpass the first book in urgency and intrigue. In a roundabout way, I'd say that it does match up to its predecessor, but takes a slightly different tone in doing so.
I think that the most intelligent thing Carey did was to take the action beyond the borders of Terre d'Ange. The first book did take Phèdre to her country's nearest neighbors, but in "Kushiel's Chosen," she finds she must travel even further to continue her game of wits with the escaped traitor of the first book. This is also a great strength of Phèdre's character arc; Carey is relentless in her exploration of the thin line between love and hate, and Melisande is the perfect vehicle. Through her we see the depths of Phèdre's capacity for love, as well as for strength of character and determination.
"Kushiel's Chosen" takes the characters to whom we've grown quite attached, and throws them into something of a swashbuckler of a tale. Considering the act it had to follow, I think this was the best possible choice of narrative. All in all, it's a worthy sequel to "Kushiel's Dart."