Queer Summer Beach Reads: Kushiel’s Dart

Woman reading at the beach

Image by El coleccionista de instantes, via Wikimedia Commons


The summer is here Boo Boos and there’s nothing I love more than kicking back at the beach or the park with an entertaining book. In the summer, I don’t like anything too heavy but I also don’t want something that will make my brains leak from my ears. I assume you are the same way, so I’m going to be dishing out my fav queer summer beach reads for you every week. I wanted to start with Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. If the finale of Game of Thrones left a hole in your heart, Kushiel’s Dart is the book that’s going to fill that hole. Kushiel’s Dart combines the high fantasy of game of thrones (with less rape and violence) with the kind of full on erotica that would blow the minds of any 50 Shades of Gray readers. And it’s well written too.

The book takes place in a kind of post-gay world. Although straight couples are the most commonly pairing, homosexuality is no big thang. The motto of the gods is, “Love as Thou Wilt.” Kushiel’s Dart imagines a world that you’re queer studies professors dreamed about- everyone hits on who they want to hit on, loves who they love and sleeps with who they sleep with and no one bats an eyelash.

The story centers around a female protagonist, Phèdre nó Delaunay. Like many protagonists in fantasy series, Phèdre has been marked by the gods as someone special. In her case, she is marked by the god Kushiel as an anguissette, which basically means she’s super into BDSM.

When Phèdre is taken in by political schemer Anafiel Delaunay, the stakes are high. It is through him that Phèdre meets the antagonist of the series, Melisande Shahrizai. Phèdre and Melisande love to hate each other, or hate to love each other. Either way, the emotions between the two women are at the very center of this book. Even when Phèdre is attempting to save the her homeland through intricate political maneuvering and strategic warfare, Melisande is never far from her thoughts.

Very, very few fantasy novels focus women as their main character, even more rare is the fantasy novel that balances the entire plot on two women. Although Phèdre has many straight love affairs, the main tension in the book is between two women. The love/hate relationship between the two women is satisfying and a nice change of pace if most of the books in your library focus on straight relationships.
So check it out! And let us know what you think. Kushiel’s Dart is available on Amazon or at your local library. 

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