Can I review Kushiel's Dart? I'm rereading it right now. I think it has become my favorite book/series ever, just replacing The Dragon Riders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey (RIP). I'd love it if they made a game based on that series.
This novel falls under the genre of fantasy with a wonderfully well researched alternative history. The primary setting is Terre d'Ange, though all of the books in the series venture forth into other countries as well. Terre d'Ange, or the land of angels, is the equivalent of what we know to be France. The time is generally late Medieval to early Renaissance, though no calendar years are mentioned. The alternative history that created Terre d'Ange and made it's people so special is revealed to us through what Phedre, the heroine of the book, learns as she grows up. At first she is considered flawed, until the true nature of her so-called flaw is discovered. Her special nature as an anguisette is not the only thing that makes her so valuable to her country, but also the training she receives as she learns to become a courtesan and spy. And that's just the beginning. Soon, extreme circumstances send her into danger and adventure as she struggles to save her country.
A friend suggested this book for me, and I fell in love with the entire series (there are 3 trilogies). The author is imaginative and her writing style is rich and lyrical. She has at times tested my vocabulary, and that's not easy, but her writing is still a joy to read. I couldn't help but feel a strong connection to the characters in this book, especially Phedre. This book, however, is not for the feint of heart. It does respectfully deal with some very mature topics involving sensuality and sexuality, as well as various religions.