Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about but haven’t yet read. Most of the time they’re books that have yet to be released, but not always. It’s based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme, which was originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week my Can’t-Wait-For Book is Cassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey!
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Published on: 1st August 2023
The lush epic fantasy that inspired a generation with a single precept: “Love As Thou Wilt."
Returning to the realm of Terre d’Ange which captured an entire generation of fantasy readers, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Carey brings us a hero’s journey for a new era.
In Kushiel’s Dart, a daring young courtesan uncovered a plot to destroy her beloved homeland. But hers is only half the tale. Now see the other half of the heart that lived it.
Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of cult favorite Kushiel’s Dart from the point of view of Joscelin, Cassiline warrior-priest and protector of Phèdre nó Delaunay. He’s sworn to celibacy and the blade as surely as she’s pledged to pleasure, but the gods they serve have bound them together. When both are betrayed, they must rely on each other to survive.
From his earliest training to captivity amongst their enemies, his journey with Phèdre to avert the conquest of Terre D’Ange shatters body and mind… and brings him an impossible love that he will do anything to keep.
Even if it means breaking all vows and losing his soul.
“Decadent and dark, Cassiel’s Servant reveals the secrets of the mysterious Cassiline brotherhood. In this gorgeously realized novel, Carey returns to the world of Terre d’Ange and offers us a new and dazzling perspective on a character we thought we knew.”—Nghi Vo, author of The Chosen and the Beautiful and Siren Queen
TW/CW for discussions of child abuse. (Related to my past, not the book!)
It is not an exaggeration to say that Kushiel’s Dart was a formative book for me. When I read it, I had just escaped (and no, that’s not an exaggeration either) from my abusive, Roman Catholic mother, who had beaten me black and blue for (amongst other things) writing down snippets of my sexual fantasies, my way of tentatively exploring my sexuality. (Exploring with, you know, practice, especially with other people, did not appeal, which in hindsight should have been my first clue I was ace.)
Which made sensual, sex-positive Kushiel’s Dart a revelation. Sex was not bad. It wasn’t shameful. It could even be beautiful. These were ideas I’d never encountered before, and this one book gently dissolved my fear and guilt around sex before they could calcify into something I’d struggle with for the rest of my life.
Even more important was the precept love as thou wilt, the one commandment of Phedre’s people. Kushiel’s Dart reached me only weeks after I’d discovered the concept of queerness, and I’m so lucky – and grateful – that it did so before I could absorb my conservative family’s opinions of it. But love as thou wilt didn’t just convince me that there was nothing wrong – or even noteworthy – about being queer. In the books, it doesn’t just apply to sex and romance; it’s about following your heart in all other aspects of your life, too.
I followed mine away from the lifeplan my family had mapped out for me, all the way across a continent, and I regret absolutely nothing.
But I doubt I’d have been brave enough to do it if Kushiel’s Dart hadn’t arrived in my life when it did; when I was young enough that love as thou wilt became an intrinsic part of my life philosophy.
So it goes without saying that I could not be happier, or more excited, to return to the Kushiel Universe with Cassiel’s Servant; especially as it’s not the start of a new series, but a companion to Kushiel’s Dart specifically, adding a whole new perspective on, and more depth and insight into, the book that’s had more of an impact on my life than any other.
I just got approved for an arc of Cassiel’s Servant yesterday. I’m going to reread Kushiel’s Dart (again) first, but after that?
I can’t wait to read it.