According to Tor, Carey's first book Kushiel's Dart is one of the best fantasy novels of the last decade.
Frankly speaking, I agree. I've never read anything quite like that before. Kushiel's Dart blew me away, and Kushiel's Chosen with its 700+ pages was not far behind. It's extremely intricate, intense, darkly erotic and has layers upon layers of meaning. It celebrates feminine strength, because most of the main players in this series be that villains or heroes are women.
Book #2 starts a year and a half after the end of book #1 (if I'm not mistaken). Phedre had time to recuperate from her ordeal, and she receives a disturbing gift from her archenemy, Melisande, which makes her decide to leave her country estate and test the dangerous waters of capital of Terre D'Ange again as a courtesan and a spy.
While she uncovers more and more evidence that Melisande is still alive and extremely dangerous and while her beloved Josselin becomes more and more unhappy with her service as Kushiel's Chosen, the trail leads her to La Serenissima (an equivalent of Renaissance Venice) where she promptly gets trapped in such a dangerous and grandiose plot, that she would need to travel through half of the world, if she has any chance to thwart her enemy and save her queen again.
The adventures she is going through are incredible, the tension and the feeling of time running out is palpable. This was such a wild ride I again stayed awake until the early hours of the morning (which happened to book #1 too) to finish Kushiel's Chosen.
I have only one word for this series, and it's EPIC.