Here's my ADHD take on this (yeah I have ADHD I'm not making a stupid joke):
This isn't as dark as a lot of people harp on about- maybe I'm just jaded like a Night Court whore but I'd say this has a decent edge of "darkness" and some kink but I wasn't really freaked out. I guess I've read worse in the kink department. With that said- this is certainly beautifully and artfully written. Wish I had a better grasp to describe her style but sentences are phrased in a specific way that can make a modern reader of loads of trash (that would be me) have to rewind and reread the line again to make sure I consumed it appropriately.
I loved all of the characters. I guess I'm a picky one about enemies however- the enemy was worthy. Very worthy. Phedre's reaction to the enemy however- annoyed me. Oh well, guess that's Kushiel's dart working on her- fear and pain and pleasure in a Kushiel blender.
Sure, if you're faint of heart, don't bother reading this. If you've been goatsed and seen meatspin or watched 2 woman 1 cup etc, or whatever, spent time on 4chan, you're not going to faint or destroy your precious heart reading this book. At this point who hasn't heard of a little whipping for fun? Maybe the flechettes went a tad too far, but otherwise this story was excellent.
The book was long enough to make me feel satisfied- I find too many books too short.
I'm going to read the whole series, or rather, all of the sets.
This is a touch Marquis de Sade and Game of Thrones all thrown into a fantastical rendition of recognizable cultures.