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Kushiel's Avatar Hardcover – April 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The promise of Kushiel's Dart (2001), the first volume of Carey's immense trilogy set in a skewed Renaissance world, is more than realized in this splendid conclusion. In the 10 years since the action of the second, relatively uneventful volume, Kushiel's Chosen (2002), the winsome and gritty anguisette Phedre, bidden to seek pain in love by her demi-gods, the cruel Kushiel and the loving Naamah, has matured gracefully. Now the Comtesse Phedre no Delaunay de Montreve, she enjoys maintaining an estate together with the swordsman Joscelin, her faithful consort. She still follows her calling, though accepting but three patrons a year. Only the lonely fate of her imprisoned childhood friend, Hyacinthe, who's courageously volunteered to become Master of the Straits, disturbs her serenity. Then the beautiful, treacherous Melisande Shahrizai asks the anguisette to rescue her kidnapped son, Imriel. In return, Melisande promises to help PhŠdre find the Name of God, the key to freeing Hyacinthe. Having traveled west in the first book from the French-Italianate city-state of Terre d'Ange, Phedre here journeys south into the equivalents of the Middle East and Africa, where she triumphs gloriously. Effortlessly rich in adventurous incident, with a huge cast of well-defined characters, this poignant and robust story will appeal to both fantasy lovers and fans of erotic romance.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Terre d'Ange's inhabitants are the descendents of angels, a race of breathtaking beauty whose highest law is Love as Thou Wilt. Extraordinarily skilled as a courtesan as well as in diplomacy and espionage, Phedre no Delauney has risen to be a queen's companion and peer of the realm. Ten years earlier, she was critical to Terre d'Ange's defense against invaders. Peace and her life were bought with the sacrifice of her friend Hyacinthe, who assumed an ancient, eternal contract as apprentice to the master of straights. Phedre vowed to free him, and has finally discovered how. She must speak the true name of God, which will banish the embittered angel Rahab, who controls Hyacinthe's fate. To discover the true name, Phedre journeys to distant lands and dangerous places, and not the least of the latter lies within. For Phedre is the only living anguisette, chosen by the god Kushiel to experience pain and pleasure as one, and to maintain divine balance in the world. At the hands of the insane warlord and servant of the dark god Mahrkagir, Phedre learns what true horror is, nearly losing her soul to keep the covenant with Kushiel. As her spirit and strength drain away, the love of her life, Josceline the Cassiline warrior priest, must stand by. Carey's lush, sensuous prose again makes her heroine's story a savory feast for mind and heart. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacqueline Carey is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kushiel's Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology, postmodern fables "Santa Olivia" and "Saints Astray," and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series. Carey lives in west Michigan. Although often asked by inquiring fans, she does not, in fact, have any tattoos.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 124 people found the following review helpful By a reader on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was expecting to be disappointed from the reviews on here and from the ho-hum 2nd book in the series. I wasn't.
Carey put in all the usual convoluted plot twists, family and political intrigue, strange events, unpronounceable names and excessive traveling to new lands. The main difference is that 10 years have passed since we last knew everyone and that time has been good. All the characters have matured and their personalities have deepened. Phedre is a woman, not a girl playing spy games and I find her even more appealing than in the other two books. Joscelin is a much more relaxed man, secure in himself and their love together. Melisande even has her claws cut a bit and becomes much more human (she now has a HUGE weak-spot).
The plot starts off simply but becomes tangled and the travelers become very sidetracked, as always. This time, their adventures become extremely dark for about 1/3 of the book. Joscelin and Phedre are tested to the core of their beings and their love. I found this section of the story very moving. Phedre begins to feel the presence of her gods and this drives a lot of the rest of the story. She finds out the truth of her nature, more than she ever wanted too. (She also gets the chance to save the world, essentially, but that's almost a footnote.)
The whole book is about faith and love-losing it and finding it, both within and without oneself. Above all, it is about love itself, in all its forms and powers. Love can be a weapon and a healer, it can save and it can curse, it can kill and bring life. Phedre's journey through her spiritual awakening is much deeper than I expected for this series. On the whole, I found it to be a very moving book and deeply religious (in the various religions of the land.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By juicebox on April 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I don't want to discuss too much of the plot -- there would be too many spoilers -- but Carey does a very thorough job of wrapping up all the loose ends leftover from her middle novel "Kushiel's Chosen"... Phedre's quest to free Hyacinthe and its links to the One God, the whereabouts of Melisande's son Imriel, the mysterious bronze edge of power in Phedre's voice... She answers all the questions we were left with before.
At times the book is a touch melodramatic, and there are definitely a few slow spots, but if you enjoyed "Kushiel's Dart" and "Kushiel's Chosen," I highly recommend the final book in this trilogy. (If you haven't read either of the first two books, I recommend you start with those, because you won't be nearly as caught up in the characters' histories without them). For those people who complained about "Kushiel's Chosen," don't worry -- the scope of the novel definitely extends beyond a Phedre-Melisande contest of wills (taking us to new countries and introducing the power of new gods, no less), Phedre grows as a character (much better than she was in "K's Chosen," though I still liked her best in "K's Dart"), and the ending is satisfying (if slightly bittersweet).
Despite the few flaws I mentioned earlier, I thought this book was worth the wait... You know a novel is good when you finish it and find yourself wishing the series wasn't over! Anyone know if Carey is planning to write more novels set in Terra D'Ange?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Kushiel's Avatar," is the last book in Jacqueline Carey's dramatic trilogy of life in a world similar to Earth, during a period reminiscent of our Renaissance. This fantastic romantic adventure is every bit as exciting as Ms. Carey's first two books, "Kushiel's Dart" and "Kushiel's Chosen," and a very worthy conclusion. (Although there are still some loopholes left - tiny ones, but just enough room for another book to slip through. Always hoping)!
Ten years have past since we last saw our lash-loving lady, the true "anguisette," Phedre no Delauney, Comtesse de Montreve, peer of Terre d'Ange. She and her beloved companion, the Cassiline apostate, Joscelin Verreuil have been residing on their estates and maturing with grace and beauty. But neither is able to forget the fate of Phedre's childhood friend Hyacinthe and the terrible sacrifice he made in order that a queen be crowned and peace reign. Nothing less than discovering the most secret and holy name of the "One God" will do to free him - an almost impossible task to accomplish which will involve traveling over continents and seas, in what I believe is the most awesome adventure of them all! Then Melisande Shahrizai, Phedre's nemesis and patron of old, surfaces and begs a boon - I won't even go there. You'll have to read the book.
The adventures of Phedre and friends are every bit as breathtaking, if not more so, than those in preceding books. Ms. Carey has explored various religions and forms of spirituality in her other novels - religions resembling Christianity and Judaism, and others where gods and demigods are worshipped, similar to those of ancient Greece and Rome.
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