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Kushiel's Scion (Kushiel's Legacy) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2007
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Jacqueline Carey's previous publications include various short stories, essays, a nonfiction book Angels: Celestial Spirits in Legend and Art, as well as the nationally bestselling series Kushiel's Legacy.
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In the book, Imriel travels to Alba as part of his royal duty to marry a princess and ensure the ties that bind the two countries. Torn between his true and forbidden love for Sidonie and his duties to his royal bride, Dorolei, Imriel must face a challenging situation and figure out what the right thing is. The result is a heart-wrenching tale that serves as a true journey of growth for the young prince with the traitorous bloodlines.
To me, the greatest joy in this book comes in the rich world that Carey has built and those moments when Imriel interacts with familiar faces like Phedre, Joscelin, Alai, and more. Phedre and Joscelin remain two of my all-time favorites, and Imriel really shows character growth. I understand Sidonie is something od a fan-favorite as well, but I was really more charmed by Dorolei and the tragic love story she shares with Imri.
If I had one quibble with the book, I felt like Imriel's final journey took much too long and dragged at points. Still though, I loved this story and look forward to the next chapter in the trilogy.
This installment sees Imri through as he accepts his responsibilities as a Prince of the Blood and agrees to marry into Alban nobility. We get a much, much closer view of Alba, which I have always wanted and so enjoyed reading. We also get a bit of a closer look at some of the Night Court Houses which we hadn't seen before, although I'll admit that I wish we had seen more.
As with the rest of the books, the presence of the gods is strong. I love seeing how the gods interact with or support their followers &/or scions. I love seeing new magics, especially in other lands, showing that it is not only the D'Angelines who wield other-worldy powers. I love the tenderness and the sharpness. I love the depth of emotion that Carey makes me feel, and the amazing way she has with words. Again, a great book written with great skill.
"Kushiel's Justice", of course, is the fifth and most recent in the series. It's also the second book in Imriel's subtrilogy - and, in an almost unheard-of development, in this case the middle book has actually surpassed the first. Fantasy fans know what I'm talking about - it's an unwritten rule that the second book of any trilogy is the weakest link. It even held true in Phedre's trilogy - "Kushiel's Chosen", while still fantastic, didn't quite measure up to "Dart" or "Avatar". However, "Justice" takes the bar set by "Kushiel's Scion" and blows it out of the water, if I may mix my metaphors. It is at once darker, more personal, and yes, more erotic than "Scion" - in fact, perhaps more than any other book in the series.
Imriel has returned from his rebellious phase in Tiberium, a little older, a little wiser, and prepared - he thinks - to finally prove to his enemies that he is not tainted by the treason of his parents. He will marry a princess of the Cruithne and provide Alba with a half-d'Angeline heir. It will cement Terre d'Ange's alliance with Alba and help silence the grumbling against Queen Ysandre's own half-Cruithne heirs, and thus, Imriel hopes, establish once and for all his devotion to his country. (If this paragraph has just blown your mind, it is only proof that yes, you do need to read the entire series from the beginning to understand what's going on.)
But you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Before the royal wedding can commence, Imriel finds himself head over heels with the last person he ever expected to capture his heart - his first cousin, twice removed, the Dauphine Sidonie. I must admit, this was a coupling that blindsided me when it was first hinted at in "Scion." But here, Carey makes it clear that everything we've seen of Sidonie to date is her public face, very different from her private side. She then sets about introducing Sidonie in such a lovely way that she makes it very easy to understand why Imriel falls in love with her.
But although it breaks his heart, Imriel chooses duty over love - a huge no-no in Terre d'Ange, where the only commandment is "Love as thou wilt." He marries his Cruithne princess, Dorelei, and leaves Sidonie for Alba. Once there, however, a power darker and older than even Earth's Eldest Children seeks to control him by using his love for Sidonie against him. Tragedy ensues (I was terribly spoiled on this point, but it still shook me up, big time. Still, I won't ruin it for anyone else) and Imriel vows vengeance, never realizing how far his vow will take him, nor how much it will cost.
Once again, this is a book about Imriel's personal journey, rather than the save-the-world plots that characterized Phedre's trilogy. I like the execution here much better than in "Scion"; rather than being a bit player in a relatively unimportant conflict, in "Justice" Imriel is cast in a singular and lonely quest that alienates him from the world and from his loved ones. He is forced to confront his own worst failings and weaknesses, and realize that he can't blame Melisande for all of them. In fact, irony of ironies, it is in part his mother's tenacity and perseverance that see him through the worst of his trials.
I can't even say how much I loved this book. It might even edge out "Dart" as my favorite in the series so far! The emergence of Sidonie as a major character; the resolution of several minor storylines from previous books (and I might be the only one who squealed in delight at the brief return of Childric d'Essoms); Phedre and Joscelin going off on their own, completely unrelated adventure for most of the book (which gave me warm fuzzies for some reason); fascinating secondary characters, including Dorelei, Alais, and Maslin; Carey finally establishing a distinct and authentic voice for Imriel, rather than 'Phedre Jr.'; and oh, yes, yes, YES! The amazingly hot sex. Did I complain that the sex in "Scion" fell flat? Well, maybe Ms. Carey thought so too, because "Justice" more than makes up for it. This is some of the best erotic fiction since... I don't even know, for some reason I can't focus. Suffice to say, Imriel has, indeed, grown up. A lot. Ahem. And Sidonie! You naughty, naughty Dauphine.
Readers of Jacqueline Carey, this is simply a can't-miss. I cannot wait for the final installment, and I only pray that it is not the end of Terre d'Ange! Of course, now I only have those fruity girlie drinks to see me through the rest of the summer.
Most recent customer reviews
It's interesting that the cover art depicts Sidonie when the story centers around Imriel, so that is a bit...Read more
It’s always a pleasure to immerse myself in this world.Read more