Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy Series #3)

Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy Series #3)

by Jacqueline Carey

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Overview

A decade of peace has passed in Terre D'Ange, the country founded by the god Elua. Since the world's most famous courtesan saved her queen from assassination, Phèdre n? Delauny has been enjoying a quiet life until a prophetic dream calls upon her to serve her gods one last time.

But what they ask may be too painful for even an anguissettte to bear.

When the young son of the traitor Melisande Shahrizai—Imriel de la Courcel, who stands third in line for the crown—is kidnapped, Phèdre enters an uneasy bargain to find the boy in exchange for the information that will free her beloved childhood friend Hyacinthe from his eternal imprisonment as the new Master of the Straits. When it becomes clear that Imriel's disappearance is part of a larger, far darker scheme, Phèdre knows it is her sacred duty to end it.

At her side is her loving consort Josselin, who will also risk losing himself in Phèdre’s gamble to rescue Imriel and save her country from a spreading darkness. And beyond her doubt, her fear, dangles the promise of a holy mystery so great that it could transform Phèdre into justice incarnate… or consume her in the flames of her own passion. All of Phèdre’s journeys have led here, to the grandest of conclusions in an epic tale of
fantasy, adventure, and, above all, love.

Kushiel's Avatar is the stunning conclusion to Jacqueline Carey's epic trilogy.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429910934
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Series: Kushiel's Legacy Series , #3
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 704
Sales rank: 76,871
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

JACQUELINE CAREY is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Kushiel's Legacy series. A former a researcher in art history, Carey currently lives in west Michigan, where she is a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in the state. Although often asked by inquiring fans, she does not, in fact, have any tattoos.
Jacqueline Carey is the author of the bestselling Kushiel trilogy (Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, and Kushiel’s Avatar) and her epic fantasy duology, The Sundering (Banewreaker and Godslayer). She has won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her books have been listed on many booksellers’ top ten fantasy books lists. Always an avid reader, Carey began writing fiction as a hobby in high school. After graduating from Lake Forest College, she worked for six months at a bookstore in London, and returned to the United States with a driving passion to write professionally. She resides in western Michigan.

Read an Excerpt


ONE


It ended with a dream.
Ten years of peace, the ancient Oracle of Asherat-of-the-Sea promised me; ten years I had, and in that time, my fortune prospered along with that of Terre d'Ange, my beloved nation. So often, a time of great happiness is recognized only in hindsight. I reckoned it a blessing that the Oracle's promise served also as warning, and let no day pass without acknowledging its grace. Youth and beauty I had yet on my side, the latter deepening as the years tempered the former. Thus had my old mentor, Cecilie Laveau-Perrin, foretold, and if I had counted her words lightly in the rasher youth of my twenties, I knew it for truth as I left them behind.
'Tis a shallow concern, many might claim, but I am D'Angeline and make no apology for our ways. Comtesse de Montrève I may be, and indeed, a heroine of the realm--had not my deeds been set to verse by the Queen's Poet's own successor?--but I had come first into my own as Phèdre nó Delaunay, Naamah's Servant and Kushiel's Chosen, an anguissette and the most uniquely trained courtesan the realm had ever known. I have never claimed to lack vanity.
For the rest, I had those things which I prized above all else, not the least of which was the regard of my Queen, Ysandre de la Courcel, who gifted me with the Companion's Star for my role in securing her throne ten years past. I had seen then the makings of a great ruler in her; I daresay all the realm has seen it since. For ten years, Terre d'Ange has known peace and abiding prosperity; Terre d'Ange and Alba, ruled side by side by Ysandre de la Courcel and Drustan mab Necthana, the Cruarch of Alba, whom I am privileged to call my friend. Surely the hand of Blessed Elua was upon that union, when love took root where the seeds of political alliance were sown! Truly, love has proved the stronger force, conquering even the deadly Straits that divided them.
Although it took Hyacinthe's sacrifice to achieve it.
Thus, the nature of my dream.
I did not know, when I awoke from it, trembling and short of breath, tears leaking from beneath my closed lids, that it was the beginning of the end. Even in happiness, I never forgot Hyacinthe. I had not dreamed of him before, it is true, but he was ever on my mind. How could he not be? He was my oldest and dearest friend, the companion of my childhood. Not even my lord Anafiel Delaunay, who took me into his household at the age of ten, who trained me in the arts of covertcy and whose name I bear to this day, had known me so long. What I am, what I became, I owe to my lord Delaunay, who changed with a few words my fatal flaw to a sacred mark, the sign of Kushiel's Dart. But it was Hyacinthe who knew me first, who was my friend when I was naught but a whore's unwanted get, an orphan of the Night Court with a scarlet mote in my left eye that made me unfit for Naamah's Service, that made superstitious countryfolk point and stare and call me names.
And it was Hyacinthe of whom I dreamed. Not the young man I had left to a fate worse than death--a fate that should have been mine--but the boy I had known, the Tsingano boy with the black curls and the merry grin, who, in an overturned market stall, reached out his hand to me in conspiratorial friendship.
I drew a deep, shuddering breath, feeling the dream recede, tears still damp on my cheeks. So simple, to arouse such horror! In my dream, I stood in the prow of a ship, one of the swift, agile Illyrian ships I knew so well from my adventures, and wept to watch a gulf of water widen between my vessel and the rocky shore of a lonely island, where the boy Hyacinthe stood alone and pleaded, stretching out his arms and calling my name. He had solved a riddle there, naming the source of the Master of the Straits' power. I had answered it too, but Hyacinthe had used the dromonde, the Tsingano gift of sight, and his answer went deeper than I could follow. He won us passage across the Straits when we needed it most and the cost of it was all he had, binding him to those stony shores for eternity, unless the geis could be broken. This I had sought for many years to do, and in my dream, as in life, I had failed. I could hear the crew behind me, cursing in despair against the headwinds that drove us further away, the vast expanse of grey water widening between us, Hyacinthe's cries following, his boyish voice calling out to the woman I had become, Phèdre, Phèdre!
It shivered my flesh all over to remember it and I turned unthinking toward comfort, curling my body against Joscelin's sleeping warmth and pillowing my tear-stained cheek on his shoulder--for that was the last and greatest of my gifts, and the one I treasured most: Love. For ten years, Joscelin Verreuil has been my consort, and if we have bickered and quarreled and wounded each other to the quick a thousand times over, there is not a day of it I would relinquish. Let the realm laugh--and they do--to think of the union betwixt a courtesan and a Cassiline; we know what we are to one another.
Joscelin did not wake, but merely stirred in his sleep, accommodating his body to mine. Moonlight spilled through the window of our bedchamber overlooking the garden; moonlight and the faint scent of herbs and roses, rendering his fair hair silver as it spread across the pillows and making the air sweet. It is a pleasant place to sleep and make love. I pressed my lips silently to Joscelin's shoulder, resting quiet beside him. It might have been Hyacinthe, if matters had fallen out otherwise. We had dreamed of it, he and I.
No one is given to know what might have been.
So I mused, and in time I slept and dreamed that I mused still until I awoke to find sunlight lying in a bright swathe across the bed-linens and Joscelin already awake in the garden. His daggers flashed steel as he moved through the seamless series of exercises he had performed every day of his life since he was ten years old, the training-forms of a Cassiline Brother. But it was not until I had risen and bathed and was breaking my fast that he came in to greet me, and when he did, his blue eyes were somber.
"There is news," he said, "from Azzalle."
I stopped with a piece of honey-smeared bread halfway to my mouth and set it down carefully on my plate, remembering my dream. "What news?"
Joscelin sat down opposite me, propping his elbows on the table and resting his chin on his hands. "I don't know. It has to do with the Straits. Ysandre's courier would say no more."
"Hyacinthe," I said, feeling myself grow pale.
"Mayhap." His voice was grave. "We're wanted at court as soon as you're ready."
He knew, as well as I did; Joscelin had been there, when Hyacinthe took on the doom that should have been mine, using the dromonde to trump the offering of my wits and consecrate himself to eternal exile. A fine fate for the Prince of Travellers, condemned to an endless existence on a narrow isle amid the deep waters that divided Terre d'Ange and Alba, bound to serve as heir to the Master of the Straits.
Such had been the nature of his bargain. The Master of the Straits would never be free of his curse until someone took his place. One of us had to stay. I had known it was necessary; I would have done it. And it would have been a worthwhile sacrifice, for had it not been made, the Alban ships would never have crossed the Straits, and Terre d'Ange would have fallen to the conquering army of Skaldi.
I had answered the riddle and my words were true: the Master of the Straits drew his power from the Lost Book of Raziel. But the dromonde looks backward as well as forward, and Hyacinthe's answer went deeper. He had seen the very genesis of the geis itself, how the angel Rahab had loved a mortal woman who loved him not, and held her captive. How he had gotten a son upon her, and how she had sought to flee him nonetheless, and perished in the effort, along with her beloved. How Rahab had been punished by the One God for his disobedience, and how he had wreaked the vengeance of an angry heart upon his son, who would one day be named Master of the Straits. How Rahab brought up pages of the Lost Book of Raziel, salvaged from the deep. How Rahab gave them to his son, gave him mastery of the waters and bound him there, on a lonely isle of the Three Sisters, condemning him to separate Terre d'Ange and Alba, for so long as Rahab's own punishment endured.
This was the fate Hyacinthe had inherited.
For ten years and more, I had sought a way to break the curse that bound him there, immersing myself in the study of Yeshuite lore in the hope of finding a key to free him. If a key existed, it could be found in the teachings of those who followed Yeshua ben Yosef, the One God's acknowledged scion. But if it did, I had not found it.
It was one of the few things at which I had failed utterly.
"Let's go." I pushed my plate away, appetite gone. "If something's happened, I need to know it."
Joscelin nodded and rose to summon the stable-lad to make ready the carriage. I went to change my attire to something suitable for court, donning a gown of amber silk and pinning the Companion's Star onto the décolletage, the diamond etched with Elua's sigil glittered in its radiant gold setting. It is a cumbersome honor, that brooch, but if the Queen had sent for me, I dared not appear without it. Ysandre was particular about the honors she bestowed.
My carriage is well-known in the City of Elua, bearing on its sides the revised arms of Montrève. Here and there along the streets, cheerful salutes and blown kisses were offered, and I suppressed my anxiety to accept such tribute with a smile, for it was no fault of my admirers that my nerves were strung taut that morning. Joscelin bore it with his customary stoicism. It would have been a point of contention between us, once. We have grown a little wiser with the years.
If I have patrons still, they are fewer and more select--thrice a year, no more and no less, do I accept an assignation as Naamah's Servant. It has proven, after much quarrel and debate, a compromise both of us can tolerate. I cannot help it that Kushiel's Dart drives me to violent desires; I am an anguissette, and destined to find my greatest pleasure mingled with pain. No more can Joscelin alter the fact that he is made otherwise.
I daresay we both of us know that there are only two people in the world capable of truly dividing us. And one…
No one is ever given to know what might have been.
Hyacinthe.
As for the other…of Melisande Shahrizai, we do not speak, save in terms of the politics of the day. Joscelin knows well, better than any, the hatred I bear for her; as for the rest, it is the curse of my nature and a burden I carry in silence. I offered myself to her, once, at the asking-price of her son's whereabouts. It was not a price Melisande was willing to pay. I do not think she would have sold that knowledge at any price, for there is no one living who holds it. I know; I have sought it.
It is the other thing I have failed utterly in finding.
It matters less, now; a little less, though there is no surety where Melisande is concerned. Ysandre thought my fears were mislaid, once upon a time, colored by an anguissette's emotions. That was before she found that Melisande Shahrizai had wed her great-uncle Benedicte de la Courcel, and given birth to a son who stood to inherit Terre d'Ange itself. Now, she listens; now, I have no insight to offer. Though Benedicte is long dead and his conspirator Percy de Somerville with him, Melisande abides in the sanctuary of Asherat-of-the-Sea. Her son Imriel remains missing, and I cannot guess at her moves.
But my Queen Ysandre worries less since giving birth to a daughter eight years ago, and another two years later. Now two heirs stand between Melisande's boy and the throne, and well guarded each day of their lives; a more pressing concern is the succession of Alba, which proceeds in a matrilineal tradition. Unless he dares break with Cruithne tradition, Drustan mab Necthana's heir will proceed not from his loins, but from one of his sisters' wombs. Such are the ways of his people, the Cullach Gorrym, who call themselves Earth's Eldest Children. Two sisters he has living, Breidaia and Sibeal, and neither wed to one of Elua's lineage.
Thus stood politics in Terre d'Ange, after ten years of peace, the day I rode to the palace to hear the news from Azzalle.
Azzalle is the northernmost province of the nation, bordering the narrow Strait that divides us from Alba. Once, those waters were nigh impassable, under the command of he whom we named the Master of the Straits. It has changed, since Hyacinthe's sacrifice and the marriage of Ysandre and Drustan--yet even so, no vessel has succeeded in putting to shore on those isles known as the Three Sisters. The strictures change, but the curse remains, laid down by the disobedient angel Rahab. For so long as his punishment continues, the curse endures.
As the Master of the Straits noted, the One God has a long memory.
I felt a shiver of foreboding as we were admitted into the courtyard of the palace. It might have been hope, if not for the dream. Once before, my fears had been made manifest in dreams, although it took a trained adept of Gentian House to enable me to see them--and they had proved horribly well-grounded that time. This time, I remembered. I had awoken in tears, and I remembered. An old blind woman's words and a shudder in my soul warned me that a decade of grace was coming to an end.

Copyright © 2003 by Jacqueline Carey

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Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy Series #3) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 207 reviews.
Lisa_RR_H More than 1 year ago
Kushiel's Avatar is the concluding book in a trilogy that begins with Kushiel's Dart and continued in Kushiel's Chosen, so you should read those books first. Phedre is a very engaging heroine, and Carey writes this pseudo-Renaissance pagan world evocatively and sensually. I didn't think hearing about these books that they would become favorites. Phedre is an "anguissette" originally a prostitute by profession whose sexuality is entwined with pain. This is pushed to the limits in this book, which made me squirm at times. But it's worth reading. I rarely cry because of a book--I'm not easy. But this book was one of those rare ones. A truly moving read--this is one book I'll never forget. The overall series continues with other narrators after this book--I enjoyed those reads and I recommend them--but for me this was the emotional climax of the series so far.
Escape_Artist More than 1 year ago
3 stars because while the story line moves along from the first two books, I feel as though it's the same old same old in some areas. Resolve and move on! It was okay, but honestly felt too much like I was reading the first two books again. I really hate having to read a refresher of events every few pages. Didn't really care for the heavy religious overtones.
BookShelfReviews More than 1 year ago
If I thought that Ms. Carey had told all that there was to tell about Phèdre and her adventures, I was plenty wrong. In perhaps her most brilliant work yet, Carey once again demonstrates her unparalleled skill at world-building. While I am familiar by now with the world of Terre D'Ange, Phèdre's quest leads her far from this land, into this world's version of Africa and Western Europe, providing Carey with an opportunity to create lustrous backdrops fraught with danger and intrigue. Along the way, Phèdre makes friends, as she does tend to do, introducing the reader to a wonderful new cast of characters, such as the Tsingani, Hyacinthe's people, and the slaves-turned-freedwomen of Saba. It would be remiss of me to discuss this book without talking about an integral addition to the character manifesto: Imriel, young son of exile and traitor Melisande. Raised in ignorance of his heritage, Imriel is sold into slavery and must be rescued by Phèdre and Joscelin, at great cost to all. I was a little apprehensive of the appearance of a child in this series, namely because I didn't want to see Phèdre settle down quite yet, but Imriel won me over by being, surprisingly, every bit his mother's son. Carey's prose is superb as always, wending and weaving in melody as Phèdre's narrative positively leaps off the page. In her later years (I suspect Phèdre may be in her early thirties, by this book), Phèdre seems to have gained a maturity and wisdom which gets her out of many a predicament. Never one to leap before looking, Phèdre is one of the smartest and bravest heroines I've had the pleasure of reading about. Her connection to her chevalier, the Casseline warrior Joscelin, is like something out of a fairytale, it seems, and there are many swoon-worthy dialogues and scenes sprinkled throughout the book. Kushiel's Avatar was an action-packed, resounding conclusion to a phenomenal trilogy. While certainly an ambitious undertaking at 750 pages, the chapters fly by, gaining momentum to a conclusion that will leave you both awestruck and satisfied (and even a little teary-eyed, as Phèdre effectively says her goodbyes to the reader). Phèdre is a worthwhile heroine and the story could not have concluded any better. I look to Ms. Carey's next trilogy with bated breath.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Ten years have passed for Phedre and Joscelin. Years of peace and happiness uninterrupted by intrigue. The only damper is the knowledge that her best friend, Hyacinthe, is stuck as master of the straights, fulfilling an age old curse. But one again the gods have a higher purpose for them, a message seen in dreams and in the form of a plea for help from the traitor, Melisande. her son, hidden away for the past ten years, has been kidnapped. Thus begins the most imporatant journey of Phedre's life. A journey to not only save an innocent boy, but finally a way to free Hyacinthe and thwart an evil that no one realizes even exists. A fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. Phedre takes Joscelin to hell and beyond and pushed both of their vows, to each other and to their gods, to the test. As they decend into near madness they realize how great sacrifice can lead to such amazing rewards. The journey takes to places few have heard of and brings them back home full of rewards, but scarred for life. This is my favorite book of the series by far. I keep wanting to say more about the story, but I don't want to give too much away for those that haven't read the first two yet. What I can say is that if you haven't read these yet, you must! There is a follow up series that I have all but the first one for, and I know that it has moved up to the top of my wish list for books to buy. 5/5
Maureen_1987 More than 1 year ago
I bought one of the books out of this serie at a bookstore, because it was for sale. Only after buying it did I realize that it was part of a serie. So I bought the first and the third book as well. I hadn't really looked at it much or what it was about, really. I am a big fan of fantasy and this book looked as if it was a fantasy book, which it is. Once I started reading the book I soon found out what the story was about. The first part is rather innocent, but at some point I came to a scene that resulted in lots of blushing. I can handle a lot, but some of the more adult scenes in the book are too detailed. However, once I got over this tiny fact I actually enjoyed reading it. You learn to like the characters in the story. Some of which are very strongly written. So yes, even though I was shocked at the beginning I still believe this book was worth the money. And very hard to lay down once you start reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This trilogy is not simply a story of politics or a quest--it is a story of a civilization, a culture built from history and the author's fertile imagination. Thought-provoking and surprising, Carey has created living, breathing men and women who are striking not only for their beauty, but for their humanity. They stumble, they fall, and they fail. They begin upon their quests with fear and trepidation, as well as excitement. It is difficult indeed to believe they never lived. Personally, I was enthralled with each volume. Kushiel's Avatar struck me the most; after reading through well over 3000 pages, from Dart to Avatar, I had laughed and smiled, wept and scowled through Phedre's adventures. The end of this trilogy is bittersweet; the gain of Imriel, the son of Phedre's nemesis and now her own adopted child...and the loss of Hyacinthe, her oldest and dearest friend, for whom she had risked madness and many types of death. But more than this, still, is the City of Elua and the world of Terre D'Ange, who live for love and beauty's sake, and this, truly, is the undercurrent through every volume: love, and beauty.
WitchyWriter 4 days ago
I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to raise the stakes higher than they already were in Kushiel’s Dart and Kushiel’s Chosen. You’d think it’d be enough, one amazing protagonist saving her country, saving her queen. But Phedre isn’t done yet. This third installment in her legacy takes Phedre and Joscelin to a new location—not north or west this time, but east. During the story you’re so caught up in the characters and how vividly they’re drawn that you don’t immediately notice the intricate way in which Carey draws connections to the world religions that we are so familiar with. Her alternate-history Earth is as rich with religious history as ours, and you can spend hours after reading just drawing comparisons, calling on all your knowledge of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Even if I wasn’t a fan of Carey’s writing (which I am), I would have immense respect for the type of magic that she incorporates in this third book. These aren’t meant to be mystical fantasy tomes—their mysticism comes from religion, and outright magic wouldn’t be subtle enough. Instead, Phedre and Joscelin travel in search of the Name of God, to help free Phedre’s childhood friend, Hyacinthe, from an ancient binding. The Earthsea cycle was my first foray into naming magic, and more recently we see it done especially well in The Kingkiller Chronicle. It just makes sense, in my humble opinion. There’s something about waving a wand and creating magic that seems too easy. But if you have to travel to the ends of the earth, and study for years and years, to learn the true name of something and thus gain power over it—that makes sense to me. It feels right. It feels earned. Other books do magic in different ways, and some of them are just as thoughtful and earned (like Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series). In this third book, when books one and two didn’t include an ounce of magic, Carey folds in a mystical religious power and makes it feel completely germane to the story. What makes this book even better is the detour that our protagonists take on their way to the final destination. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but their time in the northeast while they’re doing a “favor” for Phedre’s arch enemy (though that term falls far shot of encompassing the beautiful complexity of Melisande), is the creepiest, most dangerous and deadly stuff that I’ve read in a good long while. It isn’t unsettling in a horror/suspense kind of way. It’s a window into the darkest depths a human soul can reach and still be vaguely human. It’s the perfect example of a villain who is terrifying because they are so thoroughly convinced that they are doing the right thing. Carey, like any good author, doesn’t allow her protagonists to escape unscathed from contact with that sort of character. They are forever changed, and will bear those scars for the rest of their lives. The stakes are real—so real that you feel yourself hurting for them. The last wonderful thing I’ll mention about this book is the introduction to a very important character. If you’re like me, and you can’t get enough of reading Carey’s writing, you’re going to want to keep going straight into the next trilogy. That trilogy features Imriel de la Courcel, who is introduced in a very effective manner in Kushiel’s Avatar. I don’t think you could truly understand him unless you know what he goes through in this book, so I highly recommend reading this one before you pick up Kushiel’s Scion.
RogueBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is, in my opinion, the darkest of the series so far. It gets brutally difficult to read at points, but that only speaks to Carey's talent as a writer. She pushes the edges of the map here, taking Phèdre and Joscelin to the edges of their known world and beyond. A dazzling conclusion to the trilogy... but one that makes it perfectly clear the story isn't over yet. After all... "A storyteller's tale may end, but history goes on always". ;)
mssbluejay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The last book in the story of Phédre no Delaunay de Montréve was just as exciting and well-written as the first two, even though the character is very familiar to the reader by now. I'm glad that the 'Phédre Trilogy' in Kushiel's Legacy is over, but I am looking forward to reading the 'Imriel Trilogy' in the future.
raylay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series! Unlikely heroine, conflicted loves, intrigue and fast paced adventure, plus some interesting sex scenes that were much more titillating than mawkishly amorous.There is so much about this series that I love. The alternate history, intrigue, travel, intelligence, and overall romance and sexiness all tied in. A must read!
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a satisfying conclusion to the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy. I overcame an initial dislike for the trilogy's style, and I enjoyed this book very much. And I am grateful that this book did conclude the major plot points, it wasn't a filler installment for a long epic series. There are some loose ends that could be picked up for further books, but I do not feel like I've been left dangling over a cliff.
inserttitlehere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
another amazing read following the previous novels reputation. Amazing adventure with well-known and loved characters that ends in a wholly satisfactory matter. Again, extremely well-written and kept me enthralled for hours on end. finished this mammoth of a book in 2 sittings, taking a break only to study fleetingly for an exam and take the very same exam. :)Extremely entertaining and has me immediately reaching for the next novel.HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Plot: After the first two books, the plot in this one comes as no surprise. It follows the same pattern as before, down to using the same situations and same solutions. For a book of this size, there also isn't a lot of plot to be had. Characters: The main character has been grating on my nerves since the first page she appeared on. She's just too perfect, even in her imperfections, and simply doesn't feel real to me in any way. The side characters are more interesting and also are the ones who undergo development, though stereotypes are a very common sight. Style: Too many words. Far too many words. Description is all good and well, but there's description and there's suffocating the reader. Ironically, all the details ruin the atmosphere because very little is left to the reader's imagination. As before, explicit sex, often of the sm persuasion, but somehow the creativity is gone. Plus: The setup is nicely done. Occasional good scenes and subplots. Minus: On long stretches it drags and doesn't go anywhere, and a few of the final outcomes and discoveries are just so obvious, it's downright painful to see them come true. A little more creativity wouldn't have hurt. Summary: The series has lost its momentum at this point, and there isn't anything new for the characters to experience.
ConnieJo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I like this book slightly better than the last volume (which had less of other characters in favor of focusing on Phedre), but the last part in the trilogy definitely went slightly more over-the-top than I have a taste for. I still loved it to death and read it in two or three sittings, though.I was actually pretty surprised with the darker tone of this book, too. Jocelin and Phedre chase down Melisandre's son, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and they track him down across fantasy-Northern Africa and the Middle East, slay some biblical-type evil, then track down into the heart of fantasy-Africa to find the name of God among the lost tribe in order to summon something that is... well, actually biblical.The child slavery thread was dark, but more dark was the harem/torture chamber that was uncovered in the dark kingdom that Phedre and Jocelin chase Melisandre's son into. I was a little unsettled by the first two-thirds of the book, actually, and I dreaded the dark kingdom the entire time the story took place there. The atmosphere and sense of foreboding was wonderful, though.I did enjoy the last segment, which took place around the lost colony and dealt with Phedre trying to coax the people into letting her into their most sacred and lost temples. The mixing of fictional and existing mythologies in this segment was fantastic.Let's not forget the romantic aspects of it. Of course, there are some wonderful scenes between Jocelin and Phedre, made even more wonderful when the dark kingdom sort of... kills something inside them both, and they have to work to get it back again. There are also deep and multi-level relationships, romantic and friendly, that are examined between most of the regular cast and recurring characters. The portrayal of the characters in this series is like almost nothing else I read, and it's probably what I like about it most.Hence why I enjoyed the ending, the scenes dealing with Phedre and the Prince of Travelers were quite good, though I had imagined more taking place.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All three of the books in this series have been beautiful, though I have to say I enjoyed the first two a bit more. Here, there's less tension between the main characters, and that tension was a part of what kept me so seriously engaged in their stories. Here, it seems like as much time was spent on plot as on character, or that the ratio was different in any case--I enjoyed the level of thought and characterization in the earlier ones more, though the story here is still worthwhile and engaging. Carey set a high bar for herself from the beginning, and the writing and story here certainly still stand heads and tails above a great deal of what I've read in the past few years, especially in the genre of fantasy.
molliewatts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imriel de la Courcel, son of Melisande Shahrizai, the greatest traitor Terre D'Ange has ever known, is missing, and it is Phedre and Joscelin whom Ysandre commission to find him. They will travel to a distant land where an ancient evil resides in order to save the young prince - and it will take strength beyond measure from both Phedre and Joscelin to survive. At the same time, Phedre is still searching desperately for the key that will free her childhood friend, Hyacinthe, from his island prison - a journey that will take her to the very ends of the earth, to a civilization long-forgotten by time.
laileana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel takes place 10 years after the second novel, 10 peaceful years promised Phedre by the old blind seer. Yet this becomes a novel of great travel, great sacrifice and it finalizes two remaining story lines-where is Melissandes son and how to get Hyacinthe off the island where he is trapped
jasmyn9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ten years have passed for Phedre and Joscelin. Years of peace and happiness uninterrupted by intrigue. The only damper is the knowledge that her best friend, Hyacinthe, is stuck as master of the straights, fulfilling an age old curse. But one again the gods have a higher purpose for them, a message seen in dreams and in the form of a plea for help from the traitor, Melisande. her son, hidden away for the past ten years, has been kidnapped. Thus begins the most imporatant journey of Phedre's life. A journey to not only save an innocent boy, but finally a way to free Hyacinthe and thwart an evil that no one realizes even exists.A fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. Phedre takes Joscelin to hell and beyond and pushed both of their vows, to each other and to their gods, to the test. As they decend into near madness they realize how great sacrifice can lead to such amazing rewards. The journey takes to places few have heard of and brings them back home full of rewards, but scarred for life. This is my favorite book of the series by far. I keep wanting to say more about the story, but I don't want to give too much away for those that haven't read the first two yet. What I can say is that if you haven't read these yet, you must! There is a follow up series that I have all but the first one for, and I know that it has moved up to the top of my wish list for books to buy.5/5
silentq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Follows Phedre and Joscelin's journey into the dark pit of hell. The dual framing devices of Imri's abduction and Hyacinthe's imprisonment were intertwined well. Reading about their trip through the fantasy world's Africa was fascinating after my own trip to Tanzania and watching "Long Way Down", making me want to visit Ethiopia but not during the rainy season. :) Their mental healing process from the abuse they underwent in Darsanga isn't fully explored, but it's not glossed over either and you get a good sense of how scarred they are by the experience.
willowcove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A truly great series. It's got everything: court intrigue, sex, fantasy....
Aerrin99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The most irritating thing about this book is its cover, which features a woman with Phedre's marque, which apparently not only fits on half her back, but also curves around her ribs. Pft! If one is going to bother to include important descriptive elements from the book, one might at least notice the extreme importance of the /placement/ of said details.Ahem. But the /book/. Better than the first, not as good as the second, due in part to some elements that simply pushed my comfort level further than I would have liked (the BDSM comes out in intense fullness here) and in part to a plot that twists and weaves and turns a few times too many.Melisande Shahrizai, the greatest traitor Terre D'Ange has ever known, has a son, third in line for the throne. He has been missing since the events of the second book, a span of ten years. And now, he is /missing/ - he's disappeared from his hiding place, and his mother requests Phedre's help in finding him. She buys Phedre¿s help with the promise of information ¿ information that could free her true friend Hyacinthe from a curse he took on for Phedre¿s sake in the first book.Phedre's quest gives Carey the opportunity to keep drawing her world outward, now exploring the middle east and portions of Africa to fascinating effect, but this time the trip feels a little too windy. I could have done with a few less curves, a bit more to-the-point.For the first time, as well, I see some validity to the description of Carey's work as 'overwrought.' It doesn't bother me overmuch - I like my works thick with emotion, even emotional pain - but it's heavier here, and heavier-handed, than her other works. Part of this is because the journey Phedre takes in search of Melisande¿s son, Imriel, is very, very dark. This is not a book I¿d hand to people who are wary of that for any reason.What¿s interesting about this book, though, is that it asks questions about justice and fairness (Phedre believes that Imriel¿s disappearance is due to his mother¿s sins against Terre D¿Ange), as well as about the nature of service to a god, or to a grander plan. It also explores some questions of choice and sacrifice ¿ Phedre has spent ten years trying to rescue Hyacinthe, but her choice to follow that path now would mean abandoning a child to a nasty fate ¿ as well as about power.I also continue to adore Joscelin through this book and like Imriel surprisingly well (ten years old tends to be a hard write for many authors, with the in-between of child/teen that the age involves). Phedre edges a bit close to `too perfect, too capable¿ a few times, but Carey walks the line. I¿m pleased to see significant changes and growth in relationships in that ten-year gap between the last book and this one.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantastic conclusion to the Kushiels Legacy trilogy! Phedre has found Imriel in the harem of a maniac, in a god-forsaken land covered in darkness. Imriel has been tortured, and he is feral and suspicous of her. Can Phedre convince the women and men imprisoned here that it is better to fight, than live in such torment?
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ten years later Phedre has been resting and enjoying her life but she finds herself trying to work out a way to rescue Hyacinthe. It's interesting but it didn't feel like there was 10 years between this and the previous book, it felt like only a few short years. There was a lot of the story that felt like filler, and while readable it did feel sometimes like some of it was there just to fill space. I felt that the story was a little slow occasinally. Still I found it fairly entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poetry in Prose, magical realism meets Renaissance. I reread the series at least once a year. Carey's Kushiel series creates vivid, multidimensional characters who interact in an alternative European Renaissance. LOVE AS THOU WILT is the tenent of their faith, engendered in Elua, the Misbegotten Son, come to life through the mingling of the blood of Yeshua ben Yoseph (Jesus son of Joseph) and the tears of the Magdalene. The depth of research that has gone into the pages of these books is overwhelming. The majority of places the protagonist, Phedre, travels are grounded in actual historical sites. Historical references hover around the edges of the factual. The phantastic is woven into the tapestry of the day-to-day seamlessly. Carey's world is a heady place to abide in for a reader willing to see the world through the eyes of a God-touched heroine who speaks multiple languages, respects the myriad cultural and religious idiosyncrasies of the many people she encounters on her journeys, and saves the world with the aid of her warrior-priest companion, a 10-year-old boy, and a host of others she bends to her will, not through might, but by YIELDING.