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REVIEW: Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey

Dear Ms. Carey,

Kushiel's ScionYour voice is like none other than I have ever read. You have a way of making a 700 page book seem like a glorious journey instead of an arduous task. When I first recieved the book, I was a little daunted by its size. I had vague memories of the manner in which I devoured Kushiel’s Dart but was certain that this could not hold the same treasure. While it doesn’t hold the same magic as the first trilogy, it is certainly heads and tales above much of what is published.

Kushiel’s Scion returns to the world imagined in the first three Kushiel series but the narrator Phedre is replaced by Imriel nà³ Montrà¨ve de la Courcel. Imriel is the son of the Phedre’s greatest enemy and possibly greatest weakness-Melisande Shahrizai. Imriel endured terrible things at the hands of the Mahrkagir in DarÃ- ¡anga. And Phedre suffered terribly to win Imriel, herself and Joscelin their freedom.

Imriel, as he nears manhood, struggles with his legacy from his mother, his shame over Phedre’s torment at the hands of his mother, and his own dark desires. His struggle to not be his mother, his shame over his desires and his inability to accept himself drives him away from Phedre and Joscelin. As any hero must, Imriel forge his own path, conquer his own demons and find his own happiness.

Your spectacular world building is back in full force. The trademark political intrigue was present as was the exploration of desire and sexuality within a coming of age story. One thing that you do very well is show us that all characters are not wholly good or evil. No villian is without his or her charm for how else are they truly dangerous but through their ability to fascinate and captivate others.

The challenge in this book was to make Imriel’s voice as engaging as Phedre’s. For me, this challenge wasn’t met. It is not to say that this story is not wonderful because it is. It just falters a bit in comparsion with the first trilogy. Part of that may be due to the fact that Imriel’s challenges didn’t have the weight of the world attached to the success or failure of the challenges. While I enjoyed his story, it was the references to Phedre and Joscelin that I appreciated the most. For individuals who appreciate a depth of story not often published these dayss, this fantasy series is not to be missed. B+ for you.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

5 Comments

  1. jmc
    Jul 19, 2006 @ 19:55:17

    I skimmed Kushiel’s Scion, waiting to get sucked in the same way I was sucked into the first Kushiel book, but it never happened. In large part, I think, because of Imriel’s voice, as you say in your review. The other reason KS never really grew on me was that two thoughts kept bouncing around my head as I read: first, that one Imriel book probably wouldn’t wrap up the story since Carey is, uh, verbose; and second, that Kushiel’s Avatar really seemed like a good place to stop. :shrug: What do I know? I thought Gabaldon should’ve quit after Outlander, but clearly millions of readers disagree.

  2. Jane
    Jul 19, 2006 @ 21:11:05

    [quote comment="2360"]The other reason KS never really grew on me was that two thoughts kept bouncing around my head as I read: first, that one Imriel book probably wouldn’t wrap up the story since Carey is, uh, verbose; and second, that Kushiel’s Avatar really seemed like a good place to stop. :shrug: What do I know?[/quote]

    I was daunted by the size of the book and I have been sitting on it for a month. I finally read it last week. It was good but you are right. The story is not resolved. I think it is part of a trilogy.

  3. May
    Jul 20, 2006 @ 06:16:48

    I’ve read the first 2 of this trilogy and the first half of the Sundering duology, and I think it is Carey’s voice and worldbuilding that’s worth reading her books for.

    Have you read Sarah Monette’s Melusine, Jane? I’ll get to this one pretty soon, but I’ve heard it likened to Carey and Anne Bishop a few times.

    By the way, thanks for running the Venus Press contest!

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