REVIEW: Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey
Dear Ms. Carey,
Your 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 nÃƒÆ’Ã‚ ³ MontrÃƒÆ’Ã‚ ¨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 DarÃƒ-Ã‚ ¡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.