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La Grâce de Kushiel: Imriel, T3

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Imriel et Sidonie renoncent enfin à la clandestinité. Mais l’aveu de leur amour s’apprête à précipiter le royaume dans le plus grand tumulte. Car les D’Angelins n’ont pas oublié les crimes de la mère d’Imriel, la perfide Melisande. Aussi la reine Ysandre impose-t-elle une condition absolue à l’union des amants. Imriel doit accomplir un acte de foi : retrouver sa mère et la Imriel et Sidonie renoncent enfin à la clandestinité. Mais l’aveu de leur amour s’apprête à précipiter le royaume dans le plus grand tumulte. Car les D’Angelins n’ont pas oublié les crimes de la mère d’Imriel, la perfide Melisande. Aussi la reine Ysandre impose-t-elle une condition absolue à l’union des amants. Imriel doit accomplir un acte de foi : retrouver sa mère et la ramener en Terre d’Ange pour qu’elle y soit exécutée. Mais tandis que Sidonie et lui se préparent à une nouvelle séparation, une force étrangère venue de loin étend son ombre sur le royaume. Les deux amants survivront-ils à cette nouvelle menace ? « Magnifique. Ce que l’heroic fantasy peut faire de mieux. » Publishers Weekly « Intelligent, sexy, d’une humanité à vous briser le cœur : Carey, enivrante, livre le meilleur d’elle-même. » Booklist


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Imriel et Sidonie renoncent enfin à la clandestinité. Mais l’aveu de leur amour s’apprête à précipiter le royaume dans le plus grand tumulte. Car les D’Angelins n’ont pas oublié les crimes de la mère d’Imriel, la perfide Melisande. Aussi la reine Ysandre impose-t-elle une condition absolue à l’union des amants. Imriel doit accomplir un acte de foi : retrouver sa mère et la Imriel et Sidonie renoncent enfin à la clandestinité. Mais l’aveu de leur amour s’apprête à précipiter le royaume dans le plus grand tumulte. Car les D’Angelins n’ont pas oublié les crimes de la mère d’Imriel, la perfide Melisande. Aussi la reine Ysandre impose-t-elle une condition absolue à l’union des amants. Imriel doit accomplir un acte de foi : retrouver sa mère et la ramener en Terre d’Ange pour qu’elle y soit exécutée. Mais tandis que Sidonie et lui se préparent à une nouvelle séparation, une force étrangère venue de loin étend son ombre sur le royaume. Les deux amants survivront-ils à cette nouvelle menace ? « Magnifique. Ce que l’heroic fantasy peut faire de mieux. » Publishers Weekly « Intelligent, sexy, d’une humanité à vous briser le cœur : Carey, enivrante, livre le meilleur d’elle-même. » Booklist

30 review for La Grâce de Kushiel: Imriel, T3

  1. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    My favorite of the trilogy! All the stars! I was hoping for a strong finish to this trilogy and I was not disappointed. This final book in Imriel’s story starts moments after the last book ended and it was an exciting, moving conclusion to his journey. Love as thou wilt, Blessed Elua’s precept commands us. We hadn’t dared. We took the sensible route and waited. We’d feared to throw the realm into turmoil. Well and so, it happened anyway. Imriel and Sidonie, both bearing the guilt of those lost due t My favorite of the trilogy! All the stars! I was hoping for a strong finish to this trilogy and I was not disappointed. This final book in Imriel’s story starts moments after the last book ended and it was an exciting, moving conclusion to his journey. Love as thou wilt, Blessed Elua’s precept commands us. We hadn’t dared. We took the sensible route and waited. We’d feared to throw the realm into turmoil. Well and so, it happened anyway. Imriel and Sidonie, both bearing the guilt of those lost due to their fear of wholly committing to their love, have decided to forge ahead with their relationship. Sidonie’s mother, the Queen, is still not pleased – which is a bit of a hypocritical stance on her part considering her opinions about her own love match back in the original trilogy – and she is joined in her sentiments by many of the realm’s citizens, especially those old enough to bear the scars of the treason committed by Imriel’s mother, Melisande. But Imriel and Sidonie are not to be dissuaded this time. Their love has survived time, distance, magical bindings, the affections of others, sorrow, and guilt. With everything they’ve gone through, enduring a little ill sentiment at home seems a small price to pay. "Blessed Elua doesn’t join hearts without a purpose." Queen Ysandre however has a kingdom to think about and the fear that Imriel’s love isn’t true, that he’s just the latest ploy by his traitorous mother to usurp the throne, is just not something she can overlook. The scars of the country run too deep. So Ysandre sets Imriel with a special task, one meant to prove his loyalty and worthiness in the minds of his harshest critics. It’s not a task he’s looking forward to but he knows it’s just and if it’s what the country needs to believe him true and worthy of Sidonie then he’s willing to pay any price. Imriel and Sidonie... how far they’ve come. When this trilogy started he was just 14 and she was 12, a “brooding boy” and a “haughty girl” who had little patience or trust for one another. How times have changed since that “fateful once” when he was 18 and she was 16, the night that changed everything between them. Imriel is now 22 and Sidonie is 20 and that “fateful once” has turned into “always and always”, their pledge to their love and to each other. I loved Sidonie in this. My only quibble with this trilogy is that I wish we’d gotten to know Sidonie like this earlier. We got a taste of her fortitude and maturity in the last book, especially in the last third or so, but she really shines in this one. It’s easy to see why this extraordinary young woman has held Imriel’s heart for four years. But she was the daughter of the Queen of Terre d’Ange and the Cruarch of Alba, and the only person in the room raised from birth to rule a nation. Even as Imriel sets the wheels in motion to accomplish his great task, the city of Elua is able to enjoy a sense of peace. That soon ends when the newly appointed General from Carthage, a self-styled Prince, arrives at the capital City Of Elua, along with his entourage, seeking audience with the Queen. He comes bearing gifts, offers for political alliance, and the chance to view a once in a lifetime celestial event. Things aren’t quite what they seem however and soon the country finds itself divided along lines no one could have predicted. Today I would surrender everything. The bulk of the book is about Imriel setting out to save his love and his country. If you’re worried about this being a damsel-in-distress story, don’t be. Sidonie more than holds her own in this adventure and proves herself to be just as worthy of Imriel’s love as he is worthy of hers. While I loved Phedre and Joscelin in the original trilogy, I always felt that Joscelin had to bend more to accommodate Phedre than the other way around. This isn’t the case at all with Imriel and Sidonie. I feel that they are each 100% there for each other in every way. This isn’t a tale of falling in love…it’s a tale of fighting to keep it but in a manner where both parties fully demonstrate the depths of their commitment. And the best part? We get a love story within the love story…which will make total sense once you’ve read the book. "If you take no other thought into your next life, my lord, take this. It is not wise to meddle with D’Angelines in matters of love." This was a book I had a hard time putting down and at the end I still wanted more. I wanted more of Imriel. I wanted more of Sidonie. I wanted to see more of Phedre and Joscelin wandering around in the background. I just wanted…more. But, alas, this is the end and what an end it was. Despite my desire for more adventures, I feel that I got the closure I needed. My heart is full. Yes, I know there is a third trilogy out there but it’s set a hundred years or so in the future with an all new cast. That’s just not the same and I know that I don’t want to walk in a world where these beloved characters are long dead. I just can’t do it. I choose instead to walk away from Terre D’Ange now, knowing that these wonderful characters with whom I’ve laughed and cried are still there walking the streets of Elua, living their lives and loving with full hearts. Love. It was all done in love.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Conor

    After really enjoying the previous 2 instalments in the trilogy (see my review of Kushiels justice, you know you want to) I found this one to be a pretty big disappointment. After an intense character driven story with a great amount of believable character development over the previous 2 books I was underwhelmed by Imriel in this book. Most crucially the under-stated fantasy and journeys of self discovery in the previous books are replaced with a story of a kidnapped princess, an ensorcelled k After really enjoying the previous 2 instalments in the trilogy (see my review of Kushiels justice, you know you want to) I found this one to be a pretty big disappointment. After an intense character driven story with a great amount of believable character development over the previous 2 books I was underwhelmed by Imriel in this book. Most crucially the under-stated fantasy and journeys of self discovery in the previous books are replaced with a story of a kidnapped princess, an ensorcelled kingdom, an evil wizard and a heroic prince out to save the world that seemed determined to cram a trilogy worth of plothole-filling magic, clichéd epic heroism and globe trotting adventure with tenuous motivations into 1 book. (Tangent warning) I've often thought that a good measure of how good a fantasy plot is seeing how the plot holds up with magic suddenly removed. While by no means perfect I still think it's an effective test. For example ASOIAF one of my favourite series only occasionally touches on magic and it is rarely if ever integral to the plot. Another of my favourite series, Jordan's Wheel of Time, is more traditional in it's frequent use of magic. However very little of the magic is inseparable from the basic plot. It is at it's heart a story about young people learning to accept their duties and responsibilities, magic is only used as a more visible (and badass) demonstration of their power. Now that I've got you hooked I'm gonna real you in by finally relating this to the book I'm currently supposed to be reviewing. In the previous 2 books in this series magic and epic heroism in general were only touched upon in passing. The possessed commander in Scion and the magic powers of the Maghuinn Dhonn (or whatever) in Justice added flava to the story but weren't vital in maintaining a cohesive narrative. However if you take the fantasy elements out of this novel it's an unreadable mess. How else could Sidonie abandon everything she loves to randomly run off with Astegal her peoples dangerous enemy and a massive knobhead? How else could the entire kingdom of Terre D'ange be incapacitated/turned evil for this entire book? With Carey's skill at writing complex politics and characters she could have answered these questions in a believable, intelligent way but obviously had more important stuff to do so instead went with 'a wizard did it' (seriously, this was the entire central premise of the plot). My other major complaint was in how this book failed to continue Imriel's development. As a 1st person narrator and the sole POV in this trilogy Imriel didn't have as much room as some for dramatic character development, however the development that occured was intense and well written. It was one of the most important aspects in the first 2 books. I thought it was kind of emblematic of this book that Imriel never confronted his natural powers of manipulation and instead spent a decent chunk of time early on obsessing over engaging in BDSM with another consenting adult. I appreciate that this series is big into that stuff and a lot of the readership expects it but I found it kind of hilarious that Imriel spent so much time in this book (and even more in previous books) obsessing over the family love of BDSM (his extended family have a permanent dungeon reservation in the local medieval BDSM club. Seriosuly) and yet never confronted the much more serious moral dilemma of having almost supernatural powers of manipulation. I felt Carey especially missed a great chance to explore this with Sidonie's kidnapping. It would have been a chance for a desperate Imriel to resort to manipulation and could have added shades of moral ambiguity to his broody prince charming character. The 'Leander' POV also seemed pretty stupid and pointless. Although he provided a break from Imriel, I didn't really like Leander as a character. His otherwise decent character development (reminiscent of a watered-down Jezal in the first law) was rendered meaningless by the whole bodyswitch thing. On the Brightside Imriels trip to the island was a highlight of the book and introduced easily some of the best characters. The dynamic between Melisande and Imriel was touching. I found Melisande a genuinely compelling character whose amoral scheming was contrasted in a really interesting way with her maternal instincts. The 'wise ape' was also an interesting character and I wish we'd seen more of the 2. Sidonie was also a great character. While she occasionally seemed a bit of a Mary Sue she was easily one of my favourite characters in the trilogy. While a disappointing ending to the trilogy this book doesn't ruin my positive impressions of the previous 2. The overall quality of the trilogy is dragged down by this entry but it's still a series worth reading. I'll probably check out more of Carey's stuff in the future in the hope that it is more similar to the (awesome) first 2 books in the series than this installment.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    It's odd to think how much I love the first trilogy and how much I struggled with the second trilogy. They're different kinds of stories, really, I think. The first trilogy definitely has love in it, and to some degree, magic, but there's also a lot of heroism-in-unlikely-places and politics. Politics and heroism definitely have their place in the second trilogy, but love and magic hold centre-stage. I wasn't expecting it. Another issue is that Imriel is a less mature hero than Phèdre, and his t It's odd to think how much I love the first trilogy and how much I struggled with the second trilogy. They're different kinds of stories, really, I think. The first trilogy definitely has love in it, and to some degree, magic, but there's also a lot of heroism-in-unlikely-places and politics. Politics and heroism definitely have their place in the second trilogy, but love and magic hold centre-stage. I wasn't expecting it. Another issue is that Imriel is a less mature hero than Phèdre, and his trilogy covers shorter spans of time. The plot is definitely Jacqueline Carey all over, but Sidonie and Imriel just don't carry it as well as Phèdre and Joscelin, for me. All the same, I enjoyed it quite a lot, when I didn't stall with reading it. I think it's best to just bear in mind that it's a different kind of story. And that Imriel isn't Phèdre -- where Phèdre opens doors with her body, Imriel has to wait and chafe, and that carries through to the reader, I think! In terms of this book alone, it definitely brings the trilogy to an amazing finish. The very last chapter made me grin and clap my hands. A lot of the events of the book are painful -- Jacqueline Carey, once again, spares the readers nothing. I think it's partly my hatred of lying/deceit/seeing people being deceived that makes this book very hard to read. There's a lot of that. In terms of characters, Phèdre and Joscelin are unimpressive, in this book, for plot reasons. It makes me uncomfortable to see them so wrong, for once. I know they're spell bound, but I also feel like somehow they should doubt, somehow they should realise Imriel is right... Melisande is also another interesting point. It feels odd seeing her with much less ambition, content, mellowed out some by motherhood. I don't really like the point it makes about motherhood, in one sense. It shouldn't make you "soft". But I also like that she was redeemed somewhat. I definitely liked this trilogy, even though I stalled with it, but my feelings are much more conflicted than with the first trilogy, and I don't think I'll be taking it up to reread very soon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Kushiel’s Mercy is the sixth book in Carey’s Terre d’Ange adventures, and the third book in the Imriel de la Courcel’s story. It is the conclusion of his trilogy and honestly, I only read it for the sake of completion. Thus far, neither of the two trilogies that followed Phédre no Delauney’s own have been nearly as good, mostly because of the main characters. Prince Imriel de la Courcel is the son of the beautiful traitor, Melisandre Sharizai. He was kidnapped into slavery, rescued and later ado Kushiel’s Mercy is the sixth book in Carey’s Terre d’Ange adventures, and the third book in the Imriel de la Courcel’s story. It is the conclusion of his trilogy and honestly, I only read it for the sake of completion. Thus far, neither of the two trilogies that followed Phédre no Delauney’s own have been nearly as good, mostly because of the main characters. Prince Imriel de la Courcel is the son of the beautiful traitor, Melisandre Sharizai. He was kidnapped into slavery, rescued and later adopted by Phédre and her consort, Joscelin, and has since gone off on his own adventures. In the last book, he was betrothed to a woman he didn’t love, but then perhaps matured with the brutal murder of his wife and unborn son and the subsequent vengeance he enacted upon the culprit. And within that all of that, he fell in love with Sidonie de la Courcel, the dauphine of Terre d’Ange, and daughter of the queen whom Imriel’s mother sought to depose. Unsurprisingly, there are those who are quite opposed to their union, in spite of the precepts of blessed Elua: “Love as thou wilt.” Queen Ysandre will only allow them to be married, if Imriel brings his long missing mother to justice. But before he is able to do so, Prince Astagal of Carthage orchestrates an incredible piece of magic that ensorcels half of Terre d’Ange, even convincing Sidonie that she not only has never loved Imriel, but that Imriel does not even exist. This wasn’t a bad story. It contained all of Carey’s epic, world hopping fantasy, her beautiful people, intriguing characters, wonderful mythology and theology that touches on our reality, while still being wholly hers, sweeping political intrigue and more. The problem is that, at the centre of all this are Imriel and Sidonie and their cloying romance. I can be as hopelessly romantic as the next person, but it gets tiresome when it’s the main plot and purpose. The beauty of Phédre and Joseclin’s romance was that they didn’t spend the whole time pining for each other, even when they were together. But Imriel and Sidonie’s story is made to be a fairy tale romance (and is repeatedly referred to as such). I suppose it doesn’t help that the characters have never endeared themselves to me. I appreciate them, but they lack the depth of their predecessors. And Imriel spent the last two books being an annoyingly self-centred teenager. One thing I do find annoying about the subsequent books in this series is the constant and repeated reference back to past events. It’s usually quite unnecessary, though perhaps it might be less so for someone who has not read the previous books. However, I do appreciate the scope of the history Carey creates with each new epic addition to her world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    I do not know if the author had the same issue with me about the "size" of the story in comparition with the first trilogy but certainly in this third and final part she decided to make things quite "bigger", more epic if you prefer. To achieve this he turned to more traditional "tools" in the plot elements mainly found in classic tales. A call to a great achievement as proof of love and a spell of a powerful magician who needs ... hassle to solve is enough to untie the story and send our hero i I do not know if the author had the same issue with me about the "size" of the story in comparition with the first trilogy but certainly in this third and final part she decided to make things quite "bigger", more epic if you prefer. To achieve this he turned to more traditional "tools" in the plot elements mainly found in classic tales. A call to a great achievement as proof of love and a spell of a powerful magician who needs ... hassle to solve is enough to untie the story and send our hero in a long journey that will bring him face to face with the past, will make him live his love from the beginning and will bring him up against powerful forces, physical and metaphysical, in a struggle which will determine the future of his country and the wider region. So in this book we have more things to deal with. Magic in various forms, such as the classic version we know through fairy tales, the more real as the ability of charming women to earn what they want with a look and of course the most powerful of love. Travel to areas remind us of something, Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, with descriptions and use of historical facts which show us that the author have enough knowledges. Military conflicts that the writer describes to us with a very exciting way, putting the end doubts about the very purpose of the war and what exactly is what we call victory. Above all, however, the power of love is the dominant element, which can fight against anything, overcome and forgiven. All these elements dominate in this finale and make it special. All that are nice but again after the inevitable comparison with the first trilogy I realize that something is missing, something it managed to make the story of Phedre a special one. I guess the change of the central character and narrator of the story is the major cause, he is certainly an interesting character but does not have the complexity of our dear Phedre and her emotional depth. The story has many positive elements but in the end is not so strong as to be able to entice you, make you to feel something very deep inside, despite several emotional moments and the upgrade in the last part. Of course all the rest are in place, with all the elements that we loved in the first trilogy exist to the same extent, which is enough in balancing the impressions that nowhere in these three books can not be considered exceptional. In short, although certainly this trilogy is subordinate than the first it has its value. Δεν ξέρω αν η συγγραφέας είχε το ίδιο θέμα με εμένα σχετικά με το "μέγεθος" της ιστορίας σε σύγκριση με την πρώτη τριλογία, σίγουρα, όμως, σε αυτό το τρίτο και τελευταίο μέρος αποφάσισε να κάνει τα πράγματα αρκετά "μεγαλύτερα", πιο επικά αν προτιμάτε. Για να το πετύχει αυτό στράφηκε σε πιο παραδοσιακά "εργαλεία", σε στοιχεία πλοκής που συναντάμε κυρίως στα κλασικά παραμύθια. Ένα κάλεσμα σε ένα μεγάλο κατόρθωμα ως απόδειξη της αγάπης και ένα ξόρκι ενός πανίσχυρου μάγου που χρειάζεται... ταλαιπωρία για να λυθεί είναι αρκετά για να ξεκολλήσει η ιστορία και να στείλουν τον ήρωά μας σε ένα μεγάλο ταξίδι που θα τον φέρει αντιμέτωπο με το παρελθόν του, θα τον κάνει να ζήσει τον έρωτά του από την αρχή και θα του τον φέρει αντιμέτωπο με ισχυρές δυνάμεις, φυσικές και μεταφυσικές, σε έναν αγώνα από τον οποίο κρίνεται το μέλλον της χώρας του αλλά και της ευρύτερης περιοχής. Οπότε σε αυτό το βιβλίο έχουμε πολύ περισσότερα πράγματα να ασχοληθούμε. Μαγεία σε διάφορες μορφές, όπως την κλασσική της εκδοχή που γνωρίζουμε μέσα από τα παραμύθια, την πιο πραγματική όπως την ικανότητα των γοητευτικών γυναικών να κερδίζουν αυτό που θέλουν με ένα βλέμμα και φυσικά την πιο ισχυρή που είναι ο έρωτας. Ταξίδια σε περιοχές που κάτι μας θυμίζουν, Ανατολική Μεσόγειος, Βόρεια Αφρική, Ιβηρική Χερσόνησος, με ονομασίες και χρήση ιστορικών γεγονότων που μας δείχνουν ότι η συγγραφέας είναι αρκετά διαβασμένη. Πολεμικές αναμετρήσεις και μου τις αφηγείται η συγγραφέας με πολύ συναρπαστικό τρόπο, βάζοντας στο τέλος και αμφιβολίες για τον ίδιο τον σκοπό του πολέμου και το τι ακριβώς είναι αυτό που λέμε νίκη. Πάνω από όλα, όμως, η δύναμη του έρωτα είναι το κυρίαρχο στοιχείο, που μπορεί να παλέψει απέναντι σε οτιδήποτε, να ξεπεράσει και να συγχωρήσει. Όλα αυτά τα στοιχεία κυριαρχούν σε αυτό το φινάλε και το κάνουν ξεχωριστό. Ωραία όλα αυτά αλλά πάλι μετά την αναπόφευκτη σύγκριση με την πρώτη τριλογία συνειδητοποιώ ότι κάτι λείπει, κάτι που κατάφερε να κάνει ξεχωριστή την ιστορία της Φαίδρας. Φαντάζομαι η αλλαγή του κεντρικού χαρακτήρα και αφηγητή της ιστορίας είναι η σημαντικότερη αιτία, σίγουρα είναι ένας ενδιαφέρον χαρακτήρας αλλά δεν έχει την πολυπλοκότητα της αγαπητής μας Φαίδρας και το συναισθηματικό της βάθος. Η ιστορία του έχει πολλά θετικά στοιχεία αλλά στο τέλος δεν είναι τόσο δυνατή ώστε να μπορέσει να σε παρασύρει, να σε κάνει να την αισθανθείς μέσα σου, παρά τις αρκετές συναισθηματικές στιγμές και την αναβάθμιση της στο τελευταίο μέρος. Φυσικά όλα τα υπόλοιπα βρίσκονται στη θέση τους, με όλα τα στοιχεία που αγαπήσαμε στην πρώτη τριλογία να υπάρχουν στον ίδιο βαθμό, κάτι που ισοσκελίζει αρκετά τις εντυπώσεις ώστε σε κανένα σημείο αυτά τα τρία βιβλία να μην μπορούν να θεωρηθούν εξαιρετικά. Με λίγα λόγια αν και σίγουρα αυτή η τριλογία είναι αρκετά υποδεέστερη της πρώτης έχει την αξία της.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrick St-Denis

    Kushiel's Scion, the first volume in Jacqueline Carey's second Kushiel trilogy, had extremely big shoes to fill. Doubtless, it was unfair as far as expectations go. Its predecessor, Kushiel's Avatar was the culmination of a great tapestry of complex storylines that had been woven over the course of three unforgettable volumes. Naturally, it raised the bar sky-high and created lofty expectations that could not possibly be met by whatever came next. Overall, though it was a great read in its own r Kushiel's Scion, the first volume in Jacqueline Carey's second Kushiel trilogy, had extremely big shoes to fill. Doubtless, it was unfair as far as expectations go. Its predecessor, Kushiel's Avatar was the culmination of a great tapestry of complex storylines that had been woven over the course of three unforgettable volumes. Naturally, it raised the bar sky-high and created lofty expectations that could not possibly be met by whatever came next. Overall, though it was a great read in its own right, Kushiel's Scion turned out to be a transition book bridging the gap between the two Kushiel series and a vast introduction setting the stage for what would take place in the two subsequent installments. With Kushiel's Justice, however, Carey truly knocked it out of the park. With most of the groundwork laid out in the first volume, the set-up phase was pretty much non-existent and the author took us on a number of memorable journeys that would change Imriel's life forever. And with Kushiel's Avatar being such a grand slam, I had high hopes that Kushiel's Mercy would bring this second trilogy to the same kind of remarkable ending. Although this one started off quite strong, I felt that it relied a little too heavily on the romance between Imriel and Sidonie. As a result, it was not as multilayered as previous Kushiel books. And though it offers resolution regarding plotlines from both series and it closes the show on this second trilogy in satisfying fashion, Kushiel's Mercy was the weakest installment of the bunch. Granted, this has more to do with the fact that the five novels that preceded it were truly amazing reads. And weakest volume or not, there is no denying that Kushiel's Mercy remains better than most fantasy offerings on the market today. Here's the blurb: Having learned a lesson about thwarting the will of the gods, Imriel and Sidonie publicly confess their affair, only to see the country boil over in turmoil. Younger generations, infatuated by their heart-twisting, star-crossed romance, defend the couple. Many others cannot forget the betrayals of Imriel’s mother, Melisande, who plunged their country into a bloody war that cost the lives of their fathers, brothers, and sons. To quell the unrest, Ysandre, the queen, sets her decree. She will not divide the lovers, yet neither will she acknowledge them. If they marry, Sidonie will be disinherited, losing her claim on the throne. There’s only one way they can truly be together. Imriel must perform an act of faith: search the world for his infamous mother and bring her back to Terre d’Ange to be executed for treason. Facing a terrible choice, Imriel and Sidonie prepare ruefully for another long separation. But when a dark foreign force casts a shadow over Terre d’Ange and all the surrounding countries, their world is turned upside down, alliances of the unlikeliest kind are made, and Imriel and Sidonie learn that the god Elua always puts hearts together apurpose. Jacqueline Carey's worldbuilding has always been astonishing and I feel that the author never received the respect she deserves in that regard. Eschewing the traditional European medieval environment, Carey's creation is akin to the Renaissance era and it is set in an alternate version of Western Europe. With each new book, she took us on fabulous journeys that enabled readers to discover more about her universe and she never disappointed in doing so. Richly detailed and imagined in terms of cultures, religions, and politics, like all its predecessors Kushiel's Mercy is another textured and sophisticated novel that hits all the right buttons. Still, the novel is not as dense and sprawling as most of the other Kushiel installments. Indeed, this time around the action is limited to Terre d'Ange (France), Cythera (Cyprus), Euskerria (Basque Country), and Tunisia (Carthage). As is the author's wont, the web of murder and political intrigue that Carey wove through this novel is as incredible and unexpected as the politicking of such masters as George R. R. Martin and Katherine Kurtz. As I said before, Jacqueline Carey continues to write with an elegance that reminds me of Guy Gavriel Kay at his best. Her lyrical prose is something special and I have a feeling that it could well be the very best in the genre today. Even the darkest and more shocking scenes are written with a distinctive literary grace that makes them even more powerful than they would be in the hands of a less gifted author. Once again in Kushiel's Mercy, her gripping prose creates an imagery filled with wonder and beauty that never fails to fascinate. Like Robin Hobb, Carey also possesses a subtle human touch which imbues some scenes with even more emotional impact. Moreover, once again à la Hobb, Carey makes her characters suffer like no other genre authors out there. Given the dark and disturbing events that Imriel was forced to live through in Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, and Kushiel's Justice, one would think that the poor guy deserves a break. But no, far from it. Just when you thought that he had finally found some happiness after suffering to such a degree, yet again he gets the rug pulled from under him. To a certain extent, I still miss the first person narrative of Phèdre nó Delaunay. As a deeply flawed character, her strengths and weaknesses made her genuine and her perspective, that of an older woman relating the tale of her past, misled readers on several occasions by playing with their expectations. I liked how Phèdre's strenghts often became her weaknesses and vice versa. And yet, Imriel is deeply flawed himself and his point of view, though it took some getting used to, now works nearly as well as that of his foster mother. Though relatively brief, Leander Maignard's POV offered a different perspective that was interesting. Jacqueline Carey has a knack for creating engaging and memorable secondary characters, and once again she came up with a good cast of men and women. Two of them, Kratos and Astegal, truly stand out in this final volume and they left their mark on this tale, if for vastly different reasons. In my last review I mentioned that I had a feeling that Phèdre and Joscelin's quest for Hyacinthe would have repercussions in Kushiel's Mercy. But no, this is barely hinted at. Not surprisingly, this third volume focuses on the love story between Imriel and Sidonie, as well as on Carthage's magical treachery that has Terre d'Ange under its spell and which has brought the country on the brink of civil war. I am aware that the next series, the Naamah trilogy, takes place a few generations in the future. But I have no idea if that secret quest will have repercussions that will echo down through the years and have a role to play in that tale, or if readers will have to wait for a yet unwritten future series featuring Phèdre and Joscelin that will focus on that journey. Time will tell. Kushiel's Mercy is the shortest book in the series. As far as the rhythm is concerned, the pace is never an issue. Though it's by no means a slim tome, it is no doorstopper of a book, the way its predecessors were. It is, however, another page-turner. Although there is a love story at the heart of the tale, the fate of both Terre d'ange and Aragonia hang in the balance. The author has a knack for coming up with plot twists that suck you in and won't let go. And let's say that Carthage's spell may be the biggest one yet. In a nutshell, Kushiel's Mercy is yet another sophisticated and convoluted read full of wonder and sensuality. Written on an epic scale and with an elegance seldom seen in this subgenre, Jacqueline Carey managed to do it again. Kushiel's Justice was more complex and rewarding, true, but there is no denying that Kushiel's Mercy is a worthy sequel and a satisfying ending to a superior fantasy series.. I've said it before and I'll say it again. These two trilogies deserve the highest possible recommendation. Give them a shot ASAP. You won't be disappointed! For more reviews, check out www.fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    I felt as if I was falling in love with this book - the blissful rapture, the shocking upheaval, the wrenching confrontations, the passionate adventure, the meditative reflections, the heartbreaking struggles. I felt as if this novel carried me along in its wake of events, as if I was enfolded within its history. Though often our guiding voice declaims a lack of poetic verve, this concluding chapter in the Kushiel's Legacy sextet brings us full circle, except it isn't until the end that we reali I felt as if I was falling in love with this book - the blissful rapture, the shocking upheaval, the wrenching confrontations, the passionate adventure, the meditative reflections, the heartbreaking struggles. I felt as if this novel carried me along in its wake of events, as if I was enfolded within its history. Though often our guiding voice declaims a lack of poetic verve, this concluding chapter in the Kushiel's Legacy sextet brings us full circle, except it isn't until the end that we realize our path lies spiraling outward, rather than merging with our starting point.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ben Babcock

    We have arrived at the end of a second trilogy, and I'm feeling regret—but not in a good way. Kushiel's Mercy at first seems like everything we need to send Imriel and Sidonie out in style. This is the culmination of Imriel's adventures, his final chance to sever himself from the taint of traitor's blood. And it's the final chapter in a slow, simmering love story. Going into Kushiel's Mercy, Carey has set up two expectations. Firstly, we're going to see the resolution of Sidonie and Imriel's decl We have arrived at the end of a second trilogy, and I'm feeling regret—but not in a good way. Kushiel's Mercy at first seems like everything we need to send Imriel and Sidonie out in style. This is the culmination of Imriel's adventures, his final chance to sever himself from the taint of traitor's blood. And it's the final chapter in a slow, simmering love story. Going into Kushiel's Mercy, Carey has set up two expectations. Firstly, we're going to see the resolution of Sidonie and Imriel's declaration of love. Secondly, Imriel will have to find his mother and bring her back to Terre d'Ange for execution. We knew he would have to do this ever since Melisande went missing back in Kushiel's Scion, and he acknowledges it just before Ysandre sets him the task. This is a difficult mission, and a perfect one with which to conclude Imriel's trilogy. It's so damn perfect, in fact, that I totally didn't see the twist coming; I was just so intent on contemplating the search for Melisande. The twist is brilliant. Well, OK, I'm not a big fan of how Carey makes all her characters, including Phèdre and Joscelin, carry a big aggressive Idiot Ball for the entire novel. And the way Carey sets up the stakes, it's pretty obvious that Imriel is going to emerge the hero of Terre d'Ange, avert civil war, and dispel any notion that he could ever be the traitor his mother is. So this brilliant twist sows the seeds of its own mediocrity. Let us leave that aside, for the moment, and instead look at some of the better consequences of Carey's plotting. The only way for Imriel to get close enough to the resident wizardy bad guy is to change his face. But wizards are good at detecting that sort of magic, so the transformation has to be good enough to fool the wizard—so good that it will fool Imriel as well. And this means that for the first time ever we see a shift in narrative perspective; as Imriel takes on the identity of Leander Maignard, so too does his narration. His voice changes noticeably, acquiring the haughty, dismissive, and enthusiastic attitude of Leander and dropping a lot of Imriel's moodiness. It is, in a way, quite refreshing. And it's fun, too, to see Imriel's new personality fall for Sidonie all over again. But there's only so much of Imriel-as-Leander we can take before we need Imriel again. My patience was beginning to wear thin just as Carey instigated his restoration. When it happened, I remember looking at how much of the book was left and thinking, "Now what?" I was sceptical that there was enough story left to cover nearly 400 pages. In the end, Carey makes a good effort at it, but Kushiel's Mercy is a very messy book with a very messy plot. Astegal, the Carthaginian general who initiates the mind-altering, princess-kidnapping plot, is an idiot. He's supposed to be some kind of military genius, but it seems like he failed to do the research when it comes to Terre d'Ange. Firstly, he chose to make an enemy of Imriel. This is a man who went halfway across the continent, nearly freezing to death in the process, to avenge his slain wife. This is a man raised by a woman who carries in her head the Name of God. This is a man who's on a first-name basis with the Master of the Straits. You do not mess with Imriel de la Courcel (unless you're Sidonie). Of course, villains always think they have the super-special plan that will finally dispatch the hero, so Astegal's audacity is justifiable in this sense. His second mistake is less understandable. Having freed Sidonie of the enchantment enamouring her with Astegal, Imriel gets around to asking if she's pregnant with Astegal's child: "No," Sidonie smiled wryly. "I married Astegal in Carthage. The rites were all Carthaginian. There was no invocation beseeching Eisheth for fertility." Her expression turned quizzical. "And I never said a word about it. I must have known, somewhere deep inside me, that I didn't love him." So let me get this straight, Astegal: you go to all this trouble of working a spell that convinces everyone in the City of Elua, including Sidonie, that you and Sidonie are in love. You and your wizard ally have obviously put considerable thought and preparation into this plan. And having executed it successfully, you proceed to marry Sidonie and try to impregnate her—quite vigorously, she says. Yet at no point do you bother to learn or recall that D'Angeline women, and only D'Angeline women, can only become pregnant by first saying a prayer to their fertility goddess. That, my good evil general, is a very big detail to overlook. If you still had a head, I would advise you to smack it right now. But Imriel and Sidonie took that from you, because you suck at your job. What can I say? I like antagonists who present a credible threat, and Astegal never does. Even when it's a given that the hero will succeed, it's still possible to make the reader worry about the price involved. Carey does this in Kushiel's Chosen, where Phèdre meets with failure after failure, only succeeding near the very end, with a lot of help. Imriel faces no such difficulties. All he has to do is blunder forward through the story, trusting that the plot will take him to a successful conclusion. While I'm being curmudgeonly, let me comment on the absurd amount of sex in Kushiel's Mercy. I haven't discussed the sexuality in this series much since Kushiel's Dart. It's a complex issue that would make a great paper for some English student. The central precept of D'Angeline society is "Love as thou wilt." This applies not only to selection of sexual partners but to the practice of sex itself. Sidonie and Imriel spend the first part of Kushiel's Mercy exploring BDSM, which is more mainstream in D'Angeline society than it is in ours. It's only natural that Imriel and Sidonie have some intense reunion sex after he rescues her from Astegal's enchantment. But it seems like these two drop their clothes every few pages, dallying often enough that their encounters tax even Carey's ability to vary her descriptions. On a deeper level, I'm having a hard time deciding how much of the sexuality in this series is just an excuse to write sex scenes. The D'Angeline attitude toward sex may seem more permissive, but Carey shows us only a narrow slice of that world. BDSM was also Phèdre's thing; making it Sidonie and Imriel's thing makes me wonder if this is more about Carey's preferences for writing sex scenes than it is any thematic statement about sexuality. Another review of Kushiel's Justice expressed disappointment that the series hasn't featured gay male characters. There are allusions to such relationships, but unlike Phèdre's liaisons with Melisande and Nicola, we have yet to see it explicitly depicted. On the surface, it appears that Carey is conforming to the double standard that girl-on-girl is hot but guy-on-guy is not. However, it's important to remember that Imriel has legitimate baggage from his time in Daršanga; some of his experiences have left him with terrible memories associated with having sex with men. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Carey write a sex scene for Imriel-as-Leander and another man. So maybe this elision is not deliberate on Carey's part. Nevertheless, the seemingly-unrestricted sexuality of this series is actually much narrower than it initially appears. We have come to the end of the second trilogy of this series. Just as Imriel has come of age beneath the shadow of his mother's deeds, this trilogy will forever be judged against the first one. And the problem with that comparison is that the two trilogies really are very similar. Rather than depart from the formula of the first three books, Imriel's adventures continue along lines similar to those of Phèdre, albeit with less Earth-shattering consequences. But no one has ever succeeded by lowering the stakes from previous stories! This trilogy, and Kushiel's Mercy, fails to break new ground or go to the next level, whether it's in the sex, the relationships, or the political intrigue that snares these characters at every turn. Kushiel's Mercy particularly is very messy, with antagonists who aren't the least bit threatening and a plot sabotaged by the sappy romance between Sidonie and Imriel. I think it's perfectly possible to read this book and thoroughly enjoy it (if you're sleep-walking through it), but this is not the conclusion to a trilogy that I was expecting. My Reviews of Kushiel's Legacy: ← Kushiel's Justice | Naamah's Kiss (forthcoming) →

  9. 4 out of 5

    Timelord Iain

    Best in the trilogy... kinda feeling stupid for waiting so long to give the Imriel trilogy a chance after reading Phedre's trilogy a few years ago... Jacqueline Carey doesn't pull any punches in her final chapters of trilogies...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    The first book bored me, the second mesmerized me, this one...was fine. It had the classic elements - magic, betrayal, exotic locals, hidden identity. I don't even mind the formula. It's a good formula. I just don't really like Imriel. No, it's more than that. Phedre is queer, and it's no big deal, which is amazing for a main character, especially in a fantasy novel. That sets a bar. The relationship she has with Jocelin - breaking, as it does, both traditional gender roles and traditional sexua The first book bored me, the second mesmerized me, this one...was fine. It had the classic elements - magic, betrayal, exotic locals, hidden identity. I don't even mind the formula. It's a good formula. I just don't really like Imriel. No, it's more than that. Phedre is queer, and it's no big deal, which is amazing for a main character, especially in a fantasy novel. That sets a bar. The relationship she has with Jocelin - breaking, as it does, both traditional gender roles and traditional sexual relationship norms - sets a bar. The first trilogy's exploration of consent and it's nuances (touched on a bit in this book, but not well) sets a bar. The side-lining of the love story in favor of actually saving the world/personal development sets a bar. Phedre's trilogy was ground-breaking in so many ways. This trilogy failed to live up, in almost every case, to the expectations set by the first. Obviously we were not going to get the same books. I wouldn't expect that. But these books were just SO normal, just SO fine. I don't think Carey has a good sense of how Doms work, so Imri's interests fall kind of flat. His relationship with Sidonie is terribly plain and normal. He's straight. Their relationship falls mostly into the "save the damsel in distress" mode. His personal development exists only so that he can fall in love and get married. He saves the world so that he can fall in love and get married. While Phedre uses her magic powers to save the world, Imri uses his magic powers to...um...say something kind of mean to his mom once? He also spends half the book as someone else, so that's kind of weird and renders a lot of character moments pointless. I really enjoyed the second book in the series, but the other 2 were mostly pointless and not worthy of the author

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leseparatist

    Farewell, Phedre and Joscelin, Sidonie and Imriel. This book series brought me much more enjoyment than I'd initially expected. Ultimately, it was less pornographic than I might have expected, and much as I enjoyed Imriel, I didn't grow to like him and Sidonie as much as I did Phedre and Joscelin - and yet, I'm very glad to have decided to read it. I wish there could have been slightly more resolution for Phedre and Melisande, but Melisande's presence in this novel was fun and I'm glad of it. I've Farewell, Phedre and Joscelin, Sidonie and Imriel. This book series brought me much more enjoyment than I'd initially expected. Ultimately, it was less pornographic than I might have expected, and much as I enjoyed Imriel, I didn't grow to like him and Sidonie as much as I did Phedre and Joscelin - and yet, I'm very glad to have decided to read it. I wish there could have been slightly more resolution for Phedre and Melisande, but Melisande's presence in this novel was fun and I'm glad of it. I've got mixed feelings about the gravest and most awful threat once again being associated with Africa, but I guess nothing's perfect. Ultimately four stars, because this novel might perhaps only deserve three (the first hundred of pages particularly bored me somewhat) but the whole series gets that extra half star..

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kara-karina

    My favourite book in this series, this was an amazing story! Oh Miss Carey, sometimes the scope of your imagination makes me dissolve into a teary eyed, babbling creature. When Imriel had to go to a faraway land to make Sidonie fall in love with him all over again in a different skin with no memory of her ties to him due to an evil enchantment, that was... truly EPIC! Hugely recommended series! What a couple...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    The story: The stunning conclusion to Kushiel's Legacy. In the final chapter of Imriel's trilogy, Imriel and Sidonie have finally confessed their affair, much to the displeasure of Queen Ysandre and the peers of Terra d'Ange. The lingering effects of Melisande's betrayal still lies thick in the air, and the realm is immediately suspicious that Imriel is following in his mother's footsteps, planning to usurp the throne. Refusing to either acknowledge or defy the relationship, Ysandre gives Imriel an The story: The stunning conclusion to Kushiel's Legacy. In the final chapter of Imriel's trilogy, Imriel and Sidonie have finally confessed their affair, much to the displeasure of Queen Ysandre and the peers of Terra d'Ange. The lingering effects of Melisande's betrayal still lies thick in the air, and the realm is immediately suspicious that Imriel is following in his mother's footsteps, planning to usurp the throne. Refusing to either acknowledge or defy the relationship, Ysandre gives Imriel an ultimatum: in order to prove his loyalty to the crown, he must find his mother and bring her back to Terra d'Ange for execution. Instead, a crueler fate arrives at the Land of Angels' port harbour. Terra d'Ange as we know it, and all her occupants, will be thrown into turmoil so dire, all hope is seemingly lost. With the force of determination and love on his mind, Imriel will need to traverse the earth in order to save the love of his life, and the land he calls home. The thoughts: If I thought it was bad enough when Kushiel's Justice rendered me speechless, Kushiel's Mercy was 10x worse. I'm currently torn between utter depression that it's all over, some sort of retarded pride that I actually have finished it, and the greatest desire to start from the very beginning again. If it wasn't for the fact that A)I believe in distance before re-reading a series, and B) I want to move FORWARD with their lives rather than BACK, I would pick up Kushiel's Dart right now, only 10 minutes after finishing Kushiel's Mercy. To be honest, I thought I had this novel figured out. I was so excited at the prospect of what was to come: Imriel having to find his mother, and bring her back to Terra d'Ange for execution. Imagine how difficult that would be. YOUR OWN MOTHER - albeit a traitor to the country and throne and murderer of thousands - executed for your happiness. I imagined how they would bond on the journey home, the unlikely love he would begin to feel for her. The tears I would shed as he finally brought her to the justice she deserved, or when he realised he just could not do it. Yeah, CLEARLY finding Melisande was the least of Imriel's problems. Once again, Jacqueline Carey has defied all expectations. After five novels, she still manages to stun the hell out of me. I am in awe, and adoration, and just plain LOVE over this woman. There is enough tension and anguish and high speed adventure in this one novel to last a lifetime. And yet she leaves us craving more, more, more. I will miss this cast of characters. Phedre, Joscelin, Imriel, Sidonie, Ysandre, Drustan, Alais, Mavros... this list is nowhere near complete. Naamah's Kiss will not be the same, and right now, I only wish to read it so that I can find out what happened to those of Kushiel's Legacy. Mayhap that will change, but for now... For now, I feel like I'm losing a family. Five stars is definitely not adequate for how much I adored this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    In L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt's Compleat Enchanter, Harold Shea is able to travel to the worlds of literature by focusing his mind on a mathematical formula, a mantra, if you will, that transports him to the worlds of the Norse sagas and Spenser's Faerie Queen, among others. If only that could happen. There are any number of worlds I would love to visit -- Tolkien's Middle Earth (of course), Cherryh's Union/Alliance universe, the Malazan Empire, the Hyborian Age, und so weiter... But t In L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt's Compleat Enchanter, Harold Shea is able to travel to the worlds of literature by focusing his mind on a mathematical formula, a mantra, if you will, that transports him to the worlds of the Norse sagas and Spenser's Faerie Queen, among others. If only that could happen. There are any number of worlds I would love to visit -- Tolkien's Middle Earth (of course), Cherryh's Union/Alliance universe, the Malazan Empire, the Hyborian Age, und so weiter... But there are only two worlds I'd consider settling down in: Iain Banks' Culture and Jacqueline Carey's Terre d'Ange, where "love as thou wilt" is the creed by which all of its citizens strive to live. Carey was truly inspired when she penned Kushiel's Avatar and its successors. And, for the most part, she manages to maintain powerful storytelling and characters in this second trilogy. The story revolves around the life of Imriel de la Courcel, the son of the arch-traitoress Melisande Shahrizai and adoptee of the first trilogy's heroine, Phedre, and his efforts to redeem himself both in his own eyes and in the eyes of Terre d'Ange. Carey's ability to weave the story around her characters trying to live by the creed established by the Blessed Elua ("love as thou wilt") makes it very compelling. It also makes the "good guys" someone you can root for and the "bad guys" all that more despicable. I don't believe that "passion" was present in Carey's The Sundering duology, and it showed. I'd actually give this trilogy 3.5+ stars, if I could. Its only drawback is that you need to read the previous trilogy to understand all that's going on in this one, but if you're willing, the time spent is worth the effort.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dannielle

    Haven't read this yet and, as with the last two or three books of this series, I'm really just reading because I feel like I should finish the series. Hopefully, this book won't be as repetitive and needlessly long as the other books of the Imriel story. UPDATE: Glad to be done with this series. At the end of the day, I felt like I was being dragged along from plot point to plot point. The fact that some of the plot points were surprisingly creative and interesting is what kept me reading. It's w Haven't read this yet and, as with the last two or three books of this series, I'm really just reading because I feel like I should finish the series. Hopefully, this book won't be as repetitive and needlessly long as the other books of the Imriel story. UPDATE: Glad to be done with this series. At the end of the day, I felt like I was being dragged along from plot point to plot point. The fact that some of the plot points were surprisingly creative and interesting is what kept me reading. It's what happens in between the story's events that adds all the unneeded length and, ultimately, almost ruined the whole book for me. Carey's most annoying habit is to have her characters reveal the next stage of the story, announce why it can't take place immediately ...and then describe whatever is happening during the waiting period in painstaking, superfluous detail. I suppose this is character development or something,and it might not be so bad if the characters were tolerable. But Imriel and Sidonie aren't tolerable. Most of the time, I couldn't wait to get the hell away from them. As they jokingly point out themselves, they are "brooding and haughty". But after 500 pages, unlikeable protagonists just aren't that funny. The pair are also in the throes of all-consuming love. A point which is driven home at every turn and isn't all that interesting, but it does mean that I had to wade through lots of snooze-worthy, vanilla sex scenes that didn't do a lot to disabuse me of the notion that these characters are really only one-step up from the one-dimensional cardboard caricatures to be found in your average romance novel. Death to Imriel de la Courcel and his half-breed love.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    What a beautiful way to end Imriel's story. Mild spoilers! I was sick of heroes. Once, I'd wanted to be one. I'd harbored glorious dreams of styling myself a hero in the manner I believed Joscelin to be. I'd lost those illusions a long time ago, but I hadn't understood until now how much heroism meant living in terror that you wouldn't be able to protect those you loved. This is such a weird series! Weird and wonderful and utterly delightful. The characterization, the world-building, the scope; it What a beautiful way to end Imriel's story. Mild spoilers! I was sick of heroes. Once, I'd wanted to be one. I'd harbored glorious dreams of styling myself a hero in the manner I believed Joscelin to be. I'd lost those illusions a long time ago, but I hadn't understood until now how much heroism meant living in terror that you wouldn't be able to protect those you loved. This is such a weird series! Weird and wonderful and utterly delightful. The characterization, the world-building, the scope; it's all just so so good. Kushiel's Mercy and Imriel's trilogy in general are a bit romance heavy, but that wasn't such a bad thing. Imriel and Sidone's relationship was the backbone of a complex story full of politics, sex, magic, and death. The mind-fuckery aspects, aka almost everyone getting brainwashed, was sometimes frustrating. Of course, that was the intent, but it was frustrating all the same. However, I did like that it gave Sidone a chance to shine. Ugh, she's fabulous. I love the full cast of characters. Plus Melisande's back! I've missed that manipulative gorgeous bitch. This series, for all the war and devastation that it can bring, is joyous. It makes me smile to read it. If happiness is the highest form of wisdom, then this series must be wise indeed.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leyoh

    This last instalment rights previous wrongs and concludes Imriels trilogy beautifully. If you have got this far with Jacqueline Carey you know the quality of her stories you should have no doubt of her outstanding competency in telling a bloody good story. Bravo!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia London

    WOW. Phedre and Joscelin had my heart first but Imriel and Sidonie are a veeeeeeery close second.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I'm really on the fence about this book. I'm on the fence about the whole Imriel Trilogy, really. When I started reading it, I expected a grand tale about a journey into the darkness of the heart, exploring the power of Imriel's Kusheline blood and all building up to the search for Melisande. What Carey gave us was, at its core, a love story. Part of me wants to commend her for not making Imriel into Phedre Version 2.0 and having three novels of how he becomes a hero of the realm. In fact, she h I'm really on the fence about this book. I'm on the fence about the whole Imriel Trilogy, really. When I started reading it, I expected a grand tale about a journey into the darkness of the heart, exploring the power of Imriel's Kusheline blood and all building up to the search for Melisande. What Carey gave us was, at its core, a love story. Part of me wants to commend her for not making Imriel into Phedre Version 2.0 and having three novels of how he becomes a hero of the realm. In fact, she has Imriel note several times that he's not following the same path as his foster parents. The thing is that the original three novels were good. These did not measure up. Certainly, they weren't bad, but this final novel was hundreds of pages of Imriel and Sidonie's Divine and Eternal Love and how it conquers everything. It got really old, really fast. I've come to conclusion that I just don't like novels where the driving force behind in the entire story is the development of a romantic relationship that, in the end, I don't care much about. By the middle of book, I was tired of hearing Imriel talk about how the sun shines out of Sidonie's butt. Objectively, I can appreciate her character (which is more than I can say for a lot of the novels that following this format), but I just didn't care about her. So, needless to say, the selling point of the series didn't interest me much, which was a major blow to my enjoyment of the entire Imriel Trilogy. One thing about Carey is that she has such a knack for court politics and intrigue that for sections of the novel, things managed to be interesting, but then Imriel and Sidonie were back to boffing, or Imriel was back to talking about how beautiful, brilliant, strong, etc. Sidonie was. If prompted, I think I can say this about the Kushiel's Legacy series as a whole: The original trilogy was a tale of heroes. This trilogy was a tale of lovers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Getting a little sick of Imriel and Sidonie's speshul speshul love and their mighty orgasms of the gods. The ending, like that of the reedited Return of the Jedi, goes on forever and ever and there's sex instead of dancing Ewoks. There is one paragraph as you are trudging to the end that clubs you over the head with a "full dramatic circle coming to a symbolic close, here, let me spell it out!" thing. But it was still fun, and had some great twists and turns. I didn't think Imriel's disguise would Getting a little sick of Imriel and Sidonie's speshul speshul love and their mighty orgasms of the gods. The ending, like that of the reedited Return of the Jedi, goes on forever and ever and there's sex instead of dancing Ewoks. There is one paragraph as you are trudging to the end that clubs you over the head with a "full dramatic circle coming to a symbolic close, here, let me spell it out!" thing. But it was still fun, and had some great twists and turns. I didn't think Imriel's disguise would work as well as it did, and it added some nice romantic tension to a love story that had seemed all set in stone. Old favorites put on just enough of an appearance to make you long for the good old days of the Anguisette and her Cassiline. The first book started out with very little magic. There was the Master of the Straits and that was about it. It was more a tale of courage and love. It's only at the third book that we really have the whole Darsanga blood magic, and the Name of God. But that magic all stems from the gods or religion in one way or another. In the Imriel trilogy, and particularly this book, you get magic as something humans can perform with a little bit of smoke and blood, and it just seems sort of out of place. At least the Celtic magic I could believe, it's part of even our own world myths. But with this book it feels like suddenly, we are not in an alternate history of our world, but in a totally different place. Not sure if I like that. I think I will have to reread the first trilogy for the second time this year.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Wow. I wasn't expecting this kind of plot from the last book. I knew it would involve Imriel going after his mother, but I wouldn't have guessed at the sudden turn of events. Normally, a plot where memories have been wiped would leave me in anguish beyond what I like, but I think having Imriel believing he was someone else, helped with that. I don't think I could have taken much more of his angst at being separated from Sidonie. Not that I thought he was whiny, but emotionally it was stressful f Wow. I wasn't expecting this kind of plot from the last book. I knew it would involve Imriel going after his mother, but I wouldn't have guessed at the sudden turn of events. Normally, a plot where memories have been wiped would leave me in anguish beyond what I like, but I think having Imriel believing he was someone else, helped with that. I don't think I could have taken much more of his angst at being separated from Sidonie. Not that I thought he was whiny, but emotionally it was stressful for me. That's what I love about Carey's books. She is able to pull me in and allow me to feel what the characters do. I couldn't wait to get to the end to make sure everything ended well. I thought to say some of these things more eloquently. Really, this book just floored me. I was impressed with Carey before this book, but now I'm something beyond impressed. I'm glad to see she's continuing the world, but it seems like the next book happens two generations away from Imriel. I hope we find out what's happened to everyone anyway.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nazarea

    Oh goodness. I have such mixed feelings about this book-this series. It's been one of those rare series that wraps around me, staying with me even when I don't realize it. I think because it's the emotion and love the characters have. Despite the huge obstacles that face Imri and Sidonie, they remain true to each other. Just as previously, Phedre and Joscelin did. And I can't help but love that. Carey's writing is lush and not perfect--there are things she over does that some would say is over t Oh goodness. I have such mixed feelings about this book-this series. It's been one of those rare series that wraps around me, staying with me even when I don't realize it. I think because it's the emotion and love the characters have. Despite the huge obstacles that face Imri and Sidonie, they remain true to each other. Just as previously, Phedre and Joscelin did. And I can't help but love that. Carey's writing is lush and not perfect--there are things she over does that some would say is over the top dramatic or repetitious. I think she can get away with it. It's lovely and keeps me reading, and that's the point. So I close the last page of Imri's story with a great deal of sadness. I hate ending it, and not knowing more about the broody, haughty horde and Alaise and all the others. But it makes me happy that they found peace at last.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    So, at 11pm on the same day i got the book, i finished it. And i would have finished it sooner if i hadn't have been working. Stupid job...interfering with my reading. It was an AMAZING book. The "scenes" were wonderfully written and the personal growth of both Imriel and Sidone was impressive. I was expecting nothing less. What i was not expecting however were the twists and turns and outright suprises. Carey did not fail to deliver as she brought the trilogy to a close. While there were storyli So, at 11pm on the same day i got the book, i finished it. And i would have finished it sooner if i hadn't have been working. Stupid job...interfering with my reading. It was an AMAZING book. The "scenes" were wonderfully written and the personal growth of both Imriel and Sidone was impressive. I was expecting nothing less. What i was not expecting however were the twists and turns and outright suprises. Carey did not fail to deliver as she brought the trilogy to a close. While there were storylines i would have liked to have seen more of, she neatly tied together all the loose ends and the end result was nothing short of beautiful.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    Enjoyed this, although it’s my least favorite of the series so far, mostly because I dislike plots which hinge on amnesia. I suppose it’s slightly more plausible when the memory loss is magically induced, instead of the result of a shipwreck or a blow to the head, but it’s still hard to accept the convenient way the plot is served by a selective alteration of memory. And the author uses it twice! The second time it’s even harder to believe. Despite that annoyance, this was a decent wrap-up for Im Enjoyed this, although it’s my least favorite of the series so far, mostly because I dislike plots which hinge on amnesia. I suppose it’s slightly more plausible when the memory loss is magically induced, instead of the result of a shipwreck or a blow to the head, but it’s still hard to accept the convenient way the plot is served by a selective alteration of memory. And the author uses it twice! The second time it’s even harder to believe. Despite that annoyance, this was a decent wrap-up for Imriel and Sidonie. I'll try the next trilogy, although it jumps far ahead in time, and I will miss all the characters that I have so enjoyed in these lovely, long, sumptuous books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Whew! Finally, I am done with this second trilogy (in a trilogy of trilogies). I might need to take a break before I tackle the last three. As always, Carey pulls no punches (but of course, there is the requisite happy ending. I doubt that is a surprise to anyone.) and crams in at least three novels' worth of story into one. Very pleased. (And glad to be done for the moment.) Highly recommend this series!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Like most of this second trilogy, it lacks the spark of excellence that defined Carey's first trilogy. Imriel is a more likeable character than he starts out in his series - but not nearly as good as when appearing in the final book of Phedre's trilogy. Read it because I had too, but not sure I'd recommend the series if you've not read the first set. Carey seems to sell out some of her characters when needs be for a plot device.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fraeulein

    If you enjoyed the first three books because they were romance with a dark twist and wrapped in a nice story. And if you then made your way through the next three, thinking there that she would return to her beginning glory, but you were never quite satisfied. Stop right there and don't keep on reading. - I hardly ever not finish a book, but I got too bored on this one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Willem Malan

    I could not finish.... Nothing new is happening beyond some slapping the princess' ass :-/ And the sickeningly lovey dovey couple hype is getting too much for me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    3.5 stars. 4 stars for the first 200 pages. Highlights: (view spoiler)[ Mavros taking Imriel and Sidonie to a private show at Valerian House. Melisande meeting Imriel. Sidonie giving speeches! Jacqueline Carey has created a great politician and diplomat with Sidonie. Barquiel L'Envers & Imriel! The Amazigh soldiers were cool. (hide spoiler)] The rest of this review is a rant with major plot spoilers. (view spoiler)[... TL;DR: There was too much magic and not enough time with my favorite characters 3.5 stars. 4 stars for the first 200 pages. Highlights: (view spoiler)[ Mavros taking Imriel and Sidonie to a private show at Valerian House. Melisande meeting Imriel. Sidonie giving speeches! Jacqueline Carey has created a great politician and diplomat with Sidonie. Barquiel L'Envers & Imriel! The Amazigh soldiers were cool. (hide spoiler)] The rest of this review is a rant with major plot spoilers. (view spoiler)[... TL;DR: There was too much magic and not enough time with my favorite characters. I have loved Imriel since he was a boy in Kushiel's Avatar and have always loved him. I never expected Imriel's Trilogy to be as good as Phedre's Trilogy. I've genuinely enjoyed Imriel's story. My criticisms aren't comparative, and really have everything to do with the plot decisions Jacqueline Carey made in this book. So far Kushiel's Justice is my favorite in Imriel's trilogy, and Kushiel's Scion is a close second. I enjoyed Imriel and Sidonie's relationship in the beginning. There is no doubt that they love each other; the strain on their relationship comes from the outside. As usual, many inside the realm still distrust Imriel because he is Melisande's son. There seems to be only one way Imriel can win the trust of Terre d'Ange. I was so excited when Ysandre said, " Imriel de la Courcel, do you find your mother and bring her to justice, I will recant this vow and grant every blessing to your union." For the first 100 pages Jacqueline Carey delights and charms by reintroducing readers to characters they know and love: Mavros, Phedre, Jocelyn, Imriel, Sidonie, and Ysandre. There's even a little drama with Barquiel l'Envers who seems to be always plotting. There's talk of an ambitious general in Carthage plotting against Terre d'Ange's ally, Aragonia. Carthage wants to visit Terre d'Ange, bearing tribute. Carthage comes to visit and everything goes HAYWIRE. General Astegal of Carthage wishes to wed Sidonie and turn Terre d'Ange against Aragonia. Astegal dreams of creating an Empire, and has the help of a horologist, Bodeshmun. Bodeshmun is able to wield great power using "dire magics." He manages to cast a spell over the entire City of Elua. Under this spell, EVERYONE forgets they are allied with Aragonia, and thinks they are allied with Carthage. Sidonie forgets all about Imriel, and sails off to Carthage with Astegal under this spell. *sigh* The reliance of magic was too strong in this book. This series is typically low-magic. Sure, magic is used occasionally. The plot has never relied this strongly on a simple spell, and it took away from the story. What sucked about this spell was that it lasted for the majority of the book, and some of my favorite side characters (Phedre, Jocelyn, Ysandre, Drustan) suffered under this spell. This is the last book where I get to read about these characters, and I don't want to read about them 'not being themselves' because of some stupid spell. TO ADD TO THIS FRUSTRATION: Imriel must go to Carthage to save Sidonie. Under the influence of a spell, Sidonie has forgotten he existed, and has willingly married General Astegal. Poor Imriel! He already has enough to brood about, and now he has to witness his love in the arms of this Astegal. I was ready for the angst! Bring it on. Jacqueline Carey ruined this by using magic once again. Imriel uses magic to change himself into another person. Yes. He 'becomes' this guy Leonard, who is sent to visit Sidonie in Carthage. Under this magic, Imriel really believes he is this other man, and takes on his voice. Ugh. So Imriel, as Leonard, tries to save Sidonie. The voice of Leonard was so damn "foppish" and irritating. When Imriel comes back to himself he changes into a lovey-dovey lover. There were so many "my loves" and "always and always" between Sidonie and Imriel I wanted to puke. I preferred their earlier dynamic. They became soppy in Carthage. I wanted to see Imriel AS HIMSELF deal with Sidonie in Carthage. I wanted angsty and intense Imriel. It felt like it was cheating when he came as Leonard. Seemed like a lazy plot device on Jacqueline Carey's part. The enemies were a let down. There is a parallel to Kushiel's Avatar. "Dire magics" and a rising empire were also themes in Kushiel's Avatar. They were legitimately terrifying. Phedre had to go through hell to take down the Mahrkagir. You know what ultimately destroys the wielder of 'dire magics' in this book? Imriel blows in his face. Yes. The Bodeshmun starts to blow "deadly powder" in Imriel's direction, so Imriel simply blows it back. It was so lame and anti climatic. Overall this book was underwhelming. The characters I've come to love were altered by spells and magic for the majority of this book. I really wish Jacqueline Carey would not have relied so heavily on magic, and would have used her characters (as themselves and not addled by magic) in an actual plot. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rowan

    All my opinions on this book are based on spoilers so I’ll just say vaguely that while I don’t agree with many of the choices Carey made in the crafting of her narrative this time around, as always that crafting was accomplished flawlessly. Her stories carry such broad scope and epic power, and I’m in awe of how she manages to create and keep in check such massive storylines that profoundly affect and change the lives of all the people around, not just the central characters. At the center of al All my opinions on this book are based on spoilers so I’ll just say vaguely that while I don’t agree with many of the choices Carey made in the crafting of her narrative this time around, as always that crafting was accomplished flawlessly. Her stories carry such broad scope and epic power, and I’m in awe of how she manages to create and keep in check such massive storylines that profoundly affect and change the lives of all the people around, not just the central characters. At the center of all of it is the power that lies in the connections between people and the complexity of humanity, and the ineffable hint of the divine lying beneath the surface of everything.

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