Kushiel's Scion (Kushiel's Legacy Series #4)

Kushiel's Scion (Kushiel's Legacy Series #4)

by Jacqueline Carey

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Imriel de la Courcel's birth parents are history's most reviled traitors, but his adoptive parents, the Comtesse Phedre and the warrior-priest Joscelin, are Terre d'Ange's greatest champions. Stolen, tortured and enslaved as a young boy, Imriel is now a Prince of the Blood; third in line for the throne in a land that revels in art, beauty and desire. It is a court steeped in deeply laid conspiracies...and there are many who would see the young prince dead. Some despise him out of hatred for his mother, Melisande, who nearly destroyed the entire realm in her quest for power. Others because they fear he has inherited his mother's irresistible allure...and her dangerous gifts. As he comes of age, plagued by unwanted desires, Imriel shares their fears. When a simple act of friendship traps Imriel in a besieged city where the infamous Melisande is worshiped as a goddess and where a dead man leads an army, the Prince must face his greatest test: to find his true self.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446610025
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Series: Kushiel's Legacy Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 976
Sales rank: 278,622
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Jacqueline Carey's previous publications include various short stories, essays, a nonfiction book Angels: Celestial Spirits in Legend and Art, as well as the nationally bestselling series Kushiel's Legacy.

Read an Excerpt

Kushiel's Scion

By Jacqueline Carey


Copyright © 2006 Jacqueline Carey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-50002-X

Chapter One

WE WERE ATTENDING a country fair when the news came.

For a while, a long while, after our final return to Terre d'Ange, life was blissfully uneventful. Having had enough adventures to last me a lifetime, I was grateful for it. Whether in the City or at Montreve, I tended to my studies, immersed in the daily business of living and content to let the affairs of the world pass me by untouched. Phedre and Joscelin did all they could to allow this respite to endure, sensing there was healing in it for me.

There was, too. As the slow months passed and turned into years, I felt things knotted tight inside me ease. My nightmares grew less and less frequent, and the times of happiness longer.

Still, even Phedre and Joscelin couldn't protect me forever.

It was my third summer in Montreve. I had turned fourteen in the spring, though I looked younger, being slow to get my full growth. The Queen's chirurgeon claimed it was due to the shock of enslavement and what had befallen me in Dars=anga, and mayhap it was so. I only know that I chafed at it. My parents were both tall; or so I am told. I cannot say, having never known my father. If it's true, it is the only gift of theirs I'd ever wished for.

The fair was held in an open field on the outskirts of the village, alongside theriver. It was a small gathering. Montreve was not a large estate, and the village it bordered-which was also called Montreve-was modest in size. But it was a fair, and I was young enough to be excited at the prospect of it.

We made for a merry entourage as we rode forth from the estate: Phedre, Joscelin, and I, accompanied by her chevalier Ti-Philippe, his companion Hugues, and a few other men-at-arms, all of them clad in the forest-green livery of House Montreve. The Friote clan was already there, tending to our wool-trading interests. The bulk of our wool would be shipped elsewhere for sale, but there were always small landowners looking to buy.

There were other goods available for purchase or trade, too: fabrics and yarns, livestock, produce, spices, and other uninteresting items. Of greater interest, at least to me, were the crafters' booths, which displayed a fascinating array-leather goods, arms and bits of armor, jewelry, mirrors, mysterious vials of unguents, musical instruments, and intricately carved toys. Not all of them were meant for children, either.

Best of all, there were Tsingani, with horses for sale. Not many-the pick of the lot sold at the great horse fairs in the spring-but a few. We spotted their brightly painted wagons from the road, and I saw Phedre smile at the sight. There was a time when the Tsingani wouldn't have been welcome at a small country fair, but a lot has changed since those days. In Montreve, they were always welcome.

There were a few good-natured cheers and shouts of greeting as we arrived, which Phedre acknowledged with a laughing salute. She was always gracious that way, and well-loved because of it. We tethered our mounts at the picket line and Joscelin gave a few coins to the village lads who hung about to attend them.

Ti-Philippe and the others remained mounted. "I'll take Hugues and Colin and ride a quick circuit," he said to Joscelin, who gave a brief nod in reply. "Marcel and the others will cast an eye over the fair proper."

I hated hearing that sort of thing. It cast a pall over the day's brightness, knowing it was because of me. Queen Ysandre was insistent that my security was paramount, and a fair brought strangers into the area. They were only being cautious; but still, I hated it.

Joscelin eyed me, noting my expression. "Take heart," he said wryly. "When you come of age, you'll be free to take all the risks you like."

"Four years!" I protested. "It's forever."

A corner of his mouth twitched. "You think so?" He tousled my hair lightly. I hated when almost anyone else did it-I didn't like people touching me-but my heart always gave a secret leap of happiness when Phedre or Joscelin did. "It won't seem it, I promise." He glanced at Phedre then, and something passed between them; a shared and private understanding.

There are those who laugh at their union, although not many. Not now, after all they have endured together. It's true, though. 'Tis an unlikely pairing, Kushiel's Chosen and a Servant of Naamah in love with a Cassiline warrior-priest.

Phedre was a courtesan, sworn to the service of Blessed Elua's Companion Naamah, who gave herself to the King of Persis to win Elua's freedom, and who lay down in the stews of Bhodistan with strangers that he might eat. It is a sacred calling in Terre d'Ange, though it is not one practiced by many peers of the realm. But Phedre was a Servant of Naamah long before she inherited Delaunay's title and estate, and although she has not practiced it since Dars=anga, she has never renounced Naamah's Service.

And Joscelin-Joscelin was a Cassiline Brother when they met, although he left the Brotherhood for her sake. From the age of ten, he was trained to be a warrior-priest, sworn to celibacy. Alone among the Companions, Cassiel claimed no territory in Terre d'Ange and begot no offspring, but remained ever at Blessed Elua's side. That is the vow of the Cassiline Brotherhood: To protect and serve.

The Cassilines are very good at what they do; but Joscelin, I think, is better.

"What will you, love?" he asked Phedre, indicating the fair with the sweep of an arm. His steel vambraces glinted in the sun. "Pleasure or the duties of the manor? The Tsingani or the Friotes?"

"Ah, well." She cocked her head. "We could glance at the fabric stalls on the way to either one. If there's aught of interest, it won't last long."

I groaned inside. I hated looking at fabric.

Although I made no audible sound, Phedre's gaze settled on me, dark and unnerving. Her eyes were beautiful, deep and lustrous as forest pools, with a mote of scarlet floating on the left iris, vivid as a rose petal. And she was capable of a look that saw right through one. There were reasons for it.

"All right." She smiled and beckoned to another of the men-at-arms. "Gilot, will you accompany Imriel to-to the Tsingani horse-fields, is it?"

"Yes, please!" I couldn't help the grin that stretched my face.

Gilot swept an extravagant bow. "Lady, with a will!"

He was my favorite retainer, after Ti-Philippe and Hugues, who were almost family. He was the youngest-only eighteen, the age of majority I coveted. But he was good with a sword and quick-thinking, which were qualities Joscelin looked for in hiring retainers. I liked him because he treated me as an equal, not a responsibility.

Together we plunged into the fair and began forging a path toward the horse-fields. "They've got one of those spotted horses from Aragonia, did you see?" Gilot asked. "I spied it from the road. I wouldn't mind having one."

I made a noise of agreement.

"Whip-smart and smooth-gaited, they say." He shrugged. "Next year, mayhap, if I save my coin!" A stand of leather goods caught his eye. "Ah, hold a moment, will you, Imri? My sword-belt's worn near enough to snap near the buckle. It was my brother's anyway. I ought to buy new."

I loitered at Gilot's side while he perused the goods available, and the leather-merchant made a great show of exclaiming over my own belt. It was a man's belt, though it held only a boy's dagger. "What have you there, little man?" he asked in a jovial, condescending tone. "Boar-hide?"

"No." I smiled coolly at him. "Rhinoceros."

He blinked, perplexed. Gilot gave a sidelong glance, nudging me with his elbow. The belt had been a gift from Ras Lijasu, a Prince of Jebe-Barkal. Gilot knew the story behind it. The merchant blinked a few more times. "A rhinoceros, is it? Good for you, little man!"


I turned, recognizing the voice. At an adjacent stall, Katherine Friote beckoned imperiously, shoving up the sleeve of her gown.

"Come here and smell this," she said.

I went, obedient. Katherine was in the middle of the Friote clan, a year and some months my elder. In the past year, she had begun to ... change ... in a fascinating manner. The skinny, bossy girl I had met two summers ago had become a young woman, a head taller than me. She thrust her wrist beneath my nose.

"What do you think?" she asked.

I swallowed hard. She had rubbed a dab of perfumed ointment on her skin, and the scent was strong and cloying, like overblown lilies. Beneath it, faint and elusive, I could smell her own scent, like a sun-warmed meadow.

"I think you smell better without it," I said honestly.

The perfume-seller made a disgusted sound. I thought Katherine would be annoyed with me, but instead she wore a look of amusement. She bobbed a teasing curtsy in my direction. "Why, thank you, Prince Imriel."

"You're welcome." My face felt unaccountably warm.

"Prince, is it?" The perfume-seller turned his head and spat on the ground. Obviously, he was a stranger to Montreve. "Prince of sheep-dung, I'll warrant!"

At that moment, Gilot appeared at my side, wearing a sword-belt so new that it creaked over his Montrevan livery. "Well met, Demoiselle Friote," he said cheerfully. "Would you care to accompany us to the Tsingani camp? His highness has a fancy to see the spotted horse, and the Comtesse has given us her blessing."

Now it was Katherine who blushed at Gilot's chivalrous attention, while the perfume-seller opened and closed his mouth several times, fishlike, then squinted hard at me. I muttered somewhat under my breath about spotted horses, which all of them ignored.

"Shall we?" Gilot asked Katherine, extending his arm and smiling at her. He had a lively, handsome face and brown eyes quick to sparkle with mirth. Still, it irked me to see Katherine dote on him.

We made our way through the stalls, pausing for Gilot to purchase a sweet of candied violets for Katherine. Through the crowd, I caught a glimpse of Phedre at a cloth-seller's stall, examining bolts of fabric. The merchant was fawning over her. At her side, Joscelin observed the process with an expression of long tolerance. He stood in the Cassiline at-ease position, arms crossed, hands resting lightly on the hilts of his twin daggers.

I mulled over my irritation as we continued walking, kicking at clumps of foot-churned grass. "I wish you wouldn't say such things," I said at length. "Not here."

"What things?" Gilot gave me a perplexed look.

"Prince," I said. "Highness."

"Well, but you are." He scratched his head. "Look, Imri, I know-I mean, I understand, a bit. But you are who you are, and there's no changing it. Anyway, there's no call to let some tawdry peddler insult you. I'm not one to let it pass unnoted."

I shrugged. "I've heard worse."

"You didn't mind so much when I said it." Katherine glanced at me under her lashes. The sun brought out golden streaks in her glossy brown hair, and sparkled on tiny crumbs of sugar clinging to her lips.

I looked away. "Please, forget I spoke of it."

These new feelings Katherine evoked shouldn't have disturbed me. In Terre d'Ange, the arts of love came to us easily and young; or so it should be. I was different. It wasn't that I was immune to the promptings of desire-in the past several months, I had grown uncomfortably aware of desire stirring in my flesh. But in the zenana of Dars=anga, death and desire were inextricably linked. I couldn't think about one without the shadow of the other hanging over it. So at a time when boys my age were conducting fumbling experiments with one another and begging kisses from girls, I kept myself aloof, afraid and untouchable.

Gilot sighed. "Come on, let's go."

I forgot my grievances in the Tsingani camp. There were two kumpanias present with three wagons between them. The wagons were drawn in a circle, with their horses tethered at the rear. At the front of the wagons, women tended cooking fires where kettles of stew and pottage simmered. The unwed women wore their hair uncovered and loose and made long eyes at the Tsingani men, and all of them wore galb displaying their wealth, necklaces and earrings strung with gold coins. A few of the men were engaged in haggling with potential buyers, but most of them idled in the center of the circle. Bursts of music issued forth as one or another began to play-fiddle or timbales, accompanied by rhythmic clapping and snatches of song.

It would be a good life, I think, to be one of the Travellers; or at least it would be for a man. It was harder for Tsingani women, who must abide by a stringent code of behavior lest they lose their virtue; their laxta, they called it. If that happened, they were declared anathema.

It is better now than it once was. Much of that is due to Hyacinthe, who is the Master of the Straits and wields a power beyond the mortal ken. I know, for I have seen it; seen wind and wave answer to his command. He was one of them, once-a half-breed Tsingano, born to a woman who lost her virtue through no fault of her own. In the end, they would have had him as their king, but he refused it. Still, he has urged change upon them and many of the Tsingani have eased the strictures they impose on their women. Hyacinthe has reason to be concerned with the lot of women, since it is to Phedre that he owes his freedom.

I shivered in the warm sunlight, remembering the day she spoke the Name of God and broke the curse that bound him to an immortality of dwindling age on that lonely island. There are some memories so profound they cannot be conveyed in words.

Some of them, for a mercy, are good ones.

Gilot let out a low whistle, breaking my reverie. "Look at him, will you! What a beauty."

There was an admiring crowd around the spotted horse staked on the outskirts of the circle. I had to own, the horse was a beauty-a powerfully arched neck, strong, straight legs, a smooth back. His coat was a deep red-bay, speckled with white as though, in the middle of summer, he stood amidst a snowstorm. He basked in the adulation of the crowd, tossing his head and stamping his forefeet, almost as though to beat time with the nearby timbales.

"Imriel, Katherine!" Charles Friote detached himself from the throng of admirers and waved us over. He was my age, though to my chagrin, he too had grown in the past year, overtaking me by a head. "Hello, Gilot," Charles added belatedly, then dropped his voice to a whisper. "He's not for sale, the Tsingani say. But maybe for Lady Phedre ...?"

I was opening my mouth to reply when the Tsingano holding the spotted horse's head beckoned to me, calling out. "Hey, rinkeni chavo! Come meet the Salmon!"

It was the spotted horse's name, I guessed. While Charles squirmed with envy behind me, I moved forward. The Tsingano who had beckoned me grinned, his teeth very white against his brown skin.

"Here, chavo," he said, pressing something into my palm. "Give him a treat."

It was a bit of dried apple; the end of last autumn's stores. I held my hand out flat. The Salmon eyed me, lordly and considering, then bent his head to accept the tidbit, his lips velvety against my palm. I began to think about what a glory it would be to ride him-to own him-and wondered if perhaps the Tsingani might sell him to Phedre after all. I could repay her for him. There were monies that were mine to spend, held in trust for me; the proceeds of estates I had never seen, nor cared to.


Excerpted from Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey Copyright © 2006 by Jacqueline Carey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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"Intelligent, sexy, heartbreakingly human.... Carey at her intoxicating best." —-Booklist Starred Review

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Kushiel's Scion (Kushiel's Legacy Series #4) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Phedre was the main draw for the other books. All of which were beautifully written and captivating. This one with a lack of the character who we have grown to adore is hard to get into. Throught the whole thing you just keep hoping for more of phedre. This is the end of this series for me. It's sad because I loved the first book so much I read it till it fell apart.
Danibelle More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the second Kushiel's trilogy. It's a great continuation from a different character's perspective and I reccomend it to everyone who enjoyed the first trilogy. Do not read if you have not read the books that come before this one- the information is completely necassary to enjoy this book.
WitchyWriter 6 months ago
Some authors are fabulous at protagonists of one sex, but can’t nail protagonists of the opposite sex. One of my author friends from my MFA program was complaining about how difficult it is for her to write in a male voice just the other day. Carey has no such difficulties. Or if it was difficult for her, the writing doesn’t show it. Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel is a fabulous character, and his voice is distinct and wholy his own, the same way Phedre’s was in the first trilogy. I really admire the way that Carey could build up suspense by using quirks of Phedre’s narrative voice. Little sentences implying that the good times weren’t going to last forever. Or that she wished she’d known what was coming, because she might have enjoyed them more. That narrative quirk wouldn’t have been germane to Imriel’s character, and Carey stays away from it with him. She does, however, manage to build up suspense in a totally different way. This time it’s a sort of pessimism and brooding quality on Imriel’s part. Poor kid. Abducted by slave traders at the age of ten and sold to a guy pretty much worse than Hitler… (Am I allowed to say that? I know that no fictional character can actually be worse than Hitler, who was real and did atrocious things.) Let’s just say that Imriel has to endure being a slave to what would basically amount to a hedonistic satanic cult—except worse than any satanic cult I’ve heard stories about (and I’ve heard some bad stories). And sure, Phedre and Joscelin save him back in Kushiel’s Avatar. But you don’t erase that kind of trauma overnight. Or ever, really. So Imriel is brooding and somewhat pessimistic about his chances at any sort of a happiness in his life. You see him grow up some in this first novel. He comes of age, similar to how Phedre did, and travels to Tiberium to study at the University there. He gets into all sorts of mischief, gets caught up in a war, experiences tragedy and heartbreak and passion and intrigue. REPORT THIS AD It’s very much the first novel of a trilogy. All setup, though Carey doesn’t slack off in shaping beautiful rising action and a momentous climax. It fulfills the promises of the books before it, taking the protagonist to a land we haven’t visited before, seeing them caught in difficult and dangerous situations–and of course everything is slightly god-touched. Carey manages to weave mythology into these stories so beautifully. American Gods is fabulous, but these Kushiel’s Legacy books have an effortless way of making you believe that gods are real. Gods and ghosts and magic and sorcery. It’s really quite wonderful. There are some people who wouldn’t enjoy the Imriel trilogy as much as Phedre’s trilogy (my husband probably being one of them). I think they’re fabulous and everyone should read them anyway—but if you have to choose, definitely start with Kushiel’s Dart. Phedre and Joscelin take much more of a backseat in Imriel’s trilogy, but it hardly matters because you still get to see them occasionally, and you still get to be in this beautiful world with its intricate mythology and well-rounded characters. If there are any writers out there looking for good examples of a protagonist dealing with PTSD (but still functional—not full-on shut down like Katniss), these books are an excellent example of the proper way to handle that. In short: read this if you can’t get enough of Carey’s writing, like me.
collingsruth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imriel is a much less entertaining narrator than Phedre, but the plot is as exciting as always.
catalogthis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this fourth book of the Kushiel's Legacy series, Carey skips ahead six years and switches her first-person narrator to Phedre's foster-son, Imriel. The switch works; Imri is wonderful mix of contrasts... son of a traitor but raised by his coutry's greatest living heroes, he struggles to find out what it means to be good.
JKCollins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first I was somewhat uncomfortable with the change from Phedre's narration to Imriel's, (the first 3 Kushiel books are written from Phedre's point of view) but once I adjusted it was fine. Not quite as much tension and adventure in this episode in the lives of Kushiel's descendants but Imriel is still a teen. I'm hoping the next episode will see an increas in that area. Even so, I still love this world and enjoy spending time with it's characters.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Carey's first three Kushiel books centered around Phedre: Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar. They precede this book chronologically and I'd read them first. This book begins a second trilogy built around Imri, who was introduced in the Kushiel's Avatar. I found this book and trilogy less amazing than the first books, but that's only because Carey raised a very high bar. I do love the world she created--it's unique, even if initially disturbing. There's a lot of sexual kink built into this paganistic world where in Terra D'Ange prostitution is a respected, even prestigious, profession. But these books have heart as well, and I enjoyed reading about Imriel trying to find his place in this world. Besides, as a friend of mine said when explaining why she likes this second trilogy even better than the first, Sidonie is the most kick-ass princess in fantasy.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I heard that the new trilogy in the Kushiel's Series by Jacqueline Carey was not going to be from Phedre's view but from her foster son, Imriel's, view I was a bit worried. Would the story be the same without Phedre leading it? I shouldn't have worried this is a very good book.As soon as I started it I gave a sigh of relief. This book is again beautifully written and does justice to the three previous books that take place in the same world. This book is entirely about Imriel, Phedre's foster son. It is basically a coming of age story and there is a lot of character development. Imriel changes a lot from the beginning of the book to the end. There is a lot of intrigue as in the previous books. Although this book is less about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and more about the importance of ordinary people doing ordinary things.All the above being said this book could have almost been broken down into maybe two books and I think it would have been better. If the book would have ended when Imri set off on his voyage to the University, that would have been perfect. As it stands the last third of the book started to drag on for me. Once they started with the siege, I was bored and hard pressed to even finish the book. This usually isn't a problem for me as I love these books. The end of the book didn't really deal with Imri that much and I thought that most of the siege was unnecessary. I understand that the siege had both some plot development points and was supposed to drive home the fact that you don't have to be *the* hero to be important. Still, I found it boring and laborious to get through.If it hadn't been for the slow last third of the book I would have given this book 6 stars if I could. But the last part really hurt my opinion of the book. I am still excited to read the next book, but I will need a break before I delve into that book.
Uffer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Years after the events of the first trilogy, Imriel de la Courcel is coming to terms with his past, and that is mainly what this book is about. Written from his point of view, there is naturally a lot of self-obsessed introspection going on, often to the point where you want to tell him to stop over-analysing himself and just get on with it.It's part of getting through adolescence, though, and just something we have to put up with as he flounders through, trying to be good and never quite sure whether he can, or how.There are other things happening along the way, of course - not least the sudden and rather disturbing disappearance of Imriel's mother Melisande for reasons unknown but undoubtedly underhand, but on the whole there is more coming-of-age in here than either action or intrigue. The end result, though, is to carry Imri from being the extremely battered and shaken child of the finale of the first trilogy to become a young man whose future is certain to be eventful. I suspect this trilogy could never have worked without dealing with the issues addressed here, and dealing with them in the depth they deserve.
slpenney07 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Melisande has escaped from her temple sanctuary and plots abound in Terre d'Ange. Is her son, adopted into Phedre no Delaunay de Montreve's household, a part of them? All Imriel desires is to escape his past.The Take-Away: It was good to see how the next generation of heros from Terre d'Ange continue protecting the kingdom. Imriel desires to outrun his past. Who hasn't felt that? However, as third in line for the throne, he finds it quite challenging.My biggest complaint about the last title was the over-blown language that dominated Phedre's narration. Imriel is plain-spoken; it was much appreciated. While this is technically the fourth in the series, it the first of the second trilogy. You could start the story here as Carey does an excellent job handling the back story.Recommendation: Pick it up.
Aerrin99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this monster in a day and a half, almost in one straight sitting on a fine Saturday afternoon. It's fairly clear that I liked it, a great deal.Kushiel's Scion is at its heart a coming-of-age story, and as such, I can see how it may be a less-favorite for some. The focus here shifts starkly from Phedre and Joscelin and settles on their foster son, Imriel.Imriel's coming of age is not easy, and it's filled with a lot of angst. However, I found it to be a fascinating tale of overcoming your past and the demons and fears that live there. Imriel is a survivor of some pretty intense abuse, something that may sit uncomfortably with some in how frankly it's dealt with, but that's also what I found interesting. Most of this book is about Imriel learning who he is and who he can become, and how to integrate the things that happened to him with the person he wants to be.Unfortunately, there are some side pieces shoved into this more interesting tale, and those side pieces are the center pieces of the remaining novels. His 'romance' with Sidonie is abrupt and appears to be related entirely to hormones. After Phedre and Joscelin, I expected an interesting and nuanced love story. Instead, we mostly get 'we decided we are in love and so we are'.While it doesn't hurt this book much, it most certainly hurts the next - I never bought the foundations of their love, so it becomes almost impossible to buy it as epic.Still, I liked Imriel's growing-up and Carey's Terre D'Ange so much that I can't much regret any time spent there.
RogueBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Your heart will ache for Imriel, guaranteed. Carey adeptly switches voices here, and gives us a more in-depth look at a different culture -- that of Tiberium. Imriel is thus drawn into the cycles of political intrigue that ensnared the previous generation, but struggles "to be good" despite it all. While this book doesn't quite match the thrilling pace of Avatar, it's an excellent novel, setting up Imriel for his destiny.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the original trilogy a long time ago and wasn't sure if I'd be able to pick up the series without rereading the older books, but have no fear - Carey catches you up without boring you. I also wasn't sure if I'd like a book focused on Imriel and not Phedre, but, wow was I wrong. This book is great reading. Gripping plot, beautiful setting, fascinating alternate history, and well-thought-out characters. Although it's long, the writing is spare and lovely and never slow. This book deals extremely frankly with alternate sexuality and will be hated by bible thumpers and prudes everywhere. It is not appropriate for younger readers. I think anyone else will find it enchanting.
willowcove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This part of the series was good, but not as good as the original
meriamon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just love Imriel and his struggle with being his mother's son and wanting to be like Phèdre and Joscelin. It was great to see him growing up in the course of the book.There was not much happening besides growing up, but it didn't matter at all. I enjoyed every single page, and now I'm sad that I've finished and have to wait for the next installment.
Flamika on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot. It's less epic than the previous novels, but it's also a journey of the self, which Carey carried off masterfully.
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Plot: Set a few years after Kushiel's Avatar, and it relies - in some parts heavily - on knowledge of the previous installments in the series. The plot itself exists in the background and its main purpose is to provide a frame for the scenery. There is not much forward movement to speak of in the first half of the book; in the second half, the plot picks up a little. Characters: The point of view shifts from Phèdre to Imriel. There are few of the old characters present in this book, making room for an almost full cast of new ones. Characterization is well done for Imriel and some of the more important figures, but lacking in the side characters. Style: Voluptuous and descriptive. The book exists mainly for the style. Symbolism is heavily used, as are little stylistic experiments. Not much background information is given anymore; the sex content has been toned down considerably. Plus: A new point of view. Imriel brings much-needed freshness into the series. Minus: The plot is at times nonexistent. Some of the scenes slow the story down and could have been cut without losing much. The sequel has been set up with a very heavy hand. Summary: A slow-moving, relaxing read.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't realize how much I enjoyed the world Carey created in her first trilogy until I had this chance to revisit it. I like the change in POV and I'm looking forward to the rest of this second trilogy. In terms of serious action and highstakes this book was a bit lacking, but the story of Imriel's finding maturity and coming to terms with elements of his past I think really did need to be covered before moving forward with this character. As with previous volumes in the series the anticlimax is 50-100 pages too long (minor quibble). Very good, very satisfied.
rbtwinky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Returning to Carey's world of Terre D'Ange was a delight! Are the sex scenes a little gratuitous and unescessary? Probably, but they're fun and titillating. No worse than the sex scenes we see in movies everyday. What I loved was the characted-driven drama. I cared about these characters so much, and every single one of the main characters grew as the story unfolded. It had enough action, drama, suspense, foreshadowing, and excitement to keep me picking the book up every chance I got. A great book! One of the best I've read in a long time.
silentq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading Banewreaker I was worried about the quality of this book, but it was all for naught - I happily tore through this one. It's the tale of Imri growing up and growing into his skin. The writing reflects his progression from a self absorbed pre-teen to an almost fully mature adult at 18. He seeks healing for the scars of Darsanga and learns more about what it means to be a scion of Kushiel's line. It's neat to see Phedre and Josceline from Imri's perspective, and I'm hoping that the loose ends that the author left will feed into another book, especially as I want to read more about him visiting House Valerian and hopefully getting together with his cousin. :)
noirem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So I finished Kushiel's Scion last week and have started rereading the first three books for comparative purposes (and the pleasure of re-reading a good series) and, unfortunately, the comparison is serving to underscore my initial misgivings regarding the new book: it's disapointing.The narrator (Imriel)'s voice wasn't terribly strong. Phedre always maintained a strong narrative presence, balancing the story of her life against what she knows by the end of the book, creating tension without losing the immedite moment or tipping her hand as to what the future holds. The occasional digression from the narrative stream developed characters, and painted a richer portrait of the stage against which she acted; pauses in the string of actions to highlight the players without bringing everything to a halt. Kushiel's Scion kinda felt like one long diatribe. The plot advancements of 700 pages would have taken at most 150 in Phedre's story. The rest of the book is him worrying about what it means to be his mother's son. Phedre was a catalyst rather than a player, swept up in events, not controlling them, but changing things by being there; Imriel is a half-hearted witness, with nothing to pull him beyond the mire of his self-doubts.Carey set the stage for things to happen in subsequent books, but didn't actually acheive anything in this one.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The original Kushiel trilogy was phenomenal. Phedre was an aguisette, destined by the gods to experience pain and pleasure as one. She was trained as both spy and courtesan. Her adventures were exciting, to say the least. So, I was a little hesitant to lose her as the protagonist. I shouldn't have worried - her foster son, Imriel, has the potential to be even better! Imriel is descended from a line of traitors and so is not trusted by anyone but his foster parents. So, he journeys to foreign lands to find his purpose and discovers new and unstelling things about himself, and his people. Awesome start to a new trilogy!
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to admit I was skeptical when I realized that this story would restart the story with a new narrator, but the book drew me in just as the others have--as strong or stronger--and comes highly recommended. There's no other fantasy series that's currently being added to that I recommend as highly--or series in general, for that matter.And on a side note, I did start Carey's other series, and was sincerely disappointed--don't decide whether to pick up this series based on her other, because this one is well worth the time (and addiction).
Miss_Thing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this...so satisfying. Her world building and characterization is so good - I had to pull myself out of the story so I could eat and work, I was so absorbed. I'm anxiously awaiting the next book.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
New series featuring Phaedre's foster son Imriel. Imriel is the opposite of Phaedre. Brilliant coming of age story.