Jacqueline Carey

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"Kushiel's Scion"

(Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie SEP 30, 2006)

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Scion is the fourth book in Jacqueline Carey's thrilling fantasy series of life in the exotic realm of Terre d'Ange, a world somewhat similar to our Earth, during a period reminiscent of the Renaissance. The preceding Kushiel's Legacy trilogy, composed of Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar are all extraordinary novels, and although it is not necessary to have read them in order to enjoy this one, they do provide a fantastic reading experience and a wonderful introduction to Jacqueline Carey's latest protagonist, Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel. "Scion" is also the first novel in a new trilogy which will chronicle the life of de la Courcel, the foster son of Phèdre nó Delaunay, the Comtesse de Montreve, peer of Terre d'Ange, and her consort, the Cassiline apostate, Joscelin Verreuil.

Imriel, a royal prince of the blood, was abandoned in infancy by both of his treasonous parents. Captured in childhood by pirates, the boy spent his youth in slavery, subjected to abominable and depraved torture until he was rescued by Phèdre and Joscelin, who love him as a son. Now, a handsome and accomplished teen, Imriel is experiencing the normal restlessness and insecurities of adolescence, but is additionally burdened by his past experiences. He finds it difficult to live down his mother's, Melisande Shahrizai's, reputation as an arch villainess who would sell her soul and her son, seemingly, for a kingdom and power. When he unwillingly becomes involved in court intrigue, Imriel decides to study abroad and takes on an anonymous identity to do so.

Much more than a coming of age tale, Ms. Carey dramatically and skillfully changes her point of view from the mindset of a mature woman to that of an adolescent boy with an unusual amount of baggage. Unlike most young men of his age, Imriel must struggle with an infamous heritage and nightmarish memories. While this boy-man is not anywhere near as complex a character as the mature woman, Phèdre nó Delaunay, Imriel is no slouch either. He has yet to acquire Phèdre's life experience, and that is what this novel is about - acquiring experience, adventuring and building character. There are enough complexities in this tale to satisfy the most demanding and discerning reader.

The plot and subplots are unique and stunning. The excitement just doesn't stop. Ms. Carey combines swashbuckling adventure, romance, eroticism, political intrigue and world building. Her imaginative use of historic detail, diverse cultures, the creation of many varied characters and their development, make this series so special.
  • Amazon readers rating: from 31 reviews
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"Kushiel's Avatar"

(Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie JAN 29, 2006)

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Avatar, is the last book in Jacqueline Carey's dramatic trilogy. This fantastic romantic adventure is every bit as exciting as Ms. Carey's first two books and a very worthy conclusion. (Although there are still some loopholes left - tiny ones, but just enough room for another book to slip through. Always hoping)!

Ten years have past since we last saw our lash-loving lady, the true "anguisette," Phedre no Delauney, Comtesse de Montreve, peer of Terre d'Ange. She and her beloved companion, the Cassiline apostate, Joscelin Verreuil have been residing on their estates and maturing with grace and beauty. But neither is able to forget the fate of Phedre's childhood friend Hyacinthe and the terrible sacrifice he made in order that a queen be crowned and peace reign. Nothing less than discovering the most secret and holy name of the "One God" will do to free him - an almost impossible task to accomplish which will involve traveling over continents and seas, in what I believe is the most awesome adventure of them all! Then Melisande Shahrizai, Phedre's nemesis and patron of old, surfaces and begs a boon - I won't even go there. You'll have to read the book.

The adventures of Phedre and friends are every bit as breathtaking, if not more so, than those in preceding books. Ms. Carey has explored various religions and forms of spirituality in her other novels. In this, the last part of the trilogy, the author pulls all her characters and their adventures together to show a bigger pattern and spiritual purpose. In other words, there is an author's message. These folks are not just hanging out to have fun while risking life and limb...and lash! Phedre discovers that her service to Kushiel has served a much higher cause than she ever thought possible, and has been integrated into the service of all whom she has served. Ms. Carey gives additional depth and dimension to her characters and story with this last touch. A terrific conclusion to a superb epic fantasy!
  • Amazon readers rating: from 64 reviews
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"Kushiel's Chosen"

(Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie JAN 29, 2006)

Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Chosen is the second book in Jacqueline Carey's thrilling fantasy trilogy of life in a world similar to Earth, during a period reminiscent of our Renaissance. This novel, a fantastic romantic adventure, is every bit as exciting as her first book, Kushiel's Dart.

Our heroine, Phedre no Delauney, is now Comtesse de Montreve, a peer of Terre d'Ange. This lash-loving lady has come a long way from the little girl who was sold by her parents, years before, into the service of Naamah, the honored profession of the courtesan. Phedre was kissed by the god Kushiel. There is a tiny crimson mote in the white of her left eye, (Kushiel's Dart), marking her as an "anguisette," one of Kushiel's Chosen. A true "anguisette" is extremely rare. They are born to find pleasure in pain.

Phedre played a major part in ending the violent war that threatened to destroy her country. The new Queen of Terre D'Ange, who Phedre pledged to serve and protect, has been crowned. However, those who would wrest the throne for themselves continue to plot treachery and renewed violence. Chief among the traitors is Melisande Shahrizai, Phedre's nemesis and patron of old. Melisande announces her continued presence in the world of intrigue by beginning a game of cat and mouse with Phedre, who comes out of retirement to thwart plans to harm the Queen. Her return to Court, the City of Elua, and her profession as a spy, threaten her star-crossed relationship with her beloved companion and bodyguard, the Cassiline apostate, Joscelin Verreuil.

The plot and subplots are unique and stunning. The excitement just doesn't stop. Ms. Carey combines eroticism with swashbuckling adventure, romance and world building. Her imaginative use of historic detail, diverse cultures, the creation of many varied characters and their development, make this series so special. A riveting novel--I couldn't put it down.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 84 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Kushiel's Chosen

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"Kushiel's Dart"

(Reviewed by Jana L. Perskie JAN 29, 2006)

Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart is an epic fantasy saga set in a world similar to Earth, during a period that resembles our early Renaissance. Author Jacqueline Carey weaves an intricate tale, a tapestry of adventure, political intrigue, love, friendship, trust and betrayal. She creates an enormous and varied cast of characters, as well as a variety of religions which motivate them - one resembling Christianity, another, a form of Judaism, and others where gods and demigods are worshipped, similar to those of ancient Greece and Rome. A most unique and unusual young women, who helps make history, narrates this story of a world in upheaval.

The main setting, Terre D'Ange, is a land of extraordinary beauty and grace, where it is said that the inhabitants, Angelines, are part angel and part mortal. Phedre no Delauney was sold into the service of Naamah, the honored profession of the courtesan, as a young child. She was a beautiful girl who will grow to be a magnificent woman - not unusual amongst those who are part angel. However, she was kissed by the god. There is a tiny crimson mote in the white of her left eye, (Kushiel's Dart), marking her as an "anguisette," one of Kushiel's Chosen. A true "anguisette" is extremely rare. Perhaps one is born every 4 or 5 generations. Anguisettes find pleasure in pain. She says of her fate, "When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity on me."

Phedre was bought by a wealthy peer of the realm, Anafiel Delauney, master spy and beloved of a King. When she was ten years-old he began to train her. She was to become the most famous courtesan in the realm. Prostitution is legal in Terre D'Ange and there is much cachet in belonging to an excellent house and/or in receiving exceptional schooling in the arts of love, letters and conversation. Delauney took her schooling one step further and taught her to gather and interpret intelligence.

A young queen is about to be crowned but there are others who vie for the throne. Delauney is sworn to protect the young princess and insure her reign. Thus Phedre is pledged to do the same. As she entertains and serves her patrons, Phedre learns dangerous information - secrets and lies - that set the wheels of adventure rolling. Her world is turned upside down, as friends turn foe and masters becomes pawns. All are somehow involved in plots and subplots, pieces of a large puzzle which she must solve to save her future queen.

I really enjoyed Kushiel's Dart, the first book in Jacqueline Carey's trilogy. This is probably the only one of the three novels that can stand alone. The ending is a satisfying one, although it leaves more than enough loopholes to make one want to read more. There are some major flaws here also. The novel is much too long. There is a huge cast of characters and I had difficulties remembering many of them, although there is a key which is helpful. The dialogue is too flowery at times. But the principal characters are fabulous. They are very well developed, exciting, diverse - just plain fascinating. And their adventures, intrigues and battles are breathtaking. This epic adventure, part erotic odyssey, part chronicle of a land and its people will wow you.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 277 reviews


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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Kushiel's Legacy:

de la Courcel Trilogy:

New Saga:

The Sundering:

Nonfiction:

 

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Book Marks:

 

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About the Author:

Jacqueline CareyJacqueline Carey was born in Highland Park, Illinois in 1964. She received BA degrees in psychology and English Literature from Lake Forest College. After graduation, she lived and worked in London and took the opportunity to travel while overseas, including a fascinating visit to Egypt.

Carey’s writing career had began as a teenager, when she kept detailed diaries of stories and characters. When she returned to the US from London, she began writing again in earnest, and had several essays and short stories published.

Throughout the years, Carey had gradually been developing the imaginary setting of Terre d' Ange, a luxurious and decadent society existing in medieval Europe.Over the next several years, she continued to work on developing characters and plot for that setting. When Kushiel's Dart released it drew immediate proaise and was awarded the Locus Award for Best Novel, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the Barnes & Noble Top Ten Sci-Fi and Fantasy and Amazon.com Top Ten Fantasy.

Carey currently lives near Saugatuck, Michigan with her long-time partner, Julie Abel.

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