Nikki's Reviews > Kushiel's Avatar

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey
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Sep 06, 08

bookshelves: lgbt, romance, historical-fiction-alternatehistory, fantasy, favourites, angels
Read in September, 2008

I suppose it goes without saying that I loved the final book of this trilogy. The trilogy has its flaws, I'll admit. For one thing, pages on pages could have been cut in the interests of getting to the point faster and dazzling prose. Still, for me, I quite enjoyed the leisurely pace in some parts of it, and the careful and detailed world building that ensued. Yes, it's kind of ridiculous the way what is essentially France is idolised, and the idea of a land where everyone is beautiful seems like a bit of blatant wish-fulfilment, and the heroine is unlikely and, yes, maybe a little too perfect and prepared for whatever comes. And there's the sex -- plenty of it in each and every book, and some of it rather more kinky than your average person is interested in reading about. Oh, and there's what other people would probably consider to be blasphemy, too. But accept all of that -- and it isn't as hard as it may sound, I think, as long as you have the mental power to skip parts you know you're not going to like -- and there's a brilliant story shining out at you. Or so it seems to me! I do understand why some people don't like it. Now that I've articulated that, I'm going to get back to adoring it, though.

This final book was not quite so much about politics, I think. I mean, that was there -- couldn't really not be, considering. But this book was more about love, what with the various subplots finally playing out: Hyacinthe, Melisande's son, what Kushiel wants of Phèdre, etc, etc. A lot of the things in this book were connected to love, which is appropriate to the world it's set in, really, given that the central precept of the religion is "love as thou wilt".

The thing that most excited me about this book was the quest for the secret name. I loved the character of Hyacinthe from the start, and was sad when he barely appeared in the second book, so I was very glad at how much of the book was dedicated to this quest. At first it seemed a bit backward, since the overthrow of Drujan would seem to be more dramatic and yet came long before the climax of the book, but the way it played out was very good. I was pleased at the way the breaking of the geis was handled, and Hyacinthe's return to life. It would have seemed too good to be true if he'd just got back what he had before he became Master of the Straits.

Imriel's subplot was interesting, too. It was good to see a more tender side of Melisande, the love for her son, and was interesting to get to know Imriel -- how different he turns out. I didn't care for that plot very much at first, but it grew on me a lot, until I cheered at the relationship between him, Phèdre and Joscelin.

Joscelin is, by far, my favourite character of these books. It has to do with his absolute loyalty, which is one of those things I find very appealing in a character. It was very very hard to read how he was tested in Drujan, but it was well-written. I love the peace he and Phèdre make with it all: it's appropriate, and good to see them finding a balance.

All in all, I really wish I had the Imriel trilogy right now. Unfortunately, unless someone loves me very much and buys me the hardbacks, I'm going to have to wait until all three books are out in paperback in the UK. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.
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