Mike's Reviews > Kushiel's Mercy

Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey
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's review
Aug 03, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: scifi-fantasy, general-fiction
Read in August, 2008

I am going to assume that this is the final installment in the Kushiel series for Carey. I would have thought this had run its course a couple of books ago, with the aging anguisette no longer getting beaten and then healed again just as quickly. I also assumed that Carey couldn't write male characters all that well. Her female protagonists are rich while the male heroes are all two-dimensional (at least the Cassiline and the Cruarch did not seem to come to life in previous books). But in this book, she takes the POV of a man and makes it work. Not only that, but she has grown in her story-telling ability. No longer does she explore all the angles of attitude and emotion and finally gets down to tell a story with all its twists and turns. Her novels will never be thought of as high literature, so it needs to make up for that with great plots and believable characters. She does that admirably with this "final" installment of the Kushiel Legacy series.

For those not familiar with the story line, the setting is everything. The world is a "what-if" world. What if the events of the Christ had not happened and another personage, another of God's line took the place of the Christ. That would then change the world as we know it. France becomes Terre D'Ainge, Spain, Aragonia, Italy, Caerdicci Unitas (all names by the way that these nations took for themselves during the Roman Empire). But instead of evolving through the Dark Ages and the Industrial Revolution, these nations take a different twist. Terre D'Ainge becomes the center of a religious rite that believes that love and the expressions of love are the highest ideal. Their motto is "Love as Thou Wilt". But even their world is invaded by greed, hatred, revenge, violence and intrigue.

The books are a different way of viewing our world, but they come to a lot of the same conclusions. This particular volume unfortunately cannot be read without reading the others. Many authors today realize that few people have the time or inclination (outside of Goodreads alumni) to read thousands of pages in order to get to the latest book. That is why many of them are making each novel a stand-alone story with just enough coverage of past events to make the story live. Unfortunately, Carey is not one of those authors. This entire story is filled with references to past volumes. Having read the rest, it didn't bother me. But if you haven't, don't attempt this one.

Great plot, great suspense and good characters. All is believable in this "what if" world. I think it is Jacqueline Carey's best work yet.
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