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Kushiel's Avatar

(Phèdre's Trilogy #3)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  34,589 ratings  ·  989 reviews
The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. It's inhabited by the race that rose from the seed of angels, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman who recognized that she was pricked by Kushiel's dart, chosen to forever experience pain
Paperback, 702 pages
Published September 17th 2004 by Tor (first published 2003)
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Rob Kerr Actually, fewer than in previous instalments, as Joscelin takes a secondary role for much of the book, and is without said vambraces in some of his fi…moreActually, fewer than in previous instalments, as Joscelin takes a secondary role for much of the book, and is without said vambraces in some of his fight scenes. One of which is in a muddy field, so not so much light flashing there. But the same prose style is certainly evident, and given that Carey is consciously aiming for an epic tone, the repetition of some standard phrasing seems forgiveable. There are only so many ways to describe vambraces in a fight scene, where need to maintain the pace is necessarily athwart any possible desire for more creative verbiage ;-)(less)
Andrew It says somewhere in the books....I believe it is attributed to a mixture of Naama and Kushiel, I remember some interior monologue on the subject thou…moreIt says somewhere in the books....I believe it is attributed to a mixture of Naama and Kushiel, I remember some interior monologue on the subject though(less)

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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
*** 4.44 ***

"... “We are all these things [...]. Pride, desire, compassion, cleverness, belligerence, fruitfulness, loyalty...and guilt. But above it all stands love. And if we desire to be more than human, that is the star by which we must set our sights. ”..."

Wow! What an ending to the Phedre Trilogy!!! An ending worthy of a series which is one of a kind and not to everyone's tastes. There isn't much more to say about the spirit of the series than I have said in my previous reviews and I w
Allison (The Allure of Books)
I stayed up until 8 o'clock in the morning to finish this book. I literally could not put it down, it didn't even occur to me. This book was fan-freakin-tastic and I definitely consider it among my few favorites.

I already loved (and hated, in some cases) these characters. They already felt real to me. I know some people will read this series and say that some of the characters are without flaws, but I don't care.

I followed Phedre and Joscelin into the most realized interpretation of Hell I have
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who read the first two, even if they weren't completed sold
Shelves: 5-stars
Although I did enjoy the first two books in this series, it was with a bucket of reservations: repetition, overblown language, and inadequate characterization of the supporting characters, which made the impressively plotted political machinations so much less involving.

The third book, however, overturned most of these. There is still repetition (I will own, if I ever hear that phrase again I will go mad), but the high-flown language comes into its own describing the lengthy journey undertaken b
Ellen Gail
2021 update: My first (but definitely not last) reread of this trilogy is complete. And I love it as much now as I ever did.


Five well earned stars. A beautiful end to a fantastic trilogy.

I prayed it would end in love. I prayed we could come home, all of us.

I love Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève. Wholeheartedly, her story and her character have captivated me. She is loving, brave, and compassionate, devoted completely to the people she loves, with a deep code of honor. A vow from h
Wanda Pedersen
I won't say that the two previous books in this series didn't have their dark moments, but this third volume takes things much, much deeper into shadow and despair. If you struggled with the earlier books, consider leaving this one unread, because it will test you. I won't deny that I floundered at points with the sheer brutality. I also won't deny that Phedre is a lot Mary Sue-ish. Sometimes, while nearing the end of the book, I reflected on the distances traveled, dangers faced, rulers placate ...more
Not quite a 5-star read but my favorite of the trilogy.

The writing is nearly superb for most of the book, with so much meaning and depth packed into each sentence, and with every arc that began in the first book coming to a head, there's never a dull moment. It's pretty much edge-of-your-seat action for the last 500 pages.

However, as much as I love this book, there's a good chunk--about 300 pages--I will never ever read again. Ever. (view spoiler)
Geoff Gerrietts
Jun 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Carey writes very well. Her turns of phrase and choice of imagery are excellent. Her command of language is exquisite. She tells a deep and detailed story through well-imagined characters. I have found this true of all her books, and I can readily recommend them to anyone who can enjoy fantastical fiction.

I don't want to spend too long on the whole series, but I haven't written an in-depth review of these books yet, so I'll quickly cover the highlights. Carey's world is detailed and vibrant, wit
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kushiel’s Avatar is the last book in the first of three Kushiel’s Universe trilogies. All three books were a solid four stars. I enjoyed the stories, cared about the characters, and looked forward to reading it each day. I didn’t find it very hard to put down, and there were slow spots here and there, so that’s the main reason I’m sticking with four stars.

I think the amount of sex scenes decreased as the series went on, but I would caution that there is some pretty major violence in this third b
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.0 Stars
This was a solid, if slightly underwhelming conclusion to this historical fantasy trilogy. I loved spending more time with the characters, but found the story itself to be a bit anticlimactic compared to the first two books. Yet I'm still very happy to have completed this iconic series.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I finish this trilogy for the second time, I am - no kidding - hugging the book to my chest and willing for Phèdre's story to continue. That is how much I love Kushiel's Legacy.

How do I describe my love for these books? Is it Phèdre's courage, to falter at no boundaries in order to achieve what she believes in? Or Joscelin's faith, to - putting it simply - protect and serve? Maybe it is that without a doubt, I would drop everything in a heartbeat to take up residence in Terre d'Ange and foll
Sotiris Karaiskos
In the third part of the series, the last of Phedre's trilogy, things start a bit sluggish - but especially sweet - as our heroine seems to have a partial control over her wild desires and thus to have the necessary balance. However, the punisher god Kushiel does not want to leave her quiet and drags her into an adventure that will lead her to the depths of hell and to confront with the darkest part of herself.

Next to her, of course, her faithful companion following his oath, and he understands
Karina Webster
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful conclusion to this epic trilogy. It got very dark in the middle, so much so that I did put it down for a while, but i’m so glad I continued. Carey’s writing is so beautiful it brought me to tears at the end. Such friendship, such tragedy and yet such joy to be had.

Everything about this trilogy is bittersweet and all the more emotionally powerful for it. The characters are so well developed and remain true to their histories throughout, shaped and destroyed by the events that unfold.
Cari Hunter
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In equal parts dark, disturbing, challenging, hopeful and quite lovely, this is a fitting end to Carey's epic trilogy. I can't count the number of times I've returned to these books over the years, and I always end up falling in love with them all over again. ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Further adventures of fantasy!France’s most beautiful traveling courtesan who is marked by the gods to have a lot of kinky sex.

I have a lot of thoughts about this series suddenly. Funny, since in the past it was my go to law school exams reading choice.

Thing 1: I really like how this series talks about women’s power – political, sexual, subversive. And how the thrust of the whole thing revolves around the love/hate of two extraordinary and powerful women. How often do you see that?

Thing 2: The s
Jamie Collins
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
How can a series with prose this purple and a premise this absurd be so gripping? All three of these books have kept me up reading late into the night. Purple or no, Carey’s writing is engaging; and somehow I completely buy into the idea that a prostitute with a heart of gold can use her astonishing beauty and hardcore masochism to save the world.

In this conclusion to the trilogy, Phèdre seeks nothing less than the Name of God, which she needs to free her friend who was trapped on an island by a
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I never say much about 6 star books. Just know you'll be investing heavily with your emotion on this one. My heart broke so many times I felt it physically and I was up until the wee hours to get my answers but I was not disappointed. This was an experience I'll NEVER forget. thank you Jacqueline Carey. You have raised my standards. ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 (or 3.75?)

Not sure if I'll rate it a four yet. Probably.

Mixed feelings everywhere! Dart is still my favourite of the trilogy.
Carey can write, that much is obvious, and her world is complex and extremely fascinating, but...Phèdre's voice bothers me. I didn't dislike it at first, even though I liked all the secondary characters more than her, but after three books I've grown tired of her.

She's just too perfect. And she reminds you of that in Every. Single. Page. That is my problem. I know th
Sarah Mac
My least favorite of the Phedre trilogy. This is partly because I loved books 1-2, but also due to filler & easy fixes that keep the plot plodding in low gear.


-Phedre has long been torn between Joscelin & Hyacinthe (who are both worthy -- a somewhat unusual triangle in that way), yet suddenly a long-suffering-from-afar minor character appears & is sufficient for Hyacinthe to release Phedre from her agonizing decision. WTF. I'd rather they lived in a triad, or even that one of the lads
On a second read, this feels a bit thinner than the other novels. There's a lot of journeying from place to place (although we meet some new favorite characters), it largely glosses over Phèdre's sadomasochism (although the scene with that spiked member is unforgettable), and it keeps Melisande at a distance (although there's more power in that one kiss than most novels). However, it's entirely worth it for how Carey brings it all full circle and provides genuine closure to some of the trilogy's ...more
What a breathtaking book to end an absolutely wonderful series. I am so, so, so happy I found this series. My life would be poorer without these 3 books.

And yes, I cried.

Favourite quote:
"We speak of stories ending, when in truth it is we who end. The stories go on and on.”
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who would have thought that after 2600 pages, this series would finally get to me? But “I know this to be true”: There were definitively 5 stars sections in Kushiel's Avatar the final book of Phèdre's Trilogy . The writing was much improved: less sex and a clear red thread – oh and how I loved how (view spoiler) The author really understands how relationships work and did this very well! She also went to some very dark places in this boo ...more
Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου
Since I read the first two books from the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, I am a huge fan of hers. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, prepared me for this book! “Kushiel’s Avatar” is by far the best book I have ever read! For the first time in my life, I thought I was living in a book. A couple of times, I found myself not to continue reading because I was afraid of what will happen to the characters! I fell in love with them, fought beside them, cried for them, I lost hope as they did and, fi ...more
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Kushiel's Avatar picks up ten years after the events of the last book. It's been ten years of peace for Phedre and my favorite warrior priest, Joscelin Verreuil, but that respite comes to an end as the two heroes of the realm are called upon to help someone neither ever thought to willingly aid while simultaneously delivering on a long-held promise to an old friend. Their efforts will take them through what we would consider the Middle East and Africa and will keep them far from their home fires ...more
BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
The conclusion to Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel trilogy featuring Phedre no Delaunay leads us to Phedre’s darkest hour. Torn between two loyalties, Phedre starts a new journey to save the missing child, Imriel de la Courcel. Imriel is no ordinary child; born of Phedre’s betrayer, Melisandre Shahrizai, he is of two lines. From his father’s side, he is in the direct line to Terre d’Ange’s throne. From his mother’s blood, he is bequeathed the darker aspects of Kushiel’s legacy.

In Phedre’s quest to fin
steph // bookplaits
Annnnndddd... My heart is full. 😭♥️ This is the last book in Phèdre’s trilogy so I won’t mention any specifics of the plot, but be warned that if you thought the first two books were dark, this one is even more so (TW include slavery, child slavery, rape).

I will admit that my brain has not been the best at focusing for the last two weeks or so, so although there were plenty of moments where I did get swept up in the story, there were also points where I think the details were lost on me. 😅 But t
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gotta say, this was one of the most all-around satisfying conclusions to any series I've read. Not a word too many, nor too few. So many authors rush the final pages of a series, and I'm happy to say that Carey doesn't.

What started as a reading experiment in broadening my reading tastes with Kushiel's Dart has ended in a journey that felt longer than its 3 novels, which is a testament to the writing skill of Jacqueline Carey. Great characters, interesting semi-historical world, and riveting p
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, bdsm, reviewed
Ten years have passed in Terre d'Ange, peace and prosperity for the country, and for Phedre and Joscelin. Phedre has never forgotten Hyacinche, still trapped by the curse of the angel Rahab, and has long searched for (and never found) the one thing which could free him - the name of god. Then comes a request for help from Melisand Sharizhai, her son Imriel, hidden away in secret these ten years is now missing, presumed abducted. And if Phedre will search for him, Melisande promises a lead on the ...more
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventurers of love
Recommended to Darlene by: My husband
I wrote the following review for my Kindle copy of this book. This copy is the audio narrated by Anne Flosnik. Her voice enhanced my experience in Jacqueline Carey's well built world. Here is my review of the book. But keep in mind how much I admire Anne Flosnik's incredible interpretation of the written words.

I finally understand why my husband was so in love in Jacqueline Carey. He was so much in awe that he went to a book signing and got his copy of this book signed by this great
Jun 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all fantasy lovers
I felt spent after reading book 2 in this trilogy... but that was nothing compared to the terrible beauty of Kushiel's Avatar. Carey delves deep into the darkness of the human psyche, and deep into our hearts with the seemingly impossible task laid at Phèdre's feet. We might wish for gifts from the gods, here in our cubicles or sitting in rush-hour traffic, but this book outlines the price of being the Avatar of a god such as Kushiel, and the courage required to meet his demands.

Unlike the othe
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.

She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a wo

Other books in the series

Phèdre's Trilogy (3 books)
  • Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy, #1)
  • Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre's Trilogy, #2)

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