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Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey(1964- )
At the age of ten, Jacqueline Carey coaxed a camp counselor into letting her borrow Mary Renault’s The Persian Boy, which sparked a lifelong love of mythology and historical fiction. Her love of fantasy was inspired by works such as C.S. LewisChronicles of Narnia and Lloyd Alexander‘s Prydain Chronicles. Ms. Carey began writing fiction as a hobby in high school. She receiving college degrees in psychology and English literature. An affinity for travel has taken Jacqueline from Finland to Egypt. She currently lives in west Michigan, where she is a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in the state. She does not have any tattoos. Read excerpts of her novels at Jacqueline Carey’s website.

Kushiel’s Dart: Love and pain are never far apart

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel’s Dart is the story of Phèdre, marked as a masochist by the angel of pain and punishment, and trained from youth as a courtesan and spy. The book follows her through her childhood and then the vicissitudes of one fateful year, in which Phèdre learns more about pain and love than she had ever dreamed possible. Tragedy strikes her comfortable life, and she is sold into slavery among the Skaldi (analogous to Vikings), and must use her talents and her wits to survive. The Skaldi plot to take over Phèdre's home country of Terre d'Ange, and Phèdre is stunned by the fact that several nobles she knows are complicit in the plot. She escapes to warn her Queen, but finds herself assigned to a dangerous mission in Alba (Britain), which will further test her skills and her emotional strength. The climax comes with a battle scene as adrenaline-laced as the siege of Minas Tirith, and Read More

Kushiel’s Chosen: A painful but beautiful story

Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey returns to the lush and decadent world of Terre d'Ange in Kushiel's Chosen, sequel to the strange but beautiful Kushiel's Dart, and produces a sequel that unfortunately doesn't quite live up to its predecessor.

Our masochistic heroine, Phèdre, leaves behind her comfortable new life as a country countess when she begins to suspect that all is not well in Terre d'Ange. She believes that Melisande Shahrizai, from her hiding place in La Serenissima (Venice), still plots against Queen Ysandre — with the help of at least one D'Angeline noble. But who is her co-conspirator, and what are they planning? Phèdre returns to the courtesan’s trade in the hopes of finding clues. She doesn't learn much, though, and in the process drives away her bodyguard-lover, Joscelin. Phèdre decides there is only one thing to do: travel to La Ser... Read More

Kushiel’s Avatar: Good place to bring Phèdre’s adventures to an end

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey

Phèdre and Joscelin have had ten years of much needed rest... until the night that Phèdre dreams of her childhood friend Hyacinthe. He is still trapped on the island of the Master of the Straits and Phèdre has been studying ancient Habiru (Hebrew) texts to try to find a way to free him. If she can discover the lost name of God, she thinks she can use it to compel the angel Rahab to let Hyacinthe go.

Meanwhile (there’s always more than one major plot going on in the Kushiel books), Melisande’s son Imriel, third in line to the d’Angeline throne, is missing and Melisande, still in captivity, wants Phèdre to find him. These two quests, finding Imriel and the name of God, keep Phèdre busy during Kushiel’s Avatar. And, as usual, her plans involve travel to exotic places, mooning over Melisande, sad... Read More

Kushiel’s Scion: So glad to be back in Terre d’Ange

Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey

Return to Terre d'Ange with Kushiel's Scion, sequel to the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy. This book follows Phèdre's adopted son, Imriel, son of the treacherous Melisande and third in line for the D'Angeline throne. Carey does an excellent job of developing Imriel into a complicated, troubled young man without in any way betraying the character he was in Kushiel's Avatar: haunted but with the proverbial heart of gold.

Imriel is coming of age here, and coming to terms with desires he finds hard to face. Between his molestation at the hands of the Markhagir of Drujan, his anger with Melisande, and the dominant tendencies inherent in his bloodline, Imriel finds sexuality a minefield of issues. He wants more than anything to be a good person, but fears he's fated to be so... Read More

Kushiel’s Justice: Disappointing installment in an excellent series

Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey

Compared to Kushiel's Scion, Phèdre and Joscelin return for a much larger portion of this book and they are as awesome as ever. They add excitement and helped me through much of the slog that was the first 300-odd pages. Yes, that's right. Though previous Kushiel books have been long and probably could have withstood some cutting easily, I never minded the extra. With both Scion and Justice, that extra could have been done without. Seriously, you could knock off the first 200 pages of Kushiel's Justice and not miss a thing.

Part of the problem is Imriel himself. He has his moments of improvement as well in this book. While he's married to Dorelei he actually grows as a character. I actually don't mind him so much. I even find... Read More

Kushiel’s Mercy: Has it all

Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey

I quote Yeats with Melisande Shahrizai firmly in mind. For the last two books I've waited to see the perilous beauty again, knowing she'd have to appear again at some point. Her machinations and her legacy have always been at the heart of the series, even when she was unseen.

At the beginning of Kushiel's Mercy, Melisande's shadow lies heavily over her estranged son, Imriel de la Courcel. Imriel is in love with the Dauphine, Sidonie, but Sidonie's mother the Queen does not fully trust Imriel. And, too, there are many other D'Angelines who are suspicious of Imriel as a result of Melisande's crimes. The Queen forbids Imriel and Sidonie to wed unless Imriel finds his mother and brings her to justice.

Before Imriel can do that, though, a terrible enchantment falls upon the City of Elua, and Imriel is the only one who can save both Sidonie and Terre d'Ange. An... Read More

Banewreaker: Beautiful but remote

Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey

They say there are two sides to every story. In Banewreaker, the first book in Jacqueline Carey’s THE SUNDERING duology, we hear the story of the sundering of the world from the perspective of the dark side.

Satoris is one of the shapers of the world, seven sibling gods who crafted the creatures of the world and gave them their various gifts. When Satoris was too generous with the gifts he bestowed upon humans, his siblings attacked him and started a war that sundered the world. The humans, with their dearth of understanding, blame Satoris for their plight. Thus, for centuries, he has lived in isolation in his castle called Darkhaven with some servants, including a few men — his generals — whom he has given the gift of immortality.

One of the... Read More

Godslayer: The bad guys’ story

Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey

I loved the unique world, loveable characters, unusual plot, and sumptuous prose I discovered in Jacqueline Carey’s KUSHIEL books. Most of these elements are also present in her THE SUNDERING duology but, as I mentioned in my review of the first installment, Banewreaker, I found the book easy to admire and hard to love. With its formal style and remote, larger-than-life characters, it reads more like a myth than a story. If you’re in the mood for that type of tale, I’d recommend this duology.

Godslayer is the end of the story started in Banewreaker. (So you‘ve got to read Banewreaker first.) As prophesied, humans ... Read More

Naamah’s Kiss: Carey’s prose is as lush and sensual as ever

Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

In Naamah's Kiss, Jacqueline Carey returns to the world she created in the Kushiel's Legacy series, and introduces a delightful new heroine.

Moirin mac Fainche is a descendant of Alais de la Courcel and a member of the Maghuin Dhonn tribe of Alba. On her father's side, she's D'Angeline, with lines of descent from Naamah and Anael. When a tragedy changes Moirin's young life, and an initiatory rite reveals that she has a destiny beyond the sea, Moirin travels to Terre d'Ange in search of her father. There, she's treated as an exotic novelty.

In no time at all, she's over her head in a web of intrigue, with only her courage, her wits, and her deep-seated beliefs to protect her. The publisher's blurb mentions that she travels to Ch'in, so I won't consider that a spoiler; eventually she does go to ... Read More

Naamah’s Curse: Stupid boy!

Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey

At the end of Naamah’s Kiss, Moirin’s lover Bao set out on his own, uncomfortable with the magic that bound him and Moirin together. As Naamah’s Curse begins, Moirin undertakes a dangerous journey to find him. The beginning is on the slow side, focusing on the hardships of winter travel and on Moirin’s stay with a kindly Tatar family.

Then, Moirin learns that Bao has done something stupid.

It took me a while to warm to Bao in Naamah’s Kiss, mainly because of his habit of calling Moirin “stupid girl.” Yet warm to him I did. By the end of the book, I was rooting for Moirin and Bao as a couple, and I thought Bao’s Han Solo “I know” moment was really cute. Here, though, he does something that makes me like him a good deal less. It's a spoiler, so if you want to see it, please highlight t... Read More

Naamah’s Blessing: As always, Carey sweeps us away

Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel and Naamah books have become comfort reads for me. When I open up one of these novels, I always know I’ll find beautiful writing and a world I enjoy returning to again and again. A world where love in all its forms — not just romantic or sexual — can defeat evil and change the course of history. Naamah’s Blessing, the final installment of the trilogy about Moirin mac Fainche, is no exception.

After their adventures in Bhodistan, Moirin and Bao are returning to Terre d’Ange as a married couple. There they find King Daniel a shell of his former self and the little princess Desirée lonely and neglected. Moirin devotes herself to turning Desirée’s life around. Then the companions of Prince Thierry re... Read More

Santa Olivia: Completely different and darn good

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

I'm not actually sure if Santa Olivia (2009) is technically a fantasy novel. The heroine, Loup Garron, has unusual abilities, but she gets them by way of genetic engineering, not magic (her father was a top-secret military experiment). However, if you're a fantasy fan, don't let this dissuade you! There's plenty here for a fantasy reader to love. Santa Olivia is a coming-of-age story; it's a story about being a misfit; it's a story about an underdog up against towering odds; it's a love story; it's a hero(ine)'s journey story.

Santa Olivia is set in southern Texas in a bleak, plague-ravaged near future. The military has taken over the area, supposedly to protect the citizens from a shadowy external threat. Poverty and crime are rampant. Into this setting comes Loup, who rises from humble beginnings to become a symbol of ... Read More

Saints Astray: Fun, but lacks conflict

Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey

I find myself wanting to give Saints Astray (2011) two different ratings: one for how happy I am for its heroines, Loup Garron and Pilar Ecchevarria, and the other for how well Saints Astray works as a novel. I love the characters and am glad their lives have become easier since the events of Santa Olivia, but the result is a book that does not have enough tension or conflict.

Loup and Pilar have escaped Outpost and travel to Mexico, where they enjoy a brief idyll in the company of Loup’s relatives on her late father’s side, many of them genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like Loup. Then they take jobs with an elite bodyguard service and travel the world in the company of a string of wealthy clients: a fashion designer, a Mafia bride, a businessman, a rock band. Later they return to the States to rescue a friend,... Read More

Miranda and Caliban: A beautiful melancholy tale

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

Miranda and Caliban is a twist on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, ringing one major change on the play: what if Miranda and Caliban were in love?

Our tale begins years before the events of the play; we first meet Miranda as a child, assisting her father Prospero in the ceremonial magic that will bind the “wild boy,” Caliban, and the spirit Ariel to his will. From there, Jacqueline Carey alternates between Miranda’s point of view and Caliban’s, following them as they grow up together. At first, Miranda helps Caliban learn to speak and read; later, when she is stricken by an illness, Caliban helps her. And then when adolescence strikes, the two begin to have forbidden feelings for each other.

Looming over all this is Prospero, who rules the isla... Read More

Starless: A sensitive portrayal of diverse characters

Starless by Jacqueline Carey

For all of his life, young Khai has been training to be the “Shadow” protector of Zariya, the youngest daughter of his nation’s king. Nobody knows why the gods have decreed that Zariya, a politically unimportant princess, needs a protector, but the role as her shadow should be relatively easy. Nevertheless, Khai has trained hard and hopes he is ready for the role. When he arrives at the palace to finally meet his charge, Khai is surprised to discover that Zariya is not the kind of princess he envisioned and this is not going to be an easy assignment after all. Khai will be tested beyond what he thought was possible.

In many ways, Starless (2018) feels like so many other epic fantasies I’ve read, except that it’s written in Jacqueline Carey’s beautiful, evocative prose. T... Read More

Celebrating #FearlessWomen with TOR and Jacqueline Carey

At Fantasy Literature, we love fearless women!

Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen is a coordinated social media c... Read More

Songs of Love and Death: Tales of star-crossed lovers

Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying EarthSongs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.

Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to  Read More

Why You Should Read… Jaqueline Carey

Welcome to another Friday -- and another edition of Why You Should Read... Our contributor this week is the ever-amazing Cara, known as @murf61 on Twitter. She contributes reviews to both Speculative Book Review and Temple Library Reviews, and has her own blog at Murf-more than meets the eye! She is here to tell us why we should be reading Jacqueline Carey.

If you enjoy intricate and detailed worldbuilding, combined with political intrigue and conspiracy flavoured with dark eroticism, then Jacqueline Carey is an author you should read. She is best known for her Kushiel series, now at nine ... Read More