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

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsbook review Kushiel's Avatar Jacqueline CareyKushiel’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, sadistic sex with tyrants, and a lot of agony for Joscelin… Poor Joscelin. He’s always being asked to bear too much.

Kushiel’s Avatar is an exciting story and a nice ending to the first Kushiel trilogy. Imriel’s character is a welcome addition and it will be interesting to see how the horrible experiences he endured in Kushiel’s Avatar help form his personality in later books (in which he is the main character). This is also a good place to bring Phèdre’s adventures to an end. She’s nearing the point of unbelievability as she saves lives and creates world peace wherever she goes. After her accomplishments in this book, it’s hard to imagine what she can do to top them in the future.

Jacqueline Carey’s writing is lovely, but it’s becoming occasionally repetitive (e.g., “whore’s unwanted get”, “summer blue eyes”, “the compass by which I had fixed my heart”). In Kushiel’s Avatar, her writing is best when Phèdre expresses her awe at the name of God and the connection between that name and God’s character and creation. I thought this was beautifully done. (I didn’t for a minute, though, believe that the Children of Yisra-el would let a d’Angeline whore’s unwanted get look in the Ark of the Covenant…)

Fans of the series will be pleased with Kushiel’s Avatar and, like me, will want to follow Imriel’s journey in the next book, Kushiel’s Scion. I should mention, again, that this series was superb on audio.

Kushiel’s Legacy — (2001-2008) Publisher: The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good… and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phédre no Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission… and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phédre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair… and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phédre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear. Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies.

Jaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyKushiel's Mercy Jacqueline Carey


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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