Kushiel’s Mercy: Has it all

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsJacqueline Carey Kushiel's MercyKushiel’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. And the only people he can trust to help him in his quest are two of his greatest enemies.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed the previous five. It has it all: dire magic, forbidden love, transcendent spirituality, devastating war — and yes, sex. There is not as much sex as there is in some of the previous installments, but what’s here is beautiful, lit as it is with Imriel and Sidonie’s love. If you liked the waterfall scene between Phèdre and Joscelin in Kushiel’s Avatar, you will like the love scenes in Kushiel’s Mercy.

I can’t say much more without ruining the plot, but I will say that when I turned the last page, I cheered Jacqueline Carey for a job well done.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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One comment

  1. I started listening to Dart on audio the other day (but had to give it up when a new ARC came in the mail). It was nice to be immersed in that prose again. It’s gorgeous. I read it years ago in print but will re-read it in audio.

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