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La Justice de Kushiel: Imriel, T2

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Héritier d’une lignée mortellement dangereuse, le prince Imriel est troisième dans l’ordre de succession au trône de Terre d’Ange. Pion majeur sur l’échiquier politique, il n’a guère le choix de son destin. Lorsqu’il sacrifie l’amour au devoir, les dieux eux-mêmes ne peuvent rien pour le protéger des conséquences de ses actes. En Alba, de sombres puissances oeuv Héritier d’une lignée mortellement dangereuse, le prince Imriel est troisième dans l’ordre de succession au trône de Terre d’Ange. Pion majeur sur l’échiquier politique, il n’a guère le choix de son destin. Lorsqu’il sacrifie l’amour au devoir, les dieux eux-mêmes ne peuvent rien pour le protéger des conséquences de ses actes. En Alba, de sombres puissances oeuvrent pour utiliser ses propres passions contre lui. L’aventure l’entraînera encore plus loin qu’il ne l’avait rêvé, jusqu’à un pays déchiré par la guerre où, d’une foi ancienne, une nouvelle est en train d’éclore. Lorsque tout sera fini, la justice divine de Kushiel se fera sentir sur la Terre comme au ciel...


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Héritier d’une lignée mortellement dangereuse, le prince Imriel est troisième dans l’ordre de succession au trône de Terre d’Ange. Pion majeur sur l’échiquier politique, il n’a guère le choix de son destin. Lorsqu’il sacrifie l’amour au devoir, les dieux eux-mêmes ne peuvent rien pour le protéger des conséquences de ses actes. En Alba, de sombres puissances oeuv Héritier d’une lignée mortellement dangereuse, le prince Imriel est troisième dans l’ordre de succession au trône de Terre d’Ange. Pion majeur sur l’échiquier politique, il n’a guère le choix de son destin. Lorsqu’il sacrifie l’amour au devoir, les dieux eux-mêmes ne peuvent rien pour le protéger des conséquences de ses actes. En Alba, de sombres puissances oeuvrent pour utiliser ses propres passions contre lui. L’aventure l’entraînera encore plus loin qu’il ne l’avait rêvé, jusqu’à un pays déchiré par la guerre où, d’une foi ancienne, une nouvelle est en train d’éclore. Lorsque tout sera fini, la justice divine de Kushiel se fera sentir sur la Terre comme au ciel...

30 review for La Justice de Kushiel: Imriel, T2

  1. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This instalment continues the development of Imriel from the previous book, Kushiels Scion and sets the scene nicely for the concluding part of the trilogy. A book every bit as great as the first, this combines the analysis of human relationships with globetrotting adventure in a believable and interesting way. Imriel begins a forbidden romance with his cousin (remember the standards of European royalty for this kind of thing are about the same as hillbillies) Sidonie. Due to Sidonie's status as This instalment continues the development of Imriel from the previous book, Kushiels Scion and sets the scene nicely for the concluding part of the trilogy. A book every bit as great as the first, this combines the analysis of human relationships with globetrotting adventure in a believable and interesting way. Imriel begins a forbidden romance with his cousin (remember the standards of European royalty for this kind of thing are about the same as hillbillies) Sidonie. Due to Sidonie's status as heir to the throne and the taint of treason over Imriel's parents they cannot openly declare their feelings. Contrary to a lot of the reviews on here I really liked Sidonie. I thought the strength of will she showed as heir to the throne (and thus a target and/or pawn in the scheming court) was impressive. I would have really liked to see a POV inside her head to get a better sense of her feelings about the situation and to better flesh out her character, however I appreciate that isn't how Carey roles. Imriel does his duty and goes to Alba to marry Dorelai. Their relationship is perhaps even better written. Dorelai is convincingly shown to be a funny, kind and intelligent woman and Imriel's struggles to do right by her while in love with another woman are painful. While I'm normally strongly against love triangles in any sort of fiction (or irl I guess) I found this one to be brilliantly written as it entwined politics, cultures and personalities. (view spoiler)[ Dorelai's sudden murder was both a brutal, horrifying plot twist and a convenient end to the love triangle. It was somewhat distasteful how Imriel, as soon as he was able to stand after the attack went back to Sidonie for sexy times. While still bleeding. On her. Squick (hide spoiler)] Anyway the adventure section of the book is also interesting. It is described as a brutal journey of self discovery for Imriel who spends much of it alone in punishing conditions. The decription of journeys are some of my favourite parts of this series as Carey demonstrates an incredible knowledge of European history in their alternate reality counterparts. At times these adventures read like travel guides through medieval Europe. As a history nerd myself I appreciate the level of detail shown, down to the names of the fantasy countries being references to their real world equivalents( Alba was a kingdom that ruled modern day Scotland etc.). I also appreciated how restrained and realistic Imriel's quest was, especially compared to Phedre's. While epic events play out in the background Imriel focuses on his own personal journey. Phedre would no doubt have stumbled into being a crucial part of the war. Probably by sleeping with a key personality who just happened to be really into BDSM. There are a number of great characters in this series, however I felt that the 'villains' as is usual with Carey's works steal the show. While Alais is a cool character (reminiscent of Arya from ASOIAF especially in her relationship with Imriel/Jon)and Mavros really stepped up a lot of the good guys seemed 2 dimensional. Phedre, Joscelin and Hyacinthe return from the first trilogy. Now my opinion may be clouded by the fact that I began this series with Kushiels Scion and only read dart after completing Imriels trilogy. I started Dart but didn't really like it and skimmed the later half and have not read any more of the previous trilogy. Anyway while I may be missing some vital nuance of their characters I found Phedre and Joscelin especially to be incredibly dull, retired 'legends'. While I appreciate they went through a lot in the first trilogy here they seem to be serenely happy heroes living out their storybook happily ever after. This is both completely unrealistic and makes them really dull when given extended screen time. Whatever about brief cameos but as main characters they were less real people and more romanticised ideals of happiness and perfection. The villains on the other hand were awesome. L'Envers continues to be a witty, dangerous wanker whose confrontation with Imriel are always tense and intriguing. Berlik especially was a sympathetic and brilliantly written villain. His horrific actions that so devastate the main character were shown to be the result of a desperate, noble desire to protect his people. He then accepts the burden of responsibility and spends the remainder of the novel seeking redemption. His final confrontation with Imriel is a highlight of the book. This leads to my disappointment with Maslin. Throughout the last book and two-thirds of this book Maslin is set up as a rival to Imriel. I thought Maslin was a brilliant foil for Imriel, his background(stigma of treasonous parent) and character(pride, Maslin resents Imriel's well meaning charity, Imriel resents Ysandre's) echoed Imriel's own and despite his hostility to the protagonist setting up to be unlikeable I liked him more than most of Imriel's shallow court 'friends'. The fact that both were in love with Sidonie brilliantly set Maslin up to be an understandable yet implacable archnemesis to Imriel. And then suddenly they became best friends. WTF. Maslin was perfectly poised to make the transition into all-out villain, in which case he could have been one of the most fleshed out and engaging in all of fantasy. Instead he was hurriedly converted into a 'good guy' and not seen for the rest of the series (except for a brief cameo at the end of book 3). This is a really good continuation of a good trilogy. While reading the first trilogy would undoubtedly improve the experience of reading the second I was able to enjoy this one without having previously read the first. Overall this was a really enjoyable work of fantasy that is a worthy installment in the series. It has both further fleshed out this extremely rich world and developed Imriel's complex character while brilliantly setting the stage for book 3.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Amazingly lush, lyrical, and beautifully drawn, like all of the books in this world; I always have to read them in one sitting, because they're so full-body immersive that to stop mid-way leaves me feeling like I've been hit with a bucket of cold water. And when I'm done, I always have to close the cover and sit for a while, quietly reflecting and trying to absorb and engage with the story. They make you think, and more than that, they make you feel. This one is much better than the first in Imriel's Amazingly lush, lyrical, and beautifully drawn, like all of the books in this world; I always have to read them in one sitting, because they're so full-body immersive that to stop mid-way leaves me feeling like I've been hit with a bucket of cold water. And when I'm done, I always have to close the cover and sit for a while, quietly reflecting and trying to absorb and engage with the story. They make you think, and more than that, they make you feel. This one is much better than the first in Imriel's trilogy (which was good, almost great even, but not the same level of incandescent that the first trilogy always had). Carey has found Imri's voice, and it's a good one: clear and distinct, and watching him mature through this book is a delight. The dilemmas that drive the book are natural and real in the context of the world Carey's created, though it might feel artifical to someone who isn't familiar with the imperatives and values of her society. This isn't quite a five-star book, but it's better than what I'd consider four-star, and since we can't give half stars, I'm rounding up! Still, if you're interested -- and I really think that any fantasy fan should read this series if you haven't already -- start with the first book of the first trilogy, Kushiel's Dart, and go from there. (I will warn you that the first bits of Dart are slow-going; in the grandest High Political Fantasy tradition, she jumps right in and starts throwing political machination around within the first few pages, and it will take you a while to sort out who's who and what factions exist. Stick with it. It's worth it. Oh, is it ever worth it.) Carey's one of those authors that I wish I could read again for the first time, immersing myself in her world and her characters and all of her societal structures and discovering them slowly again. This is a series for people who love political high fantasy with deep roots and immersive worlds. Seriously, if you haven't read them yet, do.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    Once you cross a threshold, there is no going back. The one thing I’m really loving about this trilogy is that Imriel’s adventures feel very personal. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the original trilogy told from Phedre’s POV but hers was a story that encompassed broad political schemes that often crossed national borders. Imriel’s story is more about his personal growth into maturity, about finding the person he is meant to be and learning to be comfortable in his own skin. For that reason, I’m Once you cross a threshold, there is no going back. The one thing I’m really loving about this trilogy is that Imriel’s adventures feel very personal. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the original trilogy told from Phedre’s POV but hers was a story that encompassed broad political schemes that often crossed national borders. Imriel’s story is more about his personal growth into maturity, about finding the person he is meant to be and learning to be comfortable in his own skin. For that reason, I’m finding him to be a more relatable character than Phedre ever was. This book covers Imriel’s life from the age of 18 (almost 19) to about the age of 21. It’s two years for a lot of emotional growth but Imriel proves himself equal to the task. It is far from an easy road however. Although initially adamantly opposed to the political marriage proposed to him in the first book by Queen Ysandre, meant to shore up Terre d’Ange’s influence on the royal line of Alba, Imriel has now decided that the mature and responsible thing to do is to accept his duty as a prince of the blood and marry Dorelei of Alba. He’s still not keen on the idea but, seeing the love matches that surround him in the pairings of Ysandre/Drustan and Phedre/Josecelin, he has resigned himself to a life without the option for an equally passionate love for himself. I must admit a little disappointment in both Phedre and Joscelin for not giving at least token protest over Imriel having to sacrifice his chance at finding love for himself. As fate would have it, another encounter with Princess Sidonie solidifies for Imriel that the spark of attraction that briefly flared between him and her in the first book has survived his year away in Tiberium. They embark on a secret affair in the months before the arrival of his arranged bride. Imriel’s position as the son of two of Terre d’Ange’s greatest traitors makes him a politically unsuitable match for the crown princess but, as Elua commands “Love as thou wilt”. Promises have been made, however, and neither Imriel nor Sidonie, both still being young and unsure, lack the courage to cause any political waves. The arranged marriage takes place as planned and Imriel once again finds himself leaving the land of his birth to sail to Alba with a stranger as his bride. We live, we heal, we endure. We mourn the dead and treasure the living. We bear our scars. Breaking Elua’s main precept comes with a cost and bearing that cost brings about a lot of changes in Imriel. I admit that there were times in book one when I was extremely disappointed in his choices. I had to remind myself that he was only 18 years old, full of hormones, and off on his own for the first time in his life. I liked Imriel much better in this book; he’s definitely growing up. He bears a lot and he manages most of it with grace. I was also very proud of Sidonie and the way she dealt with things. There was one especially “Hell yeah!” moment when I wanted to stand up and cheer. She’s proving herself to be one hell of a woman and I only wish that there was more of her in the story. I’ve seen reviews that reduce the whole “why do we fit so well?” question to a simple matter of sexual parts fitting together which is just ridiculous and misses the whole point of the “dark mirror and the light mirror” entirely. Personally, I loved this book. I didn’t love all the parts of it equally but that was more or less true of the first book too. But even with the parts I was less enthused about, the pages seemed to fly and for all of its page count it felt like a fast read to me. As much as I loved the first trilogy, I may be loving this one a tad more…and, again, I think that relates directly to Imriel being a more accessible character than Phedre. With the way that this book ended, I am really looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy and I predict that it will be hard to part with Imriel when all is said and done. Time changes things; but so does love. Love, above all else.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    "You will find it and lose it, again and again. And with each finding and each loss, you will become more than before. What you make of it is yours to choose." In the second part, our hero returns triumphant to his homeland with his reputation preceding him and made him in the eyes of the people a romantic hero. Because of this and the lessons gained during the first part has more confidence although doubts still exist somewhere in the distance. So is thrown with more available in the "You will find it and lose it, again and again. And with each finding and each loss, you will become more than before. What you make of it is yours to choose." In the second part, our hero returns triumphant to his homeland with his reputation preceding him and made him in the eyes of the people a romantic hero. Because of this and the lessons gained during the first part has more confidence although doubts still exist somewhere in the distance. So is thrown with more available in the world of various sexual pleasures that dominate the country's life, which gives him the opportunity to see that such pleasures are not necessarily part of something dark to avoid it but rather a part of life that may even deliver substantial lessons. Along the way, however, unexpectedly experienced a much more substantial form of love: one that combines the union of the flesh with the spiritual union of the two lovers. In other words, our hero realizes that love can have many forms and can appear and disappear where you don’t expect.it. The story then takes a more unexpected turn as the scene is transferred to Alba, a fantastic version of Britain, which gives the opportunity to the author to describe it in more detail, using creatively historical data to create a special fictional country with special habits and customs. But we do not not stay there for much time, from there the story continues with a vengeance trip to the frozen north that reaches an imaginary version of Russia. From this comes the title of the book as our hero takes on the tough task to deliver the Justice of Kushiel, something that will bring him face to face with the questions for the value of revenge, the subject of justice and the place of forgiveness. All this in a very sensual book but has large doses of sensibility, with the plot leading us to some very high emotional peaks. Emotionally charged, tender but also gives cause for reflection on the themes of love, passion, revenge while making a comment on the turmoil that changes can bring in societies and above all the fear of them. The action is virtually absent - on the field of battle, of course, on the beds are naturally present and rich - but is replenished with greater depth in thoughts and feelings, but also to the journey on (almost) fantastic world and getting to know the cultures that exist in this, products of very nice playing with the history. As for the negatives, certainly there is greater consistency in the plot as we have a complete history and not just some episodes linked together. The issue, however, is that the story of this whole trilogy in general is more "small", involving essentially a personal story, unlike the first trilogy the story concerned bigger events, with the fate of the world hanging on the balance. It is an interesting story of course that the writer tells us a wonderful way, but it is not something great. Of course this may change in the third and last part, but in the first two is a feature that removes something from my appreciation in relation to my very beloved trilogy of Phedre. However the quality remains at a very high level and it is certainly another very good fantasy book. Στο δεύτερο μέρος ο ήρωας μας επιστρέφει θριαμβευτής στην πατρίδα του με τη φήμη του να έχει προηγηθεί και να τον έχει κάνει στα μάτια του κόσμου έναν ρομαντικό ήρωα. Εξαιτίας αυτού και με τα διδάγματα που απέκτησε στη διάρκεια του πρώτου μέρους έχει περισσότερη αυτοπεποίθηση αν και οι αμφιβολίες υπάρχουν ακόμα κάπου στο βάθος. Έτσι ρίχνεται με περισσότερη διάθεση στον κόσμο των ποικίλων ερωτικών απολαύσεων που κυριαρχούν στη ζωή της χώρας του, κάτι που του δίνει την ευκαιρία να διαπιστώσει ότι αυτού του είδους οι απολαύσεις δεν είναι απαραίτητα μέρος από κάτι σκοτεινό που πρέπει να το αποφύγει αλλά αντιθέτως ένα μέρος της ζωής που μπορεί να του προσφέρει ακόμα και ουσιαστικά μαθήματα. Στην πορεία, όμως, γνωρίζει αναπάντεχα μία πολύ πιο ουσιαστική μορφή του έρωτα: αυτή που συνδυάζει την ένωση της σάρκας με την πνευματική ένωση των δύο εραστών. Με άλλα λόγια ο ήρωας μας συνειδητοποιεί ότι ο έρωτας μπορεί να έχει πολλές μορφές και να εμφανίζεται και να χάνεται εκεί που δεν τον περιμένεις. Η ιστορία όμως παίρνει μία πιο αναπάντεχη στροφή στη συνέχεια καθώς το σκηνικό μεταφέρεται στην Alba, μία φανταστική εκδοχή της Βρετανίας, κάτι που δίνει την ευκαιρία στη συγγραφέα να μας την περιγράψει με περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες, χρησιμοποιώντας δημιουργικά τα ιστορικά στοιχεία για να δημιουργήσει μία ξεχωριστή φανταστική χώρα με ιδιαίτερες συνήθειες και έθιμα. Δεν μένουμε, όμως, μόνο εκεί καθώς από εκεί και πέρα η ιστορία συνεχίζεται με ένα ταξίδι εκδίκησης στον παγωμένο βορρά που φτάνει μέχρι μία φανταστική εκδοχή της Ρωσίας. Από αυτό προέρχεται και ο τίτλος του βιβλίου καθώς ο ήρωας μας αναλαμβάνει το δύσκολο καθήκον να αποδώσει τη δικαιοσύνη του Kushiel, κάτι που θα τον φέρει αντιμέτωπο με ερωτήματα και την αξία της εκδίκησης, την έννοια της δικαιοσύνης και την θέση που μπορεί να έχει η συγχώρεση. Όλα αυτά σε ένα βιβλίο ιδιαίτερα αισθησιακό που όμως έχει μεγάλες δόσεις ευαισθησίας, με την πλοκή να μας οδηγεί σε μερικές πολύ υψηλές συναισθηματικές κορυφώσεις. Συγκινησιακά φορτισμένο, τρυφερό αλλά παράλληλα δίνει και αφορμές για σκέψη πάνω στα θέματα του έρωτα, του πάθους, της εκδίκησης αν και κάνει και ένα σχόλιο για την αναταραχή που φέρνουν στις κοινωνίες οι αλλαγές και πάνω από όλα ο φόβος για αυτές. Η δράση είναι ουσιαστικά απούσα - στο πεδίο των μαχών βέβαια, στα κρεβάτια είναι φυσικά παρούσα και πλούσια - αλλά αναπληρώνεται με τη μεγαλύτερη εμβάθυνση σε σκέψεις και συναισθήματα αλλά και με το ταξίδι στον (σχεδόν) φανταστικό κόσμο και τη γνωριμία με τους πολιτισμούς που υπάρχουν σε αυτόν, προϊόντα του πολύ ωραίου παιχνιδιού με την ιστορία που κάνει η συγγραφέας. Όσο για τα αρνητικά, σίγουρα υπάρχει μεγαλύτερη συνοχή στην πλοκή καθώς έχουμε μία ολοκληρωμένη ιστορία και όχι απλά κάποια επεισόδια που συνδέονται μεταξύ τους. Το θέμα, όμως, είναι ότι η ιστορία ολόκληρης αυτής της τριλογίας γενικότερα είναι περισσότερο "μικρή", αφορώντας ουσιαστικά μία προσωπική ιστορία, σε αντίθεση με την πρώτη τριλογία που η ιστορία της αφορούσε μεγαλύτερα γεγονότα, με τις τύχες του κόσμου να κρέμονται από την εξέλιξη της. Είναι μία ενδιαφέρουσα ιστορία φυσικά, με τη συγγραφέα να μας την αφηγείται με υπέροχο τρόπο, δεν είναι όμως κάτι το τρομερό. Βέβαια αυτό μπορεί να αλλάξει στο τρίτο και τελευταίο μέρος αλλά στα δύο πρώτα αυτό είναι ένα χαρακτηριστικό που αφαιρεί κάτι ελάχιστο από την εκτίμησή μου σε σχέση με την πολύ αγαπημένη μου τριλογία της Φαίδρας. Παρόλα αυτά η ποιότητα παραμένει σε ιδιαίτερα υψηλό επίπεδο και σίγουρα πρόκειται για άλλο ένα πάρα πολύ καλό βιβλίο φαντασίας.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana Stormblessed

    I haven't loved a Kushiel book this much since Kushiel's Dart. By far the sexiest of the books. Love, adventure, angst. It had it all. Can't wait to dive into the next one. I love Imri.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    "We live, we heal, we endure. We mourn the dead and treasure the living. We bear our scars." 870 pages of almost continuous awesomeness. I just finished Kushiel's Justice and right now my brain is still incoherent mush. Happy mushy post-reading brain. I might have finished it sooner, but real life got in the way. That, and Chloe decided it was a pillow. The world Carey has created completely envelops you. It's luxe and tex "We live, we heal, we endure. We mourn the dead and treasure the living. We bear our scars." 870 pages of almost continuous awesomeness. I just finished Kushiel's Justice and right now my brain is still incoherent mush. Happy mushy post-reading brain. I might have finished it sooner, but real life got in the way. That, and Chloe decided it was a pillow. The world Carey has created completely envelops you. It's luxe and textured. Every country, culture, nationality, and custom, every detail right down to the weather is so exacting and developed. The only thing I can compare it to is A Game of Thrones and the rich detail of Westeros. The characters continue to astound. The cast is massive but each character, however minor, is given adequate development. I can't say I like Imriel as narrator / main character as much as I liked Phèdre. He is a good character and he undergoes loads of character development here, but ultimately he can't compare to one of my favorite heroines of all time. As always the plot is good and packed with yummy surprises. (view spoiler)[RIP Dorelei. And Berlik. I did not expect his death to be so touching. (hide spoiler)] Another thing I really love about this series is that each individual book wraps itself up very nicely, while still leaving room for more. I have loads of questions (mainly where on earth is Melisande, what is she up to, and can she show up again pleassssse?) and stuff that I want to see happen, but I don't feel unsatisfied. I remain completely entranced by this series. Despite all the terrible things that happen, it remains a uniquely positive, happy reading experience. Even when everything seems hopeless, filled with death and despair, it's not depressing. This whole series has been joyously good, and Kushiel's Justice is no exception.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben Babcock

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the first book in the series since Kushiel's Dart that I would really classify as romance. There have been romantic subplots in the interim, but nothing like the romance between Phèdre and Joscelin from the first book. Jacqueline Carey is trying to rebottle that lightning in Kushiel's Justice. It doesn't quite work, but there are some good secondary effects that, in the end, make this book better than Kushiel's Scion . It's your classic love triangle: Imriel loves Sidonie, who loves him back. This is the first book in the series since Kushiel's Dart that I would really classify as romance. There have been romantic subplots in the interim, but nothing like the romance between Phèdre and Joscelin from the first book. Jacqueline Carey is trying to rebottle that lightning in Kushiel's Justice. It doesn't quite work, but there are some good secondary effects that, in the end, make this book better than Kushiel's Scion . It's your classic love triangle: Imriel loves Sidonie, who loves him back. But Imriel is the son of a traitor, so it would not do for their affair to become public. Also, Imriel has bartered himself away to marry a Cruithne woman, Dorelei, and beget heirs to the Alban throne. Got that? Good. The dilemma, then, is whether Imriel remains in Alba with Dorelei or leaves—with or without impregnating her—and tries to make things work with Sidonie in Terre d'Ange. To further complicate matters, an ancient Alban tribe has placed a curse on Imriel, because they have visions that predict his son by Dorelei will bring a D'Angeline army to Alba and conquer. That doesn't put Imriel in a good mood. The outcome isn't (or shouldn't be) surprising. After all, it's Sidonie on the cover, not Dorelei, so true love has to win in the end. I have to admit, I did not foresee Dorelei's death—which goes to show how little romance I read—but it's certainly an expedient way of reducing the love triangle to a love line. With Dorelei dead, Imriel is a widower, and he can absolve himself of any guilt over the matter by avenging her death. He cashes in on this future absolution a bit early when he reunites with Sidonie: at every meeting, they tend to have intense and passionate sex. This does put Imriel in a good mood. Let's review: after his pregnant wife is killed, one of the first things on his list, above even "getting better" from his own wounds, is to have sex with the woman he was thinking about ever since he got married. Excuses and rationalizations abound: he just can't help himself, they fit so well together, Dorelei would have wanted him to be happy . . . but it just feels cold. I was really invested in the emotional significance of Dorelei and Imriel's relationship: she was a good woman, and he was beginning to envision a life for himself that, if not passionate, was at least contenting. By resuming his affair with Sidonie so quickly, Imriel does nothing but remind me that Dorelei's only purpose was to be an obstacle between him and his princess. It cheapens, for me, Dorelei as a person, and does nothing to further my enjoyment of Imriel and Sidonie's happiness (which I did enjoy). I'm being glib here, and to be fair, Imriel does spend a large proportion of this book moping about one thing or another. Before Dorelei's death, he moped about Sidonie and the Alban curse subplot. After Dorelei's death, he moped about Sidonie and how he failed Dorelei. And the rest of the book following his brief reunion with Sidonie is devoted to his quest for revenge. So don't get the impression that his marriage to Dorelei is a brief episode that then gets shunted aside. (Dorelei suffers from this fate.) I could almost overlook these flaws, because Kushiel's Justice finally sees a return to Alba. Of all the alterna-Europe countries in Carey's world, Alba is the most fascinating. Thanks to the Master of the Straits, it remains isolated after the fall of the Roman—sorry, Tiberian—Empire. So no Angles, Saxons, or Jutes get to invade. It's a very different Alba from the invasion-prone British Isles we grow up learning about. But Carey squanders this opportunity with the curse. The Maghuin Dhonn are the worst antagonists we've yet to encounter in this series. They are worse, by far, than the Unseen Guild, although the two groups share a predilection for shadowy manipulation. And do not get me started about Morwen. She and Berlik partake of the most tired and clichéd excuses for their actions: they had no choice, they saw what they saw, they would do it differently if they had seen another way. I hate fatalistic villains who believe they're carrying some sort of burden placed upon them by the future. They're so smug in a self-righteous way, their voices tinged with a haughty sort of sadness over the protagonist's inability to see their side of the story. All too often, as is the case here, such fatalism is just a smokescreen to disguise a lack of deeper characterization. The Maghuin Dhonn are a pitiful excuse for a plot device to set up Dorelei's death, which itself is a plot device to reunite Sidonie and Imriel and let him get his vengeance on. Judging from all this vitriol, it seems unlikely that I could prefer Kushiel's Justice to Imriel's first adventure. Yet, perhaps paradoxically, this still emerges the better book. Its pacing is much better, and even if the plot is a tangled, mangled mess of illogical intrigue, it still has better characterization. Prior to her death, Dorelei went from unknown princess bride to a sweet, caring wife determined to make the best of her political marriage. Imriel doesn't deserve her. And if Carey surprised me with anything in this book, she did so with Maslin de Lombelon. I was really expecting Maslin to be an irrational foe of Imriel's long after he and Sidonie get together. Sure enough, he vehemently objects to Imriel's association with her at every turn—then he shows up and helps Imriel effect an escape from Vralia! Carey keeps it realistic, and Maslin honestly tells Imriel that he will always hate Imriel a bit—but they aren't enemies any more. That was a very interesting and unexpected development; I wonder of the extent to which Maslin will be an ally when Imriel and Sidonie resolve the political ramifications of their relationship in the next book. I am looking forward to finishing this trilogy. If you desire a blanket statement, then look to those people who pronounce the first trilogy superior to this one. They are correct. There are plenty of things to enjoy about Imriel's trilogy, especially in Kushiel's Justice. But the plot is just so heavy-handed, forcing the characters, particularly the antagonists, to act out of expediency instead of natural motivations. This is a book that talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk, at least not when it comes to conflict. The romantic subplot, if that's more your area of interest, is slightly better, although it doesn't capitalize on the depth Carey is perfectly capable of putting into her characters. Kushiel's Justice is OK, maybe even good, but it seems blatantly obvious that it could have been so much better. My Reviews of Kushiel's Legacy: ← Kushiel's Scion | Kushiel's Mercy →

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nisha

    I am finally done with this book, and it only took me... a year and a half. It's not because the book was bad (it was slow at some parts), but because JC overwhelms me all the time. Which means I have to read her in chunks. Ok, the other reason was that Imriel was not all that likeable during the beginning. There was a lot of sex (everywhere) and angst. I guess I should start from the beginning. Imriel and Sidonie have finally realized each other's feelings, but both being political figures, the I am finally done with this book, and it only took me... a year and a half. It's not because the book was bad (it was slow at some parts), but because JC overwhelms me all the time. Which means I have to read her in chunks. Ok, the other reason was that Imriel was not all that likeable during the beginning. There was a lot of sex (everywhere) and angst. I guess I should start from the beginning. Imriel and Sidonie have finally realized each other's feelings, but both being political figures, their love is forbidden. Plus Imriel feels obligated to serve his role and marry the Alban princess, Dorelei, as a means to keep two nations from falling into unrest. I adored Dorelei - she was mature and giving, which thankfully Imriel comes to love - but not nearly as passionately as his D'Angeline Princess. But Alban comes with an ancient people whose powers threaten Imriel and his new family. After about a half of the book, the real action (and the fun) begins when Dorelei and her unborn child are murdered by a bear-witch magician, in attempt to protect his people from a cursed future. Imriel must avenge her death and follows the bear-witch magician into the East, crossing all levels of danger for himself, his adopted country, and his love, Sidonie. Phedre and Joscelin (and Hyacinthe) make an appearance, but they are old (though still good-looking) and too legendary to contribute to the story. They disappear early or appear as caricatures of wise people. I was not a happy camper when I first started reading. I was forcing myself to finish it, because nothing really tragic was happening. Imriel was just a self-absorbed youth who lusted (ok, 'loved') after his cousin and princess of Terre d'Ange. There was the abundant sex that I could not connect with as I did with Phedre's story. This may simply be because Imriel was male and did not possess the superior senses of a woman. He grew in his marriage with Dorelei, so much that I started to tolerate him, but it wasn't until after her death that I even started liking him. He became more than a man who frequently sated his lust with his wife while longing for his distant lover. He became a man of honor and made mature decisions that required the balls he did not have earlier. Plus, he remained chaste during his journey to destroy his wife's murderer - of course, for his love of Sidonie. The people he met and befriend were interesting and like JC's previous books, made me want to know their real-world counterpart. The end of this book did not make me long to read about Imriel and Sidonie. Instead, i wanted to read about Alais and her life, and about Talorcan (I wonder what will happen to him, because there's a whole lot of foreshadowing). Overall, I enjoyed the book, but only after trudging through some very boring parts. I blame this on the fact that Imriel is really hard for me to relate to, or maybe he is too much like me (self-absorbed and a bit arrogant). I must say that I loved the second half of the book to pieces and would have given a 5 just for that, but the first part deserved a 3 and I felt generous to average a 4 overall.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    See also my review of "Kushiel's Scion", which covers this entire series. Weaker than even its predecessor ("Kushiel's Scion"), this book really gets bogged down by the silliness of its predominant religion, which seems to imply that teenage hormonal attraction trumps duty and sacrifice as the ultimate good. Imriel spends the first part of the book moping that he doesn't get to continually bed his cousin, and the second part of the book so half-heartedly tracking a murderer through ol See also my review of "Kushiel's Scion", which covers this entire series. Weaker than even its predecessor ("Kushiel's Scion"), this book really gets bogged down by the silliness of its predominant religion, which seems to imply that teenage hormonal attraction trumps duty and sacrifice as the ultimate good. Imriel spends the first part of the book moping that he doesn't get to continually bed his cousin, and the second part of the book so half-heartedly tracking a murderer through old Russia that by the time they find each other you don't care what happens. Still, Carey's writing is lush as ever and the tinge of epic adventure manages to cling onto the story despite its faults. Here's hoping the last book she's writing for this series finds its soul again and resurrects the nobility that made her first series so compelling.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kara-karina

    This series continues to be amazing! Imriel who is secretly in love with Sidonie, marries a princess of Alba and loses her due to a terrible prophecy. Now he needs to travel to faraway lands of Wralia (prototype of Russian Empire) to avenge his wife and come back to his beloved. This book is tragic, epic and philosophical. I absolutely loved listening to it on audio, and since then bought and read the rest of the series as audiobooks as well. Hugely recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Giovanna

    I like Imriel far more than Phedre as a narrator but this book really dragged if compared to the first one. I also really didn't appreciate some of the choices the author made. Probably sticking with a 3.5 because of that, but I am really curious to see how things will be wrapped up in book 3.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

    OK, so i just finished reading this book and decided to take a look around at what other people said about it online. I think some people have become confused about the term "emo" and what it means. Allow me to explain: emo is when you're whining and you don't deserve to. Emo is when you're whining to get attention because you think that will make you more interesting. When no one understands why you cut yourself, you're emo. When daddy won't let you date the boy you like because he's a punk, yo OK, so i just finished reading this book and decided to take a look around at what other people said about it online. I think some people have become confused about the term "emo" and what it means. Allow me to explain: emo is when you're whining and you don't deserve to. Emo is when you're whining to get attention because you think that will make you more interesting. When no one understands why you cut yourself, you're emo. When daddy won't let you date the boy you like because he's a punk, you're emo. When you live in the suburbs, are a member of the middle classes and have no real problems, but still complain, you're emo. When you're upset that your boyfriend won't turn you into a vampire, you're the queen of emo. I'm emo a lot of the time. I will gladly admit it. But when your wife who you married for the sake of the kingdom even though you were in love with your own princess is murdered, together with your unborn child, after releasing you so that you can be with your one true love after she's dead and yet you still have to track down the man who killed her even though you know that he really only did it because he was saving his own nation the way you were saving yours by doing what you did that put her in that situation because the whole thing was your fault anyway because you loved someone else that you couldn't have... I'm sorry. I don't care who killed your soul back in the nineties, but at that point, you are a figure of great and terrible romance. Own it. Oh, and don't read this review if you haven't read the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    If pressed I would admit that I like Phèdre and Joscelin’s story better than Imriel’s, but that didn’t stop me from being riveted by every single page of this book. I’m so glad that the ever so gracefully aging couple are present in Imriel’s trilogy - it's not often that you get to witness the happily ever after. I'm thoroughly invested in Imriel's adventures now, though. I'm amazed at how much I enjoy Carey's glacial pacing. There's nothing like having yet another lovely 1000-page bo If pressed I would admit that I like Phèdre and Joscelin’s story better than Imriel’s, but that didn’t stop me from being riveted by every single page of this book. I’m so glad that the ever so gracefully aging couple are present in Imriel’s trilogy - it's not often that you get to witness the happily ever after. I'm thoroughly invested in Imriel's adventures now, though. I'm amazed at how much I enjoy Carey's glacial pacing. There's nothing like having yet another lovely 1000-page book to look forward to.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leyoh

    This young relationship kept me on tenterhooks until the very last page. It's dark and deeply painful but the boy comes good in the end. I'll be bereft when these books end - They offer a thoroughly enthralling experience.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin Sweeney

    I started this book in 2007 (or so) and then couldn't finish it. Truly, I hated Imriel's character in this book. The problem with him is that he is a noble with no interest in his lands and no "job". He broods and is miserable because he's in love with someone forbidden to him and he has an arranged marriage to another. It's sort of pathetic, honestly. I found him annoying the ENTIRE book. I stopped reading at the part where he ends up in Alba and weird magic with pipes is beginning to haunt him I started this book in 2007 (or so) and then couldn't finish it. Truly, I hated Imriel's character in this book. The problem with him is that he is a noble with no interest in his lands and no "job". He broods and is miserable because he's in love with someone forbidden to him and he has an arranged marriage to another. It's sort of pathetic, honestly. I found him annoying the ENTIRE book. I stopped reading at the part where he ends up in Alba and weird magic with pipes is beginning to haunt him at night. I picked the book back up again 8 years later after rereading the first three Kushiel books just for a pick me up in the bedroom and ended up deciding I had to know what happens in Imriel's journey. I forced myself through this book. It was really bad - I'm not going to lie. There are so many things wrong with it. The plot is stupid and rambling. I really didn't care at all about it. Imriel's wife is so wonderful and loves him so much and he's so pathetic and useless that I truly disliked him. The end of the book - where he finds vengeance - isn't the end. The book keeps going for hundreds of pages after that. I just stopped reading it at that point because I didn't care what happened next enough to bother. Read my review of Kushiel's Mercy to decide if it's worth driving forward, as I did, to get through the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    My least favorite of these books so far. But it's more a matter of my taste than the book or writing itself. I just couldn't get behind the Imriel and Sidonie love story. It's not enough to tell me that they are in love. Show me. One moment they hardly have anything to do with each other and then suddenly they can't live without each other. But I don't find Romeo and Juliet romantic either. I'm more of a Beatrice and Benedick than Hero and Claudio (Much Ado About Nothing). Han and Leia than Anak My least favorite of these books so far. But it's more a matter of my taste than the book or writing itself. I just couldn't get behind the Imriel and Sidonie love story. It's not enough to tell me that they are in love. Show me. One moment they hardly have anything to do with each other and then suddenly they can't live without each other. But I don't find Romeo and Juliet romantic either. I'm more of a Beatrice and Benedick than Hero and Claudio (Much Ado About Nothing). Han and Leia than Anakin and Padme (Star Wars).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Under the Covers Book Blog

    It's always a pleasure to immerse myself in this world. What I've noticed after several books is the fact that this second trilogy with Imriel as the narrator is definitely different for me as a reading experience than Phedre's. That not necessarily a bad thing, but I think what I struggle is the fact that I'm missing that deep level of despair that Phedre was going through. Imriel is a younger character and while he's still going through a lot of serious things and wow has he matured in two b It's always a pleasure to immerse myself in this world. What I've noticed after several books is the fact that this second trilogy with Imriel as the narrator is definitely different for me as a reading experience than Phedre's. That not necessarily a bad thing, but I think what I struggle is the fact that I'm missing that deep level of despair that Phedre was going through. Imriel is a younger character and while he's still going through a lot of serious things and wow has he matured in two books with what life has thrown at him, he's not Phedre. And I keep waiting for that same feeling to come to me. So putting that aside and just thinking about this book, I definitely enjoyed this one more than the first. Imriel doesn't start out as a "spoiled" child (and I say that loosely because he really never was that bad). We now understand his love for Sidonie and you hurt along with him when they are torn apart not knowing what their future will be. Imriel grows into his sense of honor and responsibility. Which I was proud to see. There was introspection and a level of self awareness that he reaches that wasn't an easy task for him to achieve and Ms. Carey did a wonderful job at taking us on that journey with him. And of course, any cameos of Joscelin and Phedre always put a smile on my face and we got some of that in this book as well. If you haven't read this epic story and are looking for something to transport you out of this world, then I highly suggest these books. Lush world building, lyrical writing and compelling characters will keep you turning the pages. Favorite Quotes: To my surprise, Joscelin rose. "Phedre-" He began, then halted. Sitting below him, I watched him smile to himself, quiet and private. "Phedre yields with a willow’s grace," he said softly. "And endures with the strength of mountains. Without her, life would be calm; and yet lack all meaning." “It is a dangerous thing to bring a dream to life....I have watched my deepest, dearest hopes take shape, and I am not entirely sure I like the shape they have taken.” *Reviewed by Francesca❤ ♡ Don't want to miss any of our posts? Subscribe to our blog by email! ♡ ❤

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia London

    I cannot get enough of these books. Part of me wants to slow my reading, to savor it, and the other part of me speeds ahead because I simply MUST know how this story will end! On to Kushiel's Mercy!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mei

    The writing is as beautiful as always and the plot continues to be intriguing. While this second series doesn't quite reach the greatness of the first, it is still about as good as fantasy gets.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Todd Ross

    I finished the audio book yesterday for Kushiel's Justice, the 2nd book in Imriel's trilogy. This one was a pretty hard book to get through for me. It feels like the graphic sexual content was turned up to 11, but so was the horribly portrayed harlequin romance. I'm really tired of Sidney (I'm calling her that, I don't care). They seem to love each other for no real reason besides a shitty explanation of "true love". Let love grow naturally, it just didn't in this novel. they hated each other, t I finished the audio book yesterday for Kushiel's Justice, the 2nd book in Imriel's trilogy. This one was a pretty hard book to get through for me. It feels like the graphic sexual content was turned up to 11, but so was the horribly portrayed harlequin romance. I'm really tired of Sidney (I'm calling her that, I don't care). They seem to love each other for no real reason besides a shitty explanation of "true love". Let love grow naturally, it just didn't in this novel. they hated each other, then had some sexual tension, then loved each other as no one has loved anyone ever. Even when he thinks about why he loves her he can't really say half the time besides the gross reason that "They fit so well together" which is referencing exactly what you think it is and is fucking stupid. So plot happens and he marries another woman for political reasons. She seems fantastic and great, and he softens to her, but only because he wears magic charms to dull his uncontrollable love for Sidney. Him and his wife get pregnant, and in a twist everyone saw coming she gets murdered and so does his baby. I mean of course they do, because she was just a prop in his grander love for Sidney the shitty princess. Hell, he doesn't even ever feel like he mourns the loss of his wife and child, he pretty much immediately runs back to Sidney and bangs her while he's bleeding all over the bed. Seriously F this book. I only gave it 2 stars because the narrator was awesome. Seriously, he's amazing. But this book declined into one of the worst romance novels I've ever gotten anywhere near. Seriously, I pretty much hated this book. And I already bought the 3rd audiobook before I felt this way or I would have just stopped. I'll start book 3 after I cleanse my pallet on a week or two of podcasts. But I feel like its only going to get worse. Honestly I don't feel like this series even has a plot... Its basically all decoration for the absolutely dog shit love story between Imriel and Sidney. Phedra's trilogy was a plot with a nice romance in the background. It was politics and adventure with some steamy bits. This series is all steamy bits and romance with some short excursions into adventure that aren't even all that well written or told. If you are reading this, it was written with some anger and disgust. It was a raw reaction to a series and author I thought I liked as they moved more and more into a style and subject matter that absolutely does not interest me...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leseparatist

    The second novel in Imriel's cycle is not really worse than the first one, but I did feel cheated reading it. The plot is relatively straightforward: (view spoiler)[Imriel decides his and Sidonie's love cannot be, so he decides to go through with the political marriage to Sidonie's cousin from Alba. They marry, magic and problems follow, the wife gets pregnant, Imriel loves her but not as much as his True Love Sidonie, the wife gets killed before giving bi The second novel in Imriel's cycle is not really worse than the first one, but I did feel cheated reading it. The plot is relatively straightforward: (view spoiler)[Imriel decides his and Sidonie's love cannot be, so he decides to go through with the political marriage to Sidonie's cousin from Alba. They marry, magic and problems follow, the wife gets pregnant, Imriel loves her but not as much as his True Love Sidonie, the wife gets killed before giving birth to the heir, Imriel decides that he should go back to his TL Sidonie, but before they can live HEA he has to avenge his wife. Cue lots and lots of snow. (hide spoiler)] In order to make this rather straightforward story last the hundreds and hundreds of pages, we get even more filler than usual (arguably, the whole novel constitutes a large filler-y obstacle between books 1 and 3, because by the end of this book the changes to status quo of book 1 are relatively small). Unfortunately, instead of sexy filler like in Phedre's novels, this time the filler is mostly Imriel being detained in various places. It's quite interesting on an intellectual level - very mythologically-inspired, structurally - but it doesn't quite make for great pacing. (view spoiler)[ I mean, first he is shipwrecked on an island and then he is stuck in jail? No. (hide spoiler)] So this was the first reason I felt cheated. The other was that the novel promises a lot of sex and kink (I mean, it's Kushiel...) but doesn't deliver. (view spoiler)[(Imriel decides to visit all the Houses of Night! And... he manages to visit two!) instead all we get is pretty much Imriel/Sidonie, and they don't even do BDSM, just kind of sudden anal, once. Somewhere Melisande and Phedre are really surprised and blame Joscelin's influence. And I keep waiting for that gay sex kind of promised in book one, and if ALL we'll ever get is that blow job, I won't appreciate it. (hide spoiler)] That said, the novel delivers on all other accounts. It's got adventure, emotions and as usual, the unflinchingly positive and respectful portrayal of sexuality. Supporting cast is likable, the story (while not as plotty and complex as Phedre's were) is decently paced and I'm looking forward to the third installment.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I should start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Phedre's trilogy--in these first three books, Jacqueline Carey's prose was lovely, the world she had created fascinating, the characters believable and compelling. Having muddled through the second book in Imriel's trilogy makes me question that assessment. Perhaps some of the problem is that it is simply too much of the same--forbidden love spliced with mortal peril, heroics, and way too much gratuitous sex. But generally, in bot I should start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Phedre's trilogy--in these first three books, Jacqueline Carey's prose was lovely, the world she had created fascinating, the characters believable and compelling. Having muddled through the second book in Imriel's trilogy makes me question that assessment. Perhaps some of the problem is that it is simply too much of the same--forbidden love spliced with mortal peril, heroics, and way too much gratuitous sex. But generally, in both this book and its predecessor, it feels as though Carey has lost her touch. For starters, we need to find this woman a decent editor. Sidonie deftly coils her hair in about every chapter she's in (I guess something about that image really appeals to Carey, since I recall her frequently using it for Phedre as well), and about 20% of the overall word count is the words "well and so" and "ah, Elua!" There are far too many irrelevant filler scenes and dull conversations that do nothing to further the plot or contribute to character development. Carey has also not done a good job of giving Imriel a distinct voice--the second half of this series could just as easily have been from Phedre's perspective. I understand that writers have very particular styles and that it is hard to eschew them completely, but if you make a deliberate choice to write from a single character's perspective, there needs to be a reason for it and you need to do more than change your pronouns. I also just don't buy the great love that has randomly developed between Imriel and Sidonie. It is not enough to repeatedly assure the reader of how in love the characters are--they have to believe it, and I don't. In both Kushiel's Scion and Kushiel's Justice combined, Imriel and Sidonie have about three major interactions before their relationship devolves into pages upon pages of gratuitous sex. (The sexual content of this book in particular is veering towards the pornographic--I seem to recall the love scenes once being at least vaguely important for the plot, and not merely titillating.) By far the most interesting part of this installment was Imriel's journey toward fatherhood and, well, we all know how that ends--in a move that is as cheap as it is predictable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Belmanoir

    SPOILERS below (although I've tried to keep them minor): You know, I LOVED, I mean LOVED, the other books in the Kushiel series. This one, I just liked. I even got really bored partway through, because Imriel had been wandering around in the snow for what seemed like HUNDREDS OF PAGES. In a lot of ways this book felt like set-up for the next one. Despite the political implications of Imriel's marriage and quest and everything that was going on in Russia, it felt like the stakes for th SPOILERS below (although I've tried to keep them minor): You know, I LOVED, I mean LOVED, the other books in the Kushiel series. This one, I just liked. I even got really bored partway through, because Imriel had been wandering around in the snow for what seemed like HUNDREDS OF PAGES. In a lot of ways this book felt like set-up for the next one. Despite the political implications of Imriel's marriage and quest and everything that was going on in Russia, it felt like the stakes for the whole second half of the book were entirely personal, and not even that great. Also, I was once again frustrated by how Carey has set up this supposedly amazing transgressive universe where the only commandment is "Love as thou wilt," and yet she consistently shies back from anything ACTUALLY transgressive, like genuine polyamory, alternative family structures, even a MAJOR CHARACTER BEING GAY OR EVEN BI WITH A PREFERENCE FOR THE SAME GENDER. Dude, who was the last gay character? Remy or Ti-Philippe or someone? Whoever it was, I think they died like two books ago. And are you telling me that in this whole country of people who love whoever they want, there's not a single menage-a-trois? Because we ain't seen one yet, in FOUR BOOKS. Where is the guy-on-guy action? I get that Carey is in love with her OTP, but Phedre/Joscelin was very OTP too and Phedre still got to have sex all over the place, frequently with chicks, because that is how D'Angelines roll, supposedly. Sidonie even gets to have sex with a chick. But Imriel STILL HAS NOT SLEPT WITH A SINGLE GUY. Not only do I feel cheated, but I think Carey is breaking the rules of her own world, and I don't understand why. I guess I'll have to hold out for some m/m in the last book (or just write my own, I had a cool idea for a Mavros/Imriel story), but things don't seem to be going that way. And then she had a chance to do something really interesting with an alternative family structure and instead she took the easy way out. This was still entertaining; I was just expecting a lot more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 Stars, round up to 4 because I cut Carey some slack cause she's awesome. Nothing unexpected here from Carey--she delivers on drama, excitement, emotional clarity, wisdom, love, intrigue, and steamy sex scenes as usual. My one struggle here was a personal one. Carey introduces Imriel as being torn between two relationships: one of desire and one of duty. It is always tough for me to read about the relationship of hard work, love, and responsibility failing. Because that 3.5 Stars, round up to 4 because I cut Carey some slack cause she's awesome. Nothing unexpected here from Carey--she delivers on drama, excitement, emotional clarity, wisdom, love, intrigue, and steamy sex scenes as usual. My one struggle here was a personal one. Carey introduces Imriel as being torn between two relationships: one of desire and one of duty. It is always tough for me to read about the relationship of hard work, love, and responsibility failing. Because that is a realistic relationship. Imriel and Sidonie's relationship is not one that is real or one that I can relate to--it is perfect, it is a fantasy. Its only challenges are external--everything between them is unbelievably perfect and scorching. Which is why we read books like these, and that is exciting, and sexy, etc. But when you place a real relationship beside it--one that requires hard work, that may not be absolutely perfect, you realize how much sweeter its successes are. Nothing comes easily to Dorelei and Imriel, but once they finally do connect it is redeeming and a huge relief. Here is a real relationship, one not blessed by love gods, that is actually working out. Here are two people from different walks of life, with different traditions, that are falling in love. That is refreshing. Next to Sidonie and Imriel's scorching scenes it may be slightly lackluster, but it felt real. It felt tough. Carey had something here. And the message she sends when she kills Dorelei and delivers Imriel right back into Sidonie's arms...I don't know. It rubbed me the wrong way. Sorry this got real ranty real quick. If it's not obvious I got a bit pissed at this book. Still enjoyed it though--although the Vralia parts dragged on way too long.

  25. 4 out of 5

    G.

    3.5/5 Part two of the Imriel trilogy. Not a huge fan of the whole Dorelei plotline and how her arc ended. Girl deserved better. I loved the Alba parts, tho. So much, I wished Alais would be the narrator.

  26. 5 out of 5

    A.R.

    The second chapter in the saga of Imriel de la Courcel and his adventures through new kingdoms yet always battling old enemies. The story picks up exactly where the first book left off, and I loved that attention to detail. I had reached for the third book before I turned the last page on this one, and nothing would keep me from it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melina

    The worst installment in the series so far, it focuses mainly on Imriel and Sidonie 's great love that seems to consist of nothing more than passionate sex. Imriel marries Dorelei for political reasons and moves to Alba with her, while constantly moping for Sidonie only to run back to her the moment his wife is conveniently out of the picture. After that it seems that avenging her by killing her murderer is the only thing that needs to be over in order for Imriel and Sidonie to live their love o The worst installment in the series so far, it focuses mainly on Imriel and Sidonie 's great love that seems to consist of nothing more than passionate sex. Imriel marries Dorelei for political reasons and moves to Alba with her, while constantly moping for Sidonie only to run back to her the moment his wife is conveniently out of the picture. After that it seems that avenging her by killing her murderer is the only thing that needs to be over in order for Imriel and Sidonie to live their love or at least have never ending sex.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dirlas

    This book was heartbreaking in so many ways. It was completely amazing. I'm dying to read the next book but I also don't want it to end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    The story: Imriel has returned from Tiberium, on the basis that he wants to be good. To him, this means marrying Dorelei, making his Queen and Cruarch happy as he forges another alliance between Alba and Terra d'Ange. This also means ignoring his desire for Sidonie, the Queen's daughter and his cousin, to whom there should be no relationship, apart from that of family. Of course this doesn't work out, and a forbidden affair blossoms between the pair. Still, the marriage to Dorelei goes forth, and Im The story: Imriel has returned from Tiberium, on the basis that he wants to be good. To him, this means marrying Dorelei, making his Queen and Cruarch happy as he forges another alliance between Alba and Terra d'Ange. This also means ignoring his desire for Sidonie, the Queen's daughter and his cousin, to whom there should be no relationship, apart from that of family. Of course this doesn't work out, and a forbidden affair blossoms between the pair. Still, the marriage to Dorelei goes forth, and Imriel moves to Alba, ready to take on his new title as Prince of Alba, father to potential heirs. However, as we all know it, Imriel has the worst of luck in all the realms, and after a small mishap on sacred Alban land, he is caught up in yet another conspiracy - that of Alban lore... The thoughts: I will own, it's possible I may love the Imriel trilogy much harder than Phedre's trilogy. I don't know if it's because I read the Phedre trilogy well over a year ago and therefore they're no longer fresh in my mind, or because I can now understand the political conspiracies a hell of a lot better. I remember while reading Phedre's trilogy, a lot went straight over my head in regards to all the politics, the names, the different countries, etc... The point is, I've been able to enjoy these books so much more, and I think that may be thanks to understanding. I should really go back and read Phedre's trilogy again. It may also be because I adore Imriel, and lap up everything he says wholeheartedly. (Of course, I adored Phedre just as much, and the small appearances of her and Joscelin still makes me squeal. Sigh.) The one thing that drives me nuts is that while I'm reading the books, I always have SO MUCH to say. I know what I want to write in my reviews. And then I finish the book and I'm speechless. Absolutely speechless. Possibly because between page 1 and page 880, SO MUCH has happened and I'm just... overwhelmed, to say the least. Reading one of these books is like reading its own trilogy, that's how much is compacted into one book. Jacqueline Carey is surely a mastermind, to be able to create such vivid characters, to be able to forge such beautiful relationships between these characters, and to be able to stun the crap out of us with the pitfalls, the desires, the ups and downs, the EVERYTHING that she drags these characters through. The love between Sidonie and Imriel, for one thing, is absolutely beautiful, and WELL WORTH the wait. There is so much passion between them, waiting to break out of hiding since Kushiel's Scion, that when it finally happens, you're dragged right into it. It's mesmerising. The gradual love of Dorelei is also beautiful. I remember almost hating Dorelei for being there, for ruining everything, even though it wasn't her fault. And then at some point along the way, it all switches. The loving relationship between Dorelei and Imriel is so slow-coming, you don't realise it's there until it is. Suddenly you love her just like Imriel loves her. I felt like I was torn apart, just like Imriel, between the desire of wanting him to go back to Sidonie, and stay with Dorelei. Jacqueline has an envious way of developing relationships. Of developing anything, for that matter. The growth of her characters is so realistic; the Imriel at the end of Justice is so different to the beginning, yet he is still Imriel, just older and wiser. If I could write half as well as Carey, I would count myself lucky. So to sum it up... Fact: Kushiel's Justice was fantastic. Fact: that is an understatement. I may cry at the end of Kushiel's Mercy (even though I can't WAIT to start reading). I don't want to let these characters go, and it's devastating to think that once Mercy is over, these characters will be gone. Naamah's Kiss won't be the same :(

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christine Kirchoff

    I absolutely fell in love with this book. There are so many twists and shocking moments. The adventure balances well with the romance. I loved it so much I ordered the next few books. This whole series is a must read!

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