Top positive review
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Swashbuckling adventure, romance, political intrigue & world building - an altogether riveting novel!~
on 23 August 2006
"Kushiel's Scion" is the fourth book in Jacqueline Carey's thrilling fantasy series of life in the exotic realm of Terre d'Ange, a world somewhat similar to our Earth, during a period reminiscent of the Renaissance. The preceding "Kushiel's Legacy" trilogy, composed of "Kushiel's Dart," "Kushiel's Chosen," and "Kushiel's Avatar" are all extraordinary novels, and although it is not necessary to have read them in order to enjoy this one, they do provide a fantastic reading experience and a wonderful introduction to Jacqueline Carey's latest protagonist, Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel. "Scion" is also the first novel in a new trilogy which will chronicle the life of de la Courcel, the foster son of Phèdre nó Delaunay, the Comtesse de Montreve, peer of Terre d'Ange, and her consort, the Cassiline apostate, Joscelin Verreuil.
Imriel, a royal prince of the blood, was abandoned in infancy by both of his treasonous parents. Captured in childhood by pirates, the boy spent his youth in slavery, subjected to abominable & depraved torture until he was rescued by Phèdre and Joscelin, who love him as a son. Now, a handsome and accomplished teen, Imriel is experiencing the normal restlessness and insecurities of adolescence, but is additionally burdened by his past experiences. He finds it difficult to live down his mother's, Melisande Shahrizai's, reputation as an arch villainess who would sell her soul and her son, seemingly, for a kingdom and power. When he unwillingly become involved in court intrigue, Imriel decides to study abroad and takes on an anonymous identity to do so.
Much more than a coming of age tale, Ms Carey dramatically and skillfully changes her point of view from the mindset of a mature woman to that of an adolescent boy with an unusual amount of baggage. Unlike most young men of his age, Imriel must struggle with an infamous heritage and nightmarish memories. While this boy-man is not anywhere near as complex a character as the mature woman, Phèdre nó Delaunay, Imriel is no slouch either. He has yet to acquire Phèdre's life experience, and that is what this novel is about - acquiring experience, adventuring and building character. There are enough complexities in this tale to satisfy the most demanding and discerning reader.
The plot and subplots are unique and stunning. The excitement just doesn't stop. Ms. Carey combines swashbuckling adventure, romance, eroticism, political intrigue and world building. Her imaginative use of historic detail, diverse cultures, the creation of many varied characters and their development, make this series so special. A riveting novel - I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended