This book concludes the second Kushiel trilogy by Jacqueline Carey which features Imriel as the lead character. This book was a perfect conclusion to this trilogy. It’s a long book, very long. Imriel’s journey in this book is just as immense as in the last book. This book felt like it encompassed more than one story, it could have (again) been more than one book. Unlike the last book, I feel that that worked for this book. This book wasn’t a struggle to get through. It flowed beautifully, was action packed, and had you holding your breath until the very end.
Imriel and Sidonie confront Ysandre about their relationship; which threatens to tear the realm apart. Sidonie stands to inherit the throne and her relationship with Imriel is less than appreciated considering his mother was a traitor to the crown. When confronted Ysandre says only one thing will sway her into allowing their relationship; Imriel must find his traitorous mother and bring her back to Terre d’Ange for execution. As Imriel starts this difficult task, there is an unexpected entourage from Carthage. The visit from Carthage sets events into motion that no one could have imagined.
I really enjoyed this book. I was sad that the characters were put through so much torment. There is no one in this book who is left unscathed in the end. As usual Imriel and Sidonie take the brunt of it. One again Carey does an excellent job of character development. We really see Imriel and Sidonie grow into adults and it is wonderful to watch them become comfortable with who they are.
The writing is beautiful and perfect, as with the rest of this series. I thought that the pacing of this book was much better than the last book. The action stays consistent throughout. The only point at which I found myself wanting something to happen was when Leander and Sidonie were spending time in Carthage together. I think this was done for a purpose though and did a good job in conveying the helplessness of their situation there.
Some wonderful new characters were introduced in the way of Leander and Kratos. I am always amazed at Carey’s skill in making even minor characters have depth and history.
I have to mention this because the skill with which it was executed amazed me! When Imriel took on Leander’s self, the style of writing totally changed to reflect Leander’s thoughts and actions. Then as Imriel’s love begins to break down the spell that makes him Leander, you slowly see Imriel’s personality revert back to Imriel’s. I thought it was very cool that Carey could make this personality change so subtle and realistic.
I really did love this book. Even though it was lengthy, I was a bit sad when it was over. Then ending was perfect and beautiful as it the rest of the book. I am beginning to wonder if we will see a trilogy focused around Sidonie’s sister Alais next. Carey seemed to be hinting that Alais is going to go through some struggles in the future. Hopefully the two catch phrases in that book “Love as thou wilt” and “All knowledge is worth having” will carry on to any future work she does.