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Starred Review. The magnificent fourth book in Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series marks the start of a new trilogy set in Terre d'Ange, the author's reimagined Renaissance world. The story picks up where volume three, Kushiel's Avator (2003), left off, though Imriel nó Montrève de la Courcel, a prince of the blood, now narrates in place of the unforgettable heroine of the previous books, Phèdre nó Delauney. As a boy, Imriel is abandoned by his treasonous parents and subjected to terrible indignities by pirates. Later rescued and adopted by Phèdre, he grows into a position of authority and learns many skills, including sexual prowess. He has a torrid affair with a married woman, and finally survives a terrible siege at a walled city he courageously defends. The specter of Imriel's sinister, absent mother, Melisande Shahrizai, looms over the action. Credible and gripping, this is heroic fantasy at its finest. (June)
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*Starred Review* Traitorous parents, the curse of Kushiel's blood in his veins, and the unspeakable crimes he endured while a child slave severely damaged Imriel. Feeling tainted and incapable of goodness, he fears he will misuse Kushiel's gift. Yet he is compelled to overcome the dark forces that shaped him. The love of Phedre and Joscelin, his beloved adoptive parents and Terre d'Ange's greatest champions, has helped him heal. He does an excellent job of comporting himself as a prince of the blood, third in line from the throne, until he turns 18. Then the conflicts raging within threaten to overwhelm him. Pushed beyond his limits by his first visit to Valerian House with his Shahrizai cousins and angry with the powerful, twisted desire that is Kushiel's legacy, in an impulsive moment he flashes up at Phedre--and changes his world irrevocably. He is now on his path to adulthood, first stop Tiberium. Traveling and living simply, he hopes to find himself. Evoking the same stunned awe that the tryptych of Kushiel's Dart (2001), Kushiel's Chosen (2002), and Kushiel's Avatar (2003) did, the Imriel trilogy is off to a smashing start. Uncommonly self-aware, young Imriel, in his maturing thoughts and emotions, is a tremendously believable, sympathetic character. Meanwhile, Carey continues thoughtfully and respectfully re-envisioning S&M in images of beauty, power, and eroticism firmly rooted in the sacred. Intelligent, sexy, heartbreakingly human, Carey at her intoxicating best. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.