...as the previous trilogy. I felt that this time around, Carey put a lot more thought into the actual crafting of the book; the prose had a different vibe, her style seems to have matured. Compared with Kushiel's Avatar, this book is much less perverse! Thankfully, there are fewer incidents of "Ladida! But we're D'Angeline!" being used to write off just about anything. There are some strong new characters (Eamonn and Lucius were favourites of mine) but also some completely one-dimensional additions (Brigitta springs to mind). Also be prepared for previous favourites Phedre and Joscelin to take a back seat, as Imriel comes to the fore.
Plot-wise, I felt I was waiting the entire book for something to happen, and when I turned the final page, was left thinking "that's it?" The promised climax, the central antagonism hinted at the beginning of the book, never materialises. Carey is very much laying the foundation of the next in the series (at least I hope so; if this is the end that it will certainly be a lame one). This isn't terrible, per se, but next to Kushiel's Dart, the first in the series and thus the book that lays down the framework for the trilogy, Kushiel's Scion doesn't stand up.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Carey and the Kushiel series. New fans, I would strongly suggest starting with the trilogy than plunging in here: Scion is a good read in the context of Carey's world and mythology, less good as a stand-alone novel.
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Carey goes back to the intricate world of Terre d'Ange, but this time the hero is Imriel, not Phedre and the story is told from his point of view. It's a good read and I enjoyed it, but it just doesn't have the same wonderful sense of epic as the first trilogy. This is definitely a coming of age story and I have the sense Carey spent most of the novel carefully laying the ground work for the next book by creating strong bonds of friendship and tension between all the characters. I had a bit of trouble connecting and identifying with Imriel, which is why I couldn't give this novel 5 stars. I found the character of Claudia repulsive and couldn't see what appeal she might have for Imriel, other than sexual. The secrets Claudia hints at never really come to light and I found that irritating and a bit of a waste of my time as a reader. The promise of true, terrible danger is merely hinted at, and though Imriel does manage to get himself into a bit of a mess, you know that nothing particularly terrible will befall him. There is no great spiritual awakening here that will forever alter his life or view of the world. Another problem was I couldn't help but compare it to Carey's earlier trilogy. That's my fault, not Carey's, so I shouldn't complain. Still, this story just felt smaller, a bit confined, and less fantastic in comparison. There's also no core relationship here; nothing I could secretly hope might blossom into more, as was the case with Phedre and Joscelin (by the way, it was great to see those two again, although in a smaller, less dramatic capacity). With that being said, the promise of a deeper story and more complex plots still remains. The unseen enemy who pulls all the strings will reveal his or herself soon and no doubt cause a world of trouble for Imriel. Here's hoping Carey delivers on that promise in the next installment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
122 of 125 people found the following review helpful
Kushiel's Line throws as true as Kushiel's DartJune 22 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
After the hideous disappointment of "Banewreaker", I was on pins and needles regarding Carey's return to Terre D'Ange in "Kushiel's Scion." Would the sexy, dark, original voice that had given us Phedre, Joscelin, Hyacinthe, and Melisande be replaced by the boring tediousness of the "Sundering" series? I just knew it would kill me to see that happen to these beloved characters. Furthermore, what to make of the fact that the next three books would not be narrated by that most cunning of linguists? Would Terre D'Ange without Phedre be whipped cream without the cherry?
Thank Elua, all my fears were unfounded. "Scion", while taking the Kushiel's Legacy series in a new direction, is a welcome and worthy addition, and Imriel is an excellent and insightful new narrator. His voice is, naturally, different from Phedre's, but the beautiful, rich language is the same. Carey has done a great job making the transition from anguissette to prince.
Imriel's story is also very different from Phedre and Joscelin's, and part of what makes this book interesting is that he recognizes it. Imri adores his foster parents, but despairs at ever living up to their example. For one thing, Phedre and Joscelin are once-in-a-generation heroes, larger than life and - in Phedre's case - chosen by Kushiel himself. Imri, while a royal Prince of the Blood, is still ordinary, and the son of Terre D'Ange's greatest traitor to boot. More than anything, he wants to be good - but first, he must decide what that means. Can he be good without ever saving the world the way Phedre did? Is it possible to be good with Kushiel's blood - and his mother's treachery - in his veins?
More than anything (and unlike previous books), "Kushiel's Scion" is a coming of age story. Still scarred by his childhood abuse, and troubled by the shadow that his mother Melisande continues to cast, Imriel stumbles through his life, torn between the various factions that either support or suspect him. One of the most interesting things about having him as a narrator is seeing old and beloved characters through his eyes. For instance, while Phedre loves Ysandre and Nicola dearly, Imri doesn't like either of them - and Carey makes us understand why and even empathize. On the other hand, Phedre's feelings towards House Shahrizai (Melisande's family) were justifiably complex, bound up with mistrust and desire. Imriel feels some of that, too, and yet his young Shahrizai cousins are among his closest and most loyal of friends.
The second half of "Scion" has Imriel participating in that most time-honored rite of adolescent independence - going away to college. In this case, it's the University of Tiberium, where Anafiel Delauney studied so many years ago. Imri hopes to find out where Delauney learned the arts of "covertcy", and ends up stumbling into a large and powerful Guild of spies and power-brokers who are quite interested in Melisande's talented son. He also makes a group of international friends, including the Dalriadan Prince Eamonn mac Grainne, the Skaldian woman Brigitta, and a troubled and haunted young Tiberian, Lucius.
The action in the book comes in the form of a large siege and battle towards the very end. Imriel is, at best, a periphery character in the battle itself - he's caught up in it by chance. Yet this, too, is part of his search in learning to be good. He learns that it's not necessary to be a god-chosen hero like Phedre or a great swordsman like Joscelin in order to be a good soldier, a good friend, and a good man. Phedre did heroic things because she was the only one who could do them. Imriel does small things because sometimes, they're all he can do.
Nitpicks - I hope the prudes out there who objected to the explicit sexuality of the first three books are happy, because the sex here is toned down considerably. Indeed, Imri's history means that almost every sexual encounter is entangled with feelings of guilt and horror. Pity. I really started to miss Phedre's exuberant eroticism about halfway through; the sex here feels a little cold and unsatisfying. The ending of "Scion" is likewise slightly frustrating, without as much of a resolution as I might have liked. Still, it does leave me wanting more. The groundwork is laid here for another fascinating triptych of books about an extraordinary character, executed by a brilliant and talented writer. I am, again, on pins and needles - in a good way!
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
So glad to be back in Terre d'AngeJune 8 2006
Kelly (Fantasy Literature)
- Published on Amazon.com
Return to Terre d'Ange with Kushiel's Scion, sequel to the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy. This book follows Phedre's adopted son, Imriel, son of the treacherous Melisande and third in line for the D'Angeline throne. Carey does an excellent job of developing Imriel into a complicated, troubled young man without in any way betraying the character he was in Kushiel's Avatar: haunted but with the proverbial heart of gold.
Imriel is coming of age here, and coming to terms with desires he finds hard to face. Between his molestation at the hands of the Markhagir of Drujan, his anger with Melisande, and the dominant tendencies inherent in his bloodline, Imriel finds sexuality a minefield of issues. He wants more than anything to be a good person, but fears he's fated to be something else.
His quest to find maturity and inner peace will lead him to the Night Court (fans of the Night Court rejoice--we see more of it here than we have since Dart), into court intrigues, and to an Italy still clinging to the ghosts of its glorious past. Imriel finds himself surrounded by schemes, plots, and conflicted desires, and truly comes of age in this hotbed of troubles. I really love what Carey does with his character, and can't wait to see what comes next for him, as it's clear there will be further Imriel books.
The one thing I didn't like at first was that the climactic battle didn't seem to have much to do with Imriel; it was more that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But on further thought, I realized that Phedre, too, was sucked into things she never meant to be involved with, in Dart and Chosen. I'm just so accustomed to the Phedre of Avatar, plunging herself headlong into adventure because she knows she has to--but this is a mature, 30ish Phedre. Like the younger Phedre, Imriel ends up in situations he never intended to be involved with, but becomes a stronger character through these tribulations. In the end, I think the plot works, and really shows how far Imriel has come since the beginning of the book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps not as expectedAug. 3 2006
Shell B. R.
- Published on Amazon.com
but a good novel nonetheless. This book holds a different tone from the others in the Kusheline series. More character-based than adventure-driven, like the other novels, this novel follows Imriel, Phedre's foster-son. It is largely based on dialogue and Imri's thoughts rather than earth-shattering plot developments, so this book is a bit slower to develop, though still interesting. It keeps Carey's fluid writing style, though the narrative is dramatatically changed from Phedre's graceful melodrama.
Imriel, instead, is a moody teenaged boy. Perhaps more solemn (or haunted) than most, but still full of angst and uncertainty, not ready to fit into the world that is waiting for him.
The first section of the book is interesting, as the reader gets to see Terre d'Ange from new eyes; it takes a different perspective when not from a Servant of Naamah. Disappointingly, there is not yet too much of that to see; Imriel is often to preocuppied with his own discoveries and youth to take much interest in politics. That is quickly cut short as Imriel decides to travel to the University of Tiberium. There, again, it is not filled with the taste of the culture that Phedre would have shown, but Imri's personal antics, challenges, and schemes as he enjoys true freedom for the first time.
Don't worry, though, it's not all deeply introspective & dialogue. Carey keeps her penchant for the philosophical, the scheming, and the bizarrely supernatural, as Imriel is rapidly thrown into situations that would turn his foster-parents' hair grey, from riots and conspiracies to spirits and battles.
Personally speaking, I preferred Imriel's character before this particular book, but I believe that it was because here, he is mostly an angsty teenager, not quite grown up. After coming from a personality as dynamic as Phedre's, which takes a lot to compete, sometimes Imriel's more typical nature makes for slow reading. It promises to pick up with future books, however, as he is greatly matured by the end of the book, and it promises to take note of things perhaps he did not have time for before.
Not her best book, a little slow in places, but a good solid start to a trilogy that should prove very interesting indeed.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Back to Terre D'AngeJuly 1 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
In Kushiel's Scion, Carey returns to the lush alternate Europe
she mapped so well in the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy. This is
a fascinating world, grounded in an imaginative religion/mythos
and vividly detailed. And as in the Kushiel's Legacy books, Carey has once again created a narrator with a marvelously unique voice.
As young Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel, foster child to Terre D'Ange's greatest living heroes, shares his struggles to find his place in the world and define how to shoulder the legacy of heroism and villainy he was born to, the reader is enmeshed in Terre D'Ange's past and future. The
device of revisiting the stories in Kushiel's Legacy, through Imriel's eyes, was very well-done. And Imriel's own story as it unfolds becomes just as fascinating as Phedre's once was.
I expected to like this book, if for no other reason than that I was eager to revist Terre D'Ange - one of my most favorite landscapes. But this book far surpassed those expectations, going off in directions I had not anticipated. Imriel is a wonderfully complex character - brooding,angry,
wounded,loving, honorable and intensely driven. I really loved this book and impatiently look forward the next volumne. Kudos to Ms. Carey, for finding a way to include and be true to Phedre and Josceline and to give Imriel his own voice and story. Highly, highly recommended for Kushiel's Legacy fans.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A pleasure.June 22 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I was thrilled to return to the world of Terre D'Ange, even just for a few days. Jacqueline Carey is the greatest writer of Fantasy to come along in recent memory. I was especially moved by her first-person narrative of young Imriel, who is desperate to find his way in the world with the eyes of his people firmly fixed upon him. In my opinion, Carey took a big risk by moving the emphasis of the series away from Phedre and onto Imriel. But she succeeds admirably. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.