Long Overdue Reviews – Part I: Jacqueline Carey

In short: I’ve been terribly neglecting blogging and anything related to writing lately. One excuse might be that I started working full-time now, after finally having received my Employment Authorization card and am actually allowed to make some money here in the U.S. Other factors might be general moving stress (yes, we are moving apartments again) or last but not least: procrastination (yeah, getting good at that lately).

Anyway, approaching my pathetic attempt to update the site, I’ve decided to do a combined post for the last three Carey books that I finished reading in 2007:

Kushiel’s Avatar

In my opinion the weakest book of the series. Sure, I really like Carey’s premise to have her main characters travel the alternate Europe map she created and to even extend this world further east, but it definitely lacks quite a bit for the great pacing and dense plot that were significant for the first two books. The Hyacinthe plot is continued and brought to a satisfactory end with a possibility of him showing up in the next triology as well, but all in all the Imriel plot takes up much more room and honestly I liked the part about the Makaghir and the Zenana much better than the passages about finding the Name of God. Nonetheless, religion has been and still is a major topic in Carey’s books and I personally really like her alternative and often provocative interpretation of the world’s largest religions.

Once again old villains (Barquiel L’Envers) and friends (Nicalo L’Envers y Aragon) show up in a setting, ten years after the events in “Kushiel’s Chosen”. Even if the plot unfolds more slowly than in the previous books, the tension between the Phedre-Melisandre relationship as well as their search for Melisandre’s son Imriel in return for the key to find the Name of God with which Phedre hopes to free her childhood friend Hyacinthe is mostly well-structured. However, the plot pacing itself is rather awkward in their rather lengthy search for Imriel and the end concluding the Hyacinthe arc appears rushed and lacking depth.

All in all the book concludes Phedre’s story, closely linked to her relationship to Joscelin and Hyacinthe, but it also brings in Imriel, as a promising new character for a sequence that focuses on him and his further development. It also leaves us with an uncertainty about Melisandre’s further plans. Even though her seeing Phedre and Imriel for apparently one last time, results in the question whether or not her motives in wanting Phedre to save her son have been entirely selfless.

To sum it up, Kushiel’s Avatar has been a good read and will probably worth a re-read as I’m realizing right now, typing this that there are many parts that probably should be mentioned in detail, but elude me as is. With all that said and done though, it’s not my favorite of the series, but Carey once again manages to deliver and makes me want to read more. Definitely not a read to miss.

Final Verdict: 8.5


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