Kushiel’s Justice: Disappointing installment in an excellent series

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Kushiel's Justice Jacqueline CareyKushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey

Compared to Kushiel’s Scion, Phèdre and Joscelin return for a much larger portion of this book and they are as awesome as ever. They add excitement and helped me through much of the slog that was the first 300-odd pages. Yes, that’s right. Though previous Kushiel books have been long and probably could have withstood some cutting easily, I never minded the extra. With both Scion and Justice, that extra could have been done without. Seriously, you could knock off the first 200 pages of Kushiel’s Justice and not miss a thing.

Part of the problem is Imriel himself. He has his moments of improvement as well in this book. While he’s married to Dorelei he actually grows as a character. I actually don’t mind him so much. I even find myself starting to care. His relationship with Dorelei is strong, it develops, unlike his “relationship” with his cousin Sidonie. It becomes more reminiscent of the wonderful relationship growth she portrays between Joscelin and Phèdre and I found myself actually enjoying it.

And then… [Spoiler. Highlight to read] Dorelei dies. DIES! What a cop out! How about having characters that have to live and grow beyond their selfish wants? How about letting Imriel and Dorelei grow together as a couple, overcome all their trials and tribulations together? No, let’s just make it easy by killing her off so that Emoriel (as I have come to think of him) can go back to his unbelievable Romeo and Juliet-style relationship with Sidonie! I don’t buy that relationship for a second. I don’t care about Sidonie, I don’t care about Emoriel.[End spoiler] I don’t care so much that I put the book down and never picked it back up, even though I intend to. And I got to the part where it should have been exciting. The revenge ought to get the blood going. But I simply. Did. Not. Care.

Among other things, Jacqueline Carey‘s prose has taken a plummet. The flowery tone is inconsistent and sentences are often choppy and plagued with grammatical mistakes. The plot is far too thin for the length of the book. And the sex! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there was too much sex. And it has nothing to do with quantity (though there definitely was quite a bit of it), but quality. Or really, lack thereof. With the exceptions of the scenes with Dorelei, they’re all repetitive and boring. I don’t care how hot Emoriel is for Sidonie. I don’t want to hear about Sidonie’s young, creamy, tight flesh over and over again. And I know Phèdre was an odd creature, but I was never before under the impression that D’Angeline women turned on like faucets if a man just looks at them right. When did that happen?

Okay, well, that wasn’t maybe as successful as I would have liked. But I’m annoyed because the first Kushiel trilogy was so fantastic and this was… sad. As sad as poor little Emoriel.

~Beth Johnson Sonderby

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsA disappointing installment in this excellent series.

~Kelly Lasiter

Kushiel’s Legacy — (2001-2008) Publisher: The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good… and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phédre no Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission… and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phédre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair… and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phédre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear. Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies.

Jaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyKushiel's Mercy Jacqueline Carey

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BETH JOHNSON, one of our guest reviewers, discovered fantasy books at age nine, when a love of horses spurred her to pick up Bruce Coville’s Into the Land of the Unicorns. Beth lives in Sweden with her husband. She writes short stories and has been working on a novel.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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