Friday, November 7, 2008

Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy: Phèdre Trilogy: Book 3)

Mulluane | 7:25 PM | 2 Comments so far
Kushiel's Avatar

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Jacqueline Carey

Genre: Fantasy Series, Alternate History, Erotic, Adult
ISBN: 0765347539
Publisher: Tor Fantasy (March 2, 2004)
Mass Market Paperback: 768 pages
Publisher's Blurb:
The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassed 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.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a woman pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Her path has been strange and dangerous, and through it all the devoted swordsman Joscelin has been at her side. Her very nature is a torturous thing for them both, but he is sworn to her and he has never violated his vow: to protect and serve.

But Phèdre's plans put Joscelin's pledge to the test, for she has never forgotten her childhood friend Hyacinthe. She has spent ten long years searching for the key to free him from his eternal indenture, a bargain he struck with the gods-- to take Phèdre's place as a sacrifice and save a nation. Phèdre cannot forgive-- herself or the gods. She is determined to seize one last hope to redeem her friend, even of it means her death.

The search will bring Phèdre and Joscelin across the world, to distant courts where madness reigns and souls are currency, and down a fabled river to a land forgotten by most of the world.

And to a power so mighty that none dare speak its name.
10 years have passed and in that time, all have prospered. That is, until Phèdre receives a message that will turn her world upside down. The message will send her on a quest, one that will take her south into deserts and rain forests. The very nature of her travails will cause her to question all that she is but if she succeeds in her quest, the plight of her friend Hyacinth, trapped by geas on a barren island, will be resolved. However, will the price that Phèdre and Joselyn pay to earn the Name of God be worth Hyacinth's freedom?

This book is my favorite of the three. The reasons being the characters are not only more mature, but the conflicts here are more of an internal and spiritual nature. I also love how she blends and weaves into her tale her version of the religions that exist in this world. You get the impression that the various gods are separate but equal and not jealous of their power. Even though Phèdre is the chosen of Kushiel and dedicated to Naamah, other gods have no problem using her to further their own agendas. The fact that Kushiel does not seem to have any problem with this is atypical. Normally in stories like this, the gods do not brook interference with their chosen followers. I enjoyed the concept. I also loved watching Phèdre as she deals with her resentment at being a pawn in their schemes and then discovering that the picture is much larger then she ever imagined. Then there is Joselyn, the Perfect Companion who suffers silently with true selflessness and devotion. What that poor man endures would break a normal man and yet endures he does, sustained only by his oaths and his love. What a great pair!

In some ways this book was much darker then the previous two. Phèdre must descend into depths of depravity that make everything she has done before look like gentle foreplay. If book one and two made you uncomfortable, this book will shock you. I admit to being uncomfortable myself, but the section of the book I am referring to is not meant to be anything but. However, if you look beneath the torture and sadism, you will find reasons to rejoice in the ability of the human soul to endure almost anything, especially if love is involved somewhere in the mix. Love of life, love of self, love of your gods, love of your friends and mate or love of your country, love in any form can conquer almost any obstacle. That is the underlying message I believe this series conveys, love as thou wilt and you cannot go wrong.

The pace is solid, the characters are awesome, the world is a joy to explore and the prose is lyrical, I loved this series. The ending was poignant and sweet, as it ties up most if not all of the loose ends. I admire Jacqueline Carey for creating an alternate history that is not only believable but also enjoyable and for creating an atypical heroine who is knows the value of yielding without surrendering proving that that which yields is not always weak.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 4+/5

Librarything Rating 4.34/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(76 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Kushiel's Avatar

Ebook: No

Audio: Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy) (CD)

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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Old Bat's Belfry - Witty Wacky and Wise Quotes


  1. Thanks for the review of this series! I've had the first book for a while now and it sounds like it will be very good.

    I'm glad to see you are reading Transformation. It's one of my favorite books and one that I don't think is mentioned as much as it deserves.

  2. I absolutely, positively agree. This third book is my favorite of the series, for all it's darkness and complexity. Brilliant review!

    And I'm happy to see this is one of your favorite series' now! It is one of my favorites as well, and Phedre is one of my all time favorite heroines--Jacqueline Carey is one extremely talented author.


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