My favorite book in this series. I can't wait for the next one to come out.
A wonderful begining to Imriel's story. I can't wait for the rest!
I LOVE THESE BOOKS! They are 900 pages long and so full that I never want to put them down. Imriel is a great change from Phedre, but he is such an incredible character. He is so worried about being "good" that he can't see how good he is. And all the other characters who have arrived with this book bring out everything from laughter to tears. Carey sucks you in to this world she has created. I want to drag out reading them so I have time to get the next one, but I can't make myself stop!
"It is whispered that Kushiel's lineage carries the ability to perceive the flaws in mortal souls, to administer an untender mercy. I sense its presence like a shadow on my soul...the memories of blood and branding and horror, and the legacy of cruelty that runs in my veins. I whispere to myself, over and over...
I will try to be good."
So reads the top of the back of Carey's 4th novel in the Kushiel series. It is a motto and quest that echo through the writing as well as the characters' actions, for the most part successfully.
Imriel's opening story is not quite as compelling as Pherdre's was. However that is addressed by the story itself, and there is the promise of a strong pay-off in future Imriel books.
Halfway through this book I would have given it 4-1/2 stars. Now I have to dial it down to 4 stars because the second half of the book wasn't nearly as good as the first.
I wasn't anxious to read another book in this series, thinking that reading about a child wouldn't be as interesting or scintillating as reading about Phedre. How wrong I was. It is a wonderful coming of age story with a lot of exploration of the deep scars this young man carries from his tortured sexual history as a young boy and the emotional wounds of knowing his parents' traitorous past. I was genuinely tired of reading about political intrigue with Phedre and Joscelin - this book is more of a character study and a welcome respite from the politics of their world.
That said, the second half of the book is nothing but political intrigue about people who aren't core characters and while Imriel participates in the action, he doesn't drive the action. There's not really any emotional involvement for nearly 300 pages. It bogged the book down and IMO was totally unnecessary.
I love that Imriel experiences much of the curiosity, questions, fears and embarrassments that we all experienced regarding our parents, but given that his foster mother is the most famous prostitute and anquisette in all their land, it makes his feelings of confusion that much more complicated and profound.
I liked the slow revelations about his sexual awakening, his lack of trust in most people, the development of his friendships and the real ambivalence he has about his relationships with most of his acquaintances early on. It seemed very real, emotionally, like this is the kind of stuff that an abandoned, abused, and eventually rescued boy would feel. I believed in and genuinely cared about Imriel much more than I ever did Phedre and Joscelin, as much as I liked them. Imriel feels like a real person.