Read Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey Free Online
Book Title: Kushiel's Mercy|
The size of the: 1.13 MB
Edition: Grand Central Publishing
Date of issue: June 12th 2008
ISBN 13: 9781616793609
The author of the book: Jacqueline Carey
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books Kushiel's Mercy:After really enjoying the previous 2 instalments in the trilogy (see my review of Kushiels justice, you know you want to) I found this one to be a pretty big disappointment. After an intense character driven story with a great amount of believable character development over the previous 2 books I was underwhelmed by Imriel in this book. Most crucially the under-stated fantasy and journeys of self discovery in the previous books are replaced with a story of a kidnapped princess, an ensorcelled kingdom, an evil wizard and a heroic prince out to save the world that seemed determined to cram a trilogy worth of plothole-filling magic, clichéd epic heroism and globe trotting adventure with tenuous motivations into 1 book.
(Tangent warning) I've often thought that a good measure of how good a fantasy plot is seeing how the plot holds up with magic suddenly removed. While by no means perfect I still think it's an effective test. For example ASOIAF one of my favourite series only occasionally touches on magic and it is rarely if ever integral to the plot. Another of my favourite series, Jordan's Wheel of Time, is more traditional in it's frequent use of magic. However very little of the magic is inseparable from the basic plot. It is at it's heart a story about young people learning to accept their duties and responsibilities, magic is only used as a more visible (and badass) demonstration of their power.
Now that I've got you hooked I'm gonna real you in by finally relating this to the book I'm currently supposed to be reviewing. In the previous 2 books in this series magic and epic heroism in general were only touched upon in passing. The possessed commander in Scion and the magic powers of the Maghuinn Dhonn (or whatever) in Justice added flava to the story but weren't vital in maintaining a cohesive narrative. However if you take the fantasy elements out of this novel it's an unreadable mess. How else could Sidonie abandon everything she loves to randomly run off with Astegal her peoples dangerous enemy and a massive knobhead? How else could the entire kingdom of Terre D'ange be incapacitated/turned evil for this entire book? With Carey's skill at writing complex politics and characters she could have answered these questions in a believable, intelligent way but obviously had more important stuff to do so instead went with 'a wizard did it' (seriously, this was the entire central premise of the plot).
My other major complaint was in how this book failed to continue Imriel's development. As a 1st person narrator and the sole POV in this trilogy Imriel didn't have as much room as some for dramatic character development, however the development that occured was intense and well written. It was one of the most important aspects in the first 2 books. I thought it was kind of emblematic of this book that Imriel never confronted his natural powers of manipulation and instead spent a decent chunk of time early on obsessing over engaging in BDSM with another consenting adult. I appreciate that this series is big into that stuff and a lot of the readership expects it but I found it kind of hilarious that Imriel spent so much time in this book (and even more in previous books) obsessing over the family love of BDSM (his extended family have a permanent dungeon reservation in the local medieval BDSM club. Seriosuly) and yet never confronted the much more serious moral dilemma of having almost supernatural powers of manipulation. I felt Carey especially missed a great chance to explore this with Sidonie's kidnapping. It would have been a chance for a desperate Imriel to resort to manipulation and could have added shades of moral ambiguity to his broody prince charming character.
The 'Leander' POV also seemed pretty stupid and pointless. Although he provided a break from Imriel, I didn't really like Leander as a character. His otherwise decent character development (reminiscent of a watered-down Jezal in the first law) was rendered meaningless by the whole bodyswitch thing.
On the Brightside Imriels trip to the island was a highlight of the book and introduced easily some of the best characters. The dynamic between Melisande and Imriel was touching. I found Melisande a genuinely compelling character whose amoral scheming was contrasted in a really interesting way with her maternal instincts. The 'wise ape' was also an interesting character and I wish we'd seen more of the 2. Sidonie was also a great character. While she occasionally seemed a bit of a Mary Sue she was easily one of my favourite characters in the trilogy.
While a disappointing ending to the trilogy this book doesn't ruin my positive impressions of the previous 2. The overall quality of the trilogy is dragged down by this entry but it's still a series worth reading. I'll probably check out more of Carey's stuff in the future in the hope that it is more similar to the (awesome) first 2 books in the series than this installment.
Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.
She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a work exchange program. While there, she decided to write professionally. After returning she started her writing career while working at the art center of a local college. After ten years, she discovered success with the publication of her first book in 2001.
Currently, Carey lives in western Michigan and is a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in the state.
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