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Jacqueline Carey
book cover

Book 2 of the Kushiel Trilogy
2002, April, Tor hc

Who recommends: Margaret
Who discommends:

Don't tell me I'm the first one is this group to read this book! Where are all the comments?

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Having said that, I'm about to make some, possibly, unfair remarks. Good though it is the book suffers from a number of faults the previous one didn't. Some of these are the inevitable result of being the successor to an excellent and rather startling book. Other may be due to being the successor to a successful book. One problem is that a number of things that were innovative and interesting in the first book, such as Phedré 's little quirk, the religion, the Night Court etc are now familiar so the reader concentrates more on the plot than the details. This is unfortunate as the plot is similar to that of the first book - Phedré loses someone she loves, goes villain hunting, finds villain, gets captured by villain, finds herself in a foreign land, becomes the mistress of the leader, has numerous adventures returning home, saves her queen, finds love, villain escapes, ho hum.

Another problem is that the writing has become somewhat sloppy: Phedré spends rather a lot of time feeling guilty about her past actions. She has one major binge, which is acceptable, but then she keeps on referring to it. I wanted to thump her and tell her to stop wallowing in guilt and get a move on. Another sloppy area is that there seems to be a flashing neon arrow labelled "Melisande, but none of the characters notice. Another one is that Phedré returns to the service of Namarre, knowingly damaging her relationship with Joscelin, to find a traitor. As it turns out, she makes very little attempt to discover information that way and most is discovered by more orthodox means, so why did she bother? It would have been interesting if the real reason was that she preferred that way of life to a monogamous relationship, but there was no suggestion that that was the case.

The worst problem, however, is Joscelin. I don't have KUSHIEL'S DART to refer to, but my recollection is of a man who is fanatical about keeping his vows. By the start of KUSHIEL'S CHOSEN, he seems to have no qualms about having abandoned his vow of celibacy, and it soon becomes apparent that his vow to protect and defend has become rather shaky. He eventually abandons it too. There is also his involvement with the Yeshuites which, although explained, never really made sense to me; this was not the Joscelin I remember.

By the end of this book Phedré has moved up in the world, has a more stable relationship and knows where Melisande is, but overall not much has changed since the end of the previous book.--Margaret (22 Apr 02)

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