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Fantasy Review: Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey (Phedre's Trilogy #3)


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Synopsis from Goodreads
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.


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9.5/10

* * *
 I adore Jacqueline Carey's writing. I personally think she is more suited for me than George R. Martin. She is definitely more personal while her world-building is still just as vast as Martin's.



Kushiel's Avatar starts 10 years after the end of Kushiel's Chosen. Melisande Shahrizai is vanquished and hiding away at Asherat's sanctuary while Phedre and Joscelin enjoy their quiet living in their country estate. But all good things come to an end when they receive a letter from Melisande asking for their help in finding her missing son in exchange for information Phedre  has been desperately seeking all this time.

Phedre is obsessed with releasing Hyacinthe from his servitude to an ancient fallen angel as Master of Straits. In book #1 Hyacinthe took her place and sacrificed himself so Phedre would save Terre D'Ange, and since then she hasn't stopped looking in the ancient texts for a solution to breaking the curse.

Now, when Melisande dangles a carrot like this in front of her, Phedre will have to do everything in her power to find missing Imriel. She goes searching for him, and her journey takes her to forgotten dark places. Through her hardships Phedre comes to realise that she is led by higher forces not only to find Imriel but to vanquish dark forces rising in the East from the ruins of an ancient civilisation.

The part when Phedre is immersing herself and Joscelin, poor Joscelin, in that dark kingdom is truly horrifying. It's literally a kingdom of death, rot and decay, it's ruler is a mad evil sadist, there is so much desperation, depression and pain it's emotionally hard to read. You feel hot and cold, your stomach is in knots.... In comparison, Phedre's further quest for The Name of God feels almost anticlimactic.

However, this doesn't take anything away from the EPIC awesomeness of this series. Phedre's journey has been amazing, and I can't wait to start the next trilogy which is about Imriel. Jacqueline Carey provided unique outlook on BDSM, making Phedre an ultimate submissive before such topic even became widely spread and popular, but most of all there is an incredible amount of love and wisdom here even if the journey itself is not for the fainthearted.

Kushiel's Chosen
* * *
Невероятно прекрасные книги выходят у Жакелин Кэри! Я честно говоря предпочитаю её Джорджу Мартину.

Как-то у неё выходит более тепло и индивидуально, хотя масштаб построения мира не менее велик, чем у Мартина.

После второй книги прошло 10 лет. Федрэ и Джоселин живут тихо, хотя она безустанно роется в древних текстах, пытаясь найти как разбить проклятие Гиацинта и освободить его от его звания Мастера Проливов.

Тихая жизнь заканчивается когда Федрэ приходит письмо от её заклятого врага, Мелисанды Шахризай, дважды угрожавшей Терр Дэ Анж и теперь прячущейся в святыне Ашерат-на-море от правосудия Земли Ангелов.

Мелисанда умоляет Федрэ найти её пропавшего сына Имриэля в обмен на информацию где искать Имя Бога, которое поможет освободить Гиацинта. Естественно, Федрэ, ради которой её друг пожертвовал своей свободой, не может отказаться и начинает своё совершенно эпичное путешествие на Восток в поисках Имриэля.

В свои самые тёмные и мучительные часы она медленно осознаёт, что её путешествие направляется рукой Элуа и остальных богов Терр Дэ Анж, чтобы уничтожить зарождающееся великое Зло на руинах древней персидской цивилизации, куда ведёт след похищенного Имриэля.

В какой-то момент становится читать невмоготу. Место куда добровольно попадают Федрэ и Джоселин похоже на Ад, здесь правят извращения, боль и Смерть, и им обоим предстоит вынести огромные мучения, моральные и физические, чтобы выжить и вытащить Имриэля. После этого читать о дальшейших поисках имени Бога было чуть ли не антиклиматично... настолько я осталась морально опустошена.

Но в этом и состоит невероятный талант автора. Она опускает нас до невероятных глубин отчаяния вместе с её героями и в то же время вызвышает нас до необъятной любви и огромного героизма. Несмотря на то, что книги Кэри затрагивают тему БДСМ, они прежде всего об эпичной любви, которая может пережить всё, о самопожертвовании и мудрости.

Очень советую это богическую прозу и обязательно буду читать следующую трилогию автора, которая рассказывает об Имриэле.
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