Series: Kushiel Series (Imriel Trilogy)
In this second book of the Imriel Trilogy, Imriel is engaged and married to Dorelei, niece of Drustan, the Cruarch of Alba. Imriel agreed to the marriage mainly to stop the rumors that he is eyeing the throne of Terre d'Ange and to pacify the Angelines' disquiet about having a half-Cruithne on the throne once Queen Ysandre steps down in favor of her daughter (with Drustan) Sidonie. This way, his son with Dorelei would become the next Cruarch, after Talorcan, Drustan's nephew, as the line of succession in Alba is matrilineal.
At the same time, Imriel also engages in a forbidden affair with his (distant) cousin Sidonie, but due to many reasons, political and otherwise, both Imriel and Sidonie decide to put this affair aside, thinking that what was between them must only be lust, which would fade with time and distance.
However, when Imriel travels with Dorelei to Alba for his wedding and subsequent marriage life, he comes afoul of Alban magic, which results in tragedy and a need for vengeance.
In my opinion, this book is better than the first one in the trilogy.
Imriel is still full of angst and confusion, but I feel that it is in this book that he becomes a man. Not when he accepts his royal duty to wed Dorelei, but when he decides to open his heart to his wife and give their marriage a chance. He learns to love Dorelei and his home in Clunderry. I think if events had not turned out the way they did, he would've learned to forget Sidonie and be contented with the life he has made in Alba with Dorelei.
Imriel's story isn't larger than life, but his was a very human story of love, acceptance and vengeance.
And, I have to say, I was surprised at Phedre's actions. I suppose I've always hold her in my mind as a courtesan and anguissette, but here, she acts very much like a mother would when her son is in danger, thereby adding another dimension to her character. It's good to see that she and Joscelin have arrived at an agreement regarding their relationship (Phedre has taken a lover), though, like Imriel, I didn't have to like it.
Ms. Carey has revived my interest in this series, and I'm looking forward to the last book in the trilogy.
Book Rating: 4.0