Series: Kushiel series
After experiencing such tragedy in their young lives, Imriel and Sidonie dare not rebel against Blessed Elua's precept "Love as thou wilt" any longer, no matter the upheaval it brings to Terre d'Ange. The older generation who suffered Melisande Shahrizai's treachery couldn't countenance their union, as they believed it Imriel's strategy to gain the throne. To appease her people, Queen Ysandre agrees to consent their union should Imriel bring Melisande to justice.
Jacqueline Carey has done it again! She astounds me with her talent and gift for storytelling. I believe this is the story of Imriel's that I love the most and it is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. The Angelines were right in that the love between Imriel and Sidonie does have a purpose, but it is something not one of them could have imagined.
New villains, new adventures, new places to explore! Imriel, who has long felt inferior to his foster parents' heroism, has gained a serene contentment in his relationship with Sidonie. Yet, before long, he would be called upon to play a part in saving his beloved Terre d'Ange from evil foreign forces. Ms. Carey's suspense and adventure-ridden fantasy compels me to keep on turning the page long after I should have stopped reading and go to sleep.
Here, we also see Imriel succumbing to his dark desires, as he clung to the trust in Sidonie's dark eyes. What I know of BDSM is only in theory, yet I can say that the scenes written here were not gratuitous and were tastefully done. Sometimes, the author places the characters in the situation and let you imagine the rest. So, everything depends on how vivid and creative your imagination can be...
With regard to the final treatment of Melissande, I can only applaud the author for thinking of such a solution. BEGIN SPOILER Surely, readers don't expect Imriel to actually bring his mother to Terre d'Ange to be executed. How could he be called human and sleep at night if he actually did that? How could he be fit to be the hero of this novel if he did? Whatever sins Melissande may have committed, she is still his mother who loved him and who cared for him herself when she had a phalanx of servants to do her bidding. If she were to be brought for execution, I believe it should be someone other than Imriel who does it. END SPOILER
It's also great to see Sidonie come into her own as a heroine of her own story, that she was as much a match for Imriel as Imriel was for her.
I enjoyed this story for the adventure, yes, but more so because of Ms. Carey's great characterization as she shows us the power of love--between lovers, and between a mother and her child. The frailties of human nature are depicted for us to see, balanced by man's capacity to change with the experiences of life.
Book Rating: 4.5