Kushiel's Mercy

Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel's Mercy Cover

Kushiel's Mercy


Kushiel's Mercy is the sixth book in Carey's Terre d'Ange adventures, and the third book in the Imriel de la Courcel's story. It is the conclusion of his trilogy and honestly, I only listened to it for the sake of completion. Thus far, neither of the two trilogies that followed Phédre no Delauney's own have been nearly as good, mostly because of the main characters.

Prince Imriel de la Courcel is the son of the beautiful traitor, Melisandre Sharizai. He was kidnapped into slavery, rescued and later adopted by Phédre and her consort, Joscelin, and has since gone off on his own adventures. In the last book, he was betrothed to a woman he didn't love, but then perhaps matured with the brutal murder of his wife and unborn son and the subsequent vengeance he enacted upon the culprit. And within that all of that, he fell in love with Sidonie de la Courcel, the dauphine of Terre d'Ange, and daughter of the queen whom Imriel's mother sought to depose. Unsurprisingly, there are those who are quite opposed to their union, in spite of the precepts of blessed Elua: "Love as thou wilt." Queen Ysandre will only allow them to be married, if Imriel brings his long missing mother to justice. But before he is able to do so, Prince Astagal of Carthage orchestrates an incredible piece of magic that ensorcels half of Terre d'Ange, even convincing Sidonie that she not only has never loved Imriel, but that Imriel does not even exist.

This wasn't a bad story. It contained all of Carey's epic, world hopping fantasy, her beautiful people, intriguing characters, wonderful mythology and theology that touches on our reality, while still being wholly hers, sweeping political intrigue and more. The problem is that, at the centre of all this are Imriel and Sidonie and their cloying romance. I can be as hopelessly romantic as the next person, but it gets tiresome when it's the main plot and purpose. The beauty of Phédre and Joseclin's romance was that they didn't spend the whole time pining for each other, even when they were together. But Imriel and Sidonie's story is made to be a fairy tale romance (and is repeatedly referred to as such). I suppose it doesn't help that the characters have never endeared themselves to me. I appreciate them, but they lack the depth of their predecessors. And Imriel spent the last two books being an annoyingly self-centred teenager.

One thing I do find annoying about the subsequent books in this series is the constant and repeated reference back to past events. It's usually quite unnecessary, though perhaps it might be less so for someone who has not read the previous books. However, I do appreciate the scope of the history Carey creates with each new epic addition to her world.