Kushiel’s Chosen Kushiel’s Trilogy (Jacqueline Carey)
Carey’s fascinating world is loosely based around what could be seen as a late medieval alternative history of Europe and beyond. As you read the books you find yourself remembering fractions of history lessons and faint memories of mythological tales. I may be ‘odd’ but I found that reading these made me want to go to the nearest library or bookshop to re-familiarise myself with Greek, British and Egyptian mythology.
The elegant and evocative prose style enhances Carey’s epic story of beautiful and educated Phedre no Delauney; scion of Kushiel, marked as his own chosen one. Loyalty to her country and her Gods take the child Phedre from ‘a whore’s unwanted get’ to being an adult courtesan and spy who knows only too well how pleasure and pain can be as one. The Machiavellian twists of the plot test her faith, her friendships and her fealty. Carey’s blending of Christian and Jewish faiths with the pagan beliefs of ancient Greece and Egypt is then intermingled with fresh ideas so creating an entirely authentic set of beliefs for her characters to follow and fight over.
Yet this is not a tale of religion; it is a tale of treason found in unlikely places, of fortitude amidst despair and of bonds created through love and loyalty.
The first book recounts Phedre’s childhood and discovery of just who, or what, she is and will become. You learn about the basic tenet of Terre D’Ange which is ‘love as thou wilt’ and what exactly that can mean not only to Phedre but also her fellow countrymen. She is fooled by one she thought was a friend, finding herself a convicted criminal who has to prove her innocence in order to prevent catastrophe. In ‘Kushiel’s Chosen’ further treachery and deception lead Phedre to distant lands and dangerous places. She has to place her trust in the most unlikely of hands in order to save her Queen. As the third part of the trilogy unfolds we see her risking everything in an attempt to rescue the son of her nemesis; the one who holds the key to an important secret. A secret that could mean the difference between life or a living death for one of Phedre’s friends.
These books are a must-read but only when you have time to finish them with little interruption. I can’t describe the disappointment when I got to past the middle of the first book and found some pages were missing. It was torture having to wait until the next day when I could replace it with a whole copy.
One caveat I must stress though – this trilogy is definitely only for adults with open minds and non-judgemental attitudes.
[tags]Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s, fantasy[/tags]