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Publisher's Summary

Having learned a lesson about thwarting the will of the gods, Imriel and Sidonie publicly confess their affair, only to see the country boil over in turmoil. Younger generations, infatuated by their heart-twisting, star-crossed romance, defend the couple. Many others cannot forget the betrayals of Imriel's mother, Melisande, who plunged their country into a bloody war that cost the lives of their fathers, brothers, and sons.

To quell the unrest, Ysandre, the queen, sets her decree. She will not divide the lovers, yet neither will she acknowledge them. If they marry, Sidonie will be disinherited, losing her claim on the throne.

There's only one way they can truly be together. Imriel must perform an act of faith: search the world for his infamous mother and bring her back to Terre d'Ange to be executed for treason.

Facing a terrible choice, Imriel and Sidonie prepare ruefully for another long separation. But when a dark foreign force casts a shadow over Terre d'Ange and all the surrounding countries, their world is turned upside down, alliances of the unlikeliest kind are made, and Imriel and Sidonie learn that the god Elua always puts hearts together apurpose.

©2008 Jacqueline Carey (P)2008 Tantor

What listeners say about Kushiel's Mercy

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story with fabulous narration

I have read all the books in this series, and yes, it helps to know the background of the characters, but it is a good story on its own as well. This author tends to sort of set the stage in the first book, further complicate the plot in the second book, and then bring it all to a grand and satifying conclusion in the third book, which this is. The first book featuring Imriel(Kushiel's Scion) is now out on Audible, but not the second, so hopefully that will soon change. I must admit that I listened to this production three times because I enjoyed Simon Vance's narration so much - he does a particularly excellent job here. I would like to see all of this series on Audible.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Could not stop listening

It is not easy to listen to a novel after working for 13 hours but I somehow managed! This is the last of Phedre and Imriel's stories. I am saddened but Carey certainly ended the series with a bang. I just couldn't stop till the end.
Imriel and Sidone were brilliant. There were answers to some people's whereabouts from the previous novels. (Sorry, not trying to be vague but don't want to give anything away.)
Much stronger feelings than before and their consequences. As Imriel and Sidone said in the novel "It is not wise to meddle with D'Angelines in matters of love". Hah!
Hope Carey writes more about this family and soon.
From here I am off to Naamah's Kiss and Naamah's Curse.
It is truly difficult to know which book is first so here it is: Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar, Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, and Kushiel's Mercy.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A roller-coaster.

I feel like my heart was on a roller-coaster and when I stepped off the ride I was grinning ear to ear.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Love all 9 books of this series!

The author is the best I've ever read and the narrator is the best I've ever listened to! Highly recommend all of Jacqueline Carey's books. Simon Vance also narrates another favorite series of mine: The Temeraire novels.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Okay how do I put this?

Alright let me start with this, this used to be one of my favorite books, I got the book from the library, bought the original disc version and then bough the audible version. I don't regret those purchases; however this is sadly no longer one of my favorites once I re-listened to it last week.

So the positives:
1. Characterization is of course strong, it is easy to know and understand everyone, even those with less page time than others. Though those do rely a bit on stereo types, but it's still well done.
2. The world building is still awesome as always, and takes us into new parts of the world we hadn't been before, though Argagonia was less fleshed out than i liked.
3. the plot is layered and well done
4. there is a nice balance between showing but telling at times as well to prevent my pet peeve from popping up or the book from becoming overly cerebral.
5. while what has to be done is straight forward how it is to be done is very well written
6. the suspense, I could actually be invested enough to feel suspense and it was well used.

I could go on, this book is still damn near perfect. Though I do have to remark there is less sex than usual, which is neither here nor there to be but it should be noted.

Now the cons, of which I'm just ramble because there really are only two. First and foremost, the point of view character gets a spell cast on them that basically transforms them into a completely new character. This new character is basically there to sell the whole soulmates thing, and to pander to the romantics. This wouldn't be bad if it wasn't nearly half the book, which meant other aspects had to be minimized or rushed, especially the ending. There were so many details and subplots that got neglected by the even be-spelled true love shall over come, shtick. This is both irritating and frustrating and it should be noted in my first few readings I skipped this part and didn't miss anything of important. It really does feel like fluff because the author doesn't know where to go and needed to time to think. Sadly because this is half the book, maybe because of a deadline or just bad editing it squeezes out things of more importance.

The second con, is similar to my problem with the first book of this second half of the main Kushiel series . That being, whose supposed to be the main character? Look I love Imriel, thanks to the excellent middle book of the triology he's one of my favorite characters, and in this book he is constantly being second ringer, unless its time to fight than he's 'god-like' and I want to roll my eyes and skip. Seriously, so much of the book is showing Sidonie be amazing at everything, or rehashing how amazing the original characters are which leaves the supposed main character to well wallow in the shadows. I get it, after two massive books Imriel is as fleshed out as he could be, but there are moments he could have developed. Once more everything seems to be about Sidonie, Imriel seems more a plot device than character at this point, not a desperate, frustrated, angry man once again having that which he most wants being stolen away, again. There are moments of severe emotional dumbness on the author's part. Oh yes we're going to have Imriel whose been severely traumatized by sexual assault and rape, basically be raped and have no emotional reaction to this at all......... Or the, the love of my life is sleeping with another man, which no matter the reason would fill any man with rage and agony, and he feels nothing, no injury. It's unrealistic and all the attention is given to Sidonie's hurt, and hers alone. One scene this particularly striking is when one of the villains enters a fight with Imriel, of course Imriel wins but then lets Sidonie, the chief wounded, help him stab them through the heart. I'm sorry, personally as a man, I would have been so enraged I wouldn't have let her, I would have let the villain die a slow miserable death and I wouldn't have let anyone interfere. Maybe I'm a lesser person but every guy I know would have the same reaction; not essential "hey here honey we'll kill him together quickly and cleanly" mean the down play of Imriel's feelings is astounding and bewildering. Is this Imriel's story or not? Because honestly I think the book would have been better if it was told from Sidonie's perspective entirely since Imriel is treated like a side character, which is galling.

The long, and I apologize for the long rant, and short of this review is, if you have read the other two books in the sequel trilogy you should read this one, just skip the bit I complained about you won't miss anything important. If you haven't started this triology, just read the middle book, this one is more a miss than a hit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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LOVE!

Loved Reading The Kushiel series years ago, and have enjoyed every moment of listening to it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great

love all these books but this may well be the best if you have made it this far don't miss this one

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Jacqueline Carey writes such amazing work and this certainly is included. The story and the detail, the love and intrigue, written so well. Each of her books seem to get better and better. I am looking forward to starting the next series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing in intricacy and delightful in scope.

Jacqueline Carey is astounding and her world is filled with brighter shadows and deeper pinnacles than our own.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such an intense, beautiful ending to this trilogy!

Note: While this is Book 6 in Kushiel’s Legacy (also referred to as the Terre D’Ange Cycle) it is Book 3 in the second trilogy and focuses on Imriel de la Courcel, who we met in Book 3 of the first trilogy, Kushiel’s Avatar. Kushiel’s Mercy is best read as part of the second trilogy, if not as Book 6 in the larger series, since there are plenty of characters and situations referred to from the previous books.

Imriel de la Courcel, a Prince of the Blood, and Sidonie de la Courcel, Terre D’Ange’s princess and next in line to the throne, are in love. This doesn’t sit well with much of the realm because Imriel’s estranged birth mother, Melisande Shahrizai, betrayed the nation a generation ago. Imriel and Sidonie are faced with a difficult choice: Bring Melisande to justice or Sidonie will not inherit the throne. After beginning their search for Melisande in earnest, an unlikely city nation, Carthage, comes with luxurious gifts, promises of alliance, and an apparently heartfelt hope that Sidonie will consider their General Astegal for marriage. Things do not go as expected, for anyone.

This historical fantasy is another beautiful addition to the Terre D’Ange cycle. Through the adventures of Imriel and Sidonie, we learn more about this alternate world Carey has created. Carthage is a budding empire, rich in gold and gems but also dependent on slavery. General Astegal comes off as a very charming man, willing to bend to Terre D’Ange’s way of things when it comes to love; for instance, he wouldn’t be in a miff if Sidonie decided to have a harem of pretty young men. The other culture that really stood out for me was the Euskerri, which is akin to the Basque. Deeply proud and also demanding equality from their two neighboring countries – Terre D’Ange and Aragonia.

In the previous books, there has been some magic, though much of it is left up to the reader’s interpretation. In this novel, the magic is direct and has immediate consequences. Even though this is a reread for me, I always find myself surprised by how not subtle the magic component is in this story, as compared to the previous books. So how do you fight strong magic when you only have a passing experience with it? That is something that Imriel and Sidonie will have to figure out, though I do like all the hints that Elua, Terre D’Ange’s primary deity, may be giving them a hand. The magic does follow certain rules, which I liked, though it was quite the trial for Imriel to figure out what those rules were.

There’s plenty of adventure and sneaking about in this story. Imriel must make alliances with the most unlikely of people to even make a solid attempt to not only rescue Sidonie but the entire capitol of Terre D’Ange, the City of Elua. Indeed, spying, misdirection, and disguises make up a good part of the book. I think it was hardest on Imriel to deceive his beloved foster parents, Phedre and Joscelin. There’s some pretty intense scenes that had me holding my breath! Also, those scenes with Barquiel L’Enver, a man who has disliked Imriel since he was born, were quite worthy.

Sidonie really shines in this book. Even with everything told through Imriel’s eyes, Sidonie had some tough decisions to make and was at the center of some dangerous situations. Carey has this magical way of writing female characters behaving in feminine ways and still getting important stuff done. While Imriel is the character that carried me forward in this story, there’s a strong argument for Sidonie being that star of the story.

Each time we think our heroes have found the key to winning the day, there’s another twist or another spell or another hurdle or another bad guy that must be vanquished. One of the hardest things about this was that sometimes they had to find a way to sneak past, trick, or even fight friends and family that were ensnared in the magic. My poor nails! I was biting my nails too often with this story!

As with the series, there are incredible sex scenes that range from playful to desperate to healing to sad to joyful. Carey is just as detailed in her love scenes as she is with her use of cultures and linguistics. I always enjoy these scenes because they reveal something further about the characters.

The ending was well done. I was very satisfied that things were not easy to unravel and iron out. Not everyone gets everything they want. There’s plenty to be forgiven all around. Still, it was beautiful and satisfying.

The Narration: Simon Vance does this final book in Imriel’s trilogy justice. He had to take on further accents as our heroes experienced new cultures. There were also plenty of complicated emotions and intense scenes and Vance did a great job capturing the subtleties of those emotions in his voice work. Also, he did a fantastic job with the sex scenes.