Amazon Blurb:

A decade of peace has passed in Terre D’Ange, the country founded by the god Elua. Since the world’s most famous courtesan saved her queen from assassination, Phèdre n? Delauny has been enjoying a quiet life until a prophetic dream calls upon her to serve her gods one last time.

But what they ask may be too painful for even an anguissettte to bear.

When the young son of the traitor Melisande Shahrizai—Imriel de la Courcel, who stands third in line for the crown—is kidnapped, Phèdre enters an uneasy bargain to find the boy in exchange for the information that will free her beloved childhood friend Hyacinthe from his eternal imprisonment as the new Master of the Straits. When it becomes clear that Imriel’s disappearance is part of a larger, far darker scheme, Phèdre knows it is her sacred duty to end it.

At her side is her loving consort Josselin, who will also risk losing himself in Phèdre’s gamble to rescue Imriel and save her country from a spreading darkness. And beyond her doubt, her fear, dangles the promise of a holy mystery so great that it could transform Phèdre into justice incarnate… or consume her in the flames of her own passion. All of Phèdre’s journeys have led here, to the grandest of conclusions in an epic tale of
fantasy, adventure, and, above all, love.

Kushiel’s Avatar is the stunning conclusion to Jacqueline Carey’s epic trilogy.

Quote:

“It’s the same questions we ask of our existence, and the answer is always the same. The mystery lies not in the question nor the answer, but in the asking and answering themselves, over and over again, and the end is engendered in the beginning. ”

Review:

A fitting end for a fitting series. This is a great ending to this trilogy, though it is not the entire story. I enjoyed the entire ride of this ending, though I did have fear at times. This ending holds true to the series so far, and I was not disappointed in it at all.

Compared to the first two books in this trilogy, the start of this book was really fast. I was surprised just how little time the story took to warm up after I read the first two. I figured either this book was going faced paced, which good for it, or it was luring me into a false sense of belief that the story would stay at that pace. Turns out it was both, because that middle was even more crazy than I could have expected.

There are two parts to the middle of this story. The first is the dark middle, which holy fucking shit. I knew Carey had it in her to go this far. After the first two, I believed anything could happen to our two protagonists. At least I was prepared for anything because this was one hell of a period. I have no words to describe this section other than read the book and find out, and be prepared for anything. There are so many things that happen here so quickly it is hard to process it all. It probably didn’t actually take as long to read as it felt like it did, because it felt like an eternity of fear and pain.

Then there is the traveling middle, once we get out of the dark middle. We travel halfway across the world to get to our next adventure. All of the characters are healing, which is something we actually didn’t get to see too much in the story so far. The characters had gone through hell prior, but in the books they mostly were jumping from one fire to the next. This time they have time in the middle to go through their healing process, lick their wounds, and get to their next adventure, which couldn’t possibly be as bad as what they just went through. I enjoyed this section a lot, for how little actually happens in it. This section probably did take as long as it felt like it took, because it was actually rather long, because Carey talks about every new place our characters come to.

The ending is really sweet. It is exactly what I wanted to read at the end. I didn’t exactly want it to end, and I suppose it won’t because I have two more trilogies to get through. These two, Phèdre and Joscelin, they have been through enough together. They don’t need any more. They need their happily ever after. I’m willing to give it to them.

In a surprise change, that I didn’t actually notice in the middle of the book, the narration changes. Carey and Phèdre no longer combine future and past and present. There isn’t really any foreshadowing this book. There is a bit of both of these, it isn’t over done. It is still a bit flowery, but it is more contained. I have a theory that this is on purpose, that we didn’t know what had happened, not really. Most of this book, Phèdre and Joscelin are alone, without anyone else around to have told the tale to others. We also knew all of the past events leading up to this book, so we didn’t really need to be told those, either. What we really needed to know was the present, and that is what we got. If so, though, that isn’t really made clear, so it is just a personal theory for now.

The way religion has been thread through this series up until this point is something I have ignored. She has done an good job of threading real life beliefs into her story, while making it truly her own. Until this book, I just thought she was doing a good job. This book though, it takes it to another level. I honestly didn’t expect this level of import on the religions of this world on the world of Kushiel before now. There is so much that goes on in this book on this front. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for more religion in their book, because this was phenomenal.

The biggest change in this book compared to the others is there really isn’t much court intrigue. For most of the book, they’re away from court, away from Terre d’Ange, away from everything they have ever known. What little intrigue there is, is because they’re being introduced to dignitaries because they had never met before. This was a sigh of relief for me, because that just wasn’t really what I was interested in in this series. Unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll get a lot more of it in the coming trilogies.

Phèdre and Joscelin are amazing this book. I felt annoyed coming into this book when I knew that I would miss ten full years of development in their relationship. How rude! Instead we get what happens in the middle portion of this book, which is hell. Pure hell. However after that, I got to fall in love with these two all over again. Phédre is so incredibly strong in this book, I hate that she has to be this strong all over again. Joscelin finally comes into his true core strength. I love the growth of Joscelin in the entire series. Phèdre starts off incredibly strong, but young, but Joscelin starts off so determined to hold true to his vows it makes him weak. These two are a great couple.

The surprise of the book is Imriel de la Courcel. I came in to this book expecting nothing about him, not really. I only knew that he was out there and Phèdre was looking for him for the Queen. Then, he became a big part of the plot. Then he became a big character. I knew the next trilogy was about him, but I didn’t know the shape that trilogy would take. Now I do. Now I’m looking forward to it, because I love this little kid. If he could be my own, I would love to make that true. He is amazing.

An ending befitting the series, this was a truly great book, and I’m glad I read it. I honestly didn’t want to stop reading, even though my body had other ideas.

To read more reviews for this series, check out the Phèdre’s trilogy series page!
To read more reviews for the universe, check out the Kushiel’s Universe series page!