Imriel de la Courcel’s blood parents are history’s most reviled traitors, while his adoptive parents, Phèdre and Joscelin, are Terre d’Ange’s greatest champions. Stolen, tortured, and enslaved as a young boy, Imriel is now a Prince of the Blood, third in line for the throne in a land that revels in beauty, art, and desire.
After a year abroad to study at university, Imriel returns from his adventures a little older and somewhat wiser. But perhaps not wise enough. What was once a mere spark of interest between himself and his cousin Sidonie now ignites into a white-hot blaze. But from commoner to peer, the whole realm would recoil from any alliance between Sidonie, heir to the throne, and Imriel, who bears the stigma of his mother’s misdeeds and betrayals. Praying that their passion will peak and fade, Imriel and Sidonie embark on an intense, secret affair.
Blessed Elua founded Terre d’Ange and bestowed one simple precept to guide his people, love as thou wilt. When duty calls, Imriel honors his role as a member of the royal family by leaving to marry a lovely, if merely sweet, Alban princess. By choosing duty over love, Imriel and Sidonie may have unwittingly trespassed against Elua’s law. But when dark powers in Alba, who fear an invasion by Terre d’Ange, seek to use the lovers’ passion to bind Imriel, the gods themselves take notice.
Before the end, Kushiel’s justice will be felt in heaven and on earth.
“Joscelin, is love supposed to make you feel like you’re sick and dying, and mad enough to hit someone and drunk with joy, and your heart’s a boulder n your chest trying to burst into a thousand pieces all at once?”
“Mm-hmm.” He finished his ale. “That would be love.”
Well, that was a heartbreak I didn’t need. I slept on this because I wasn’t sure what to say about this book, how much to say. I’m not certain I have a lot to say here.
If you’re on the fence whether or not to read Imriel’s Trilogy after the first, I say give it a try. The first book was kind of boring. This one is what you’re looking for, though you do need the knowledge of the first book to really enjoy this one. This book has the adventure and the heartbreak and the love in it. This was on par with the stories we got from Phèdre and Joscelin, but Imriel has his own story to tell. He isn’t piggybacking off their story (much).
Phèdre and Joscelin are actually in this book quite a lot. I’m not certain how I feel about this. I love being able to see them again, don’t get me wrong. I just feel like parts of the story rely on them being there, when this is Imriel’s tale to tell. They’re not even around during the one time he needs them the most, either. I love them, but I really hope they take more of a backstage the next book.
In this book we see Imriel’s biggest growing up as a person. He finds himself here. He doesn’t always like what he sees, either. Imriel is better after his enslavement in Darsanga, though the scars are still there. This book continues the healing from the first, though not exactly the way you would expect. Imriel is more rooted in his life now this time around, instead of his life in the past. Perhaps that is part of what makes this one so much better than the last one.
You know, at some point Imriel brought up that he was cursed, and who he said it to told him to stop being silly. But, is it really silly? I mean, some of this Imriel definitely brings on his own head. That boy makes some of the dumbest choices, I swear to Elua. However, it is undeniable that Imriel is suffering because of some larger plan. Just as Phèdre and Joscelin suffered for some larger plan. You can call it a curse, you can call it the will of the gods, or you can call it god-touched. It is all the same thing. And it means a life of trouble for our poor Imriel, who had already suffered enough by the time we get to his story at all.
Something was introduced this time that I absolutely fucking love. Fae!!! Okay, they’re never called fae. They’re called the Old Ones, on the island of Alba, which is an England stand-in. They live in forests, disappear, can change shape, and they can divine the future. They’re fucking fae. I LOVE FAE! I’m so glad for this new addition. Even if it did end the way it did.
The biggest theme of this book is the idea of duty versus love or to put it another way: the duty to your country versus the duty to your religion. Their entire religion, their entire belief system, is to love as thou wilt. Imriel has to choose between the two. He has to make some really rough choices this book. Whether they were good choices or not seems clear, but I still feel like it isn’t that simple. This whole thing was so rough that it makes the entire series worth it. Yes this theme, what happens in this book, makes the entire trilogy worth reading, and I haven’t even read the third book yet.
This is a tale of two girls, of two loves. I’m actually really glad Carey writes this. There is the love that burns hot, hotter than anything these two had felt prior to this. Imriel and Sidonie assume this love would burn out fast, they ignore it, they try to cool it off, hell, Imriel runs to another country to try and get away from it. They do everything in their power to try and keep it from becoming reality. Then there is sweet, kind Dorelai. This is the love that grows over time, with proximity. It is also a mismatch in the level of love, because Dorelai loves him much more than Imriel loves her. I really do love the way this romance is written.
There is more I perhaps could say. Like the internal turmoil Imriel goes through, or how much Queen Ysandre annoys me. However, I think I’ll leave it here. I really liked this one.