Kushiel's Mercy - Jacqueline Carey In L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt's Compleat Enchanter, Harold Shea is able to travel to the worlds of literature by focusing his mind on a mathematical formula, a mantra, if you will, that transports him to the worlds of the Norse sagas and Spenser's Faerie Queen, among others. If only that could happen. There are any number of worlds I would love to visit -- Tolkien's Middle Earth (of course), Cherryh's Union/Alliance universe, the Malazan Empire, the Hyborian Age, und so weiter...

But there are only two worlds I'd consider settling down in: Iain Banks' Culture and Jacqueline Carey's Terre d'Ange, where "love as thou wilt" is the creed by which all of its citizens strive to live.

Carey was truly inspired when she penned Kushiel's Avatar and its successors. And, for the most part, she manages to maintain powerful storytelling and characters in this second trilogy. The story revolves around the life of Imriel de la Courcel, the son of the arch-traitoress Melisande Shahrizai and adoptee of the first trilogy's heroine, Phedre, and his efforts to redeem himself both in his own eyes and in the eyes of Terre d'Ange.

Carey's ability to weave the story around her characters trying to live by the creed established by the Blessed Elua ("love as thou wilt") makes it very compelling. It also makes the "good guys" someone you can root for and the "bad guys" all that more despicable. I don't believe that "passion" was present in Carey's The Sundering duology, and it showed.

I'd actually give this trilogy 3.5+ stars, if I could. Its only drawback is that you need to read the previous trilogy to understand all that's going on in this one, but if you're willing, the time spent is worth the effort.