Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Scion
Kushiel’s Scion, by Jacqueline Carey
Get it at Amazon.

Re-visiting the world of Terre d’Ange after more than a year since I last read about Phedre’ and Joscelin, and their adopted son Prince Imriel could have been a jarring experience – after all, Imri in this novel is no longer a child, afraid of monsters lurking beneath the bedroom furniture, but a young man about to attain true adulthood.

Jacqueline Carey’s world building is so detailed, however, that stepping back into Montreve, and the various other locations, was just like stepping into the kitchen of an old friend. Well, if that kitchen was in a time hundreds of years before now, and part of a society built on the concept of Love as thou wilt.

In this, the fourth novel of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, young Imriel is caught between being “good” and being true to himself, as a member of Kushiel’s line, and coming to grips with a childhood of abuse, and the darker desires he was born with. Amidst all this teen angst, there is a quest to find the source of a specific school of knowledge, and much ado with the ladies of the Court.

All in all, it’s a rollicking adventure that acts as the lead-in to the next two books in the series.

Goes well with a tankard of ale, hearty fresh-baked bread, and a good sharp cheddar.

Lit-Ra-Chur (Booking Through Thursday)

When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)

Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

I’ve been pretty insular lately, so I thought I’d take a break from writing medicare advantage articles to actually participate in a meme. It’s not Thursday, but if you don’t tell, I won’t either.

Literature, at least in my personal lexicon, does include Shakespeare, Dickens and Tolstoy, as well as Melville, Fitzgerald, and Hawthorne, but it also includes the Bronte sisters, Austen, Woolf, Cather, Alcott, and George Sand. Not to mention Dickinson, Emerson, Whitman, Plath and Thoreau. I don’t believe something has to be part of a “great books” program in order to be literature, but there’s a reason the classics are, well, classic.

Staying power is one part of what distinguishes literature from, say, general fiction, but it’s also not the only factor. I believe literature is still being created. Consider the beauty of the language in Memoirs of a Geisha, for example, or the works of A. S. Byatt.

As to what I read for pleasure. I read a bit of everything. I like the classics. Curling up with Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre on a dismal weekend evening is just as restful as breezing through a couple of Star Trek novels, and the latter are often just as provocative as any of the works I studied in school.

As I write this, I’m in the middle of two books – one is the middle novel in a trilogy of Trekfiction, the other is the latest in the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline, and I’m about to begin reading Pride and Prejudice.

As a writer, I learn from everything I read. Not just the stuff that we used to write essays about.