BookMattic's Rating: 4/5
Goodreads' Rating: 4.18
Reading this book was like visiting a friend or family member that you haven't seen in a while. There were a lot of the same characters from the previous books but a little older and wiser. It was really good to
have the old characters still around but they were only a small part of the book. The stardom in this book went to all the new characters. The structure of this book matched that of it's predecessors and added a few new surprising twists and turns which were pleasing and kept interest throughout this honking book of 943 pages. It is a coming of age story that you'll likely not forget. If you're new to the series I suggest reading the first series before reading this one since it has many references to the other books, however if you do read this book first the descriptions of previous events are detailed enough that you will understand the context, you'll just be missing the details.
The story begins fairly close to the ending of the last book in the first Kushiel's series where Imriel has been rescued by Phèdre and Joscelin from Darsanga and brought back to the City of Elua under the household of Montreve. The focus of the beginning of this book is themed around Imriel's preteen and early teenager years. It shows the struggle that Imriel goes through trying to overcome his mother's legacy of trickery and treachery. His mother is a traitor to the country therefore people call Imriel the traitor's get. He has a very hard time dealing with this and just doesn't want anything to do with his mother.
The story explores his relationship with his blood kin and his adopted kin. His relationship with his blood kin at first is very shaky. Along with all the troubles at court he has to deal with his lingering awful memories of Darsanga. He does his best to overcome his deep emotional scars from his captive duration in Darsanga, but it seems to plague him throughout the whole book. Eventually Imriel decides that in order for him to find himself he needs to get away from all the court gossip and go somewhere far away where he can just be himself. One way he does that is by leaving what he knows and the people he loves for the unknown adventures of university life in Tiberium.
His adventures in Tiberium end up being the most exciting and interesting parts of the book. It's where Imriel finds out about the Unseen Guild where Anafiel Delaunay learnt how to use the arts of secrecy and covert skills to his advantage. Anafiel Delaunay was the one who taught Phèdre everything she knew and in turn everything that Imriel learnt was taught by Phèdre. Imriel ends up being given the same choice as Anafiel was given and that is either join the Unseen Guild or be sworn to secrecy that if any word about the Unseen Guild were to be told to anyone else the sentence is death.
The charters are good, some better than others. You really grow to love Imriel and his desire to be a good person. At times he believes he is truly bad but he's basically lying to himself. He is very kind at heart and he learns to accept that. Other characters such as Gilot I didn't care much for. He was a main character but I felt like he didn't add much to the story and his personality was a little bland. Gilot also complained too much and didn't really contribute much to the other character's personalities. ***SPOILER*** The time that I liked Gilot the best was when and after he died. I know that's mean to say but the reason why is because the way he died made him a hero. Even though I didn't like him very much, his actions during the climax of this story made me appreciate his last actions. Everyone in the city of Lucca will most likely remember his actions and also I'm sure Imriel and his adopted kin will always be grateful for his heroic actions. I actually think Gilot chose to sacrifice himself because he believed he didn't have any worth in the world and that by doing this one last heroic action would make the meaning of his life worth something. Lastly Eamon was one of my most favorite supporting characters of all. He seemed to be able to bring the smile out on everyone's face and was truly Imriel's only best friend. He was the only other person that Imriel told about his time in Darsanga which for Imriel is a very big deal. If it weren't for Eamon the story would have lacked it's comedic moments and therefore would have been full of too much sadness.
For first time readers to this story totally make sure to read the previous stories first. For those of you coming back to the series after reading the first three books I believe you're in for a great read. Jacqueline Carey' Kushiel's Scion may not be better than the first series but it definitely has it's own unique flavor and many surprising moments to keep you wanting more.