Title: Kushiel's Avatar
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Length: 702 pages
Plot Basics: SPOILER ALERT (it's the third book in a trilogy... what do you expect?)
Phedre no Delaunay, now the Comtesse de Montreve, has enjoyed the 10 years of peace that were promised to her. Her beloved homeland, Terre D'Ange, is at peace and her arch-nemesis Melisande Shahrizai is still in exile. But one day, Phedre receives a letter from Melisande, explaining that her son, Imriel, the third in line for the Terre D'Ange throne, has gone missing from where he had been living, ignorant of his own bloodline and importance. Phedre agrees to help Melisande by finding Imriel in exchange for Melisande's help to find the information necessary for Phedre to free her childhood friend, Hyacinthe, from his eternal duty as Master of the Straits. Phedre's quest -- on which she is accompanied by her ever-diligent consort Joscelin -- takes them to uncharted lands beyond Terre D'Ange and into the most trying times they have ever known.
Banter Points: This book, seriously, was like a cross between Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lord of the Rings and bits of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series combined with Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Absolutely sweeping in scope and adventure, it's 700 pages of one great story. Phedre is a wily heroine and Joscelin is great male lead character.
Bummer Points: The middle of this book gets very dark. Very dark. Also, as in the other books, Carey's denouement takes a few chapters, which makes the end feel sort of like it peters out. Additionally, Carey gets caught up in the descriptions sometimes (not as bad as Robert Jordan, mind you) but there are places where it takes away from the main action of the story.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Fantasy lovers this series is a must if you haven't read it. If you are new to the genre, these are good too, unless the book length intimates you. Also, there's another trilogy set after these. Word Nerd is planning to read them after a break from this world.