Title: Kushiel's Scion
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Length: 753 pages
Plot Basics: Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel, third in line for the throne of Terre D'Ange, wants just a simple life with his foster parents Phedre and Joscelin and not to worry about kingdom plots or his station in the world. He also wants to be free of the shadow of his birth mother, the dangerously beautiful Melisande Shahrizai, who more than once tried to usurp the D'Angeline kingdom. But Imriel finds both are hard to escape. When he goes off to study at University in Tiberium, he tries to travel as just himself and try to figure out how Phedre's adopted father Anafiel Delaunay learned the arts of covertcy. Concealing his royal identity and his interest in covertcy and trying to make new friends is a challenge for Imri. And in trying to uphold the bonds of friendship, he finds himself on the front lines of a battle led by the ghost of a dead warlord.
Banter Points: Sweeping in scale as always is Carey's fourth book in the Kushiel series, though it's the first one featuring Imri as a main character. She does a good job of showing the turmoil in Imri as he wrestles with his family, his interests and his station in life and becoming a man.
Bummer Points: This book took a good 300 pages to really get going. Granted, the first Kushiel book (Kushiel's Dart) did as well to get readers through all of Phedre's childhood. This story seemed a little all over the place, touching on a bunch of threads of plot and only satisfactorily wrapping up a few of them. Of course, with two more books, Carey likely left herself plenty of things to follow up on.
Word Nerd Recommendation: A good series for readers of epic fantasy. If long books in a long series isn't your thing though, steer clear.