Title: Kushiel's Justice
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Length: ~700 pages
Plot Basics: Back from university, Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel (third in line for the throne) agrees to a political marriage with a girl from Alba. But before he marries her, Imri's interest in his cousin Sidonie, the dauphine of the kingdom, sets him on a path of a dangerous affair and a love that threatens the entire kingdom. When he reaches Alba, Imri's secret love for Sidonie and the wild magic of Alba ensnare him in a plot that could bring down both that kingdom and Sidonie. To set it to rights, Imri exacts justice on the plot's mastermind and tracks him down across the vast winter of Vralia.
Banter Points: Carey knows how to write epics! This whole series, set in a Renaissance-like alter-Europe is rich in detail and character. Imri's heartache rings true and his quest keeps readers turning pages. The in-love-with-his-cousin bit might seem odd in light of current mores, but for the world Carey creates, it works with a very Romeo-and-Juliet "star-crossed lovers" feel.
Bummer Points: This book drags a bit in the middle when Imri is in Alba. It makes sense at the end to understand the changes in Imri as a character, but the process for getting there seems a little slow while in it.
Word Nerd Recommendation: The next book about Imri comes out this summer and Word Nerd cannot wait. Carey definitely deserves a spot in the list of fantasy greats, somewhere around George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Stephen Donaldson.