Jaqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series is really a collection of three trilogies. The first, consisting of Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, and Kushiel’s Avatar tell the story of Phedre nó Delaunay, a courtesan in a land where sex is an act of worship, and her sworn protector, Joscelin. What can I say about this trilogy? It was lush, romantic, sensual, mythic, epic. I have never read anything like it before or since. In Terre d’ Ange, Carey has created a richly detailed, fascinating world. Her take on religion and politics alone is enough to create an interesting story but her characters and their relationships elevates the books to an entirely different level.
I was so enamoured with the Phedre and Joscelin trilogy that when I heard that Carey was writing a second trilogy, (Kushiel’s Scion, Kushiel’s Justice, and Kushiel’s Mercy), telling the story of Imriel, Phedre and Joscelin’s complicated and horribly wounded foster son, I had my concerns. I was worried that the Imriel books could never live up to the quality of the Phedre books but I was wrong. The Imriel trilogy continued and completed the story perfectly.
(I should mention that these books are not appropriate for all ages. There is lots and lots of sex (most of it varied and explicit) in these books so they are really intended for a mature, open-minded audience. And Carey takes a lot of liberties with religion and culture so it you are easily offended by alternative history versions of real-world religions, then you should pick up a different series.)