Because there are too many books to give individual reviews of each, I will give you a brief description of each of Jacqueline Carey’s series and review the qualities that make her writing so unforgettable. You can pick which book you read first, but I would recommend reading them in order (except for the Saints books, because they are a different series).
Kushiel’s Legacy Series:
Jacqueline’s first set of books are the Kushiel's Legacy series. In this series, you follow two main characters who are pressed into unlikely situations because they are the chosen tools of the god Kushiel, the god of punishment.
In the first books of the series, you are introduced to Phedre no Delaunay, a remarkable woman whose eye is marked by the scarlet moat of Kushiel’s Dart. Raised in the arts of Naamah (a goddess of love and pleasure) and the arts of covertsy, Phedre finds herself surrounded by traitors and intrigue fighting for control of Terre d’ange. It will take all her skills and trust in the gods of Terre d’ange to protect those she loves and bring the guilty to justice.
The second half of the series introduces you to Imriel de la Courcel, who is both a prince and a son to the nation’s worst traitor. Struggling to understand his past, Imriel must accept his inheritance as a scion of Kushiel and learn that running from choices will not overcome them.
In the Naamah series, Jacqueline Carey takes you a few generations into the future and introduces you Moirin, a young girl born from multiple royal lines but raised in the wild traditions of her mother’s people, the Maghuin Dhonn. While forever wanting to be a child of the Mahuin Dhonn, Moirin feels driven to follow an elusive destiny given to her by her people’s goddess.
In the third book,“Naamah’s Blessing,” Moirin finds herself back in her father’s homeland of Terre d’ange. Faced once again with accusations of being a witch, Moirin struggles to protect the future of young Desiree, the daughter of Queen Jehanne. A cruel twist of the gods forces her to travel across the ocean to Terra Nova, seeking the lost Prince Thierry and his companions. The journey to find the prince could very well kill her, but she knows she will face more than just oceans and jungles. To return the prince to Terre d’ange and be free of her driving destiny, Moirin must face both her childhood mistakes and the cruelty of her past lover, Raphael.
This series has nothing to do with the previous stories, but they are still amazing books.
The Saints series starts in a town called Santa Olivia, which exists but does not exists between Texas and Mexico. In the town, the locals are basically quarantined from the rest of the world. Their only real sources of entertainment are gang-run bars and boxing championships that are held by the soldiers who guard Santa Olivia. Born into this world by accident is Loup, an incredibly strong girl whose father was not quite human. The books trace Loup’s childhood and early adulthood, watching as she uses her strength to secretly improve the lives of the Santa Olivia residents.
Why I LOVE These Books:
Now that I have given you brief descriptions of Jacqueline Carey’s books, here are some of the reasons why I LOVE her writing:
- Her books have fantastic plot twists and intrigue. The battles of wits are intense and entertaining.
- The characters can be exceptionally complex, growing and changing with the series. Readers are able to get a unique insight into the experiences of each character, both good and bad.
- The stories have some fun spicy scenes, and let’s be honest – everyone enjoys a little spice in their books.
- On a more personal note, I think there is a lot that readers can learn and take away from these books. Many of the books deal with difficult questions about love, loyalty, culture, and tradition. While I know that there will always be close-minded people, I think that Jacqueline’s characters provide us with a brilliant example of how to remain loyal to your own beliefs while maintaining the ability to learn from and respect other people’s beliefs.
If you have not read these books yet, I HIGHLY recommend that you do! I have enjoyed every single one of them, and that rarely happens. If you do not have time to read the books, the audio books are another good option. The audio readers do a great job and are not the slightest bit boring. Especially if you drive a lot to and from work/school, audio books are a great option!