First things first:
[and to those non-Xmas celebrators, a Happy Holidays!)
Anyway, I just finished up the second to last book in the Kushiel's series (there's one more out but it's in hardback, so waiting for it to be done). This one was my favorite BY FAR. Call me a hopeless romantic, but this one just had so many elements that totally drew me in. Star-crossed lovers, a doomed betrothal, a loyal dedicated wife, a tragedy, a quest for justice... Of all the Kushiel's books, Kushiel's Justice has been most enjoyable for me. Unlike the others, which I had felt were slow to get started and lagged in areas, this one moved fast. As always, Carey's good with her epic plots, this idea of a hero's journey and whatnot.
The other interesting about this one was how it played with their version of Christianity. Not sure if Carey was making a commentary on the way a faith can take many turns and can change to a point of unrecognizability, but definitely gave me pause.
Another point (spoiler) - when Imriel finally finds Berlik and kills him, I really enjoyed the exchange and thoughtfulness about redemption and finding peace for one's actions. I thought this was quite philosophical in some areas, bringing to mind questions of redemption, right, justice, forgiveness, humility. I half expected that Imriel would not go through with it and kill him. But that would have been a copout in a way. Not possible.
I think I enjoyed this one the most not just for the romance, but also because you truly see the journey that Imriel takes on as a person. How he goes from a self-absorbed person passionately in love, to someone who can also learn a quiet love, a love with humility, and then as he grows as he nearly fails in his quest for vengeance. How in the end, it's barely vengeance, but just justice, almost a gift. It was touching to me in many ways.
This means nothing to anyone who hasn't read this series, but ah well. Just wanted to share my thoughts.
Star-crossed lovers always get me though. Just glad that in the end it seems like they might be able to be together. Somehow. Love as thou wilt.