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YMMV: Kushiel's Legacy
  • Badass Decay: Happens to Barquiel in Scion and Justice, but he recovers in Mercy.
  • Complete Monster: The Mahrkhagir practices sexual torture, mutilation and degradation of all kinds and is just overall a master at tormenting people psychologically as well as physically, with a priesthood to back him up as well. The Mahrkagir violently oppresses the population of his home nation and is a cruel sadist on every level. Imriel as a child was his captive, and recounts a time when the Mahrkagir bargained with him to spare a girl Imriel was fond of, if Imriel would swallow his piss. Imriel tried and failed, so the Mahrkagir raped the woman and slit her throat at the end. When Phedre, the heroine, infiltrates his harem to help bring him down, the Mahrkagir brutalizes her nightly and even uses a spiked iron rod on her for sex, relishing every moment of pain. Only her unique gifts as an Anguisette (a being who derives intense pleasure from pain) allows her survival.
  • Crowning Moment Of Awesome: Many examples.
    • When Queen Ysandre rides unarmed and unprotected through the ranks of the misguided Royal Army to face down the usurping Royal Commander and (metaphorically) reclaim the crown, does that count as both a Crowning Moment Of Awesome and an Awesome Moment of Crowning?
    • Also, the Battle of Troyes-Le-Mont is a series of these one right after the other. From Waldemar Selig and Isidore D'Aiglemort killing each other on the battlefield to Joscelin dropping three times his own height in order to save his brother's life pretty much everyone gets to do something awesome.
  • Crowning Moment Of Funny: Phedre's Boys' extremely lewd regimental song. Phedre turns bright red every time it's revealed they've taught it to someone else
  • Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming: Several, but the biggest one has to be when Phèdre speaks the Name of God, and it is revealed that everyone heard the word "love" in their own language. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Hyacinthe.
  • Foe Yay: Phèdre and Melisande. And how!
    • As well as Moirin and Raphael de Merelot in the Naamah series, although this is something of a subversion as they were most strongly attracted to each other before becoming enemies, and that poisons their relations.
  • Fridge Logic: Being a Wild Child, Moirin says "aye" instead of "yes"; she even gets corrected about it. But most of the time, she is not speaking her native Alban but D'Angeline, that she learnt in books, or Ch'in, that she learnt from an Old Master, or…
  • Magnificent Bastard: Give Melisande her due. She plays you to your face and you both know it, but she still wins.
    • Barquel is one of very few people Melisande is wary of and views as a threat to her plans.
  • Mary Suetopia: Terre d'Ange is a land blessed by angels, where everybody is beautiful (as pointed out repeatedly) and there's lots of free polyamorous sex going around. It's so beautiful that ugly evil foreignes want to invade and conquer it, but of course they fail.
    • And they would have succeeded too, if it weren't for those other foreigners. In all the situations where that last bit is relevant Terre d'Ange is too busy being self-absorbed to solve things themselves.
    • This begins to zig zag a bit in the second trilogy. Imriel more or less says outright that being pretty is the only thing D'Angelines are particularly better at than anyone else, and that physical beauty isn't really important. Much as he loves his country, he makes it sound a lot less like a Mary Suetopia than Phèdre did.
    • And even Phedre drops the superiority monologue for a few chapters when she visits the island of Kriti (Crete) in Chosen. All she does is gush about how awesome Kriti and its culture is, in fact I don't think there was a single bad thing said about it whilst she was there. Probably justified, as earlier in the series Phedre mentions that to the d'Angelines, the ancient Hellenes were the pinnacle of civilization before Elua came to Terre d'Ange. This also has a Real Life basis as to most Western nations today, Ancient Greece is viewed as part of a Golden Age for classical civilizations.
    • It goes back to Ancient Rome, who saw them in the same way (and ripped off their culture, too).
  • Moral Event Horizon: Most villains have one, but Melisande's takes the cake when her ally has Delaunay, Alcuin, and their entire household killed while Joscelin and Phèdre are away on a mission. When the two run to the royal palace for help, she intercepts, drugs, and sells them into slavery. Actually, she didn't know they would be killed, and seems to feel bad about it, but doing that afterward is still unforgivable. Not to mention conspiring to conquer her own country later. You can still hear the audience howling for her blood...
    • Waldemar Selig's comes when he tries to skin Phèdre alive at Troyes-le-Mont.
  • Nightmare Fuel
  • The Scrappy: Moirin may be this for the fanbase in general, whilst Imriel in the first two books of his trilogy was seen as this for his tendency to Wangst about his situation.
  • Seasonal Rot: Some fans say this about Chosen for the first trilogy, Mercy and or Justice for the second and both Curse and Blessing for the third. On a series wide scale, quite a few fans seem to think that the other books do not live up to the standard set by Phedre's books.
  • Squick: Avatar. The 'iron rod' that the Mahrkagir uses on Phèdre. And all of the things he does to Imriel. And pretty much everything else about him.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Moirin and Bao. Many readers complain they lack chemistry compared to other pairings, and in-universe they don't really have a choice about their relationship after Bao dies and is resurrected with half of Moirin's spirit.
  • Villain Decay: The quality of the villains in the novels appears to decay right down to the end of the third trilogy. Raphael de Mereliot is seen as quite a step down from the likes of Melisande and the Mahrkagir.
  • The Woobie: Imriel.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Most of the fandom finds Melisande incredibly sexy.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: How some fans felt regarding the existence of the Guild. Some felt that they could have contributed more to the plot.

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