Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Naamah's Blessing (Kushiel's Legacy) Hardcover – June 29, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Jacqueline Carey's previous publications include various short stories, essays, a nonfiction book, Angels: Celestial Spirits in Legend and Art, as well as the nationally bestselling series Kushiel's Legacy.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This book opens with Bao and Moirin heading back to Terre D’Ange from the far east. They’ve been on a ship for months and are just coming upon Marsilikos where they learn that Raphael de Mereliot’s sister has passed away. From there, it’s on to Terre D’Ange and the royal court where things are not well on many fronts.
King Daniel has been thrown into a deep funk by the death of his second beloved wife, Jehanne. Even though they have a toddler, Daniel can barely stand to spend time with her because she so resembles her deceased mom. Moirin and Bao can see right away that Desiree is suffering from neglect. Meanwhile, Prince Thierry, Desiree’s much older half-brother, went on a trade and exploration voyage to Terra Nova. Word reaches the court that Thierry has disappeared but Moirin is convinced he’s still alive.
Leaving the D’Angeline court in a bit of a disarray, Bao and Moirin make their way to Terra Nova on a quest to seek out Thierry and bring him back to set things aright. Of course, it’s not that straight forward. There’s plenty of hazards and Moirin and Bao have their doubts from time to time.
Terra Nova adventuring was deadly dangerous, thrilling, and so very well done. There’s human sacrifice, deadly ants, sorcery, Aragonians, native allies and enemies, betrayal, old loves, new friends, and gods that demand to be satisfied. I was impressed with how the blood sacrifices were addressed in this story. Human sacrifice was part of more than one culture in Terra Nova. While this is difficult for Moirin to wrap her mind around, she does try and eventually she and Bao have to make a hard choice on this front.
The jungle scene was great too. So many insects, reptiles, and plants! There’s plenty of reasons the Aragonians want a monopoly on trade agreements with the local government. Terra Nova offers not only riches but novelty goods that Aragonia has never seen. However, the Aragonians have not been fully honest with the first Terre D’Ange expedition nor have they treated the local population with respect. Moirin, always the polite young lass, offers much in the way of mutual respect and the Nahuatl king recognizes this.
The ants! Oh my! The ants were terrifying. We run into them perhaps half way through the book after the group has survived more than one betrayal along with flooded rivers and illness. Raphael had traveled with Thierry on the first ill-fated expedition and in the heart of the jungle, Moirin and her companions finally come across him. Their joy at finding him alive is short lived as they soon learn the state of things.
All of Moirin’s powers are put to use in this tale. Cloaking herself in Twilight serves her well in more than one instance. Then her ability to quicken green growing things saves plenty of people. She also puts her linguistic skills to use as more than one culture makes up this adventure in Terra Nova.
One of my favorite scenes is with the Nahuatl King. He offers Moirin vital info and a skilled guide to help track Thierry in exchange for a night with her. He also offers his youngest wife to Bao for one night, claiming that is more than enough honor for any man. Moirin’s counter was awesome. She lays out her own great deeds and skills and declares that one night with her is more than enough honor for any man. It was a great scene.
In the end, Bao has to do one last thing to prove himself. There’s some loss in this tale but much happiness. New ties have been made and a strong foundation laid for Moirin’s future. I definitely enjoyed this book a bit more than Book 2, Naamah’s Curse. This was not only a solid, satisfying ending for this trilogy but also for the entire Terre D’Ange Cycle.
The Narration: Anne Flosnik brings us home as Moirin in this final book of the series. I think I say this every time, but Flosnik has got some skills on her! Yet more accents are added to her repertoire as we explore Terra Nova. Also, there’s some strong emotions in this book, what with human sacrifice and what not. Flosnik does a great job expressing these often nuanced emotions. Her male voices are believable and all her characters are distinct. A most excellent narration all around.
I usually love seeing the gods at work in the characters' lives, and that's something that drew me to the books in the first place. However, I fear that Moirin's saga relies a bit too heavily on deus ex machina. Moirin is always following her diadh-anam or Naamah's urgings or true dreams. She seems to have very little real agency, and we get the feeling that she, like us, is just waiting around to see how everything will turn out. I wish we saw her with a much more active role in these amazing stories. When she does, it's always through a gift from some god anyway. I guess I would have liked to see more of Moirin the (possibly fallible) human heroine and less Moirin the vessel waiting to be used.
Still, the story was fun, and I liked the way it closed the Circle of Shalomon, so to speak. I loved seeing Terra Nova and meeting their people and gods. The climax seemed to be missing something for me, but I'm not sure what. It may just be that deus ex machina bit. Still, the ending was solid and a great conclusion for this trilogy.
Jacqueline Carey writes beautifully, I love the lush descriptions of her world, and I was really excited to see more of it - Ch'in, Bhodistan, Vralia, the Tatar steppes - even the New World! I thought the way Raphael ended up using Caim's gift was ingenious. I love her subtle use of words, I love her characters, I love her twist on the "love conquers all" cliché. I can't not enjoy a Kushiel's Legacy book... but these books didn't live up to the previous trilogies. Here's why:
MOIRIN'S DIADH-ANAM: As a child of the Maghuin Dhonn, Moirin has a very convenient thing called a diadh-anam. Whenever Moirin has to make a decision, it's simple - she consults her diadh-anam. If it's leaping, she says yes. If it's still, she says no. This always turns out to be the right choice, and this means Moirin never has any internal conflict and turns out to be a Mary Sue. Her diadh-anam even points her to the direction she needs to go in next - it gives the idiom "moral compass" a whole new meaning. Very occasionally, her diadh-anam is silent, but Moirin ends up making the right choice anyway, and it leaps afterwards.
BAO: Bao is the worst character. He's absolutely unbelievable. In Naamah's Kiss, he's surly and resentful, although a good fighter and protective of his master. Then after a few months, Moirin realises that he's beautiful? By book 2, he's Moirin's one true love and his character has changed completely - he's now stubborn and confused, trying to figure out his feelings - kind of similar to Joscelin in Kushiel's Chosen (Kushiel's Legacy). In the third book, despite his ordeal at the end of the second, he's suddenly a loving and patient husband - also like Joscelin in Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy) - except he's nowhere as awesome as Joscelin, and suffers by comparision. He should've been his own character - instead it seems like his character serves the plot rather than developing realistically.
THE WHITE SAVIOR: Like I said above, Moirin is very much a Mary Sue. Wherever she goes, she ends up finding sympathetic ears and changing the face of the society. In Ch'in, Snow Tiger ends up defying her father (something that never happens) to save the realm. In Vralia, she converts a fundamentalist Yeshuite to see the power of love and inspires him to go preach about it. In Bhodistan, she persuades the Rani to abolish the castle system. In Nauhatl lands, she persuades the emperor to give up human sacrifice. Not only does this reduce the lands she visits into stereotypes, it's just annoying! Phèdre and Imriel manage to save the world multiple times without falling into this trope - Phèdre visits Khebel-im-Akkad without effecting women's emancipation and Menekhet without changing the Hellene perception towards natives. Imriel visits Caerdicci Unitas without changing the stigma against homosexuality. It's made all the more annoying by Moirin's observations about how she's not as good as the legends Imriel and Phèdre.
MOIRIN HERSELF: Okay, Moirin is not that bad - she's just bland. She has very little internal conflict because her diadh-anam tells her what to do, she's Naamah and Anael's child, and that makes her desires a lot tamer than Kushiel's chosen, so that part isn't as much fun either. She had a lot of promise when she was a cave dwelling half-wild girl needing to understand D'Angeline society, but she figures that all out really quickly, which is boring. She's just nice and kind and she has a destiny.
I still enjoyed the series, and if Carey wrote other books in this world, I'd pre-order them in an heartbeat. But I'd hope fervently they were more like the Phèdre and Imriel series' than this one.