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Naamah's Kiss Hardcover – June 24, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Moirin's Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The seventh installment in Carey's bestselling Kushiel series (after 2008's Kushiel's Mercy) follows its youthful protagonist, Moirim, from bed to bed as she worships sexuality goddess Naamah. Following a tragic affair, Moirim travels to Terre d'Ange, this world's France. There she takes a variety of lovers, from the aristocratic occultist Raphael de Mereliot to Queen Jehanne herself. The elderly but wise Lo Feng befriends Moirim and leads her to the distant land of Ch'in and the true love of her life, the gruff but affectionate ex-bandit Bao. Moirim and her friends endeavor to save the Ch'in emperor's daughter Snow Tiger from a curse, but their efforts come at terrible costs, not least of which is the certainty of multiple sequels. Carey's triumph as a writer lies in her ability to turn these stock—nearly stereotyped—components into an engaging, fascinating novel. (July)
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Review

"[A]nother stunner...A multilayered plot and Imriel's complex inner life as he struggles with pain and loss...hook the reader but good." (Booklist on Kushiel's Justice (starred review))

"Carey has wowed us...leaving faithful readers feeling both deliciously sated and hungry for more from her." (Booklist on Kushiel's Mercy (starred review))

"Unforgettable characters who live out their lives, whether blessed or cursed by the gods, against a background of high passion, complex intrigues, and subtle magic." (Library Journal on Kushiel's Mercy (starred review))

"Intelligent, sexy, heartbreakingly human, Carey at her intoxicating best." (Booklist on Kushiel's Scion (starred review))
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (June 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044619803X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446198035
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It breaks my heart to write this, but this book just isn't very good.

(SPOILERS AHEAD.)

Jacqueline Carey's been my favorite author since I first read Kushiel's Dart in January 2002. That book caught me from the first paragraph, and I read the first chapter right there in the bookstore, before buying it. If you're reading this, you probably know what an experience falling in love with that book--that world--was for me. There were some less-convincing characters, and some less-riveting passages, but for three epic novels, the quality level was kept remarkably high throughout.

The fundamentally wonderful thing about Kushiel's Dart was how dense it was, how much beauty and intrigue and meaning was packed into each page, into each plot development. The last two books of the first series were slightly less dense, but made up for it with rich action.

The Imriel series was more difficult to love. The characters were, for the most part, still 3d and believable, Imri's inner personality was fully realized, and his interactions with those around him followed an emotional logic. But the first two books' plots were pretty thin, and could have been condensed into one. Carey bulked them out with too many placeholder characters, too many pointless dead-end activities (why DID he go to Rome, anyway?), and too many ideas not fully realized (that secret society sure was a dud).

Worst of all, the pivotal plot point--that Imri turns his back on love to pursue duty, with disastrous results--always felt forced, like the author was making a character do something unnatural for the sake of her plot. That's bad enough when it's a brief episode...but it was the bulk of the second novel.
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Format: Hardcover
In _Naamah's Kiss_, Jacqueline Carey returns to the world she created in the Kushiel's Legacy series, and introduces a delightful new heroine.

Moirin mac Fainche is a descendant of Alais de la Courcel and a member of the Maghuin Dhonn tribe of Alba. On her father's side, she's D'Angeline, with lines of descent from Naamah and Anael. When a tragedy changes Moirin's young life, and an initiatory rite reveals that she has a destiny beyond the sea, Moirin travels to Terre d'Ange in search of her father. There, she's treated as an exotic novelty.

In no time at all, she's over her head in a web of intrigue, with only her courage, her wits, and her deep-seated beliefs to protect her. The publisher's blurb mentions that she travels to Ch'in, so I won't consider that a spoiler; eventually she does go to Ch'in and becomes involved in a knotty situation there as well. The plot is complex, and while at first there seems to be little connection between Moirin's adventures in Terre d'Ange and her adventures in Ch'in, it turns out that the things she learns and gains in Terre d'Ange are crucial in dealing with what comes later.

As is usual for the first book in a Carey trilogy, the major plotline of _Naamah's Kiss_ is resolved by book's end, and several other plotlines remain open for exploration in the next two installments.

To me, one of the best things about _Naamah's Kiss_ is that Moirin's voice is so clear. Many authors seem to write the same character over and over. Carey doesn't. I never felt like I was reading Phedre's voice, or Imriel's. Moirin doesn't have Phedre's silken manners, or Imriel's Byronic angst, and she's sharp-tongued in a way that the other two are not. Her attitude toward sex is different, too.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has its lovely moments, but for the most part, it isn't on the same level as any one of the Kushiel books. The three stars I give it are for a few very beautiful characters and the fascinating cultural depictions of the Maghuin Dohnn and Ch'in. Also, Carey has a gift for using language in a gorgeous, absorbing way, and that is still very evident in this book. But as for the protagonist herself and the general plot, they are both a disappointment to me.

I was ready to embrace Moirin when I began this book, and seeing her grow up in the wilderness in naive solitude with her mother was a great start. But once her world expands to encompass more character interaction, her personality becomes clearer, and I realized she was actually not very appealing. She is sensuous and sharp-tongued, which is fun, but the flip side is that she is also a bit too immature and disrespectful at times, which might be fine (or even interesting) if she had good reason, but she doesn't. She comes off at times as being a bit full of herself, while at the same time being weak and easily used. Not a likeable combination. And little else about her personality stands out enough to make her a strong, intriguing voice.

I can't help but draw glaring comparisons between her and Phedre and Imriel and find Moirin wanting. Phedre and Imriel shone regardless of their Kusheline components. Phedre was mysterious and exceedingly clever in her own right, and Imriel had a boldness and a solemnity beyond his years, and such a heartbreaking history. Moirin just doesn't have such a strong character foundation. So it seems that from the beginning, the emphasis on her magical gifts overshadows her personality, so that I felt like without those gifts, she would not be very special, mysterious or memorable on her own.
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