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Naamah's Kiss (Kushiel Legacy) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2010
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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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"[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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Top customer reviews
I do love that this book shows us what it's like to be touched by Naamah, and I was also excited to get a closer look at the Maghuin Dhonn (though we did not see as much of that as I might have hoped). Still, we see Naamah take a more active role, which of course leads to lots of lovely sex, so I can't be too terribly disappointed. Plus, reiki was officially made canon, which I really adored when I was roleplaying in the milieu.
What is it that keeps me from enjoying this more, then? Moirin just doesn't have the presence of both Phèdre and Imriel. She has some cool magic, but I'm not really sure she's a main character-level heroine. It was nice to hear how the main characters of the other trilogies ended up after 'retirement', so to speak, but it seemed silly that almost all of the stories she heard came from Phèdre's day. Seeing Ch'in was exciting, but it wasn't as wonderfully developed as Terre d'Ange or Alba.
I don't know what it is. It's a good book, but not a fabulous one. I'll always revel in more of Carey's Terre d'Ange worlds, but this just wasn't as strong as the first two trilogies.
First, you could play a drinking game with the number of times "Moirin mine" is uttered by her mother and just when you think you have escaped it, Carey tosses it in by having Morrin wish she could hear it again. Really? Is she in danger of forgetting her name or who her mother is without that annoying phrase tacked onto every sentence spoken to her? Maybe Moirin's memory is bad and that's why she has to think of her stupid power every five seconds. Seriously, I was so sick of reading bear witch, Moirin mine and whatever the term for her ability is (I blocked it from my memory it was so repetitive and annoying) by the end. Yes, Phedre often mentioned her gods, but she was capable of having a thought or conversation that didn't include that she was an anguisette and was a worshipper of Naamah, Kushiel and Elua. Moirin was sadly incapable of doing this.
Moirin was also incapable of acting on her own. Whereas Phedre would act and maybe receive a blessing from her gods by seeing their faces or feeling their presence, Moirin will not take a step without the permission of the bear witch she belonged to first. It was a whole book of her reacting instead of taking the initiative. I felt like Carey couldn't come up with a reason for Moirin to decide to do anything so she didn't let her decide, she let deux machina steal the plot.
The best parts of the books, as in the previous trilogies, are the ones set in Terre d'Ange. Once the action goes abroad, it goes downhill. The book had the feel of two short stories combined into a novel. One decent one in Terre d' Ang and one boring one set in Ch'in that had nothing to do with anything previosuly written.
One complaint I read about the previous triologies was that Carey created a bisexual society and then shied away from showing it. She would write about Phedre being forced by a man wearing a metal strap on, but the long awaited love scene between her and Melisande wasn't described at all. In this book, we do get detailed girl on girl action between Moirin and The Queen of Terre d'Ange, providing a truly believable love story, but then the ball was dropped on Moirin's love scenes with men.
Yet again Carey ignored the interesting love story that dominated the beginning of her book. Sorry to Phedre fans, but I never saw Joseclin as a good match for her and preferred Hyacinth or Melisande (before she went evil) for the heroine. I saw Joseclin who didn't understand her as a cop out. Moirin ends up with Bao who endearingly calls her stupid girl. Yes I am being sarcastic, but that is what her great love calls her. And why does she love him? First someone drugged her into sleeping with Bao, then Moirin's power told her he was her great love and she only does what her power tells her so Bao is who she loved.
Bao is a very lame copy of Joseclin. I might not have liked him as Phedre's love, but I liked him ad resent that Bao is a bad cooy of him. Bao is the best fighter around, but insead of daggers he has a staff. No one can beat him. Like Joseclin he doesn't approve of his wanton charge, but instead of glaring he, as I previously mentioned, calls her stupid girl. Aren't you just rooting for these two to get together after page upon page went into Moirin and the Queen and Moirin and the doctor? I wasn't, but that is who Carey saddled us with as the super couple of this trilogy. Oh, and Bao speaks in stereotypical dialect. So stereotypical I wonder why the NAACP didn't chastise Carey for it.
Had they pursued the relationship with Moirin and the Queen, had Moirin ever done something without her power telling her to, had Bao not been a dull redo of a character who I wasn't that in love with to begin with, this book might have gotten a better review from me.
I won't be reading the other two books.
Most recent customer reviews
Funny that she didn't put on a French accent for Phedre.