wilderthan: ((Fujin) Won't understand)
[personal profile] wilderthan
I don't think there are major spoilers in here, but just in case and since the third book came out very recently...

Naamah's Kiss (Jacqueline Carey)

I've been putting off reading this trilogy until it was all out, wanting to immerse myself in Carey's world all at once. I'm glad I did: it took me a while to get to the point of wanting to read it without putting it down, but I got there. It starts slow, I suppose, but so did Kushiel's Dart, really... In any case, I got into it more than I did Imriel's trilogy: perhaps it helps that this is long past the days of Phèdre and Joscelin so there can be no disappointment at their portrayal or lack of it.

I didn't love Moirin as much as I love Phèdre, but that's sort of to be expected.

The Mary Sue-ness of Jacqueline Carey's characters continues, of course: everyone wants Moirin. A local noble boy, the guy who drives her to the capital city, the guy who runs her over in the street, a queen, a prince, a random scion of the Shahrizai, her teacher's assistant, a princess... And she's beloved of not one god, but three. It only irritated me at first, and then I settled back into the way of it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the other characters: Jehanne was capricious and sharp but you could also understand why she was loved; the king had a minor role but drew me through his compassion and sadness; the dragon was amazing; the princess was out of her depth but trying, trying so hard...

At first I was trying to compare the characters to those of earlier books, but there is no Joscelin, no Queen Ysandre, no Hyacinthe -- and that turned out to be a good thing.

Something is missing, here, from the earlier trilogy -- some richness in the world, some newness. I couldn't see even the court in the City of Elua as clearly as I did in Phèdre's tale. Is it just that I've grown to expect a lot out of Carey, and it's no longer new to me? Perhaps.

Looking forward to reading the rest.

Naamah's Curse (Jacqueline Carey)

Book two of Everybody Wants Moirin. Sorry, that's not the title. Ahem. Anyway, with the usual caveats applied to Jacqueline Carey's writing -- the prose is slightly archaic and may put you off; everybody falls in love with the heroine and wants to sleep with her; it's probably more than a tad heretical, etc -- I enjoyed it a lot. It's been a while since I sat down with a book and raced through it in a day, which contributes to my enjoyment: it's very good to get lost in a fictional world on occasion. I heartily recommend the experience, even if everybody's got different tastes on that score. But you guys on GoodReads know this, as do most of my friends...

Anyway. This story continues to take Moirin across the world. I think she examines the things around her less than Phèdre did -- certainly I didn't feel that the world was as rich and sparkling and full of learning as I did. I did wince a little at Carey's decision to have Moirin basically reform the Indian caste system. Okay, it's really the efforts of the Rani Amrita that gets things done, but white (sorry, 'honey-skinned') Moirin and her gods are the ones that bring this message. I still enjoyed it, but I did think it more than a bit problematic. Undoubtedly having a caste of untouchables is a terrible thing from our point of view, but the white races thinking they know better have caused plenty of problems of their own.

I'm looking forward to the third book, and have a pretty good idea where it's going. Bao and Moirin are no Phèdre and Joscelin -- they don't make me heartsick and frightened for them -- but I do want to know what they do next.

Naamah's Blessing (Jacqueline Carey)

I've very much enjoyed reading this trilogy, and revisiting Terre D'Ange. I don't think these books are as good as the first trilogy, but they were still very good, especially read back to back in a long glut of reading! This third book takes Moirin and Bao to Terra Nova -- essentially, the Aztec nations. A lot of plot threads from the trilogy are tied up here, and no detail seems to have been meaningless.

I did feel as though Jacqueline Carey wasn't that able to make the reader feel her characters were truly threatened. In the first trilogy, I did, but Moirin easily found help or a way out again and again. And again, most problematically, Moirin gets to meddle with other cultures for her idea of what's best. It leads up to the ending, where Moirin sees all gods as being one in a way -- an idea close to my heart as a Unitarian Universalist -- yes, but it still troubles me.

The minor characters were, once again, quite well done: I especially enjoyed poor King David, so fatally flawed, and his kindness and sympathy to Moirin; Moirin's father, of course; Balthasar Shahrizai; Jehanne; the Aztec king; Cusi...

The whole plot with Raphael de Mereliot was well played. Everything ties together quite well.

With no more books awaiting me, I'll miss Terre D'Ange, but I sort of hope Moirin and Bao are the last word, at least until Jacqueline Carey has some new ideas. I felt that many parts of this and the last book were very reminscent of Kushiel's Avatar.


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October 2013

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