Sunday, June 28, 2009

Naamah's Kiss

Title: Naamah's Kiss
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2009

Recommendation: An excellent fantasy saga you shouldn't miss.
Rating: 9.5/10

Summary: Moirin grows up in a remote forest of Alba where she is taught by her Maghuin Dhonn mother small magics and living in the wild. When she comes of age, her mother reveals Moirin's parentage. Her father is a priest to Naamah who lives in Terre D'Ange. And during the adulthood ritual, Moirin finds there is a larger destiny in store for her and sets out to follow it and find her father.

Reactions: I have been looking forward to reading Naamah's Kiss. Carey already has two trilogies set in the same world and the Kushiel's series is certainly excellent. I found Naamah's Kiss to be in a very similar spirit to the earlier books without being a repetition..

The heroine, Moirin is very different from Phedre, the heroine of the earlier series, but Moirin is lovable in her own right. She is spunky, serious, brave and naive all at the same time. Following her adventures at the Terre d'Ange makes us root for her. She gets immersed into the culture of "Love as thou wilt" and reclaims her d'Angeline heritage with ardour.

There are plenty of love threads weaved into the story, but they go hand in hand with the political intrigue, magic, and learning. The relationships in the story take a few pretty interesting turns I did not expect. The book is certainly not for people who want to avoid sex depictions. There is explicit sexual content throughout the novel, but it fits within the story and I enjoyed that aspect of the book.

There are some references in the book to the heroes of the previous trilogy. We don't get to find out what really happened to them as much as get glimpses of what their lives might look like to those living several generations later. In addition, we get to see more of Maghuin Dion culture and learn much more about Ch'in, not visited previously in the series. My edition came with a map and I found it handy for putting names to the visited places.

Still, I found the first half of the story to be somewhat more interesting than the latter adventures. I am guessing some myths just resonate better for me than others. The Ch'in portion of the story did not draw me emotionally in the same way as the first part did. Still I read it non-stop and finished the book in a couple of evenings. The ending makes me suspect there will be a sequel and I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of Moirin.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Drums of Autumn

Title: Drums of Autumn
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 4
Genre: Historical romance
Published: 1997

Rating: 7/10
Recommendation: A worthwhile read for those following the series, though not as strong as the previous books.

Summary: Jamie and Claire are pulling their life together in North Carolina. With some adventures, they meet Jamie's aunt, start their own homestead, and deal with surrounding Indian tribes. Two centuries in the future, Brianna and Roger are learning what they can about what has happened to Claire and Jamie. The research will cause them leap back to the dangerous past.

Reactions: In many ways Drums of Autumn is what the reader expects from the next Outlander volume. There are pirates, adventures, 18th century society, parties, Indians, and much more. We also get to follow Claire and Jamie struggling together to make new life for themselves in the New World. However, Brianna and Roger take up a much larger portion of the book than they have previously. I have not necessarily enjoyed following Brianna's story line as much. Claire is a more interesting character, combining strength, smarts, and femininity. Brianna tends to annoy me a bit with her lack of intuition for what's going on around her.

While the book flowed smoothly and held my interest throughout I found some of the plot devices a bit over the top. In several places the coincidences of people and places and misunderstanding just make it feel too unlikely. Also given the relationships of the characters, the amount of trouble they have communicating seems a bit strange. And everyone involved could save themselves a lot of trouble by just talking.

Still, it was an enjoyable read. I will be continuing with the series and looking forward to see what's in store for the characters.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The 4 Rs Challenge

I saw the 4 Rs challenge announced on Fyrefly's blog and decided it sounded like a lot of fun.

The 4 Rs are:
1. Recommend
- You register for free on the forum and give 5 recommendations to other challenge participants.
- You also start a thread for yourself where others give you recommendations based on your interests

2. Read
- Pick a book out of those recommended and read it!

3. Review
- Post a review of the book somewhere
- Leave a link to the review in the forums for drawings and giveaways

4. Repeat
- The process starts over every 3 months!

You can read more at the blog for the challenge.

I am done with my recommendations now and waiting to see what others will recommend for me. Fun!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Title: Voyager
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: The Outlander, book 3
Genre: Historical romance
Published: 1994

Rating: 9/10
Recommendation: Another excellent book in the series that will not disappoint the fans.

Summary: Claire Randall and her daughter Brianna visit Scotland in 1968. There they engage Roger Wakefield's help to find out what happened to Jamie and other men Claire knew in the past. Meanwhile we get glimpses of the 20 years she spent with Frank. Jamie who survives the battle of Culloden is hiding from the English and surviving in the consequences of the battle.

Reactions: While this novel managed to stretch for over 1000 pages in my paperback edition, I found myself completely immersed in the world. In fact I enjoyed the descriptions of Claire and Jame's lives apart almost more than their inevitable reunion and the adventure that followed. Still the plot is quite intricate with some surprising discoveries. We get to meet minor characters from previous books again and make new interesting acquaintances.

Voyager doesn't have as much historical detail as the previous book. There are fewer famous historical figures involved (though perhaps I might have not recognized some of them). Instead the book follows private lives, though the culture and surroundings are also well-researched and rich in detail.

This is not a deep read, but it's absorbing and very fun. I already bought the next book and I am looking forward to finding out what happens next.

May Recap

May has passed so quickly and was mostly occupied by reading Diana Gabaldon. After finishing Dragonfly in Amber, I almost immediately picked up Voyager, the next installment in the series. A review for Voyager will be coming soon and I think I will be continuing on with the series as well. I have to admit to being a little obsessed, once I start enjoying a series I feel the need to read it to conclusion unless it deteriorates. That's not the case so far and I am happily enjoying my reading even if it takes me a couple weeks to get through a tome.

Books Read: 2
  1. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  2. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Favorite book: Dragonfly in Amber

Male: 0
Female: 2

Posts: 3 (All time low!)