Author: Jacqueline Carey
Recommendation: An excellent fantasy saga you shouldn't miss.
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.