Saturday, July 4, 2009

Naamah's Kiss

With Naamah's Kiss (2009), Jacqueline Carey opens a new series set in the same alternative Earth of the Kushiel series. A hundred years and change have passed, so Phedre, Joscelin, Imriel, Sidonie, and the rest are all part of history and legend. The new heroine is Moirin, half D'Angeline (French) and half Alban (British), and raised as a hermit even though she's kin to the royal houses of both kingdoms. She goes on a quest to find her gods-decreed destiny and her unknown D'Angeline father and gets involved in courtly intrigue, a love triangle, and dangerous magic, before ultimately going on a journey halfway around the world to rescue an imperial princess of Ch'in.

In other words, it's a great big sexy epic adventure, and if you enjoyed the Kushiel books, you'll like this one, too. I wasn't as immediately enthralled as I was my first time reading Kushiel's Dart. Moirin is in some ways a milder presence than Phedre, and I spent most of the second quarter or so of the book wanting to shake her and insist that she grow a backbone. But then she did, and by the time she left for Ch'in, I was well and truly hooked.

I'm looking forward to the rest of Moirin's story, but I'll miss some of the characters I know are one-offs. And I'm wondering just how far Carey intends to take her loose parallels with our world. It's probably a few generations into the future, but a D'Angeline Revolution has the potential to be interesting, IMO.

Usual caveats for this universe apply: these have far more sex than most epic fantasy, and while they don't bother me in this regard, some Christians might be uncomfortable with her treatment of God, Jesus, angels, etc. I read it as an alternate world rather than an attack on my world and beliefs, but your comfort zone may vary.

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