Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NAAMAH’S KISS by Jacqueline Carey - Book Review

Rating: 4/5 -  A satisfying read that’s worth every word.

Title: Naamah’s Kiss

Jacqueline Carey

mass market paperback

Published: 2009

Genre: epic fantasy

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Landed in my hands: via self-purchase

(from cover blurb):

A child of the Maghuin Dhonn, the fold of the Brown Bear, Moirin is raised in the wilderness of Alba by her reclusive mother. Only when she comes of age does she discover her own illustrious — and mixed — heritage: descended from Alais the Wise, princess of both Terre d’Ange and Alba, Moirin is also the daughter of a d’Angeline priest dedicated to serving Naamah, goddess of desire.

After undergoing the Maghuin Dhonn rites of adulthood, Moirin finds divine acceptance... provided she fulfills a mysterious fate that lies across oceans. Beyond Terre d’Ange, in the far reaches of distant Ch’in, she will need to survive the vengeful plans of an ambitious mage, and aid both a noble warrior-princess desperate to save her father’s throne and the spirit of a celestial dragon.


Jacqueline Carey has long since landed herself onto my shelf as a staple, and returning to Terre d’Ange with a new cast of characters felt like coming home. Her steady, melodic, and comforting tone befits this pseudo-European-renaissance world.

Regardless of the above statement, I was leery of returning to Terre d’Ange without Phèdre or Imriel. I really didn't know if it would be worth it, despite the fact that there have been three books published in Moirin's storyline. I should have remembered Carey’s ability pack amazing worldbuilding and magical charm into a novel.

Moirin is no less enchanting than Phèdre, and her quest to discover her destiny takes her far from home; across oceans and encountering strange peoples and magics. Carey has the ability to drop a reader into the realm of the mystical and make it real. Legend is tangible, and adventure is constant.

Aside from the classical epic elements that I enjoy in Carey's writing, what I find endearing in her work is her frank and poetic attitudes towards love and sexuality. Her characters have relationships of all different shapes and sizes, and while it is culturally accepted and revered (or not, in certain places, which creates its own issues), this naturally lends tension, conflict, and delicious romantic longing to the narrative.

One particular line which has stayed with me for its poetic simplicity and romantic weight, highlights the gravity of duty juxtaposed with emotion; it's the conflict of a woman torn —

    She loved them both.

    But she'd wed the King.

So simple, yet within the context of the story, it pulls the proverbial heartstrings.

(Oy. Where's Hopeless Romantics Anonymous when you need them?)

The scope and scale of Carey's imagination, coupled with her ability to pull off such a grand tale with elegance, is why I will keep returning to her writing. And now I get to return to Terre d'Ange for another two visits.

And when I am in need of romance, adventure — and comfort food — I'll do just that.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly this! Jacqueline Carey's books are my literary comfort foods.