Naamah’s Kiss Readalong, Week 1

naamahA few months back (okay, it was more than a few months), I participated in a readalong of Kushiel’s Dart, the first book in the three-trilogy Kushiel’s Legacy series. Then life happened and I stopped reading along, even as my blog friends continued the series. By the time I located my copy of book 2 (lost in a move), it was far too late for me to catch up. However, now we’re finally starting trilogy #3, which is a perfect place for me to jump back in again! This is because the third trilogy takes place a few generations later and in a different part of the world. Rather than focusing on the D’Angelines, Naamah’s Kiss focuses on the druidic people of Alba.

I’m also excited to read this trilogy with a group because I haven’t already read it. I purchased Naamah’s Kiss right around when it was first released, and the other books were still not out yet. I read it, and it didn’t wow me like the other books did. I’ve always meant to come back to it and finish it, but with a massive TBR list, it just kept slipping my mind.

For some housekeeping–if you love this series and/or want to give it a try, feel free to join in the readalong! The schedule is here. This week’s questions are written by Lynn, and cover chapters 1-12.

Firstly Carey has picked up the story a few generations down the line.  How do you think this will affect the story, if at all?

While I loved the setting of the fist two trilogies, this is a chance for Carey to start out with new characters and with more of a clean slate. In the previous trilogies, we knew from the start who the antagonists were. We saw a continual thread between each of the first 6 books. This is a chance to get away from Phedre and start with someone new. It also means that we should expect a bit of a different tone in this book–both Phedre and Imriel’s stories had a major BDSM theme to them, but Moirin exists outside of that. She’s something new for the series.

We have a new female lead.  What are your first impressions of Moirin?

The first time I read Naamah’s Kiss, I thought that Moirin was a boring character who had boring sex. This reread already makes me realize that I was being unfair. For a teenager, Moirin knows who she is and what she wants in a way that many contemporary adults don’t. Even as she falls in love, she realizes that marriage into the local nobility isn’t going to make her happy in the long run. She knows she isn’t the type of person who would be happy tied down, and she knows that that’s what the life he promises would do to her. The fact that she’s introspective enough to realize that love isn’t enough to make the relationship work says a lot about her maturity.

I enjoyed the return to Alba, and once again meeting the Maghuin Dhonn – what did you make of the coming of age ritual?

It’s fascinating. The ritual felt like it had some Native American influence, sort of like a vision quest.

The story already has the inclusion of magic and also visions of Gods – any predictions on what these visions and magic might bring to the story?

At this juncture, I see Moirin’s visions as being symbolic of her grappling with being a part of two cultures. The visions of her journey are also a good way of setting up Moirin leaving the forest.

I like how natural the magic feels for most of what we’ve read so far. The only thing that threw me a bit was the whole fertility thing–it feels like the whole lighting a candle bit was an afterthought thrown in after people started asking why Phedre never got pregnant or had her period.

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

6 comments

  1. I like your point about Moirin’s maturity. It’s a shame that Cillian didn’t have a similar maturity, because he had to also know deep down that the lives they wanted were not compatible.

    I actually always liked the candle thing, because I felt that it highlighted how women’s access to a method of controlling their fertility tends to translate to a more egalitarian society (Terre d’Ange vs. every other culture in these books so far). It’s entirely possible it was originally included for the purpose of allowing Phedre to have tons of sex with no babies, though!

  2. I’m looking forward to reading a series that has jumped forward considerably and plus I think it gives the author almost a clean slate.
    I quite like Moirin so far – she is very mature for her years but I think that being an only child and living outside of civilisation in such a remote way will have helped that along. I felt kind of sad about the way she was treated at the end of her story with Cillian but at the same time I’m pleased that Carey put such a firm ending on that – it leaves no doubt about will she/won’t she get back with him at any point – although it was very sad!
    In terms of the candle – I kind of always thought that Carey came up with a great idea with that one – it meant she could write about how liberal everyone was without having the inevitable bump to show for it! An early version of birth control.
    Lynn 😀

    1. I wish the magical birth control candle existed in real life. So much better than anything else on the market, tehe. And I was sad about Cillian, especially as it was a doomed relationship from the start.

  3. Welcome back to the read along!

    I agree that the only bit of magic for this series that feels a little last minute is the candle ceremony to open the womb. While I do like it, since it was introduced so much later than the actual sex act (in the first trilogy), it felt like it was tossed it to answer those questions instead of being part of the story.

    Moirin is a much more interesting character this time around. You’re right on the dot about her being self-aware enough to realize a life married to Killian isn’t the life for her, and at such a young age! But I feel she also has had all this time, living in the woods with just her mom and few other contacts, to really figure out what she was all about.

    1. Thanks! I think part of the problem last time I read Naamah’s Kiss was that I had just come off of reading the first six books, and I liked Phedre’s story so much that it kind of overshadowed this one. This time, I can appreciate it more for what it is instead of focusing more on what it’s not, if that makes sense. Even seeing her manage to keep her dignity when visiting Killian’s family and not internalizing their attitudes toward her takes a good deal of maturity and self-acceptance.