Naamah’s Kiss Readalong, Week 3

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 3 of the Naamah’s Kiss readalong. Today’s questions are written by yours truly, and cover chapters 27-36.

Readalong Participants
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace (me) at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan at Dab of Darkness

1. What are your impressions of Queen Jehanne?

Jehanne is both seductive and dangerous. At first, I thought a little bit of Melisande, even though the two are very different. Jehanne is a lot softer than Melisande. She doesn’t mean any harm, but that doesn’t mean that falling in love with her is wise or safe. And if you get on the wrong side of her temper, watch out!

2. Moirin has found herself in the middle of a sticky love triangle. How do you think it will play out?

Not well, to say the least. Right now she’s caught in the middle and is a pawn in Jehanne and Raphael. And while what she has with each of them does seem at least partially genuine, it can’t become anything more than a fling, otherwise someone (or multiple someones) is gonna get hurt. And it’s especially tricky for Moirin because she isn’t used to politics or to court intrigue. I like Jehanne way more than Raphael at this point though.

Alternately, instead of ending in disaster it will end in a threesome.

3. Now that we finally get to meet Moirin’s father, what do you think of him?

I love him. He’s a good listener. He lets Moirin vent about how she got to where she is now and even the situation with the queen. And it helps her so much because she hasn’t really had someone she could fully trust in the city until now, and he was so incredibly supportive and nonjudgmental. Actually, it’s very interesting for me to see a parental relationship that’s so open and nonjudgmental. If I ever have children, that’s what I’d aspire to.

4. The scene with the summoning of Valac seems to be a shift in tone from the rest of the series. Is the Circle in over its head? What do you think is happening here?

Woah woah woah, summoning demons? So interesting!

I’m willing to bet that the Circle have no idea what they are doing, and are going to summon something dark and edgy that’s going to threaten the world, or will hurt the Circle members themselves. Valac tried to warn Moirin, and although she seems receptive to listening, the Circle doesn’t, and Raphael is using his relationship with Moirin to pressure her into doing things she doesn’t want to, even in subtle ways. I hope she realizes what he’s doing and puts an end to it asap.

5. What do you think of the descriptions so far of the Ch’in?

I have mixed feelings here. The descriptions of the Ch’in feel a bit stereotypical, and fall flat for me. There’s mysticism and kung fu, but not much complexity (at least so far). Florette and Lydia feel more real than Lo Feng, even though he’s had way more time on the page by now. And I remember my feelings on the descriptions of the Ch’in were part of what made this book not work for me the first time I read it. I’m curious to see what everyone else thinks here, and whether I’m being too harsh.

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

6 comments

  1. I’m totally with you with your answers this week. The Queen – I certainly wouldn’t trust her, it’s almost like she’s toying with Moirin to see exactly what it is that Raphael sees in her. I don’t think the Queen maybe realises that Raphael is all about using Moirin’s magic.
    Moirin’s father is a great character isn’t he – definitely none judgemental and just very calm. It’s not always as easy as he’s making it look of course!
    I have a bad feeling about the demon summoning – interesting that the Circle are seeing what looks like a perfectly innocent young boy while Moirin is seeing quite a different version.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Totally! And they’re going to find out the hard way that they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into, which is unfortunate for them.

  2. Interesting comparison between Jehanne and Melisande. One is a pale reflection o the other, but still there are some similarities, especially when it comes to the trait of selfishness.

    Good point about Moirin’s genuine affections for both Jehanne and Raphael, even if neither of them really appreciates that right now.

    Raphael is being a bit pushy when it comes to his demon-summoning Circle, isn’t he? That’s not nice and we all know that Moirin is a pleaser. She just wants to do whatever she can to make those she cares about happy.

    Yeah, so far the descriptions of the 2 Ch’in characters are pretty surface. However, I will say that I think it takes time to get to know folks from another culture and Master Feng does point out that it’s not their custom to show outward affection in public. Since this is Jacqueline Carey and I’m convinced of her awesomeness as a writer, I’m willing to put off judgement on this point. Moirin is from a culture foreign to nearly all D’Angelines and Lo Feng and Bao are from yet another culture that is foreign to most Westerners and definitely foreign to Moirin. So I think part of it may be that Feng and Moirin are trying to be polite and respectful and that means not delving into anything too deep right away. If that rambly answer makes sense…

    1. It makes a lot of sense, and I do keep forgetting that Moirin is looking at everything from the perspective of an outsider who may only see the surface of their culture.

  3. I got the same feeling with the descriptions of Ch’in, but I’m hoping it will get more nuanced when Moirin actually goes to Ch’in (I really hope that happens, at least). I think it can be hard to make the culture feel both organic and distinct when they only have only two characters that are living within a foreign culture. I think things might become more well-rounded if we get to see them in their homeland, as we saw so many different cultures in the previous two trilogies.

    1. That’s very true, and it’s something I’m already seeing. I think the thing that threw me was Bao’s speech, tbh, and I’m glad the book manages to move past that.