Mini-Review: Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

Mini-Review: Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline CareyNaamah's Kiss (Moirin Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey
Series: Kushiel's Legacy #7
Published: May 25th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 784
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Over the past couple months, I participated in a little over half of a readalong of Naamah’s Kiss before the world went crazy and I stopped getting anything productive accomplished on my blog. I did finish the book though, and wanted to post a brief review with overall impressions.

The basic premise of Naamah’s Kiss is that a druidic nomad named Moirin is driven by her destiny to visit the fantasy equivalent of France and then China, finding love and heartbreak along the way. She learns about her magical powers, accidentally gets involved with a demon-summoning circle, falls in love with a queen, and befriends a dragon.

Some of the book’s themes that I particularly enjoyed:

  • cross-cultural heritage
  • healthy vs. unhealthy relationships
  • summoning demons is usually a bad idea
  • learning how to say no to people when they don’t have your best interests in mind

I first read Naamah’s Kiss right after it came out, and the first time I read it, I was extremely disappointed. I think that was mainly for two reasons. The first was that I had just finished reading the first two trilogies in the Kushiel’s Legacy world, and I was upset with the change in tone that this one brought. It’s like when you’re craving a cup of hot tea and all you have is cocoa–it’s good, but not at all the same. And after this reread, I can acknowledge that I was judging the book as much by what it wasn’t as by what it was.

The second thing that I disliked the first time around was that Naamah’s Kiss takes it’s protagonist to a fictionalized version of China, and I didn’t like how the transition to it was handled. Moirin’s first impressions of Bao are pretty much a caricature, and even though she matured over time and the book dropped the stereotypical accent, it still didn’t sit well with me.

In general, I liked Naamah’s Kiss a lot better the second time around.  It’s not a perfect, and I still do enjoy the first two trilogies more, but I’m glad that I gave Naamah’s Kiss another chance. And if the readalong group decides to continue the trilogy I’ll gladly join in again and see how Moirin’s story progresses. I suspect that I’ll enjoy the next two books more than this one.

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