Naamah’s Curse Weeks 4 & 5

I suck at readalongs. I start them with the best of intentions, then I fall behind or read ahead or otherwise get out of sync with the rest of the group. But I do love reading a book and getting to see how other people feel as they’re reading it, and that brings me to today’s post about the last two segments of Naamah’s Curse.

From chapters 48-64:

1) Moirin makes some new friends on the way to Rasa.  What do you think will come of her decision to entrust them with the jade medallion?  Do you see this as a betrayal of trust or do you think the Emperor would understand?
I agreed with her decision. Her friends seem like good people, and she trusts them enough to know that they won’t use it for evil. Since she has no other good options to get the money for her passage, it seemed reasonable. I’m the kind of person who when playing video games or D&D will save my magic items for absolute emergencies, but then end up never using them because I always think there will be a worse situation. I think this is the right time for Moirin to use her item to get her out of a sticky situation–it’s not gonna do her any good sitting in her inventory. 🙂
2) On her way to the Lady of Rats, Moirin ends up in a dangerous caravan.  What are your thoughts on what happened, both with the assault and the illness?  
I was so worried when I started suspecting that the assault was coming, but then realized that Moirin isn’t a pushover and has tricks of her own to keep herself safe. Being a witch has its advantages.
The illness I didn’t see coming, and as usual, she’s lucky to be alive.
3) Is seems that caste/class is going to be a major point in this story.  Even if Amrita agrees that the caste system may not be just, do you think there’s anything that she and Moirin can do about it? Do you see any path to happiness for Jagrati and/or do you think she deserves to be defeated?
Amrita seems to be well-liked enough that she’s probably one of the few people who could make a meaningful difference. That’s not to say it will be easy–social change is always hard, especially when you’re up against people who see inequality as God’s will rather than a product of systemic forces.
4) There is a lot of passion in Kushiel’s Legacy, but the sex scene in this section doesn’t involve much.  Given all of the focus on “love as thou wilt”, what do you think about Amrita’s gift and it’s acceptance by Naamah? What do you think about the idea of sex without desire, but for compassionate purposes?
There are many different ways to love. As long as its consensual, it’s fine by me. And that really does seem to be Naamah’s guiding rule.
5) Bao returns!  I think we were all a little irritated with him for his Tatar adventures. Do his actions here change your opinion of him? Do you think he has escaped Jagrati’s diamond for good?
I’m still annoyed at Bao and haven’t forgiven him, but at the same time I feel bad for what he’s gone through. Although, I don’t feel too bad about his time with Jagrati. It seems like he enjoyed himself quite thoroughly. It kind of reminded me of Odysseus and Calypso.

Chapters 49-end

What did you make of the mission to retrieve the black diamond and what do you actually make of the black diamond and whether it could be used for good?

It probably could be used for good, for a while, at least. That’s the problem with power. It will inevitably eventually fall into the hands of someone who can’t wield it properly, and then everything falls apart.

The Spider Queen and Amrita – what were your final thoughts on both of them – did you have sympathy for Jagrati?  Do you think Amrita can affect change in the caste system?

I kinda like Jagrati. She still reminds me of a Drow, and used what power she could to make the best of a bad situation. I would have liked to see her have some kind of redemption. And I saw Jagrati and Amrita as foils of one another. If Jagrati and Amrita’s positions had been reversed, I’m not sure that anything would have changed.

I hope that Amrita can change the caste system. She’s got a much better chance than anyone else. But it’s not going to be an easy transition, and I’m sure her society will have growing pains.

Moirin and Bao – they’ve made peace with each other.  Did you finally forgive Bao?  Do you think they’ve reached an understanding that will work for them?

Nope, still haven’t forgiven Bao. I don’t think he’s learned to care about other people’s feelings. He’s incredibly self-centered. He’s still pretty young, so I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it. I also don’t know if he fully realizes what he’s getting into with Moirin–she’s pretty clearly poly, and if she doesn’t have the ability to love freely, it will cause issues. If he wasn’t so self-centered, I’d feel a bit better about them being together.

Finally – any predictions for where the journey will take us next? Can you see a purpose in Moirin’s diadh-anam??

Hmm… my guess is that the demons and summoning circle will come back in full force.  I’m excited to jump into the next book and find out!

6 thoughts on “Naamah’s Curse Weeks 4 & 5

  1. Haha. I like that you still haven’t forgiven Bao. I forgave him but not for myself and more for Moirin if that makes sense. I suppose what I’m really getting at is that they have a very different relationship to one I would like so whilst I couldn’t live with it I guess Moirin can
    I know what you mean about read along and our best intentions. I’m pretty much the same and find I’m always on the last minute but I think that’s why I want to join in because even if you’re late it still makes you finish the book which is a good thing, fir me anyway.
    Lynn 😀

    1. I hope I can get around to forgiving him in book 3, but I’m not so sure yet. I need to see him have a little more growth a a character first.

  2. Oh, I’m pretty late too, so you’re not the only one :). I only just put up my last post, in time for the next book!

    I haven’t really forgiven Bao either, but I realized also that he is totally not my kind of person. I’m pretty sure he’s poly, too, though. I might be misreading it, but he seems to assume that both he and Moirin will occasionally sleep with other people.

    Also, I like your point about Amrita. She may have reacted just like the ‘Spider Queen’ to a life like Jagrati’s.

    1. Yay! I enjoy the readalongs a lot, but am very bad at keeping to a schedule this summer. 🙂

      I hope Bao is also poly. Otherwise it’ll be a little too much like Phedre and Jos.

  3. Yes, it does look like the Caste system will be hard to change when even Amrita sees it as the will of the gods.

    If Jagrati hadn’t used drug addiction on Bao, then I would be ticked that he couldn’t escape the magic of the Diamond. I think in Bao’s case, the opium addiction had a stronger grip on him.

    I like your comparison of Jagrati to a Drow. And yes, there were things I liked about her and she was dedicated to beating the caste system even if she went about it in a very selfish and somewhat destructive way. She serves as a great example of what what the caste system does to a person and if it remains in place as it is, there will be more Jagratis.

    good observations about Bao. While he seems to have broadened his views a bit in Moirin’s company, it will be interesting to see if that carries over to others.

    1. I found her such an interesting villain because I could sympathize with her and get where she was coming from. She was destructive, but she was also shaped by her society.

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