Book Review: Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Genre: Fantasy, Erotica

Series: Moirin’s Trilogy #3, Kushiel’s Legacy #9

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: June 2011

Author Info: 

Wendy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Politics and intrigue are always at the heart of d’Angeline adventures and this ninth and final book in Carey’s Kushiel series is no different. Our protagonist, Moirin Mac Fainche and her husband, Bao, are now united, heart and soul, with Bao no longer resisting the soulspark that binds the two together. With their adventures in the east at an end, they have returned to Terre d’Ange, following Moirin’s dream of the deceased queen and her former lover, Jehane, who fears for her young daughter, Desiree. This is not the Terre d’Ange of Phedre no Delauney’s time. Ruled by an apathetic king who grows more and more despondent as his personal losses, including Jehane, increase.

Moirin’s position as both a d’Angeline of noble heritage, as well as a Maughuin Donn, the mysterious bear witches from across the Straits, she is feared by some and respected by others, which puts her at the centre of the political intrigue when King Daniel’s appoints her and Bao as his daughter’s oathsworn protectors. When news of the prince’s death strikes Daniel, a usurper goes after the throne through little Desiree. But Jehanne’s dreams inform Moirin that the prince is indeed not dead, sending her and Bao and some unlikely allies across the seas to Terra Nova.

Overall, I have enjoyed Moirin’s story and character, though I can’t say I’ve been overly impressed with either. While I don’t want to compare her to the series’ first heroine, Phedre no Delauney (and thankfully, Moirin does not spend much of this book comparing herself to Phedre, as she did in the last one), it’s hard not to in order to determine why Moirin fails to interest me. First of all, Moirin has traveled around the world, as led by her diadh-anam, the soulspark within her. Her decisions all belong to her great bear goddess, as she follows along with her destiny, never once resisting or questioning for very long. If she goes against any oaths she makes or uses powers inappropriately, she risks losing her diadh-anam, as well as Bao, whom she brought back to life with her powers. This pretty much means that nothing she does is going to risk those losses, even though the plot often places her within such predicaments. Every time the situation escalates to a point where Moirin fears this will come to pass, there’s always something – usually divine intervention, that gets her out of it. And the climactic moment in this book is most certainly evidence of that.

Not that divine intervention and magic has played a small part in the previous books, but in those cases, Phedre, and later her foster son, Imriel, acted of their own accord. The gods might have offered approval, but the decisions Phedre and Imriel made were their own, driven by their desires, as well as duty and honour and the need for closure. Moirin has little agency beyond what she is literally bound to do by her soulspark. She still has her desires and a sense of duty and honour, but, her greater motivation always seems to be doing what her soulspark and bear goddess tell her to. I found this to be the downfall of the character and the story, making them less appealing to me.

As mentioned, this book takes us to Terra Nova in the west, thereby completing what has ended up being an epic tour of Carey’s world. I do appreciate the way she blends the reality and mythology of our world, altering it just enough to make it her own. However, despite the vast divinities represented, it becomes evident that only the gods of Terre d’Ange (which are considered the youngest) and now the Maghuin Donn seem to hold sway. If the gods of the other cultures make our protagonists aware of their presence or their powers, Moirin is usually able to prove her gods superior. Or the other gods are silent, allowing Moirin to prove to the people the power of her gods. I would have liked to see more balance in this.

Overall, an interesting story still, nicely wrapping up elements from the first book in Moirin’s trilogy, but, like Imriel’s trilogy, this is not a story that will stay with me as Phedre’s did.

1 Comments on “Book Review: Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey”

  1. Pingback: Tough Traveling – Kings | The BiblioSanctum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: