Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week 2

Today is the start of a readalong for Naamah’s Curse, No.2 in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah Trilogy.  The details and schedule are here and below is a little about the book.

Naam2Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.

Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

The questions and answers are below (hosted this week by me) – be warned that spoilers may be lurking.

1. Moirin takes part in the archery contest – what were your feelings of her and Bao’s plans up to this point and what did you think of the eventual outcome?
To be honest this part of the story felt a little bit obvious in that it seemed clear that Moirin was going to win the contest and in that respect that things would not go as planned – otherwise it would have been a very short book.  It felt for me that Moirin and Bao really didn’t think this one through if they really thought they’d just win the competition and be allowed to walk away.  To me that never really felt like a real possibility.  Although, the alternative didn’t occur to me to be honest.
2. I’m very puzzled about the direction the story has taken with this whole abduction theme – what do you make of this part of the story and in particular Pyotr Rostov?
I really can’t make out where the story here is going to be honest.  It all seems about bashing Phedre’s religious beliefs in order to make Pyotr Rostov a name.  It feels a bit odd to me – almost a little lacking in focus or point.  I don’t mean to be overly critical but I do look forward to seeking where the story goes next.  Pyotr Rostov – well, he’s absolutely a hideous character isn’t he.  Awful to Moirin – abducting somebody so that you can make a name for yourself doesn’t really go a long way in promoting your religion in my opinion!  And he’s such a hypocrite – he’s clearly lusting after Moirin at the same time as berating her for such behaviour.
3. I can’t help making comparisons as I read between Moirin and Phedre and the storyline here – are there any particular things that have drawn your eye or given you pause for thought.
The two of them are so unalike for me but there are similarities in the storyline I felt.  Two things stood out for me as I was reading.  I couldn’t help but think that Carey seems to be going to a lot of trouble to demonstrate how unalike Phedre and Moirin are – in a small way it feels like she’s trying to answer any such criticisms that might arise in readers but for me it makes me think that Carey is herself thinking of Phedre as she writes.  I suppose it’s really difficult after writing such a well loved duo.  The other thing that stood out for me here was the way that this book relies much more on Moirin’s magical abilities.  In a way it feels like sometimes the challenges that present themselves to Moirin are too easily overcome by her ability for example to summon twilight – although I like that Carey has found a way to contain Moirin’s abilities and make her use other methods.
4. Any predictions about the next stage of the story?
Well, the two things that spring to mind are that Moirin is eventually going to be helped by Alexsei and I also can’t help thinking something will happen when the Duke is due to visit and Moirin is to be baptised.
That’s it for this week – feel free to join with the readalong, all welcome, or please add your comments.
Participants:
Alli at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness
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6 Responses to “Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week 2”

  1. Grace

    Totally agree with Carey demonstrating how opposite Moirin and Phedre are. It really shows when you throw them into a similar situation. Phedre would have been able to charm Rostov. Moirin, on the other hand, is a much gentler spirit who will succeed by cracking those who surround them and bringing out their inner possibilities.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m guessing she’s going to start cracking people any time soon 😀

  2. Allie

    I really don’t like Rostov either, in a way that is beyond him being a terrible person. He’s a horrible representation for what we’ve seen to be a valuable faith in the past.

    I think it makes sense, though, that this section forces Moirin to develop other skills, rather than relying always on her divine magic powers. Actually, in that way it is a little like Phedre, because I remember being amused early on that she always solved her problems with (BDSM) sex. Phedre broadened her skills, and it looks like Moirin has to also.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really like that Moirin has been put in a spot – not because I’m horrible and want her to suffer of course, just that I want her to develop in other ways than always using her magical abilities – it feels a little too easy somehow.
      Rostov certainly isn’t a good figurehead is he – he’s just really not nice.
      Lynn 😀

  3. nrlymrtl

    This section with Rostov really makes me think of Phedre’s time with the people of Saba in Book 3. She’s got very different beliefs than the folks of Saba, who are a bit more conservative in several ways. Yet Phedre finds a way to respect their deity and still accomplish her mission. In doing so, she gently shows them how their fear has kept them isolated for generations. I forget how things work out for Moirin with Rostov but I feel this section is showing us through these characters how religious superiority isn’t good for anyone’s soul.

    Honestly, I hadn’t drawn much similarity between Moirin and Phedre until you asked that this week (which makes it a great question) but I also feel they are distinct characters and I don’t get the impression that Carey was having to work hard to it so.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think that when I was reading the chapters this week it felt as though Carey was using Phedre as a means of comparison, almost as though she was consciously trying to reinforce the point that the two of them are really unique, for readers. Personally, I think they’re very different. Moirin does have a lot more magic in her life and although she is like Phedre in some respects relating to her heritage she doesn’t handle things in the same way as Phedre would. At least I don’t think so.
      Lynn 😀

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