What an excellent book! Carey is one of my favorite authors and so I was thrilled to get an advanced reading copy of her latest book, Naamah’s Blessing.
Naamah’s Blessing is the third in a series of trilogies about the people of an ancient world which is similar to our own, and yet somehow more full of magic, love, and mystery–reading these books is like visiting a parallel Renaissance world, where the maps have been slightly redrawn and religion reevaluated. The alternate version of Europe and the new world (here, called Terra Nova) is precise and lovely. While the first few books Carey wrote concentrated more on an alternate version of Western Europe, the last three books have sent the characters even further, to versions of China and South America.
The first book about Terre d’Ange and its unearthly beautiful inhabitants, Kushiel’s Dart, remains my favorite of Carey’s work. Its protagonist, Phèdre, is an iconic and wonderful character, and she narrates the first trilogy about Terre d’Ange, which gives the characters in the next two trilogies a lot to live up to.
The heroine of the third trilogy, which includes Naamah’s Blessing, is the fascinating Moirin, who has gifts that in some ways are parallel to Phèdre’s, but who accesses them in a very different way. Of course, Moirin shouldn’t be Phèdre all over again, and she’s not — but in this book she seems to take on even more of the qualities I admire most in Phèdre. It’s nice to see how Moirin balances her love and faithfulness to her husband, Bao, with her desires for other people, just as Phèdre struggled between faithfulness to her own lover, Joscelin, and her desires for other lovers.
Naamah’s Blessing is a rousing end to the trilogy, returning to the ramifications of events set in motion in the first book, Naamah’s Kiss, and hammering them through with a realistic representation of the brutality and danger that journeying to Terra Nova would cause. It’s faster paced than the second book, Naamah’s Curse, in the trilogy and includes a major surprise right in the middle.
The main concern I have is finding out how we’ll get back into Terre d’Ange. Naamah’s Blessing seems to tie up the threads of Moirin’s story, but what about the young princess, Desirée? What will befall her, and what will befall the descendants of other beloved characters? I hope we aren’t kept waiting too long to find out.
Please visit Jacqueline Carey’s website to learn more about her and her books
Rachel, who has a Ph.D. in English, is a freelance writer/editor and a voracious reader. You can talk to her about books at http://twitter.com/writehandmann.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Grand Central Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.