Tuesday 12 July 2011

CBR3 Book 54: "Naamah's Blessing" by Jacqueline Carey

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Page count: 624 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Date begun: July 7th, 2011
Date finished: July 10th, 2011

This is the third and final book in a trilogy (which is, in turn, the third trilogy set in the fictional world of Terre D'Ange, and this review will contain some spoilers for the first and second books in the series. If you want to avoid them, skip this review, and go read Jacqueline Carey's excellent Kushiel's Dart instead.

Moirin has been away from her father's homeland of Terre D'Ange for years. She has endured much, experienced numerous exotic countries and cultures, but returns with her beloved husband Bao. The land she returns to is much changed. King Daniel is grieving his dead wife to the point where he's no longer able to rule and has appointed an ambitious Regent to rule in his stead, three-year-old princess Desirée, a miniature version of Queen Jehanne, hardly ever sees her father and is being raised by nursemaids. The crown prince, Thierry, is on an expedition to Terra Nova, the recently discovered continent far across the sea to the West. Moirin and Bao do their best to make the princess feel loved and Moirin accepts the role as Desirée's oath-sworn protector, even though several people at court fear and avoid her, due to her half-pagan heritage. When disaster strikes the royal house, Moirin and her husband have to travel to Terra Nova, to prove that Prince Thierry is not dead, as rumour would have it, and bring him back to Terre D'Ange. It's a long and hazardous journey, and mistakes from her past come back to haunt her, making the task nearly impossible.

Naamah's Blessing is in reality the concluding volume of nine books in Jacqueline Carey's alternate history version of our world. Throughout the nine books (the preceeding two trilogies set several generations before this one), she has explored an alternate Renaissance Europe, the Middle East, parts of Africa, and in this trilogy, Asia, Central and South America. Her books are wonderfully researched, and there is a lot of historical knowledge to be gained from them, even though they are set in a fantasy universe. While travelling much greater distances than either Phédre or Imriel, the protagonists of Carey' other trilogies, Moirin's life, although eventful, contain a lot less political intrigue, and that, in some ways, makes this third trilogy less engaging and thrilling than the other two. While it is never boring to read one of these books, neither book in Moirin's trilogy excited me as much as Carey's first trilogy, or Kushiel's Mercy, the third book in the Imriel trilogy. Still, they are great comfort reading, and very well written, so if you enjoy Carey's other Terre D'Ange book, read these as well.

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