Customer Reviews for

Naamah's Curse (Kushiel's Legacy Series #8)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A weaker entry in a stand-out series.

I am very sad to say this is my least favorite novel of Terre d'Ange so far. This is partly because of the theme Carey is exploring in this novel, but mostly because it simply does not measure up to the rest of the series.

Don't get me wrong -- I love this world with...
I am very sad to say this is my least favorite novel of Terre d'Ange so far. This is partly because of the theme Carey is exploring in this novel, but mostly because it simply does not measure up to the rest of the series.

Don't get me wrong -- I love this world with a deep and abiding passion, and I will buy the novels in hardcover the day they come out as long as Carey writes them. But this, the third trilogy set in the world of Terre d'Ange, is simply less powerful than the two trilogies that came before. It is less focused. The books are less focused than either Phedre's or Imriel's -- while the first six books in this series had definite beginnings, middles, and ends, both Naamah's Kiss and Naamah's Curse have minor endings that are clearly just pauses in the action rather than true endings to a book-long story arc; and Moirin herself is less focused -- she is seeking her destiny, but the only guideline she has is that she will cross many seas, so she just kind of wafts through the world waiting for her diadh-anam to flare up and let her know that this is a place she's supposed to be for a while. That passivity stands in stark contrast to Carey's best heroine, Phedre no Delaunay, who always had a sense of purpose and urgency to whatever she set her mind to.

And the fact that I kept comparing the two protagonists to each other is symptomatic of the flaw in this book as well. They are both female first-person narrators in the same world, and Carey's skill is not so great that she gave them very distinctly different voices, so some comparison is natural. But in this book I have become convinced that Carey is deliberately comparing them to each other in her own mind, because so much of the action of this book echoes the action of Kushiel's Avatar, the third book featuring Phedre. Both books range into non-European lands; both books feature the protagonist's soul being made a battleground of the gods; the protagonist is tortured in both books as a part of that battle. (There are other parallels, but they would constitute spoilers for this book.) And at each point where there is this echo of the earlier heroine, Carey makes Moirin make the opposite choice.

Obviously, she did this to ensure that Moirin is NOT just a Phedre clone; but being the anti-Phedre is no better than being Phedre-lite. She even gave Moirin an anti-Joscelin in Bao, and reversed the way their relationship worked -- in Kushiel's Justice Phedre drove Joscelin away, while here in Naamah's Curse Bao drives Moirin away through his actions and the difficulties they cause.

But the anti-Phedre trend continues even to the thematic level, and this is the point that I have to give the caveat: the theme Carey chooses to explore is well-executed, so I cannot say that the book is bad as a result of it; it simply is not to my taste, and so I disliked the book a bit as a result. In all the Phedre books there was an underlying theme of the gods' battles being worked out through their human followers; Naamah's Curse is all about the ways humans can twist their gods to their own ends. This made the book ugly to me. The battles between the gods had a certain purity to them, a sense of larger-than-life figures and motivations beyond our ken; the battles here are purely human ones despite all the talk of gods, and there is nothing pure about that. It is the darkest of the novels of Terre d'Ange to date, despite the fact that darker things happen in ALL of the other novels.

posted by PhoenixFalls on June 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Very weak installment from a great author

I just don't know how the author that conceived the brilliant plots and characters of the Phedre and Imriel trilogies could write such a flat, disconnected, unbelievable book. Despite the first Moirin book not living up to my expectations, I still enjoyed it. There wasn...
I just don't know how the author that conceived the brilliant plots and characters of the Phedre and Imriel trilogies could write such a flat, disconnected, unbelievable book. Despite the first Moirin book not living up to my expectations, I still enjoyed it. There wasn't sparking chemistry between characters or shockingly perfect plot developments, as there were in the Kushiel series, but it was a good story nonetheless. I had a hard time even finishing this second Naamah book however.

The section in Vralia was at least somewhat compelling, if not exactly engrossing, but the second half in Bhodistan was hard to get through. The reason for going to Bhodistan in the first place was unconvincing and seemed like a cheap excuse for the author to flaunt her research about India. The trip there is riddled with uninteresting minor characters that pop into the story just long enough to provide a Deus ex Machina-esque solution to some contrived problem and then disappear. Moirin suddenly becomes extremely world-wise and skilled at travel/barter/languages for no reason I could discern. I spent most of the ending of the book wanting desperately for the overly saintly and wise Rani Amrita to be assassinated so I wouldn't have to read about her anymore. The Untouchables morality tie-in was predictable before it even started, then it was handled in a very hamfisted way, which was at great odds with the realistic handling of slavery and patriarchy in earlier books.

And also unlike every other book Carey has written, the battle scenes lacked any emotional impact whatsoever, and the divine/magical elements of the book are so repetitive and overdone as to completely murder any sense of mystery and wonder. This is particularly sad, since a subtle touch of divinity and epic battles were my favorite aspects of the Kushiel books. All in all, I'm a very disappointed fangirl.

posted by sam_ann on September 24, 2010

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    Posted August 14, 2010

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    Posted August 25, 2010

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