‘Naamah’s Kiss’: Moirin’s Excellent Adventures Vol. 1

Moirin of the Maghuin Dhonn is a child of royal descent who has been raised away from the weight of her ancestral history.  As she comes of age, she finds herself saddled with a destiny, though how far away from her Alban homeland this preordained fate leads is not clear.  Thus Moirin begins the undertaking of the fantastic journey that will sustain readers across continents and through multiple tomes.  As she is carried forward by her own internal compass, Moirin makes connections with Alban, Terre D’Ange, and Ch’in royalty, her previously unidentified father, and a flicker of her own personal blend of life-giving magic.  Of course, as a denizen of one of the near-sainted Companions of Elua, Moirin’s journey would not be complete without finding her version of “love as thou wilt”, the epic epitaph of angels come to Earth.

The first volume of Jacqueline Carey’s latest Terre D’Ange series, Naamah’s Kiss, out this month from Grand Central Publishing, plunges readers back into familiar territory without having to revisit and reinvent mature characters.  Phedre, Imriel, and their cohorts have become the figures of legend while a whole new cast unfolds.  Moirin finds herself to be a foil for many of those around her: Fainche, her reclusive mother, Raphael and Jehanne, who threaten to tear Moirin from herself with temptation, King Daniel and his pouty Dauphin, Thierry, and the most interesting foreigners yet to make a debut in the Terre D’Ange universe, Master Lo Feng, his assistant, Bao, and their princess, Snow Tiger.  This first installment in Naamah’s Legacy puts Moirin through the crucible with each new acquaintance, and she is eternally up to the test.

Jacqueline Carey has been steadily building a reputation as an accomplished and versatile storyteller, able to explore untested fictional universes when the impulse arises and yet consistently delivering inspired new work within the familiar framework of Terre D’Ange.  While many Fantasy authors seem happy to tread a single path, several of Carey’s other works outside Terre D’Ange could be called historical fiction, handling current social and political hot points gracefully and with incredible intelligence.  This wide range of fictional contexts makes being an enthusiastic fan of Ms. Carey a refreshing departure from the worrisome search down the Sci-Fi/Fantasy aisles at Powell’s for a reliably interesting story.  Additionally, if one is already a fan of the Terre D’Ange milieu, Naamah’s Kiss draws you back with a feeling of home while simultaneously opening whole new worlds to experience.

It is time, once again, to revisit Terre D’Ange and find what wonderful new surprises are in store for long-time fans.  Don’t be put off, though, if you aren’t already up-to-date reading Carey’s other novels.  Naamah’s Kiss doesn’t require prior knowledge to guarantee enjoyment.  However, if this is your first Jacqueline Carey experience, be sure to put aside some time.  Once you’ve read Naamah’s Kiss, you will feel compelled to go back and absorb entire canon.  Enjoy.