Saturday, October 16, 2010

jacqueline carey's carefully crafted world returns in naamah's curse

God I love Jacqueline Carey’s books. Her complex fantasy series Kushiel's Legacy was made up of six books, each as good or better than the previous one. When that series seemingly ended I was devastated.
So imagine my joy when the new series, Naamah Trilogy, was announced with the first book Naamah’s Kiss. 
Now the next in the series Naamah’s Curse has been released and the epic emotional, human yet different, world that Carey created in Kushiel’s Legacy has returned to her dedicated readers.
Carey’s world is almost an alternate history world, created not so much by positing that certain people didn’t die or different countries won historical wars – the usual structure for such genre novels – but rather by repositioning a religious movement away from a denial of sex and sexuality to one of acceptance and love.
Love, and sex, in all its forms is Carey’s central tenant in her fantasy world – the “real” countries and cultures of Europe, Russia and the United Kingdom are the basis for her new world, with a mythical France – Terra d’Ange, the land of the angels – being the source of her characters’ mystical connection with a god of love and compassion.
Although the central character of the Naamah books, Moirin, is half d’Angeline, she is also half Alban – a Celtic version of England with remnants of natural magic still in the blood of its people.

Read my review of Naamah’s Kiss: Kisses for Jacqueline Carey’s newest novel

Journeying halfway round the world to Ch’in – yes, China, but the mystical China of dragons and emperors and magic – Moirin finds herself falling in love, falling into danger and becoming first the mistress of a dragon-possessed princess before realising she still has to follow the wishes of her Alban goddess.
This bare telling of Moirin’s complex journey cannot begin to describe the sheer joy it is to read Carey’s books.
Her instinctual understanding of human nature and her ability to give form to psychological impulses in our psyches are what have made her books New York Times Bestsellers.
The novel is full of raunchy sex, loving and healing sex, action, dragons, magic, religious zealots, betrayal and luxurious indulgence set right next to terrible deprivation. A rich tapestry of borrowed cultures and countries add new characters at every turn.
But it is Carey’s complete non-judgement of sex, sexuality, emotional attachment and the bare essence of basic human feelings that makes her so compelling to read.
Although Khusiel’s Legacy and the Naamah Trilogy are set in a fantastic past, this lack of moral judgement is quintessentially modern; it offers a possible way for people to be; without imposed moralities, yet still with a binding requirement to not harm nor hurt other.
I can’t wait for the final instalment in the trilogy, Naamah’s Blessing, but I’m also dreading it; I don’t ever want to leave Carey’s carefully crafted, fascinating world.

Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey is published by Gollancz and is available from good book stores and online.


Post a Comment