**spoiler alert** I have to admit, I groaned at the whole another quest plotline. Carey, however, does deserve full marks for a couple things (and the**spoiler alert** I have to admit, I groaned at the whole another quest plotline. Carey, however, does deserve full marks for a couple things (and the first one applies to all the Kushiel books). First, she does a very good job of making it clear when a character is raped, having sex for money, or having sex with a loved one. Considering how some authors do not do this, it is refreshing. Second, I enjoyed how both sides (parents vs. children) learned something at the end of the book. ...more
**spoiler alert** I like historical fiction, and I like Cleopatra. I don't even mind if she is painted as a bit of hussy in books, honest. This book g**spoiler alert** I like historical fiction, and I like Cleopatra. I don't even mind if she is painted as a bit of hussy in books, honest. This book gives a Cleopatra who has sex a lot and who has sex with just about every guy she knows. If she was having sex this much, she would not have been able to rule. The book is smut, and sadly, it is not even fun smut. No character is likeable or even sympathetic....more
I like this book though it seems a bit bi-polar in the sense that it seems to start off as a YA book, about a girl, but then changes to a book about hI like this book though it seems a bit bi-polar in the sense that it seems to start off as a YA book, about a girl, but then changes to a book about her father. Strangely enough, it actually works. In some ways, this is better than the Pern novels for all the characters seem fully developed, even the horses....more
It is okay book though it seems too long for it is, a fairly standard romance story. The supposedly minor characters Kirra and Senneth take over the sIt is okay book though it seems too long for it is, a fairly standard romance story. The supposedly minor characters Kirra and Senneth take over the story for long sections, which is fine because they are good characters. As for the main characters, I had a problem with Cammon. He seemed like two different people depending on who he was with. This would have been okay; he is a mystic, but it is never commented on. ...more
When I was in grade school, I read several books in this series (and writing this I want to hide in embarrassment, but I was around 11 or 12). The booWhen I was in grade school, I read several books in this series (and writing this I want to hide in embarrassment, but I was around 11 or 12). The books were for the most part predictable and very clean (romance, but nothing more than a kiss). Girl is torn between two boys who both like her, and she chooses the one who lets her be herself (so the series was pro-girl in that respect). This one is the only one I can really remember and that is because there was no love triangle. It was story about a girl who poses as a boy to find her brothers. Along the way, she falls for the man she is working for. She had pluck. ...more
I first read this book in college. I was somewhat fearful of picking it up and re-reading it, fearful that I would now hate it. While I don't think II first read this book in college. I was somewhat fearful of picking it up and re-reading it, fearful that I would now hate it. While I don't think I loved it quite as much as I did in college, I still enjoyed it. The book does have a wonderful role reversal in the two romantic leads, a role reversal which I still love. I did not notice the strong current of S&M that runs though the book, or at least I didn't acknowledge it before. It is an interesting protrayal of a romantic relationship with an amount of sheer physical lust.
The characters are real, though Jamie perhaps is too understanding to be true. But Jamie and Claire together work. There is also a strong presence of strong female characters....more
Naamah's Kiss is set generations after the last Kushiel book. When I first heard this, I was a little disappointed. The jump forward in time does makeNaamah's Kiss is set generations after the last Kushiel book. When I first heard this, I was a little disappointed. The jump forward in time does make sense. It allows for a "happily ever after" for the first six books and allows for Carey to further explore her world. We are given more of a world view, including this world's version of the "New World". I love the alternate world that Carey has created.
The central character of this book is Moirin who is likable and has an innocence that was wholly lacking in Phedre. Overall Carey does a good job of building Moirin's character; however, during parts of the last third of the book, Moirin sounds very much like Phedre. She has the same spark for learning languages; her tone shifts slightly. The voice isn't totally Phedre's, but it is no longer wholly Moirin's. It's a slight shift, barely noticeable but there. This is the reason why I am giving the book four stars instead of five.
For me, the best drawn character in the book was Queen Jehanne. With her, Carey gives an excellent picture of a layered character. Instead of simply being a flightily "loose" women, Jehanne becomes a nicely developed and rounded character. In fact, Moirin is not the sole strong woman here, and Carey does an excellent job with tackling stereotypes, for instance in the two ladies who accompany Moirin on her coach journey.
I also found Carey's use of the "twilight" interesting. It is strongly reminiscent of Sergei Lukyanenko and his watch books. It is nice to see an author empower a character but to also show the costs of such power, and this theme runs the course of the novel.
For a reader who has avoided Carey due to the S&M in her previous books, there is none of that here. Moirin follows Naamah, so her tastes are far different. It is also not necessary to have read the first six books to understand this one. For the long time fan, Carey does let readers know about well loved characters from the earlier books, not just the royals but some minor characters as well....more
**spoiler alert** So I am in minority because I hate this book. I really hate this book. I have never been so disappointed in a book when I picked thi**spoiler alert** So I am in minority because I hate this book. I really hate this book. I have never been so disappointed in a book when I picked this up and started reading it.
Now, to be fair, I'll admit by distaste started very eary. I really don't like graphic sex scenes with 13 year olds. I know, I know, teens have sex all the time, but I don't want to read about until they're legal. (Unless it is the movie Valmont where it is done in a really funny way). But I know the hang-up is mine, and I was willing to keep trying.
And then the killer. The made me want to throw the book across the room bit.
So the heroine and her posse (such as it is) seem to travel underground forever. And then she gets stuck by a magic something and while she was beautiful before, she was even more beautiful now.
I think there is a point in most women's lives where they have read trashy romance novels. For me, it was my junior and senior years in high school anI think there is a point in most women's lives where they have read trashy romance novels. For me, it was my junior and senior years in high school and my freshmen year of college. I had a friend in high school who actually had to hide such books in her underwear drawer. Her mother would've flipped out. We pretty much read them because of the trashy romance novel sex scenes. Except for the Guardian Angel. He read Harlequin Romances; I'm not sure why.
And then I read one too many where the heroine was raped by the "romantic" lead. Admittedly these were books published in the late 70s and early 80s (used bookstores sold them cheap). There was one called The Pirate's Doxy (or something like that). Poor Miss Virgin gets mistaken for a prostitute when she is really a seamstress, gets taken aboard a ship because the captain needs a hooker to get over his ex. He rapes Miss Virgin, believing that she was playacting. He's really sorry, and they fall in love. SAY WHAT?
It's amazing how that can just turn your stomach. You can no doubt see why I stopped reading trashy romance novels. The fact that I minored in history also undoubtedly had something to do with it. Who wants to read a trashy romance about Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon (or Anne Boleyn) when you know how the relationship ends? Except, I didn't really stop reading them. I just call it urban fantasy, and the heroine can turn into werewolf (or a demon or whatever), so it has fantastic elements, though sometimes less sex scenes. The women tend to kick butt, however. I also re-read Outlander this summer.
There has to be something about romance books that speak to women (and at least one male). Maybe it is the sex scenes, especially with the younger readers. Maybe it is the prefect guy, the romantic lead, though I doubt this last considering how many rapes seem to occur. I understand the whole "rape fantasy" psyche idea, but that is different than describing a real rape, isn't it? Even in UF you can see this rape fantasy being overplayed and never really examined, for instance, in the later Anita Blake novels, though who is the victim and who is the rapist is sometimes unclear. Maybe these types of rape-romance books are written by men for men. (This would also explain Lifetime, the channel of women in trouble needing rescuing).
Maybe women dig romance books because such books are our version of James Bond. This theory would also apply to soap operas. Think about it. Is James Bond really that realistic? Can he really drink and shot straight? Would all those women really want him (and remember he wasn't always played by Connery or Craig)? Would a bad guy really reveal his plan before trying to kill Bond, and walk out without making sure the super-spy is dead? All those women and no STDs or screaming babies?
Maybe romance books are a female version of Bond. Here is, the books say, a man who is tamed by the love of a good women. He becomes more understanding and sympathetic as the love story progresses. He's really good in bed. He pleasures her, not the other way around. They are the perfect match, at first sexually and then mentally and emotionally. In romance books, at least in some, the woman does change the man; she does have some power to do this. Even in the Doxy book I cited above, the rapist became "nicer", more "emotional". She changes him by simply being who she is. Sovereignty, the Wife of Bath says, is what women want, maybe romance books offer a picture of that.
It's true that there are books that play with the standard cliches of romantic fiction. Outlander, for instance, inverts the standard virgin and experienced roles, as well the ages, which is why I still like it. While The Wolf and the Dove doesn't do this exactly, I still have my copy. I liked this book because there is no character rape. There is a near rape, and how this is not a rape is absolutely wonderfully explained. (It sounds weird, but if you read the book, you'll see). The would be rapist is not the romantic lead, but the villain. There really is romance in the book and not simply sex. I suppose to even call this book a trashy romance novel is doing it a slight injustice. It is a romance novel, a woman's story. And for whatever reason, something women like. If you are thinking of reading a romance book, this is a good one. It doesn’t insult women and is charming told. The female character is also strong emotionally, as is her mother. Woodiwiss deals with the theme of the conquered and the conqueror very well. The book is something of an examination of these roles, and, therefore, not a typical romance. ...more
**spoiler alert** I should admit two things before I start this review. I didn't finish this book; however, it does not belong on my ick-attack shelf**spoiler alert** I should admit two things before I start this review. I didn't finish this book; however, it does not belong on my ick-attack shelf (the shelf for truly bad books). Second, I really wanted to like this book. I really did.
I have several problems with this book. Maybe, I'm the wrong person to read this because I have never read those regency romance novels. The idea behind the book is good. Carriger's gets full points for that (she gets full points for two other things, see the end of this review). The first problem I had is that Carriger keeps switching between two narrative voices; I'm not even sure she or her editor were aware of this. One voice is very formal, the other less so. Eventually this becomes distracting. It doesn't work and makes the reader wonder about the change.
The fantasy elements of the novel don't seem well thought. It is true that Carriger is trying to be fresh (maybe, considering the UF genre now, it is impossible) with her idea of a vampire hive and a soulless person. The elements don't work because they don't seem well thought out. To boldy use the lack of a soul as a plot point is an intersting idea, yet any reader could say that Alexia, in fact, has a soul. I also would have liked to see more of Alexia's thoughts on the matter (at least in the first 125 pages). It doesn't cut it just to have her read Greek philosphers and she's fine. The vampires, despite the use of the hive, are just like every other vampire and so are the werewolves.
Worse, Carriger uses, or seems to, every single UF cliche about heroines in the first 100 pages. Alexia doesn't think she is pretty, but she has a beautiful body. She's exotic because her father was a heathen Italian (why her mother would marry a heathen Italian is never explained). This is unique point one. She is soulless (something not even her mother knows about her, though Alexia was told at a young age). That is unique point two. She reads more than the average lady which makes her, somehow, knowledgable about sex even though she is virgin. That's unique point three. She is better than her airhead family. Unique point four. Her soulless state is unusal; she is the only soulless one in the area. Unique point five. She designs her own parsols. Unique point six.
Someone put her out of my misery.
At times it seems that Carriger is trying to be cute and funny. She almost is, and I believe the idea would've worked better in a shorter format. Sadly, much of the cute and funny comes across as annoying. As a novel it only makes me, once again, realize how good Jane Austen and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh And Other Poems are in terms of style. Carriger is drawing on both these works and comes across as a poor last place finisher.
There are, however, two very good things that Carriger does here, that while not ensuring this book or a series a second chance, will make me look for her work outside of this. The first, and most important, is that Carriger gives Alexia a true friend, Ivy. Both women interact with each as equals even though each has a flaw that annoys the other. I liked that. The other is that Carriger presents a relationship of equal that is not a silly love triangle. Because of this, when Carriger writes something outside of this series, I'll check it out....more
I like to watch Deadliest Catch. True, the basic plot is catching crab, which is repeatitive, but there is something about the show. Maybe, it's becauI like to watch Deadliest Catch. True, the basic plot is catching crab, which is repeatitive, but there is something about the show. Maybe, it's because everyone is so normal. I don't know. But what it is, I don't think any other reality show has it.
Neither does Naamah's Curse. Sadly.
I skimmed large portions of this book. It is Carey's weakest novel. I use to think that her two books Godslayer and Banewreaker (together being The Sundering) were her weakest, but at least there she is trying something new.
The first 136 pages were straight romance novel. Any reader of this book knows how Moirin's main quest is going to end. The unsure quality and feeling of danger that was present in the other Kushiel books is lacking here. This is true for most of the book, and there might be something to say for it except in the first 136 pages, nothing really happens that the reader can't guess, except maybe one thing but even that doesn't quite surprise.
Like in romance novels that influence the series, there is something really annoying going on.
Everyone loves Moirin, unless they're really evil, and even then they might. It's true that Carey doesn't fully use the romance heroine convention (not many romance novels have female/female pairings), and Moirin is blessed by Naamah so that might explain it. But when nothing is happening, it made me very bored. Additionally, this likabilty factor doesn't even make sense in one of the plot points. Really, after one talk with Moirin, Erlene suddenly feels better? Really, truly?
Yeah, right, and peace in the Middle East is right around the corner.
Luckily, something finally happens. The twist involes a religious sect that seems to be a blend of the worse aspects of Christinity, Islam, and Judism. This twist is interesting, for in this section of the novel, Carey examines the differences of religion, the idea of conversion, the fact that religion should not be judged on its most frantical elements. While the plot here is somewhat predictable, the exploration of idea is interesting and not the clear cut "all established religion (read Christianity/Islam/Judism) is bad". Carey doesn't take that route. I liked that. In many ways, this theme continues to the third part of the book.
The third part of the book is stronger than the first part, but weaker than the second. Part of this problem is once again Moirin. As other reveiws have pointed out, Moirin is written as an Anti-Phedre, and so she doesn't seem to be her own character. The romance conventions don't help. Moirin is particularly perfect; people look at her and want to help. She is wise and understanding. She is par excellence with a bow. She call twilight. She is beloved by two gods. Yada, yada yada. It is true that Phedre was somewhat like this, but Carey wrote that aspect of Phedre's character as too much pride, as a flaw. That's not the case here. Moirin doesn't have a flaw, unless you count her self claimed lack of patience, a flaw that is undermined by the fact that she has patience thoroughout the whole book. It is true most of Moirin's traits were laid out in the first book, but the reader is constantly, too constantly, reminded of them here.
This is compounded by the fact that outside of the religious twist, every single point plot was used in another Carey book. Many writers and television shows do this. One critic pointed out that many of Hans Christian Andersen's stories are the same plot presented or reinvented different ways. Carey doesn't reinvent enough. Look there is Phedre! Look there is Melusine! Look there is Josecelin. Look it's that plot idea from book 6. It's not changed enough. You've seen it before, and if you wanted the repeat you would simply re-read those books. (And you should, their good).
What prevents this book from being one or two stars are a couple of things, in addition to the religious theme. The first is that while everyone loves Moirin, the everyone includes women. Moirin makes several female friends in the course of the novel. What is more, with one understandable exception, are not jealous of each other. They are different, but respect and like each other. There isn't enough of that in a great many books, and it is nice to see that here. The second is that Carey's world building is well done. It is an interesting world. The third is that in addition to examining religion, Carey takes a look at caste systems as well as the idea of love (the second is an on going theme of these novels). It is a true look and not a sub-standard examination. I just wish the plot of the novel held up to the complexity of the ideas....more