Book #73 was Naamah’s Kiss, the first book in a new trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, set in the same world as her Kushiel’s Legacy series. The back of the book reads:
Once there were great magicians born to the Maghuin Dhonn; the folk of the Brown Bear, the oldest tribe in Alba. But generations ago, the greatest of them all broke a sacred oath sworn in the name of all his people. Now, only small gifts remain to them. Through her lineage, Moirin possesses such gifts – the ability to summon the twilight and conceal herself, and the skill to coax plants to grow.
Moirin has a secret, too. From childhood onward, she senses the presence of unfamiliar gods in her life; the bright lady, and the man with a seedling cupped in his palm. Raised in the wilderness by her reclusive mother, it isn’t until she comes of age that Moirin learns how illustrious, if mixed, her heritage is. The great granddaughter of Alais the Wise, child of the Maghuin Donn, and a cousin of the Cruarch of Alba, Moirin learns her father was a D’Angeline priest dedicated to serving Naamah, goddess of desire.
After Moirin undergoes the rites of adulthood, she finds divine acceptance…on the condition that she fulfill an unknown destiny that lies somewhere beyond the ocean. Or perhaps oceans. Beyond Terre d’Ange where she finds her father, in the far reaches of distant Ch’in, Moirin’s skills are a true gift when facing the vengeful plans of an ambitious mage, a noble warrior princess desperate to save her father’s throne, and the spirit of a celestial dragon.
Though I’ve had Carey’s Kushiel series on my "want to read" list for quite a while, this is the first of her books that I’ve read. It absolutely won’t be the last. Carey has created an incredibly complex yet easily understood world, and has a knack for introducing us to it without boring us with rote history lessons. I was immediately pulled into Moirin’s world, and gladly followed her on her epic journey as she searched for her divine purpose. The D’Angeline are obviously based on the French, and the Ch’in on the Chinese, but it only adds to your ability to visualize what is happening. Considered "wild" by most every other culture, Moirin still manages to find away to fit in without losing herself, even if she does have to learn how to handle living in man-made structures and eating with utensils rather than her hands. This story was a little bit coming of age, a little bit romance, and a lot of adventure. It ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, and I can’t wait to read the next one. I’ll also be picking up that first Kushiel book much sooner than I expected.
Page count: 656 | Approximate word count: 244,931