Welcome to the final week of the read-along of Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey! I anticipate community-reading the second two books of the trilogy later this year, and I’ll post more details on that when they are available. For now, we say farewell to Naamah’s Kiss with discussion questions provided by Lynn of Lynn’s Book Blog. As always, watch out for spoilers below!
1. Moirin has come a long way since we first met her. How do you think her adventures have changed her if at all - does anything stand out in particular?
I think she’s more mature now than she was at the beginning of her journey, and I feel like she understands a lot more about people (her upbringing didn’t involve much help on that subject). Her night with Snow Tiger highlighted that, as she actually sees herself now as the comforter and mentor, rather than the other way around. She spent a lot of time sort of floundering in the City of Elua, and I feel like she has gotten her feet under her in Ch’in.
2. I was hit by how far Moirin’s magical abilities have come along, I don’t think I particularly expected it to be honest - why do you think that might be?
I think her interactions with various characters has prompted the blossoming of her abilities. Master Lo Feng and his Way taught her mindfulness and more of an awareness of herself and her surroundings, and I’m sure the dragon had his part in awakening latent power in her.
I’m pretty happy she discovered the memory-eating power, because it would have been horrible if all those people had been killed for knowing about the use of gunpowder as a weapon. On that note, though, I don’t think this is a long term solution. It sounded like many people were aware of gunpowder and its non-martial uses, so it seems inevitable that others will once again turn it to war. Even if they don’t, people in other parts of the world will, and then Ch’in will be at a disadvantage when they eventually encounter them. The box is already open, and I don’t think they can close it.
3. Looking back through the story it feels like most aspects had a bearing on the final outcome, do you think Moirin’s path is really set in stone or does she have the ability to change things?
This is one thing that has irritated me a bit about the story, which is that Moirin does not seem to have any power to change things. She could always turn away from her destiny, allowing her diadh-anam to gutter and die. If she follows her diadh-anam, though, she is following a pre-ordained path. Even her love life is largely dictated by her diadh-anam, when it is not controlled by Naamah. I guess her big question is going to be whether she would have chosen this path in life, if she had a choice.
4. Do you feel that Moirin’s actions will have an impact on the Maghuin Dhonn in any way?
I don’t see how they could. Ch’in is pretty far away to even be a trade partner for Alba. On the other hand, assuming she does eventually return home, she will bring with her teachings from wise people of a different culture. That may have an impact on the Maghuin Dhonn society.
5. Were you surprised by the final chapters with Lo and Bao and the overall reaction of Bao?
I was surprised Lo Feng gave his life to resurrect Bao, but it makes sense in retrospect. I admit that I wished Moirin could’ve fixed Bao’s staff before he had to block all those poison darts, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.
I was also surprised by Bao’s resistance to being with Moirin. I thought their decision had more or less already been made. It was clear they liked each other, and they were both straightforward in their intention of pursuing a relationship after the dragon business was settled. I guess I can see his point, that he would never know what course their relationship would have taken without supernatural meddling.
6. We know that Moirin is about to set off an another journey as this book ends. Any predictions, hopes or fears for what is to come next?
Oh, please, let her not go to Darsanga. I hope she ends up going to Terra Nova. I feel like that’s been hinted at, off and on, during this book. Whether or not she’ll be with Bao, I don’t know. It would be really interesting if they ended up as close friends and partners, but Moirin’s great love was with someone else.
--I'm glad Snow Tiger was able to build some happier memories about physical intimacy.
--Why didn't they disarm Black Sleeve before taking him in the presence of the Imperial Family, as well as the most celebrated wise man and all of his apprentices? They KNEW he threw poison darts out of his sleeves!
--If Snow Tiger and Ten Tigers Dai do fall in love... that doesn't seem like it would have a great societal impact. Literally the only male guard who is allowed to avoid castration, and he gets in her bed.
--I get the feeling that Bao's encounter with his father (if he finds him) will not be as happy as Moirin's. Hopefully, Moirin will be there in time to comfort him.
--The finding charm came in handy! I wonder if that will be a recurring tool she uses in her future adventures.