Welcome to week two for the read-along of Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey, book eight of the Kushiel’s Legacy series. This week’s questions are from Lynn of Lynn’s books, and they cover chapters 16-32. Beware of spoilers through these chapters in the questions and answers below!
1. Moirin takes part in the archery contest - what were your feelings of her and Bao’s plans up to this point and what did you think of the eventual outcome?
I did not expect this to turn out well, so I wasn’t too surprised that the leader didn’t just cave and let his son-in-law set aside his daughter for a former lover. People are not vending machines, and even a competition with the prize of “any favor you ask” is going to have some limits. I’m also not completely sure Moirin didn’t cheat. She doesn’t know whether or not her bow is enchanted, and she was using the special breathing from Master Lo Feng. Given her affinity for nature, I’m not fully convinced she didn’t affect the wind.
2. I’m very puzzled about the direction the story has taken with this whole abduction theme - what do you make of this part of the story and in particular Pyotr Rostov?
This I did not see coming at all. I figured Bao and Moirin would sneak out, and they would head off to the next bit of destiny. I like being surprised, but I don’t much like Pyotr Rostov. It’s always unpleasant to see someone giving a poor representation of a fictional version based, at least partially, on one’s own faith. I take comfort in the fact that Rostov is part of a weird cult, and that the mainstream religion is much less gross than Rostov’s interpretation of it. Also, I think his justification for kidnapping her is stupid. There are plenty of non-believers in the world, and some of them are a lot more awful than either the Maghuin Dhonn or d’Angelines (Darsanga, anyone?).
3. I can’t help making comparisons as I read between Moirin and Phedre and the storyline here - are there any particular things that have drawn your eye or given you pause for thought.
I also thought of Phedre, when Moirin woke up in the wagon. It brings back memories of Phedre and Joscelin’s betrayal by Melisande. I would say Naamah and Kushiel are far less jealous of sharing their scions than the Maghuin Dhonn. Also, Phedre’s skill with languages, seduction, and endurance would have helped Moirin here. It was interesting that Moirin actually referred to Phedre’s abilities in conversation!
4.Any predictions about the next stage of the story?
I suspect that the young half-d’Angeline will help Moirin escape, and the next task will be to break her chains somehow and relocate Bao. I’ll be happy to be surprised with some other twist, though!