Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.
“He would welcome the opportunity to offer his suffering up to God. Me, I could not help but think that there was more than enough suffering in the world without adding to the balance.”
I enjoyed a lot of things about this book. I quite enjoyed this book across the Tatar lands. It was when everything went wrong when I sighed and went “Not again…”. Just once, I think I would like things to go as planned in this world. It is pretty predictable that just when things are going fine in the middle of a book, everything goes completely to hell. The only thing to do is to wait for it to happen. I don’t even stress about it anymore, because it is so predictable.
The beginning to this book was great. I really enjoyed Moirin setting off on her own to search for her love. Especially since she didn’t always speak the language that the natives spoke. Everything was new to her, and it made for rough going. She made friends along the way, she found some kinship with people. It was fun and interesting.
Then comes the part where…frankly I’m the most confused about this part. The Yeshuites are back, and this time they seem to have been corrupted by the will of man and time.
I don’t like it.
Until now, there have been many Gods and Goddesses, beliefs, and deeds. They have always, ALWAYS been respected, even if the D’Angeline gods took priority in the eyes of the protagonists. They’ll even pray to other gods, because it can’t hurt. I’ve always been fine with this. Religion isn’t exactly my thing, but I have always respected others for their beliefs. Even if their strangely sex based religion was a bit odd at times, I was fine with it. In fact, I am even pretty amazed at the spiritual setup Carey has had until now. All they ever asked was that you love as you want, and if you want to love the gods you love, go right ahead. They’ll try and understand you, but you have to understand that in their eyes, Elua and his followers are it for them. It is a bit idealistic, but it is well set up with a wealth of belief and history set up to justify it all.
This book is the complete opposite of that. Moirin follows Naamah and Elua, and her Bear Goddess. Other than that, pretty much every religious idea in the book is only around for Carey and Moirin to tear it apart. Everything about every other religion is cast in the absolute worst light. They either have to or want to change everything about what is going on. They try to show the good sides, but really it is only dressing to show that these religions are supposed to have depth to them when we refuse to explore that depth.
I just don’t understand how we went from an idea of acceptance to an idea of vileness, even outright hatred of religious beliefs.
That is really the biggest part to this book, the religious aspect. There isn’t much else other than reuniting with Bao and traveling over vast lands across different countries. There is some peace in the beginning, where it is just about the fun of exploring and meeting new people. Actually, that happens a few times in the book, but Moirin always has to leave the people she comes to like.
Honestly, sometimes it felt like things went a bit too easy for Moirin. She gets caught out in a deadly ice storm, magically appearing cows save her. She is out of supplies, she somehow manages to find someone to help her just enough to get what she needs and no more with what meager stuff she has left. She falls ill in a camp hostile to her, she somehow makes friends with the one person willing to help her. For every trial Moirin has, there is something to make her journey easier than it should have been. Perhaps that is because her gods are looking after her.
I actually really like Moirin as a character. I love her personality. It is infectiously happy when she is happy. It is able to drag me down into a deep depression when she is sad. She has a goal, she will see it accomplished. That is all she is worried about. She is still a very simple person, not quite dragged down by all the shit thrown her way. I really like her.
I enjoyed a lot of the book. I loved exploring the Eastern part of Eurasia. I loved most of the secondary characters in addition to Moirin. I was just confused and kind of hurt by the religious aspects.