Complete trilogy with 3 books.
Genres: fantasy (erotic fantasy, epic fantasy), romance, alternative history
Main Series: Kushiel’s Universe
Set several generations after Phèdre and Imriel, Moirin mac Fainche of the Maghuinn Dhonn, the folk of the Brown Bear, is born to her mother in Alba, but is half D’Angeline. She also has a destiny to follow. Her diadh-anam tells her if she is on the correct path or not. With Moirin, we’ll go on high adventures and across the world, doing what her gods have in store for her.
It is impossible to write this review after reading until this point and not compare Moirin to Phèdre. They’re their own characters. Moirin is NOT Phèdre rewritten for a new trilogy. They have some of the same traits at times, the same drive to do what they feel is right. But, they have two completely different backgrounds. They have two different sets of strengths. They live in two different times. It has been several generations since Moirin’s ancestor Alais and her parents Ysandre de la Corcel and Drustan mab Necthana were alive. The world has changed. The Maghuin Dhonn have changed, diminished in powers. Naamah’s trilogy is connected to Kushiel’s Legacy, but it is separate, it is a standalone series.
I think, in order to really enjoy this trilogy, you have to set aside Phèdre’s Trilogy. Keep it in your heart, but realise they are two different stories. You’ll just disappoint yourself while reading this if you keep Phèdre close to your heart. If you can separate the two, if you can look at them on their own merits, Moirin has a really good tale to tell.
Moirin is much less political than Phèdre. Instead of filling the story with a bunch of court dynamics, more time is spent on exploring the world, magic, and on Moirin finding herself. That isn’t to say the intrigue isn’t there at all. She is ignorant of pretty much all ways, even her own for a decent part of this story. Lots is spent on her learning pretty much everything. This is especially true every time she travels to a new place. She struggles a lot more than Phèdre traveling to new places, too. She doesn’t have the ability Phèdre has to make everyone love her (though she does have that in much higher doses than she should). She also really doesn’t have Phèdre’s skills in language. It is a harder journey for Moirin.
The most ever present part of Moirin, driving her the entire way, is the fact that she is god touched. Not only is she god touched, but she has several gods of different pantheons following her and guiding her along the way. She has a fate that she feels, her diadh-anam. She listens to her diadh-anam constantly, making sure she is on the right path the entire way. However, it isn’t a failsafe. She makes mistakes with it. She is only mortal, after all.
Over the course of the Kushiel story, we have travelled all over the world. With Moirin we start in Alba (England), before traveling to Terre D’Ange (France) to find her father and start on her destiny. With Moirin we travel to Ch’in (China) and Bhodistan (India) before going even further from home. We end up going to Terra Nova in the Americas, starting in Mexico and traveling into about Peru. We see the entire world over the course of Kushiel.
Moirin is definitely worth reading. She is a tool her gods use to enact the change they want to see done, but she is also a person with a heart. “I swear, Moirin, you fall in love as easily as other people fall out of a boat.”, says her lover, and he means it. This is a story of love, but it is also a story of destiny and desire and really, really long journeys.