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Paladin of Souls (Chalion series) Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In this sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001), rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology, dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul-and finds instead that in Chalion, Bujold's handsomely crafted fantasy world ruled by Five Gods "just around some strange corner of perception," a more dangerous fate awaits than she could ever have imagined. Swordplay and sorcery sweep sensitive, sensible 40-year-old Ista into Chalion's border stronghold of Porifors, where enemy Roknari incursions and demons from the Fifth God's hell threaten Ista's realm, held precariously at bay by the charismatic Arhys dy Lutez. Ista's romantic quest to save Arhys and his magnetic half-brother, Illvin, teems with equal parts of unearthly magic and down-to-earth quasi-medieval lore. Despite an occasional lapse into adolescent angst and spurts of superficial dialogue, high fantasy fans should thrill at Ista's spiritual perils, while horse admirers of all ages should savor even Ista's saddle sores. This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come. FYI: Bujold has won both Hugo and Nebula awards.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The eagerly awaited sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001) continues the story of the world of Chalion, though not strictly of Chalion, after Iselle and Bergon have defeated one lot of enemies and celebrated their wedding. Paladin of Souls focuses, however, on Iselle's mother, Ista. Three years free of the madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle, Ista is finally released from her last remaining duties by the death of her mother. She undertakes a pilgrimage, but doesn't get far before she is overtaken by trouble, sorrow, need, and a host of other adversities. Chalion is in trouble again, thanks to the plots, counterplots, machinations, and follies of men and of gods, and Ista is perforce on the front lines. Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters--not that the plot is anything to sneeze at. Only dedicated addicts of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga will be miffed that she has given us this book rather than that sf series' next installment, for Bujold is also head and shoulders above the ruck of current fantasists as well as science-fictionists. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I don't know that it would work for anyone who hasn't first read The Curse of Chalion (which was Book 1 in this series, and which is tightly connected to Paladin of Souls) - but luckily The Curse of Chalion is wonderful too. (That one has a slow start but then becomes INCREDIBLY tense and absorbing and fantastic. It was my favorite historically-based fantasy I'd ever read up until Paladin of Souls was published.)
I love the heroine, Ista, a disillusioned 40-year-old woman and mother of grown children who thinks her life is over only to find a new calling, great and frightening power, and love; I love the whole varied cast of characters around her; I love the wry humor, and the magic, and the deep compassion that run throughout this book. It's an *enriching* book to read. I feel better every time I re-read it.
In short, I very highly recommend this book to anyone who likes high fantasy and adventure. It's going in my Best Books collection that I keep on my Kindle to reread when I can't find any new books that look interesting. Try it, I bet you like it, too!
I'd recommend this book to any fans of Lois McMaster Bujold who have not yet tried her fantasies, to any lovers of richly build fantasy worlds, and to anyone who loves a good "undead" tale!
This is Ista's story. When Curse ends, Ista is the mother of the new queen but she is living a subdued and painful life and seems to be a most unlikely heroine for a new adventure. But we should take note that Cazaril, the foremost character of Curse, was in very bad shape at the beginning of that novel and seemed older and less likely to do great things than he turned out to be.
In this book, Ista not only (re)discovers love and finds the love of her life but she finds a calling that is higher and finer than her daughter's calling to be the queen.
On the way, she meets dozens of fascinating people, most of them alive, and deals with a great many perils. In this book, Bujold's command of the language reaches a peak that should be the envy of writers for generations. One speech, by one of her minor characters, was in my signature file for years before I read any of her books. I had found it attributed to the character and not the author and simply thought he was an historical figure.
In my review of Curse I said that the importance of the gods to the book detracted from my enjoyment or suspension of disbelief. Let me say that this book has convinced me that Bujold is writing brilliant speculative theology. Not something I ever considered possible before.
When we leave Ista she is on the verge of even greater advaentures and we wonder if we will be allowed to accompany her. Well, I don't think so. The story, just like Thorby's story in Heinlein's _Citizen of the Galaxy_ was about someone finding a calling, not carrying it out.
Writing a book about an older woman who's been kept out of the wider world for years because of perceived (and perhaps actual) mental illness, and making it exciting and dramatic, is also hard.
Doing both together must be extra-hard. LMB has pulled it off, wonderfully.
I buy most Bujold books when they come out, in hardback, which is something I only do with three authors, and this is one of my two favourite Bujold books (the other being A Civil Campaign). She does military action well, but what makes her stand out above the pack is that she also does character relationships extremely well, and that skill is well showcased here.
Most recent customer reviews
Read the series.
I like this world, and these people.
Her chars here seem to have an abundance of kindness and gentleness.Read more
Follows Curse of Chalion. Two of the finest fantasy novels ever written.Read more