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The Spirit Ring

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  2,924 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted "objets d'art, " but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother Uri arranging his apprent ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Baen Books (first published 1992)
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Michael Battaglia
Oct 17, 2013 Michael Battaglia rated it it was amazing
I was all set to treat this as you would any consistently entertaining, young adult type fantasy novel, until you get to the scene that would probably win the category (and be the only nominee) for Best Use of Stillbirth in a Fantasy Setting. I sure as heck didn't see THAT coming.

Lois Bujold gets tons of raves from the SF community (she's certainly won quite the handful of awards) and for some reason I've only read one of her Vorkosigan books, something I'll probably rectify soon. This, on the o
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Dec 25, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
I feel this book a bit underated. May not be the kind of book I'd like to reread, but it's imaginative and well done. I think it suffers from comparisons with Bujold's other books. I don't agree with those who say this is her worst book, although it comes early among her works and I think Bujold's one of those authors that got stronger over the years. Nevertheless, I like this more than say Ethan of Athos or Falling Free in her Vorkosigan series or The Hallowed Hunt in her Chalion series. But it ...more
Oct 01, 2016 Olgalijo rated it really liked it
Spirit Ring doesn't have the sleekness and depth of all of Bujold's later works, but it points to many of her more mature features. The strong female characters are there, and the underdog heroes too, as well as the meeting of different cultures.
Feb 27, 2017 Xan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quizás es el libro menos logrado de Lois McMaster Bujold, pero no por eso deja de ser un libro entretenido y con buenas ideas.

Mar 10, 2012 Jacey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This is vintage Bujold, 1992, a rare standalone published between ‘The Vor Game’ (1990) and Mirror Dance’ (1994) though in many way it feels like a much earlier work. It’s a straightforward fantasy set in a Renaissance Italy where licensed mages work white magic with the blessings (and supervision) of the church, but where the Inquisition still looms to seek out black magic. Fiametta is the daughter of master mage and metal artisan, Master Beneforte. Her barely remembered mother – about whom the ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Dane rated it liked it

Overall, Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favorite authors, & whose books I have no hesitation buying in hardback the day they come out. She is talented and her books are uniformly superb.

With this one exception.

In fairness, this was her first fantasy novel, and I don't think she had a full handle on the genre yet. The bulk of her work was Science Fiction in her early years, and has been mostly Fantasy the last 7 or 8 years.

Jun 06, 2014 Jasmine rated it really liked it
Shelves: grown-up, baen
A bit rough— you can tell it's an early work— but delightfully full of adventure and mayhem. By the end of the book it was like EVERYTHING had been thrown into the plot pot. Invasions! Reformed warrior bishops! Metallurgy! Kolbods! Revenge! Black magic! Ghosts! Statues! Shriving!

I had fun.
Jan 17, 2016 Valerie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book was an impulsive buy at a used book store. I loved Bujold's Chalion series and was interested in exploring her other fantasy titles before tackling something like Vorkosigan. Written in 1992, it feels a lot like the sort of books I read in my tween years: a plucky young heroine and an unlikely but handsome suitor avenge their loved ones, storm the castle and conquer evil. Pretty standard for its time.

Bujold, however, always adds an element to overlay the standard. She has a way of writ
Jan 20, 2012 Stephanie rated it liked it
This was a perfectly solid one-off fantasy/alternative history set in early renaissance Italy. A little bit of a disappointment coming from Lois McMaster Bujold from whom I somewhat unfairly expect perfection;)

It sets up a decently imaginative world, featuring artisans that create art but also imbue their art with useful magic such as an ornate saltcellar that will purify poisoned food or drink. The semi-historical setting gave the story context but I don't know that it added a whole lot. It fe
Feb 15, 2016 Cecily rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a stand-alone fantasy book set in a magical version of Renaissance Italy. It definitely has the vibe of the Chalion series, though a little bit lighter in tone (even though there is a major palace coup, death, destruction, and serious bloodshed. Not sure how she manages that lighter tone, actually, but she does.)

What I love about this book and the lore used in the Chalion series is how closely the magical rites and rituals are tied to those of religion (in this case I think it's Catholic
Levi Amichai
Dec 16, 2011 Levi Amichai rated it it was ok
I admit it: I probably would have rated this book a star or so higher if I hadn't gone into it with such high expectations. I adore Bujold's Vorkosigan series, and I was expecting to really like this. But... eh. It never captured me, and while I grew to appreciate the world she created, it never excited or intrigued me. I fully predicted a handful of the major plot points.

The plot is original, and while the characters never spring to life, they aren't obnoxious. In the end, though, I just didn't
Dec 19, 2015 Robert rated it really liked it
Shelves: bujold, ebooks
I wasn't sure about this book to start with, but it grew on me. I am constantly amazed at Lois's range: so many different settings and themes. I was, however puzzled by her English in places: "But he had not strode half the length of the garden..." - most versions of English would have "had stridden"; and then there is "She touched her chest. Yes, the ring hung mere, under her linen and velvet" - this seems to be a strange use of "mere" to me, and I'm not totally sure what it means. Still, all i ...more
Jun 26, 2010 Vanessa rated it really liked it
A sweet little story in the vein of Bujold's PALADIN OF SOULS, but set in Renaissance Europe, with two young protagonists thrown together when loved ones are killed when the local Duke is murdered and a robber baron attempts to take over. There's magic, murder, ghosts, heroics, and two young people who learn that sometimes to defeat evil you have to hard things.
Cynthia Gonzalez
Filament love the character

Wish I could see a second book coming with filament and her newly husband thur story was very well laid out in order and visual arts
Sep 29, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A belated review of The Spirit Ring! Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my all time favourite science fiction writers; I absolutely adore her Vorkosigan Saga books. So I’m now working my way through her fantasy novels. A couple of months ago I read the four part series The Sharing Knife, which I enjoyed but also found a bit disappointing compared to her science fiction. In the near future I’m going to read her trilogy which starts with The Curse of Chalion, which I have much higher expectations for, ...more
Catherine Vera
Todavía no logro descifrar si la novela me ha gustado o no. La misma cantidad de argumentos están en el lado positivo y en el negativo.

El libro se ubica en una Italia renacentista donde la magia es algo que se practica a diario. Este es un arte sútil: no se trata de lanzar hechizos con varita, sino de poner conjuros en objetos y así obtener algún tipo de ventaja frente al resto (descubrir venenos, obtener más poder, evitar que un objeto envejezca, etc.)

El maestro Beneforte es uno de los principa
Carol Nicolas
Jan 26, 2017 Carol Nicolas rated it really liked it
Fiametta is the daughter of Master Beneforte, a mage whose sculptures and metal works are famous in all of Italy. She has inherited his abilities, but her father is reluctant to train a mere girl. Fiametta learns what she can and begs to be allowed to do more. Meanwhile, after a mining accident, Thur Ochs leaves his mountain home and mother to join his brother (a soldier) in the city and begin an apprenticeship with the metalsmith. By the time he gets there, the city has been attacked, Fiametta' ...more
Blow Pop
Jul 25, 2015 Blow Pop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015
Content warnings: death, fictional magic, murder, religious ideology

Ok so initially, I went into this book knowing nothing about it. Other than it was recommended to me. I think I fell in love within the first 10 pages. just. wow.

There were a few slow spots but that's understandable for ANY book to have. They didn't take away from the rest of the book. We had a happily ever after type ending which fit well for this book. AND we had a woman of colour as the main character. That was great and exci
C is for **censored**
Nov 04, 2013 C is for **censored** rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tree-books, xx-4-star
The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. (Notice the two important words... OPINION and RATING)

1 star: Didn’t Like it
2 stars: It’s Okay
3 stars: Liked it
4 stars: Really Liked it
5 stars: It Was Amazing

I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it.

Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my boo
Jen McConnel

Set in Renaissance Italy, this novel is an elegant combination of Machiavellian politics and church-sanctioned magic. White magic is monitored by the church officials, and is an accepted part of every day life, even for people who do not have any magical ability. Fiametta Benneforte is the daughter of a master mage and goldsmith. In secret, she has been teaching herself magic, but when her father is murdered and their city falls victim to black magic, Fiametta must choose between lawful magic an
Wayland Smith
I'd never read any Bujold before, but I'd heard a lot about her writing. The Spirit Ring is a nice historical fantasy set in a version of Italy where magic is real. History and a few different types of magic are blended nicely.

Fiametta is the daughter of a master artisan who is both metalworker and magician. She hopes to be his formal apprentice. Their lives get complicated when their lord is assassinated and the city is taken by a hostile force.

Thur is a miner who gets apprenticed to Fiametta's
Jan 27, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
I'm giving this book three stars instead of two because of the last scene, in which a thinly-veiled version of Cellini's Perseus sculpture comes to life and goes on a rampage, knocking people around with the Medusa's head stuck to its hand. Fabulous! While I appreciate the idea of an art-history-based fantasy novel, the world-building was too literal (relying on the reader's basic knowledge of Florentine historical figures and artworks rather than imagining new ones) and yet left out the really ...more
This is by no means a bad book, but it's also not a great book. It's arguably Bujold's worst book. It's a little clichéd and generic - especially the "true love" aspects. Even her Sharing Knife series which personally I hated is technically better - I just couldn't stand the naive heroine. Yet, I can't help but wonder if I'm holding this book to an unfair standard - expecting it to measure up to the Chalion novels even though I'd been warned in advance that it doesn't compare.

I'd read an interv
Zachary Jacobi
Sep 15, 2015 Zachary Jacobi rated it really liked it
This isn't Bujold's best book, but it's still a solid entertaining read, with the occasional line that really makes you stop and think.

A friend of mine does speed sketches. In a minute and a half, she sketches a person. She doesn't get all the detail, but the likenesses are good. This is the book equivalent of that. The characters aren't as fleshed out as those in the Vorkosigan books, but you still get a decent picture of them. I wonder if it's the YA genre of the book, or just the length that'
Mar 21, 2016 Terry rated it liked it
Recommended to Terry by: Jo Walton
Shelves: fantasy
I come to Bujold via Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great. Walton raves about Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga which extends to some 30 volumes, a bit more than I’m prepared to take on. When I stumbled across The Spirit Ring, though, it seemed an opportunity to at least investigate her writing. The Vorkosigan Saga is genre-identified as science fiction; The Spirit Ring is clearly historical fantasy. Maybe not a perfect test. Regardless, I enjoyed the novel even though I rarely read fantasy any more ...more
Aug 12, 2007 Brownbetty rated it liked it
This is a solid and workmanlike piece of fantasy, which suffers mainly in comparison to Bujold's other works. Bujold usually builds clever and original worlds: this story is set in a medieval Italy where the catholic church regulates all magic. i think I've read that one before. Bujold excels at bitter, wounded, world weary protagonists (Miles, Cordelia, Ekatrin, Ista, etc.). These two are mere innocents, and the books consequently lacks the quirky charm which is her trademark. it also suffers f ...more
Nov 28, 2016 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of fun for Bujold fans

Very different, very fun, very entertaining ... especially if you like Lois Bujold's work. Here you have a typically meticulously researched setting, typically well fleshed-out characters (with a few notable exceptions; I feel like this plot was a bit overstuffed) and a typically egalitarian love story/relationship in a time period and society where it is hinted that such relationships are rare. The relationship feels a little rushed toward the end, but it pretty much
Oct 03, 2013 Shane rated it liked it
Probably more like 2.5 stars. I've enjoyed some of Bujold's other fantasy and sci-fi novels but this one seemed a bit dated for me. Maybe it just reminds me of books I read when I was younger. Also having a young female protagonist made it feel more like it was for teen girls than 43 year-old men.I also tend to like fantasy better if it's NOT set in the "real world" it makes the magic and other fantastic elements more believable for some reason.

I like the ending climactic battle, but got bored
Apr 14, 2014 Adobe rated it it was ok
This is standard genre fantasy rooted in alchemy and a magical version of the Italian Renaissance. In her attempt to avenge her murdered father, Fiametta Beneforte is armed only with the ability to breathe fire and a ring that will only fit her destined husband's hand. In his attempt to avenge his murdered brother, Thur Ochs has only his mining background and an affectionate relationship with rock kobolds to draw upon. They inevitably team up, and wacky hijinks -- ghosts, golems, demons, metallu ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Suby rated it really liked it
Magic, white or black, makes for good reading enjoyment. While I would never get bogged down by Harry Potter, books like the one under review now are okay.
The story is set in Italy of 1300s, presumably. The two main characters are teenagers. With personal effort and persistence they free the fiefdom they live in from occupation by a black magician. They too use a little magic, but strictly the white kind, allowed by church.
Children and teenagers will find this book enchanting. Even older people
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...

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