Mark's Reviews > Paladin of Souls

Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
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's review
May 25, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended for: Anyone
Read in April, 2010

Lois McMaster Bujold is a great writer. Never mind the genre, I'd read just about anything she writes. Can you tell this is going to be a good review?

The Plot

This book is about minor characters from the first novel in the Chalion series. The main character, Ista, the dowager queen(royina) of Chalion is bored with being kept away in a castle. She's something of an embarrassment to the royal family so they make sure she stays cooped up. However, one day she gets fed up with being laid aside and decides to go on a pilgrimage, even though she disdains religion. She goes incognito so that she can have a small retinue, as she's trying to get away from her title.

It seems that the gods of Chalion have more in store for Ista. She gets involved in a major political conflict on the way.

The Good

Bujold is a master at world building. There's plenty of back story here but the reader only knows just enough to make the plot clear. There's no over elaboration or back-of-the-book glossaries. However, the world is fully realized.

The characters are great, also. There was quite the cast of characters in this book, but I never felt lost as to who was speaking. They were all so unique.

When I read a book with a feminine lead, the character either acts like a man who just happens to have breasts and a vagina or they act like some goofy caricature of a woman, like in an oh-poopy-I-broke-a-nail kind of way...and a lot of times these women are written by other women. Ista, the main character of Paladin of Souls is very well written and interesting. She's vulnerable, but not stupid.

The magic system is also pretty interesting. Basically all magic is done through demon possession. Generally what happens is a human or animal gets possessed by a demon and then slowly consumed. The human or animal finally dies and the demon moves onto the next victim. The more a demon eats, the smarter it gets. A demon possessed human can do certain types of magic.

The Not-So-Good

There's not much I can find wrong with the book. I suppose it drags a little bit in places. It's not what I'd call a page turner but that's just because it's written in a way that makes a slow, deliberate reading necessary...and that's not a bad thing.

This writing goes beyond "a feminine perspective". I think this book rises above such classifications. I think it's a great book and I recommend it to anyone.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Blake (new)

Blake Did you borrow that from me? Just wondering, I have that book, but sometimes I loan too many

Mark nope I don't think I have any of your books...anime, on the other hand...

message 3: by Blake (new)

Blake Lol...well, I have that book, maybe I just misplaced it.

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