Terri's Reviews > The Deed of Paksenarrion

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
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Aug 22, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: did-not-finish, fantasy, high-fantasy
Read in August, 2010

Robin McKinley communicates with Elizabeth Moon (@emoontx) on Twitter a lot, and I figure if Robin likes it, it’s worth a read.

I did not finish this book, but not because it was bad. It was, in fact, a very interesting book, but there was a major flaw that kept me from finishing.

The story of Paksenarrion, or “Paks” as the reader comes to know her, is essentially a good one. She’s a mistreated daughter who runs away and joins the army … and that’s pretty much all that happens in the first book (this particular edition is three books crammed into one volume). One reviewer on Amazon describes the book as “relentlessly linear” and I’m inclined to agree. Moon describes everything, and I mean everything, that Paks does. If she’s walking to the tent, there’s a whole page of what she sees and who she passes, not just once, but every time she walks somewhere. It’s as if you’re following her around but you have no idea what she’s thinking. Because the story is told in 3rd person, you don’t get reflection from Paks’ point of view, and you don’t get the viewpoints from any other characters. Usually, in stories of this length, the author has a main character, but also has supporting characters whose thoughts and feelings the reader is privy to. This moves the story along and helps the reader connect with the characters. In The Deed, the reader watches Paks move along her path without ever really connecting with her. I like her as a character, but the book is just too boring. Every tree, every ridge that Paks passes is described in detail and the plot never seems to be going anywhere because you’ve been inundated with descriptions of her mealtimes, her training times, her sleeping patterns, and every other mundane detail.

And yet, this book is a steadfast favorite among many. Perhaps it’s just not my kind of reading, but I checked this book out months ago, have renewed it twice, and have finally given up. I’ll be taking this back to the library, and I won’t lose any sleep over the fact that I dropped it during a war. I like Paks as a character, but her story just wasn’t told in a way that suits me.
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Reading Progress

02/03/2014 marked as: did-not-finish

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Valerie I definitely agree that we weren't able to connect to Paks enough, and the long descriptions were hard to get through. Personally I think Elizabeth Moon is better at sci-fi than fantasy - I'd really recommend the Vatta's War series if you're willing to give her a second chance!


Terri Okay! I'll give it a try. Thanks!


L'aura I have to agree about getting to know Paks. I like the details and this is one of my favorite books, but I do wish we got to know Paks better.


Lisa Parker I liked this book precisely because her story was being narrated by someone telling her story, perhaps it just gelled with me as there are other book that people like and I have struggled with and felt a failure because
I haven't succeeded.


message 5: by Marieke (new)

Marieke I considered adding this book to my to-read-list, because it received so many glowing reviews on Goodreads. But after reading your review, I decided against it. I usually don’t like books with lots of details and descriptions, and not a lot of action. It takes me months to finish books like that because they’re just too boring. So thanks for this review! :)


Terri It's one of those books that because so many people love it, I think it just didn't work for me and my reading tastes. It's one that I didn't hate by any means and if you're interested, see if the local library has a copy! Then you can check it out and see for yourself if this style works for you. :)


message 7: by Marieke (new)

Marieke That's a good idea. :) I think I'll add the book to my list, but not to the top of the list. ;) I choose my books carefully because I don't want to spend time reading a book I don't like, when there are so many great books out there I haven't yet read.


Lisa Parker I dread getting a book which I look forward to and find it isn't my style. I agree checking out the library, charity shops, are a great idea to explore it more cheaply and then invest only if you like the book. I have a few books, that I haven't given up on but didn't read the first time I tried them. Good luck


message 9: by Marieke (new)

Marieke Me too! That's why I read reviews, so I know what to expect from a book. Or at least get an idea of what to expect. :) Checking out the library is a good idea, too.


message 10: by Nafiza (new)

Nafiza The book would have driven me nuts. Thanks for the review!


message 11: by Bryant (new)

Bryant That's it! I have just given up on this after about 150 pages and being unable to figure out why I just could not get into this book. I think the complete lack of connection to the character, and the odd way we "observe" everything that happens without ever seeing how the character(s) really feel about it is exactly the problem.


L'aura I love The Deed and wanted to throw a bit more info out there for those who haven't finished the book (not that you necessarily should finish it - life's too short to struggle through pleasure reads). First, I agree, Moon is a better Sci Fi writer. The Deed is her only fantasy novel that I've enjoyed. And, yes, while there is a lot of detail (and, oddly, I kind of like that in this book, but it drives me nuts in her other fantasy novels), the story arc is there and **SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT** tells the making of a paladin from a naive, country born, farm girl. The first chapter lets you in on the fact that she is a figure of legend, then goes on to tell how she starts - she's head strong and determined, loses her naiveté, builds up a series of accomplishments and begins to show potential, then is broken and from that leans the final pieces needed to be a true champion of the gods.

I wouldn't encourage anyone to read anything for pleasure that they don't find pleasant, but as one of my favorite books I had to throw a little out in it's defense. Something about this character resonated with me.


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