carol. 's Reviews > The Curse of Chalion

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy, male-lead

Really three and a half stars. A slow start for me, but sometimes good stories take a while to build, and by the end, I couldn't put it down.

There is an interesting mix of characters, somewhat archetypical but done well enough that they developed uniqueness. A feudal system, a failing monarch, an unscrupulous chancellor, a strong-minded but elderly female ruler, young heirs running wild, but all with twists that give them individuality. I do appreciate the hero, Cazaril, being developed more along an anti-hero line. Not because he is ethically questionable--far from it--but because he is a physical wreck. As he regains his footing, he undergoes some spiritual challenges as well. Bujold thankfully avoids the traps of failing to have critical information shared between characters, so while Caz undergoes spiritual struggles, he discovers people to help him find his path. I also greatly appreciated Iselle, the young female royal being developed and individualized into a well-rounded, thoughtful person, almost the exact opposite of her brother.

There are a few fantastical elements that are well placed, making it an epic fantasy filled with divine miracles more than magical ones. I enjoyed the assured way Bujold handles language and development, and appreciated the balance between reflection and action. If the plot wasn't altogether a surprise, it was well done, and a pleasant journey along the way.
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Reading Progress

May 18, 2011 – Shelved
December 18, 2011 – Shelved as: fantasy
Started Reading
December 31, 2011 – Finished Reading
January 4, 2012 – Shelved as: male-lead
January 4, 2012 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Mayim de Vries I found it surprisingly captivating and the depth rendered this novel with a full constellation. Perhaps my recent reads were too shallow for my own good but Bujold struck me with her prose.

carol. I think Bujold is a very intriguing and experienced writer. I think I liked the next one even better.

Mayim de Vries Needless to say, my expectations are quite high at this point in the series.

Geoff Bujold is by far my favorite scif/fantasy author because her impressive worldbuilding is all in service to the characters, their conflicts, and growth. I love the first two books in the Chalion series, and my favorite is actually the third (Hallowef Hint). All three follow older, broken individuals as the find themselves and find spectacular wellness.

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