aPriL does feral sometimes 's Reviews > The Hallowed Hunt

The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold
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'The Hallowed Hunt' is book three in The World of the Five Gods series. I was enthralled! However, a reader should start with book one The Curse of Chalion to completely understand author Lois McMaster Bujold's magical world building in this unique fantasy.

Each book follows a character introduced in a previous book in the series, so most of the continuity between books is about the world Bujold has invented and the five gods.

The gods are real! There are a variety of rules and rites designed to communicate with or placate the gods, some of which are required by the gods and others which have been developed by those god-touched or by those who are pedantic who have chosen or were chosen to serve in the temples. The gods' function is to accept the souls of people who die - or not accept them, condemning a rejected soul to permanent non-existence. Each god has his or her preferences of the human personality types whose company or lifestyle they like. But sometimes they all refuse a soul or are unable to accept one, condemning the soul to slow dissipation.

'Sins' depend on the seriousness of the crimes and can be expiated. Sometimes not. There are magical spells and talents from powerful humans infused by animal spirits or demons that even the gods are unable to undo. Being infused by an animal spirit while living is a permanent condition - and it means that that person's soul must walk the Earth after death as a ghost for decades, even centuries, until fading away into nothing. Having an animal's soul caged inside gives people extra perceptions and strengths. Few choose to commit the sin of capturing an animal's soul within their bodies in the current era of belief, but it is secretly done occasionally, especially by those who are ambitious for power. Other unlucky victims have it forced on them.

One such is Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff. He once was heir to his father's large holdings and authority of rule. But after an illegal animal infusing ceremony his father was performing went horribly wrong, Ingrey escaped the punishment of being killed by the temple by agreeing to a process to bind the wolf spirit now inside of Ingrey's body. Binding stopped almost all linking and communication between Ingrey and the wolf's soul.

The murder of young Prince Bolesco, the heir of the current Hallow King, stirs up a political storm. The murder took place in a rural castle far from the capital city of Easthome. Lord Ingrey is dispatched to bring Bolesco's body and the murderer back to Easthome, where the rites of burial can be performed, and the trial of the murderer can begin.

The murderer turns out to be a beautiful and young naive girl, whom Bolesco was attempting to rape. Bolesco's body has paint in ritual designs still on it in spots despite someone having tried to wash the paint off. Ingrey recognizes Bolesco was killed while performing an animal soul infusing ceremony. Did it work? He insists on seeing Bolesco's bedroom. The dead leopard is still hanging from the rafters, the servants afraid to touch anything.

Lady Ijada, the young woman, is not only beautiful, she is intelligent and angry. Ingrey realizes she has the leopard's spirit. She has been locked in a cell, but she is being treated well due to her aristocrat birth and connections. However, her family connections will not save her if she is brought to trial.

But first Ingrey must get her to Easthome safely. It becomes clear during the journey someone is trying to kill Ijada before they travel many days by horse and wagon on the rutted trails through the forest - himself!?!?!

Oh, hell. A sorcerer must be afoot.

This is a wonderfully entertaining series, full of inventive world building, thrills and chills, mystery and charming characters. Each book can be read as a standalone, but the magic and the gods are best understood if the series is read in order. Bujold slowly reveals clues as the hero overcomes dangerous situations. I think Bujold runs close to the style of chick-lit genre, if not quite going there full-on, but she does not shy away from gore or realpolitik maneuvers or imagining realistic male protagonists.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2018 – Started Reading
February 6, 2018 – Shelved
February 6, 2018 –
page 209
44.47% "Ice bear!"
February 7, 2018 – Shelved as: cheap-thrills-but-i-loved-it
February 7, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
February 7, 2018 – Shelved as: magical-drama
February 7, 2018 – Shelved as: religious-terror
February 7, 2018 – Shelved as: roller-coaster-ride
February 7, 2018 – Shelved as: sword-and-sorcery
February 7, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Stuart Thanks so much for describing the convoluted magic and mystical goings-on in this book, as I was lost and thoroughly confused, especially with all the demonic possessions and political ploys in the final third. I found this one much harder to follow or enjoy than the previous two books.


aPriL does feral sometimes The book is hard to understand - I had to re-read parts. Bujold's imagination outran her ability to come up with a written concurrent plot construction this time!


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