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The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Spirit Ring (original 1992; edition 2000)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

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1,103177,516 (3.52)24
Title:The Spirit Ring
Authors:Lois McMaster Bujold
Info:Baen (2000), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Reviewed, ebooks
Tags:fiction, novel, fantasy, historical fantasy, historical fiction, Renaissance Italy, Switzerland, kobolds, magic, young adult, romance, dark fantasy, alternate history, necromancy, Renaissance

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The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold (1992)

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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This tale could be cast in the mold of "plucky girl hero saves the world" but with our young heroine's rage and willingness to bend the rules to get what she needs, it's a strangely strong story that quietly breaks many of the rules we quietly have about stories told about young heroes and women. Here is a heroine who doesn't feel guilt or uncertainty about her power and intelligence and rages against having to hide it, who gets angry, who doesn't follow the rules and this doesn't lead to downfall and repentance but rather to success. This is a quietly subversive story wrapped in a traditional fantasy mold. Sure, it's maybe not the epics and maybe isn't as full-package clever as her later works, but it's a surprising gem for its genre. ( )
  terriko | Sep 4, 2016 |
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 a lot before that. I would recommend "The Curse of Chalion|61886" instead if you want to read something in the fantasy genre from Bujold. ( )
  ragwaine | Dec 2, 2013 |
Fairly standard "plucky girl" fantasy but with a nice mix of Bujold humour. ( )
1 vote SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
A fun read after loving the Vorkosigan series. Exciting and intriguing, but ultimately not too much that's memorable. ( )
  VVilliam | Dec 27, 2012 |
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's true that I don't find the characters in this book as vivid and complex as Miles in the Vorkosigan series or Ista of Paladin of Souls or Dag of Sharing Knife. It's also the one novel of Bujold's to date that's a standalone.

And it's the rare historical fantasy--which is a lot of what I like about it, but is a departure from the Space Opera of the Vorkosigan series or High Fantasy of Chalion--or Sharing Knife with it's feel of the American frontier of perhaps the far future. The Spirit Ring is recognizably set in late 15th century Renaissance Italy. The time of Lorenzo Medici, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo. It's not set in Florence or Rome though but the made-up small dukedom of Montefoglia in a world where white magic is sanctioned and overseen by the Church--and black magic is a real danger. A world of mage-artisans who can make magical rings. And the heroine, 15-year-old Fiametta Beneforte, is the daughter and unofficial apprentice of such a master mage. Then the duchy is imperiled by black magic and that's where Fiametta--and the young miner Thur Ochs--must take risks to free it and those they love who are are at risk of their very souls.

It's a well-written and obviously well-researched work and I very much enjoyed the read. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Dec 25, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fiametta turned the lump of warm reddish clay in her hand.
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Also published as Fiametta's Ring.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671578707, Mass Market Paperback)

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 apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia...

A betrayal at a banquet plunges Thur and Fiametta into a struggle against men who would use vile magic for vile ends. Needs of this desperate moment will require all their wits, all their talents, and all their courage, if they are to rescue both Montefoglia and the souls of those they most love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When her father, a goldsmith and master mage, dies during the siege of their Italian village, fifteen-year-old Fiametta finds her own fledgling magic tested in the ensuing battle against the evil Lord Ferrante.

(summary from another edition)

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