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The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
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3,3501101,622 (4.29)376
Member:Arhhj
Title:The Curse of Chalion
Authors:Lois McMaster Bujold
Info:New York : Eos, c2001.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (2001)

  1. 71
    The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold (Patangel)
  2. 21
    The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop (MyriadBooks)
  3. 10
    Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardner (PhoenixFalls)
    PhoenixFalls: Both books feature well-drawn, believable, and hopeful SFF religions.
  4. 22
    The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (Athabasca)
  5. 00
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For similar moods of utter desperation.
  6. 00
    Impossible by Nancy Werlin (infiniteletters)
  7. 02
    To Ride Hell's Chasm by Janny Wurts (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books are fantasy novels featuring an older, male protagonist who is struggling with past injuries (both physical and mental) and yet overcomes these in order to serve his kingdom. There are strong themes of self-sacrifice in both books.
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» See also 376 mentions

English (108)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
I had almost forgotten just how much I adore this book! I'm glad I remembered my love for it enough, to think to re-read it - or listen to it this time, as the case may be... ( )
  BookFrivolity | Apr 23, 2016 |
Excellent. I could not sit still while I read this; it was too exciting. I loved everything, not least the detailed society and three dimensional characters.
( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
3/1/14 ( )
  magerber | Feb 22, 2016 |
The Curse of Chalion is a high fantasy novel that stands on its own, although I’m told that there are sequels. The book opens with Cazaril, still recuperating from being enslaved upon a galley ship, returning to the noble household where he once served as a page. There he is assigned as secretary-tutor to the sister of the heir to the throne. The assignment will carry him into the capital and the midst of political intrigue and a deadly curse.

I know a lot of people who really love The Curse of Chalion, but it didn’t have quite the same effect on me. It’s not that I disliked it or regret reading it. It’s just that it’s not a book I’d consider ever reading again or worth keeping my copy of. I’m having a lot of difficulty coming up with why this is, but I think it’s mainly a matter of personal preference. The Curse of Chalion is inspired by/based on the Iberian Peninsula during the 1400s, and it does have the taste of historical fiction about it (perhaps fans of Guy Gavriel Kay would like this one). There are fantasy elements, such as the curse, but the world in general feels more historical.

My favorite aspect of the book was the source of the fantastical – the fictional religion. The culture Cazaril lives in worships five gods, the Father, the Mother, the Daughter, the Son, and the Bastard. Everything magical relates to these deities and the worship of them. At the very opening of the book, for instance, Cazaril finds the body of a man killed using death magic, which is essentially a prayer to the Bastard. Despite this early introduction, the magical aspect doesn’t really come into play until about two hundred pages in. Not so coincidentally, that’s the same point where the previously slow pacing starts to pick up.

I think the characterization of the lead, Cazaril, was very well done. He feels older and more tired than the typical fantasy hero, but he’s still devoted to his cause. Royesse Iselle was also particularly well drawn, a strong willed young woman beginning on the path to becoming a savvy politician. A few of the secondary characters such as Betriz could have used a bit more characterization. This is especially true when it comes to the villains, as Dondo felt like the stereotypical rapey bad guy. On the bright side, there’s a number of important female characters who are generally well written, and there’s a plot relevant gay character who doesn’t die.

I feel like people who like A Song of Ice and Fire might stand a chance of liking The Curse of Chalion, due to the low magic setting and political story line. The Curse of Chalion isn’t what I would term grimdark though, despite the abundant use of rape and brutality in character backstories. As I mentioned before, fans of Guy Gavriel Kay might also enjoy this novel. Or, if you haven’t read much fantasy but like historical fiction, this could be a good crossover for you.

Review originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Feb 11, 2016 |
What a great book!
It reminded me to put everything by Bujold that I haven't read on my wishlist!
Engaging characters meet an action-filled plot with tons of plotting and intrigue. I have to admit that this kind of "castle intrigue" is definitely one of my favorite genres of novels. I'd very much recommend this to fans of George R.R. Martin and Guy Gavriel Kay.

My edition came with blurbs from Robert Jordan & Dennis McKiernan, and an ad for the latest Weis & Hickman - all of which, I must admit, I eyed with trepidation, not having an overly high opinion of any of those authors - but although this is undeniably epic fantasy, Bujold's writing far exceeds those other authors. I read the first chapter on my way to work - and after just that one chapter, the main character stayed in my head all day - I couldn't wait to read more. And today at work, I must admit, I had the book at my desk, sneaking a page here and there at opportune moments.... wink.gif

Cazaril, a high-born military man who, through an act of treachery, was sold as a galley slave, has finally escaped - but barely with his life. He comes crawling back to the great house where he was employed in his youth - and, unexpectedly, finds himself in the position of tutor to a young princess, Iselle, and her handmaiden Betriz. This seemingly peaceful job may entail more than one might expect, however, considering the chaotic state of politics both within and without the kingdom of Chalion - and an evil curse that hangs over the royal family. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Ultimately, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It drags very slightly in the middle, but that’s almost unnoticeable -- and the only flaw I can pick out in this book. If you’re a fantasy fan, pick this one up. If you’re a Vorkosigan fan but have been reluctant to try a Bujold that’s not a Vorkosigan book, don’t be. Take the plunge and pick this one up. You won’t regret it. Bujold’s hit another home run.
 
I really enjoy the way religion is portrayed in this book; I like the way its effect on the details of daily life have been thought through, including what being a saint might actually be like, and I also find the religion itself quite appealing. The problem, if you consider it a problem, is that theology ends up tying the plot into a very neat circle—too neat from some people, and I confess it bothered me somewhat as well, though I can see how it follows from the world's internal logic. If you're the kind of person that this sort of thing really bothers, don't read Chalion. Otherwise, I strongly recommend it.
added by tcgardner | editSteelypips, Kate Nepveu (Apr 18, 2002)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beekman, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Cazaril heard the mounted horsemen on the road before he saw them.
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Originally published by Eos, (c2001), ISBN: 0380979012
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380818604, Mass Market Paperback)

A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is as assignment Cazaril dreads, for it must ultimately lead him to the place he most fears: the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies who once placed him in chains now occupy lofty positions. but it is more than the traitorous intrigues of villains that threaten Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle here, for a sinister curse hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. And only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge -- an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous ... and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:39 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is as assignment Cazaril dreads, for it must ultimately lead him to the place he most fears: the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies who once placed him in chains now occupy lofty positions. but it is more than the traitorous intrigues of villains that threaten Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle here, for a sinister curse hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. And only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge -- an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous ... and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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