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The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
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The Curse of Chalion (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Chalion (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,105991,822 (4.28)325
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
    Impossible by Nancy Werlin (infiniteletters)
  6. 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 325 mentions

English (96)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
This was a wonderful fantasy, definitely different than the normal run. A unique theology & take on it is the backbone of the tale, so it's far more than just another hero hacking his way through the bad guys. In fact, if that's what you're looking for, read a different book. This one has complex politics, a semi-broken hero, romance, horror, & far more.

This broken hero is different than Miles from her Vorkosigan series in many ways, but if you like those SF yarns, you'll probably like this. It's even more powerful in its themes, though.

I wasn't totally thrilled with the reader. His accents & low voice were a pain at times, but he didn't really hurt the story. He might add to it for some. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
"The Curse of Chalion", Lois McMaster Bujold's first foray into fantasy is a literally one of the best books in the genre I had read. The story follows Cazaril going from barely above being a vagabond to servicing as secretary and advisor to the young, yet intelligent princess of Chalion. Then Cazaril is forced to going to the royal court and soon finds that not only is he having to protect his charge and himself from human enemies of all kinds, but also the supernatural due to the actions of the a previous King but Cazaril himself.

The world in which the story takes place is thoroughly thought from the political to the religious, societally from the royal court down to the peasant struggling to survive. From the start the religious and magical system Bujold built as an integral part of her world just grabs the reader in it's familiar elements to Christianity and New Age concepts, but also it's uniqueness and originality. But when the reader experiences the realm of The Five, Bujold writes it like a mystical experience that it's hard for a mere mortal to explain in words and the reader experiences that difficulty along with Cazaril.

The sole issue I have with the story is the somewhat creepiness in the relationship between Cazaril and Lady Betriz, and the somewhat annoying trope of men not getting the signals from women that tends to invade many genres. However, the story isn't a romance and thus these "issues" don't really take away from the overall story.

"The Curse of Chalion" is a must read for any fantasy reader, it's highly recommended and now one of my favorite books. ( )
  mattries37315 | Jun 15, 2014 |
This is one of the best epic fantasy pieces I have read in a while. ( )
  bonreads | Jun 11, 2014 |
One of the things that really captures me is when an author deeply develops a character. This book had no shortage of that. The characters were so well crafted and truly both deep and unique. The writing was also wonderful. The word choice really was something so different than most of the books I've read lately. The writing really blew me away. I enjoyed the story very much, but I feel like even if I was not in love with the plot, the writing and character development could have carried the book. That never came into play though because I like pretty much every aspect of this book. ( )
  sffstorm | Jun 9, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Lois McMaster Bujold has long been esteemed in the science fiction genre, so I expected great things from The Curse of Chalion, and I'm happy to report that I wasn't disappointed. This is an excellent piece of work! Bujold's story is completely fresh, and the world-building and magic system are unique, too. I was hooked from page one and it proceeds at a pleasant pace with plenty of surprises and plot twists. Characterization is deep and somehow Bujold made me really like the main character, Cazaril, right from the start, even though he is not the type of hero I thought I preferred (see FanLit for the lurid details of that). As a psychologist, I especially appreciate how the characters realistically maintained their natural personalities throughout the story while maturing (or becoming more immature) as they grew from their experiences.

And, so importantly, The Curse of Chalion is beautifully written. I tend to be very critical about the writing style. But Bujold's writing is perfect. I'd like to especially mention the dialogue, which I think is so hard for an author to get just right. Some authors make their characters so annoyingly quick-witted and perfect in speech that it's completely unbelievable. Bujold's characters pause, hem and haw, and say "um" just like I do. And they occasionally have conversations that provide a dry comic relief (I laughed out loud many times).

I read part of this book in print, and I listened to part of it on audiobook. There are many ways an audiobook reader can ruin a book, but I was, as usual, impressed with this Blackstone Audio production. Lloyd James is an excellent reader who has a nice voice and uses different voices and speaking styles for each character. It is very easy to follow and pleasant to listen to. I highly recommend this format for Curse of Chalion.

Curse of Chalion is the first in a series of books which are set in the same world and have some of the same characters, but which can be read independently. So, Curse can stand alone if you like, but I think you'll want to go on to Paladin of Souls because it's highly decorated (many awards) and it tells a story which you'll want to hear after reading Curse.

Read more Lois McMaster Bujold book reviews at Fantasy literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:00 -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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