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The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
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3,3331051,632 (4.29)372
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 372 mentions

English (103)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
“I need words that mean more than they mean, words not just with height and width, but depth and weight and, and other dimensions that I cannot even name.” *

That is Lois McMaster Bujold effortlessly describing what I often feel about excellent writing but lack the skill to articulate. What I like best about starting a Bujold book is that feeling of home coming. I know that I will like the prose, I know that the characters will be interesting and believable, I don't know if I will like her plot because sometime I don't, but even then her books are never unreadable. So a Bujold book is always a safe purchase.

This not being a Vorkosigan book it took me a while to settle in, to get used to the unfamiliar world, people and situation. However, there is never a problem of initial inaccessibility, Ms. Bujold's clean, smooth witty prose with a touch of Jack Vance-esque floweriness always keep me afloat.

For a change the book is focused on a single character's POV, instead of the currently in vogue numerous multi-protagonists POV setup which often causes a book to feel fragmented and can play hell with continuity. Another Bujold trademark is unconventional protagonists, she tends to stay away from the fearsomely skilled and well endowed sexy heroic type. Cazaril, the protagonist of this book is a somewhat meek and subservient sympathetic middle age scholarly type with little or no fighting skills and a tendency to cower under quilts in extreme fear. However, when the chips are down he really shines.

I generally read more sf than fantasy as I find it difficult to suspend disbelief with a lot of the magical shenanigan that goes on in a lot of fantasy books. All that SHAZAM! some poor dude turns into a fruit bat business is not for me. So I love how discrete magic is in this book. It takes a lot of effort and the result is unpredictable. This being a Bujold book an element of romance is to be expected, fortunately she is too mature, intelligent, and classy to write endlessly about lovers staring into each others' eyes and other ghastly StephanieMeyerisms.

My only gripe with this book concerns the pacing of the first third which seems overly leisurely for my taste. The book ambles along amiably for a hundred or so pages with no sign of the ass kickage that follows later on in the book. Also, I am not a fan of fictional politics and court intrigue stories, so this minor aspect of the book is not so appealing to me. I do wonder why the author felt the need to invent terms for royalty like royesse, royina, royse, and royale with cheese (OK, not that last one which is a Dutch burger).

So all in all a very good book with a beating heart, Bujold's attention to details and craftsmanship is as evident as ever. I am definitely going to read the Hugo/Nebula award winning sequel Paladin of Souls.

....

* Back to that “I need words that mean..." quote.
I just want to mention that it is not highlighted in my Kindle edition of this book. It's funny the sort of crap that people do highlight on Kindle books. For non-Kindle users I should explain that the highlight is a feature where users highlight their favorite sentences or passages of books and these are upload into the "cloud" at Amazon, after the same passages have been highlighted by a few users the highlight appear on the e-book edition as "popular highlight". So far I find this to be a useless feature which I should turn off but don't because my curiosity always get the best of me. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Bujold is unmistakably a master. I first saw her work serialized in Analog and I read all or most of the stories about Miles V years ago. With career and family, my reading went by the wayside for a long time. In rediscovering Bujold now, all I can say is, "wow!"
The mastery shows on all levels. The story-telling is superb. The fluency and poetry of the writing is really impressive. The twists and turns of the plot are effortlessly dextrous, bringing surprises without ever failing to make sense. The world of Chalion is marvelously imagined and populated with wonderfully well-drawn characters. Bujold seems to like slightly broken protagonists - who nevertheless win in the end. She does it again here. The magic is well thought out. In particular, the five gods (Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, and Bastard) have the right balance between powers and constraints to make for conflict that really works. (They can only act in the world of matter through people, and only if those people are willing.) Altogether I found this book pretty awe-inspiring. ( )
  Carol_W | Apr 17, 2015 |
Yes, but Kindle.
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (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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