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The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
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3,5141201,507 (4.28)412
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)
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    Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardner (PhoenixFalls)
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    The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop (MyriadBooks)
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    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For similar moods of utter desperation.
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    The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (Athabasca)
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    Impossible by Nancy Werlin (infiniteletters)
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    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For protagonists who have been thrown to the deep end, politically speaking.
  8. 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 412 mentions

English (118)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All (120)
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
This first book in the World of Five Gods series is the first non-Vorkosigan book by Bujold I have read. Unlike the Vorkosigan books, this one is strictly fantasy (rather than science fiction). As I had expected, Bujold does a great job with the world-building in this and her characters are well developed. I was intrigued by the Quintarian religion: they worship The Father, The Mother, The Son, The Daughter and the Bastard (and by the Roknari variant which omits The Bastard).

In her sci fi epic Vorkosigan series, Bujold often presents us with ideas about how society & women's lives might be different if procreation was assisted by technology in various ways (such as the Uterine Replicator); it appears that in this series, the theme will be theological. That theme is of less interest to me but Bujold still wraps her ideas in exciting stories with some humor & some romance.

In addition, this tale, though in a completely fictional world, mirrors the real-life story of Queen Isabelle of Castile which adds some fun to the reading. Just as with Iselle has to struggle through court politics & marries with a view to forming a larger kingdom for her children, so did Isabelle when she married Ferdinand against the wishes of her court. There are some other parallels if you look for them.

Lloyd James did a good narration. He was particularly good as Cazaril but yet I missed Grover Gardner who was so magnificent in the Vorkosigan books... ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 13, 2017 |
This book is one of my all-time favourites; I re-read (or more usually, re-listen) to it several times a year.

Cazaril is not your usual fantasy protagonist: he isn't the clean-cut, heroic type; he's in his middle-thirties, and pretty much everything in his life has turned out to be a disaster. The book opens with him standing in the road, dressed like a beggar, having walked several hundred miles to get home after nearly two years as a galley-slave. This is a man who has hit rock bottom. He's wounded in mind and body, and all he wants is a safe place with work he can do.

Other reviewers have commented that they don't understand why Cazaril just wants safety rather than revenge on the men who arranged for him to be sold to the galleys: I find it entirely understandable. When you reach the end of your courage and endurance, you just want it to end. They say that the best revenge is to live well: in some situations, the best you can hope for is just to live. And that's what Cazaril wants.

Naturally, that's not the way it turns out.

Cazaril is no action hero, although he's an ex-soldier: his wits are his best gift, and it's his wisdom and practicality that win for him the position of secretary-tutor to Royesse [i.e. princess] Iselle, the older sister of the heir to the throne. I love Cazaril: he is a truly good man. Not perfect, but honest and loyal. These are the virtues which carry him through, unspectacular though they are.

Iselle, too, is a good character: she's intelligent, and has a sense of responsibility - one of Cazaril's duties will be to temper this with reasonable caution! Throughout the book, you see Iselle developing from a bright but sheltered girl to something greater. To me, she comes off as a well-written and believable princess: she doesn't have amazing skills, or some kind of superhuman talent - she's just intelligent, dedicated, and a little bit ruthless.

If you are looking for battles and fights, this is not the book for you. The action is more about morality, intellect, and theology (in terms of the in-world religion) than anything else. Chalion is under a curse that affects the whole of the royal family - and how might it be broken?

One of the things I love about this book is the running theme of what it means to be a hero, and what loyal service demands.

The world-building, too, is great. Chalion - the country where it's set - is Spanish in feel. The religion is based around five gods - Mother, Father, Daughter, Son, and Bastard. Frequently, one finds in fantasy novels that the religion is just a backdrop: in this one, it's a fundamental part of the plot. It also provides a couple of interesting thoughts on the top of predestination vs free will. Everything fits together perfectly.

It's quite difficult to say what makes this book so wonderful, except that it's the combination of great characters, great plotting, and great writing.

And now I'm off to read the sequel [book:Paladin of Souls|61904], because I can never decide which of the two I like the best.



( )
1 vote T_K_Elliott | Mar 12, 2017 |
This was a good book. From the first few pages I knew I was going to like Cazaril. The other characters were secondary for me. I liked that he was not your typical hero. That in itself endeared him to me. I think the story had some cliches, and was more black and white than gray, but overall it was very solid and engaging. I'm looking forward to the next book. ( )
  Kassilem | Feb 25, 2017 |
I read this a long time ago, and liked it. I picked it up solely because of the author - I'm a huge fan of her Vorkosigan books. This was too much in the fantasy genre for my tastes, and I never went on to the rest of this series. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.
Title: Chalion
Series: Chalion
Author: Lois Bujold
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Format: Kindle










Synopsis:
A betrayed, broken soldier comes begging for a job at the old castle where he used to be a page. He becomes the tutor to the eldest daughter and her handmaid and when said daughter and her younger brother are called to the capital to begin their grooming of being royal heirs, Soldier Man follows along. Right into the middle of a curse on the whole nation. Now it is up to him and a small group to try to break this curse before it devours the entire country with civil war. My Thoughts: This should have been a 4 or 4 1/2 star read. It had everything I wanted, in spades. A good hero with some great friends. A couple of young lassies who have and actually use their brains. Bad guys who were B-AAAAHHHHH-D. Magic. Demons and gods. The perfect amount of romance. But about half way through I just couldn't wait for it to be over. I don't know why and I can't pin ANYTHING down as to why this didn't do it for me. The writing was top notch as well. It isn't like I hated it [giving it 3 stars means it was enjoyable] or anything, but I simply have no desire to read any more in this series or anything by Bujold at all. And there is one thing I can nail down, even though it makes no sense. Lois whateverhermiddlenameis Bujold. I hate it when authors use middle names. I can understand when they use a middle initial if their name is common, like John Smith. But Lois Bujold? I JUST realized, perhaps that was her maiden name? Doesn't matter. Among the hundreds of Lois Bujold's that I know, thank goodness this one distinguishes herself with another name. I am thinking of contacting Patricia McKillip and telling her that all the cool authors are using 3 names now, so she should get on the band wagon. Since this is literally the only thing I can complain about this book, it remains a mystery to me why this just didn't rise above the so-so for me. Ah well, maybe Sherlock can solve this case someday. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (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 editionscalculated
Beekman, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowers, DavidCover 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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