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Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
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» See also 267 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
The book started too slowly to my taste but soon Ista's journey and tasks became very engaging. I liked that the heroin was a middle-aged woman, it's quite refreshing. ( )
  Sept | May 21, 2019 |
Dowager Royina Ista dy Chalion is at loose ends now that her “madness” is over and the curse of Chalion broken. After her mother’s death, there is nothing to tie her to her girlhood home, and desiring an excuse to get away from her family, she decides that a pilgrimage may be a good idea. With a divine of the Bastard temple, Learned Chivar dy Cabon, Liss, courier cum lady-in-waiting, and a Chancellory guard commanded by brothers Ferda and Foix dy Gura, Ista begins her journey. However, after only a few days, the small group is overtaken and scattered by Jokonan troops, and Ista is kidnapped for ransom. Arhys dy Lutez, son of the man for whose death Ista was previously responsible, single-handedly rescues her and takes her back to his home, Castle Porifors. Ista soon realizes that Porifors is the location of the injured man, Illvin, of whom she has dreamt. While at Porifors, she is once again called upon by the gods, and her “madness” returns. As a saint, will Ista be able to interpret the gods’ message in time to save Porifors and possibly Chalion from the Jokonons?

Paladin of Souls won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and it is no surprise to me why. It is a fantastic story. Almost from page one, Bujold made me interested in the characters, even the minor ones. She puts them through the wringer, but somehow everything manages to turn out in the end – not without quite a bit of breath-holding on my part, though. Although the world is somewhat unfamiliar, Bujold’s seamless writing draws one into the story and doesn’t let go, even after the book is over. Ista is a very captivating character, and I wish there were more of her story to read. ( )
  rretzler | Feb 9, 2019 |
Lois McMaster Bujold is a surprisingly good writer. Her books are well paced with engaging characters and plot twists to throw you off course. There is romance but no soppiness. And even though the Gods are on the side of the protagonists, you are made to feel that everything still hangs in the balance. The characters have surprising depths, mainly because of the consistent critical reflection that they bring to bear on themselves. Making the readers feel that the heroine is being unreasonably hard on herself is an astute way of gaining our sympathy. This was previously used to great effect in "The Curse of Chalion" and the writer's skills have not deserted her in this well crafted follow on. ( )
  Jawin | Jun 7, 2018 |
Paladin of Souls is a loose sequel to The Curse of Chalion, an epic fantasy novel. However, both books stand alone, and you don’t really need to have read The Curse of Chalion to read Paladin of Souls, which feels less like epic fantasy in some ways. I guess technically the fate of the kingdom is at stake, but the novel is more centered around its protagonist’s life than court life.

Ista is the widow of a king and the mother of a queen. She’s also spent most of her adult life under the influence of a spell that caused madness. Now that she’s regained control of herself, she wants to define who she is and what she will do with her life. Unfortunately, she can’t do that while stuck in a castle with all her mother’s old friends. So Ista makes a plan. She’ll go on a pilgrimage. Her prim and proper minders can’t object to that, and they have no way of knowing that the not really religious Ista just wants to go traveling. But as Ista hits the road, she discovers that more and more demons have been discovered recently. And then her party begans having its own encounters with demonic forces.

There’s a lot I enjoyed about Paladin of Souls. Bujold is a skilled writer, and I can clearly see why this novel won a Hugo, Nebula, and Locus back in 2004! There’s some action, but it’s not a book I’d call action packed. The only magic comes either from demons or divinities, or sometimes both, as in the case of the god the Bastard. It mainly takes place in rural areas and an out of the way castle, instead of at court. But it still involves demonic possession, and even battles and armies.

Of course, the center of the book is Ista, a heroine I quickly came to love. I really liked that the protagonist of Paladin of Souls was an older woman, since that’s not the sort of protagonist you see in a lot of fantasy novels. I want stories about all sorts of women, or all ages! Ista has a bit of a rebellious spirit, but she also more life experience and wisdom than you find with most young adult protagonists. I loved how she was trying to take charge of her own life and find adventure.

In my review of The Curse of Chalion, I said that my favorite part of the book was the magic. I don’t think that’s entirely true here–I like Ista a ton–but I do find the magical elements fascinating. They definitely are more involved throughout the book than in The Curse of Chalion, where it took them a while to come into play.

Anyway, Paladin of Souls is a really great fantasy novel, and I can see why Bujold is considered one of the premiere authors of the genre. I’d probably even recommend it over The Curse of Chalion, and I’ll have to search out more books by Bujold.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Sep 12, 2017 |
Really enjoyed this. Not as epic as the first Chalion book... but no less fun and the characters just as endearing. Curse of Chalion may have been more epic (Caz!)... but I find myself feeling more fondness towards the end of Paladin of Souls. Shucks. ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bowers, David M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serrano, ErvinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Sylvia Kelso, syntax wrangler and Ista partisan first class.
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Ista leaned forward between the crenellations atop the gate tower, the stone gritty beneath her pale hands, and watched in numb exhaustion as the final mourning party cleared the castle gate below.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380818612, Mass Market Paperback)

Follow Lois McMaster Bujold, one of the most honored authors in the field of fantasy and science fiction, to a land threatened by treacherous war and beset by demons -- as a royal dowager, released from the curse of madness and manipulated by an untrustworthy god, is plunged into a desperate struggle to preserve the endangered souls of a realm.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:59 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Ista dy Baocia, the Dowager Royina of Chalion, struggles with painful memories and undertakes a pilgrimage to make a personal atonement to the gods, a quest that is threatened by an evil force. Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets, for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road, the escape beckons. A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of all Chalion.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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