HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Curse of Chalion (2001)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,8481752,311 (4.25)1 / 594
Lord Cazaril has been, in turn, courtier, castle-warder, and captain; now he is but a crippled ex-galley slave seeking nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, the noble patroness of his youth. But Cazaril finds himself promoted to the exalted and dangerous position of tutor to Iselle, the beautiful, fiery sister of the heir to Chalion's throne. Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.… (more)
  1. 71
    The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold (Patangel)
  2. 40
    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For protagonists who have been thrown to the deep end, politically speaking.
  3. 30
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For similar moods of utter desperation.
  4. 30
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (mysimas)
  5. 10
    Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardner (PhoenixFalls)
    PhoenixFalls: Both books feature well-drawn, believable, and hopeful SFF religions.
  6. 21
    The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop (MyriadBooks)
  7. 22
    The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (Athabasca)
  8. 00
    Impossible by Nancy Werlin (infiniteletters)
  9. 00
    The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek (pfuchsman)
    pfuchsman: Fantastic writing, interesting characters with non-snarky humor, fascinating concepts about gods
  10. 00
    The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (writard)
    writard: If you like mythology-centric fantasy stories and strong heroines.
  11. 00
    The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard (foggidawn)
  12. 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.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 594 mentions

English (170)  Spanish (3)  All languages (173)
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
piacevole! 3,5
SPOILER
un nobile minore viene tradito e fatto schiavo durante una campagna militare, dopo la fuga torna al castello dove aveva servito da paggio nell'infanzia per chiedere accoglienza e un umile occupazione.. diventa invece, nell'ordine: tutore della regina, santo e cancelliere del regno ( )
  LLonaVahine | May 22, 2024 |
Lois McMaster Bujold always delivers stunning work. This is a new world for her, a fantasy about a society and its gods (who are more directly involved in people's lives than most). Her characters are spot on perfect, and the setting is detailed and beautiful. Definitely leaves you wanting more, and happily there is more! ( )
  Bookladycma | May 18, 2024 |
4.5 stars
( )
  danielskatz | Dec 26, 2023 |
If I have any regrets about The Curse of Chalion, it's that I went into it with such high expectations. This is a beloved book, one that, if you express a preference for fantasies that favor courtly intrigue over magic, will be recommended again and again.

Chalion was very nearly a hate-read for me, but I suppose I'm glad I persevered, as the ending did soften my attitude to the novel as a whole. This novel follows Cazaril, a warrior nobleman who's been brought low in the world and, as the teenaged Royesse Iselle's advisor, saves the kingdom and regains his rightful status. It's a familiar story about a disenfranchised man coming back into his power, and if it felt fresh in 2001, it's only because popular fantasy fiction had been so dependent on a very narrow set of stock protagonists, princess ingenues and assistant pig-keepers.

It's a linear story—refreshingly so, relying on strong execution rather than twists. Bujold surprises us with an interesting take on magic, one that's rooted in miracle and faith. Cazaril's journey is revealed to be one of spiritual submission rather than material uplift, genuinely upending my expectations for the character. There's some intriguing gender stuff: intimations of male sexual trauma, an interrogation of masculine heroism, a dash of Immaculate Conception-adjacent body horror.

And yet I have rarely read a novel about court politics that was less interested in politics. The antagonists are flat and pulp-y, so insubstantial that they're not even all that fun to hate. They certainly don't provide the kind of complexity that makes for a really fun melodrama of manners. This flatness extends to the way identity is treated in the novel. Period-typical racism against our Moorish/Turkish stand-ins is never fully explored, let alone challenged; the existence of Umegat, our model refugee fleeing a wickedly intolerant enemy state, only reinforces the characters' prejudices. Oh, and don't expect any upstairs-downstairs shenanigans, as literally every named character of import who appears at first glance to be lowborn turns out to be an aristocrat or a saint.

I think Bujold is trying to do something interesting by making this an essentially domestic story—Cazaril is not a politician; he cares not a whit for the welfare of the kingdom and is purely devoted to Iselle out of personal compassion and loyalty. This is supposed to be feminist, I think? I would certainly prefer my political operatives to care less about personal glory and more about the welfare of teenage girls, but even if you can get behind the book's "princesses in charge" white feminism, we're left with the impression that no one in this court is all that bright and that Cazaril, for all his intelligence and education, has absolutely no interest in the wider political implications of his queenmaking activities.

I haven't even gotten to the most common complaint about this book, the age gap in its central romance (35-year-old Cazaril is paired with a literal teenager). In this, as in all else, the small-c conservatism of this novel wants to have it both ways. It wants a veneer of realism (age gaps were hIsToRiCaLlY aCcuRaTe), but it also wants to believe that Cazaril's good intentions are enough to obviate the structural inequities of the time period it's portraying. Nevertheless, the novel provides its own evidence that there is harm in him lusting after his sixteen-year-old pupil's best friend, including a truly bonkers passage in which he repeatedly ogles both of them when they're swimming, something that their female chaperone thinks is funny and not gross(??)

The Curse of Chalion isn't an unsuccessful novel, and if I was feeling (cattily) kind, I might concede that it's honestly too lightweight to deserve the weight of criticism I've heaped upon it. I do think that there's a place for small-c conservative genre fiction, because the reality is that most of us live small-c conservative lives and at most can aspire to personal transformation. But the failure of these kinds of novels is their dishonesty: not only do they declare that the world can't change, but they refuse to map the contours of the world as it is.
1 vote raschneid | Dec 19, 2023 |
What a happy re-read, lucky me. I had also managed to forget the book completely - except for the very beginning, the ending (the characters that end up together, that is), and that there was some kind of curse, lol. Obviously, it added to my enjoyment.

I really cannot thank Lois McMaster Bujold enough for her books. The writing is as great as always, creating characters that are vivid and alive. The plot is tightly and cleverly crafted. It is also taking its time at the very beginning, which is fine - you enjoy the worldbuilding and the details, getting to know the characters.

How can broken people heal? How do you remain human in horrible situations? How do you grow when thrust into a new role? What happens when good deeds snowball in unexpected and oh so right ways? I love how the answers are woven into the book.

I am left with a lovely “good book hangover” :) ( )
  Alexandra_book_life | Dec 15, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (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 (7 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Cazaril heard the mounted horsemen on the road before he saw them.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Originally published by Eos, (c2001), ISBN: 0380979012
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Lord Cazaril has been, in turn, courtier, castle-warder, and captain; now he is but a crippled ex-galley slave seeking nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, the noble patroness of his youth. But Cazaril finds himself promoted to the exalted and dangerous position of tutor to Iselle, the beautiful, fiery sister of the heir to Chalion's throne. Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.25)
0.5 2
1 9
1.5 2
2 27
2.5 13
3 162
3.5 52
4 480
4.5 99
5 613

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 206,061,428 books! | Top bar: Always visible