Paladin of Souls

Monday, June 22, 2020

Paladin of Souls

Lois McMaster Bujold, 2003

Hugo Winner - 2004

Premise: Ista’s children are grown, and the kingdom of Chalion is relatively safe (after the events of the previous book). Why does she feel so dissatisfied?

I know I read this book before, both it and The Curse of Chalion, but I have little memory of either book.

I didn’t feel at a disadvantage, though; I definitely picked up everything I needed to know along the way and none of the exposition felt overbearing. This was a fascinating book to come back to essentially cold. I loved it.

I loved Ista. I loved that she’s a grown woman, with mature attitudes, but not immune to a bit of romance. I loved her attitude toward everyone’s expectations for her and the way she slowly forges her own path.

There were moments where Ista reminded me strongly of Cordelia from the Vorkosigan series, but the world can only be better for more wise, strong, practical middle-aged women in its genre fiction.

The world and the relationship between the gods, demons, and humans is relatively unique and clear without needing tons of explanation. There’s a glossary in the back of the book, but I never needed to consult it - the terms are always clear from context.

I definitely want to revisit the other Chalion books at some point. This was simply a fantastic read start to end: a compelling and comforting tale spun by a master.

5 Stars - An Awesome Book

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