Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

June 23, 2006 at 12:00 am | Posted in 3 stars, Book Reviews, Fantasy | Leave a comment

If you asked me I’d say I wasn’t really a Bujold fan, but a glance at my web page reveals I’ve read almost all of her books. So maybe I’m a fan, but compared to her extremely vocal Internet cheering section I’m quite indifferent. She’s become a wonderful character writer, but she never lets her characters endure anything very bad or participate in a story where there’s any real uncertainty over the outcome. All my complaints about Curse of Chalion, the book to which Paladin of Souls is a sequel, are valid for Paladin, only more so in most cases. The main character is never particularly tested and the events of the novel are extremely predictable. This time, the scope of the novel is smaller (and thus there’s not a lot of import to the proceedings) and the protagonist changes only a little bit and this change isn’t handled very well at all. Meanwhile, the principal action of the book is rather unsatisfying, since like most magical systems in fantasy, the relgious magic Bujold has created does not benefit from close inspection, and the mechanics of it prove central to the story. If you haven’t read Curse of Chalion, you should read it before reading this. If you didn’t love Curse than give this one a pass in any case, because it is just more of the same, but watered down further.

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