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Paladin of Souls

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  • ftl_publications
    I finally reached the end of this novel. Lois McMaster Bujold is a nice person and a wonderful warm human being. I really, really, wanted to enjoy this book.
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 3, 2004
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      I finally reached the end of this novel. Lois McMaster Bujold is a
      nice person and a wonderful warm human being. I really, really,
      wanted to enjoy this book. It did sound promising when she read the
      first chapter at a Rivendell meeting discussing The Curse of Chalion.
      And it did have some exciting parts. But the parts in between were
      very difficult to read through (i.e boring).

      I also can't stand her gods. They aren't quite as bad as the bunch
      from Mt. Olympus (who are at least entertaining), but this (un)holy
      family makes me glad I'm a monotheist.

      I noted that this title won a Hugo award. I guess that means that a
      whole lot of readers enjoyed it, but I was not one of them. (I'm
      happy for Lois, but bewildered at the same time.)

      I also noted that Lois said this was a "chick" book, and I overheard
      Eleanor Arnason tell someone that it was great for the way it
      portrayed women. I therefore had high expectations. But I found it
      really didn't appeal that much to my feminist sensibilities, either.

      Overall, somewhat of a disappointment. Your reaction may differ (and
      I'd be happy to hear from someone who did enjoy it, explaining why).

      Joan Marie Verba
    • Carnimiriel Isilraen
      I found the book a mild disappointment, having read it for the MFA award this year. I really liked Curse of Chalion and felt this book was weaker. Though I
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 4, 2004
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        I found the book a mild disappointment, having read it for the MFA award
        this year. I really liked Curse of Chalion and felt this book was
        weaker. Though I enjoyed it, it wasn't really that exciting.

        Actually, I am very intrigued by her five gods and to me, probably the
        most worthwhile part of the book was to hear about the origins of "The
        Bastard."

        I liked the fact that the hero was a (barely) middle-aged woman and I
        could identify with her very well. However, I think perhaps she figured
        things out a little too neatly and the plot just all came together and
        clicked too easily. I felt that Curse of Chalion was "messier" and
        therefore more realistic.

        I once heard a talk by Octavia Butler (a wonderful and I think
        under-read author) where she said that sometimes she liked her
        characters too much and it was hard to have anything really bad happen
        to them, so she had to shake things up. I think maybe Ms. Bujold liked
        her character a little too much, and it showed. Not at I think she
        should be killing off characters right and left a la George R. R. Martin
        (who annoys me, but that is another whole topic), but I think this novel
        goes a bit too far to the other extreme.

        Still, I'm glad I read it and I really do like her characters and her
        world. It has been many months since I read the book so these
        observations are based on a somewhat sketchy memory of my initial reaction.

        Ellen Denham

        ftl_publications wrote:

        >I finally reached the end of this novel. Lois McMaster Bujold is a
        >nice person and a wonderful warm human being. I really, really,
        >wanted to enjoy this book. It did sound promising when she read the
        >first chapter at a Rivendell meeting discussing The Curse of Chalion.
        >And it did have some exciting parts. But the parts in between were
        >very difficult to read through (i.e boring).
        >
        >I also can't stand her gods. They aren't quite as bad as the bunch
        >from Mt. Olympus (who are at least entertaining), but this (un)holy
        >family makes me glad I'm a monotheist.
        >
        >I noted that this title won a Hugo award. I guess that means that a
        >whole lot of readers enjoyed it, but I was not one of them. (I'm
        >happy for Lois, but bewildered at the same time.)
        >
        >I also noted that Lois said this was a "chick" book, and I overheard
        >Eleanor Arnason tell someone that it was great for the way it
        >portrayed women. I therefore had high expectations. But I found it
        >really didn't appeal that much to my feminist sensibilities, either.
        >
        >Overall, somewhat of a disappointment. Your reaction may differ (and
        >I'd be happy to hear from someone who did enjoy it, explaining why).
        >
        >Joan Marie Verba
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Berni Phillips
        From: ftl_publications ... I loved it. I found Ista a very believable heroine. It isn t the sort of thing one might peg as
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 4, 2004
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          From: "ftl_publications" <Joan.Marie.Verba@...>

          > I also noted that Lois said this was a "chick" book, and I overheard
          > Eleanor Arnason tell someone that it was great for the way it
          > portrayed women. I therefore had high expectations. But I found it
          > really didn't appeal that much to my feminist sensibilities, either.
          >
          > Overall, somewhat of a disappointment. Your reaction may differ (and
          > I'd be happy to hear from someone who did enjoy it, explaining why).

          I loved it. I found Ista a very believable heroine. It isn't the sort of
          thing one might peg as feminist because Ista isn't out to break any rules --
          she just wants to be left alone and not treated as if she's crazy. She
          wants to be a real person. (I mean, it is feminist in that it deals with
          how women are treated and does so in a positive fashion, but Ista is no
          Xena, if one is thinking of stereotypical feminist characters.)

          What really appealed to me, and it's not what would appeal to everyone, is
          the religious aspect of the book. The first book impressed me by the role
          of religion in it. You may not like their gods but I thought Bujold did a
          good job of showing how religion is a part of many people's lives, whether
          just for show because it's expected or because it means something to them.

          For some of us, if you've really been touched by God, what Ista goes through
          is typical. You're called to do things that you may not want to do. You
          may do them and be somewhat resentful. But the bare facts are what the
          Bastard lays out to Ista when she cries out about the gods not listening to
          her when her son was dying: they did listen and they did send for help, but
          they're restricted pretty much to working through human beings, and if the
          human beings don't respond, there's not a whole lot the gods can do. That
          really resonated with me as Truth.

          I forget who said this (Maimonides?): "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
          It's very much that sort of thing.

          Hope this helps,
          Berni
        • ftl_publications
          ... sort of ... rules -- ... She ... deals with ... is no ... I wasn t looking for a warrior queen/princess either. But when I was told this was a chick
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 5, 2004
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            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Berni Phillips" <bernip@i...> wrote:
            > I loved it. I found Ista a very believable heroine. It isn't the
            sort of
            > thing one might peg as feminist because Ista isn't out to break any
            rules --
            > she just wants to be left alone and not treated as if she's crazy.
            She
            > wants to be a real person. (I mean, it is feminist in that it
            deals with
            > how women are treated and does so in a positive fashion, but Ista
            is no
            > Xena, if one is thinking of stereotypical feminist characters.)

            I wasn't looking for a warrior queen/princess either. But when I was
            told this was a "chick" book, and after hearing Eleanor Arnason's
            comments, I expected to see something that spoke to the unique
            aspects of a woman's role in society, and didn't find that much on
            the subject.

            I recall Marion Zimmer Bradley speaking of The Shattered Chain. She
            emphasized that she was not only speaking of the Free Amazons, but
            also of Melora's choices to be dedicated to her family, and how that
            was an honorable choice as well.

            So I was looking for something above and beyond the fact that Ista
            was a middle-aged woman doing things which her ladies in waiting
            found unusual for her role in society. There's nothing really
            remarkable about that in 21st century writing (which is a good
            thing). But with all the praise heaped on the book, I expected
            something really outstanding, and extraordinary, and I didn't get it.

            Your mileage may vary, of course.

            Joan Marie Verba
          • dianejoy@earthlink.net
            I liked *Paladin of Souls* better even than *Curse of Chalion* and I liked that first one very much indeed. I thought the plotline was subtle, nuanced, and
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 5, 2004
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              I liked *Paladin of Souls* better even than *Curse of Chalion* and I liked
              that first one very much indeed. I thought the plotline was subtle,
              nuanced, and intriguing; the slow parts were there to vary pacing and to
              show forth some of the cultural differences. Also, it was refreshing to
              have a story take place within the context of a pilgrimage (even if the
              five / four gods are in place). As a monotheist, I wouldn't like any
              polytheistic system, but this one is very well worked out. I also liked
              the various twists and turns; the attractive fellow being "undead" and the
              way that the two brothers were linked. Clever military ploys going on,
              too.

              Refreshing to have an older heroine, one w/ a good dollop of common sense,
              and the gift she had was very unusual, seeing souls. (Helped to have it;
              she couldn't have solved the problem otherwise.) I liked the fact that it
              troubled her to have this gift. So often the gifts are wonderful and too
              easily accepted. I'd think that an older heroine would be a good thing in
              feminist thinking.

              I may not persuade you, but at least consider looking at it in a different
              way. ---djb

              Original Message:
              -----------------
              From: ftl_publications Joan.Marie.Verba@...
              Date: Sun, 03 Oct 2004 22:52:06 -0000
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [mythsoc] Paladin of Souls




              I finally reached the end of this novel. Lois McMaster Bujold is a
              nice person and a wonderful warm human being. I really, really,
              wanted to enjoy this book. It did sound promising when she read the
              first chapter at a Rivendell meeting discussing The Curse of Chalion.
              And it did have some exciting parts. But the parts in between were
              very difficult to read through (i.e boring).

              I also can't stand her gods. They aren't quite as bad as the bunch
              from Mt. Olympus (who are at least entertaining), but this (un)holy
              family makes me glad I'm a monotheist.

              I noted that this title won a Hugo award. I guess that means that a
              whole lot of readers enjoyed it, but I was not one of them. (I'm
              happy for Lois, but bewildered at the same time.)

              I also noted that Lois said this was a "chick" book, and I overheard
              Eleanor Arnason tell someone that it was great for the way it
              portrayed women. I therefore had high expectations. But I found it
              really didn't appeal that much to my feminist sensibilities, either.

              Overall, somewhat of a disappointment. Your reaction may differ (and
              I'd be happy to hear from someone who did enjoy it, explaining why).

              Joan Marie Verba






              The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              Yahoo! Groups Links








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