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Re: [mythsoc] Paladin of Souls

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  • 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 1 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
      >
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      >
      >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      >Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
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    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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