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Re: [mythsoc] Paladin of Souls

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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






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