Re: [mythsoc] Paladin of Souls
- From: "ftl_publications" <Joan.Marie.Verba@...>
> I also noted that Lois said this was a "chick" book, and I overheardI loved it. I found Ista a very believable heroine. It isn't the sort of
> 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).
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,
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Berni Phillips" <bernip@i...> wrote:
> I loved it. I found Ista a very believable heroine. It isn't thesort of
> thing one might peg as feminist because Ista isn't out to break anyrules --
> 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 itdeals with
> how women are treated and does so in a positive fashion, but Istais 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
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
- 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,
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
I may not persuade you, but at least consider looking at it in a different
From: ftl_publications Joan.Marie.Verba@...
Date: Sun, 03 Oct 2004 22:52:06 -0000
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
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