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One of the most honored authors in the field of fantasy and science fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold transports us once more to a dark and troubled land and embroils us in a desperate struggle to preserve the endangered souls of a realm.

Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets—for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road—escape—beckons … A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of all Chalion.

Yet something else is free, too—something beyond deadly. To the north lies the vital border fortress of Porifors. Memories linger there as well, of wars and invasions and the mighty Golden General of Jokona. And someone, something, watches from across that border—humans, demons, gods.

Ista thinks her little party of pilgrims wanders at will. But whose? When Ista's retinue is unexpectedly set upon not long into its travels, a mysterious ally appears—a warrior nobleman who fights like a berserker. The temporary safety of her enigmatic champion's castle cannot ease Ista's mounting dread, however, when she finds his dark secrets are entangled with hers in a net of the gods' own weaving.

In her dreams the threads are already drawing her to unforeseen chances, fateful meetings, fearsome choices. What the inscrutable gods commanded of her in the past brought her land to the brink of devastation. Now, once again, they have chosen Ista as their instrument. And again, for good or for ill, she must comply.

Topics: Ghosts, Magical Curses, Gods & Goddesses, Possessed, Female Protagonist, Servants, Nobility, Miracles, Journeys, Spirituality , Queen, Love, Death, Military, Demons, War, Medieval Period, Adventurous, Lush, Female Author, Trilogy, and Dark

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061748905
List price: $6.99
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I didn't love it as much as book 1, but that would have been really hard, as I have the first book 5 stars.read more
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Lois McMaster Bujold is the Nebula and Hugo award winning author of the Vorkosigan series, the Sharing Knife series, and three related novels, of which Paladin of Souls is the middle. Of all her stories, I find Paladin of Souls the deepest, richest and most profound. Though Ista is now released from the horror of her family's curse, she is left scarred, torn, and crippled from her attempts, when she was Royina (queen) of Chalion, at trying to parse the god's riddles and end the curse. Though furious at what she views as the gods' abandonment of her in her greatesy need, she uses a trumped up pilgrimage to escape the home where she has lived so long as a "mad woman" . But when her pilgrimage is violently interrupted and she finds herself in the midst of someone else's horror story, and pursued again by gods pushing her to get involved, Ista does some cursing of her own as she slowly begins to unravel another's tragedy.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This indirect sequel to The Curse of Chalion follows a minor character, Royina Ista, and makes her something more. After a lifetime of cruel treatment by the gods and the loss of her husband and child, Ista is bitter and sick of her confinement. The courtiers around her still assume her to be fragile and insane. Therefore, when she insists on a pilgrimage, she's treated with skepticism---but all she wants is escape. However, there are a few things she can't escape: the will of the gods, and the driving need to live again for the first time since childhood.I loved this book. It had all of the charm and action of The Curse of Chalion, but with the delightful Ista in charge. I didn't want to stop reading, Every chapter contained some new development or twist, and yet again, I was sorry when I came to the end. The theology of Chalion continues to intrigue me, and the interplay of gods and humans flowed with ease. I love how Bujold works romance into her books. It never dominates the plot, but it's there and very real.read more
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I didn't love it as much as book 1, but that would have been really hard, as I have the first book 5 stars.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lois McMaster Bujold is the Nebula and Hugo award winning author of the Vorkosigan series, the Sharing Knife series, and three related novels, of which Paladin of Souls is the middle. Of all her stories, I find Paladin of Souls the deepest, richest and most profound. Though Ista is now released from the horror of her family's curse, she is left scarred, torn, and crippled from her attempts, when she was Royina (queen) of Chalion, at trying to parse the god's riddles and end the curse. Though furious at what she views as the gods' abandonment of her in her greatesy need, she uses a trumped up pilgrimage to escape the home where she has lived so long as a "mad woman" . But when her pilgrimage is violently interrupted and she finds herself in the midst of someone else's horror story, and pursued again by gods pushing her to get involved, Ista does some cursing of her own as she slowly begins to unravel another's tragedy.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This indirect sequel to The Curse of Chalion follows a minor character, Royina Ista, and makes her something more. After a lifetime of cruel treatment by the gods and the loss of her husband and child, Ista is bitter and sick of her confinement. The courtiers around her still assume her to be fragile and insane. Therefore, when she insists on a pilgrimage, she's treated with skepticism---but all she wants is escape. However, there are a few things she can't escape: the will of the gods, and the driving need to live again for the first time since childhood.I loved this book. It had all of the charm and action of The Curse of Chalion, but with the delightful Ista in charge. I didn't want to stop reading, Every chapter contained some new development or twist, and yet again, I was sorry when I came to the end. The theology of Chalion continues to intrigue me, and the interplay of gods and humans flowed with ease. I love how Bujold works romance into her books. It never dominates the plot, but it's there and very real.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This dual Hugo/Nebula Award winning fantasy novel is a sequel to Curse of Chalion. In my effort to read all dual award winners, I felt it best to read Curse of Chalion prior to Paladin of Souls. I was so underwhelmed by the first novel in the series, that I delayed tackling the sequel for several months. Simply put, medieval fantasy, with a Spanish twist is not my cup of tea.That having been said, I found this to be an improvement over Curse of Chalion. The story revolves around a peripheral character in Curse of Chalion, the Dowager Royina Ista. There is abundant mysticism and theology in addition to demons, sorcery and direct involvement of Gods (there are five gods in Chalion). These things all detract from my enjoyment of what actually became quite a good story. From a slow start, the book built into a fine read in which various plot lines were pulled together quite well.I cut my teeth on Lord of the Rings as a junior high school student. As a result, at a young age, I read tons of fantasy, only to be disappointed by the numerous cheap ripoffs of LOTR. I dropped fantasy altogether for almost 20 years before reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Subsequent forays into the fantasy realm have been largely disappointing, however. I cannot abide stories involving dwarves, elves, ogres, goblins, sorcerers or “otherworldly” beings or happenings. While this novel contains healthy doses of some of these, the underlying story makes it palatable. In summary, if you relish medieval fantasy, read J.R.R Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series (up through book three). Bujold’s series simply doesn’t measure up, though adherents of this style of fantasy will certainly find it to their liking.
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The book creates a pretty credible universe with five gods, demons, sorcerers and armies. I liked the idea that the gods could not actually affect the material world, but instead they would need to convince humans to do their will. by sending disturibing dreams for example.
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Ista, freed from fear when the curse was lifted from her daughter Iselle, but smothered by well-meaning care, doesn’t want to have anything more to do with the gods. The gods have other ideas.
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