Here goes another book review of one book I read for the –awesome– book club The Sword and Laser. Yay, it’s fantasy month!!
By Lois McMaster Bujold
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2001)
Print Length: 512 pages
Read from August 07 to 20, 2013
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
This was an unexpected book for me! When I read the book description, I confess I was not so excited about it:
“A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril returns to the noble household he once served as page and is named secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it must ultimately lead him to the place he most fears: the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies who once placed him in chains now occupy lofty positions.
But it is more than the traitorous intrigues of villains that threaten Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle here, for a sinister curse hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion. And only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge — an act that will mark him as a tool of the miraculous . . . and trap him in a lethal maze of demonic paradox.”
However, I was not disappointed! It is a very elegantly written tale, and the world building is amazing! I thought it had a slow start at the beginning. At 30% of the book I was feeling nothing was going to happen, the pace was slower than I would have enjoyed. The main character, Cazaril, is presented as a broken man, escaped from slavery, and returned to his Kingdom (Royacy) searching for shelter. At these introductory chapters, I wrongly suspected there would be no magic or fantastic events in the story.
The author slowly builds the characters and unravels the magical and religious background of the kingdom of Chalion. After it is clear that there is a dark curse going on and that Cazaril is the “hero” who takes action to solve the mystery (and gets deeply involved with it), the pace of the book increases greatly. From this point forward, I could not let the book down. I ended up loving Cazaril’s integrity, objectivity and sarcastic observations, and could not help but keep my fingers crossed for him. I really enjoyed the writing style of the book. It is classy but not over the top. The dialogues are great too, and the characters feel real and authentic.
All I can say without being “spoilery” is that it was a very pleasant read and I loved the ending, even though it may sound foreseeable for some. It is a great fantasy novel, very well balanced and with the right amount of magic in it. There is a sequel of this book called “Paladin of Souls”, which is now on my “to-read” list.
This book may be a good one for beginners in the fantasy genre, because it is light and neat even having elements like dark magic.
Oh, this author is also known for the science fiction series “Vorkosigan Saga” (which I never read) and that got my attention now.