Well, something kind of good has come from my stroke. It’s very weird, but also rather satisfying and pleasing for me.
I’m in the middle of reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s World of the Five Gods series – I wrote a review of the first book, The Curse of Chalion, in last week’s Reading Roundup. The second book, Paladin of Souls, a multi-award winner, is the book I am writing about this week. Now, I actually read this book for the first time many years ago and immediately rated it amongst my favourites. I have often thought of re-reading it since, but there are many other great books to read, so I put it on the back-burner, as it were. But recently, as I had bought the whole trilogy in ebook format, I decided to read them all in order, so Paladin of Souls became last week’s book.
And it was like reading an entirely new book! I couldn’t remember the plot at all!
It turned out that I only had vague memories of the main female character and the fact that some romance was involved. This seemed really amusing as I continued to read what was, for the post-stroke me, a newly minted tale!
So, here is the blurb:
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.
And this is my review as written on the Goodreads site:
How I love this book! First of all, I love it because the main character is a middle aged woman, who is not beautiful or gifted with extraordinary powers. She could almost be unlikeable at the beginning of the book (continuing on from her few appearances in the first book of the series, The Curse of Chalion). However, as the story unfolds, she grows and develops in character and power to become quite extraordinary indeed!
This book is haunting. From a slow beginning, the tale develops its pace with incredible twists and unexpected moves. So, I cannot write about them here as I don’t want to spoil the surprises. All I can say is that it is well-worth your time. There are other wonderful characters, both male and female, and events that will keep you reading late into the night.
And I will not wait ten years this time before I read it again!
OK, it’s not a detailed review, but there are plenty of others to read online. I just want to get on with reading the last book in the trilogy!
Happy Reading to you all!
Love and best wishes,