Book Review: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. In which a growling belly could be quite a cause for concern!

Hello folks!

Here’s my attempt to keep my blog alive! I always meant to return to this little corner of the internet – after life stopped being so dang busy, but let’s face the facts – such a time doesn’t exist!

So, here I am, back again. Ta da! *sheepish smile*

curse-of-chalionRecently just finished The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold – my second book of her fantasy works that I’ve read (I’ve also read Paladin of Souls). In this story, Cazaril, a minor lord of Chalion, returns home after years of slavery –  a circumstance that befell him due to a comrade’s betrayal. He doesn’t think anyone will remember who he is, however, by the grace of the gods, he is recognized and given a position as a secretary to a young royesse (princess, essentially) due to inherit Chalion’s throne. But, his new position may put him in even more treacherous grounds than the last as powerful nobles connive and conspire against the throne. And even more worrying, perhaps, is the idea that maybe the gods and goddesses have more of a hand into how his life is playing out than he first thought.

The world of the story is very interesting – with gods and goddesses and demons and death magic. You can really imagine the great halls of the Zangre Palace in Chalion – with its many crow-ridden towers and gardens and its menagerie of exotic animals. The magic has a mythical feel to it – with unclear rules about how it all works yet keeping enough of a logic to it that I didn’t feel like it was random. In fact, for me, the most interesting scenes in the book were when Cazaril was either performing some magic or attempting to understand it.

Aside from the world, though, I felt like this book dragged a little bit. It’s one of those books that takes the time to describe the character walking from point A to point B or having a meal or taking a bath – and just include a lot of day-to-day activities into the narrative. I don’t mind all that, but only if it feels like its contributing to the plot or character development in some way. In this book, I felt like they were more like filler scenes and take away from the focus of the story.

I also felt like the characters were a bit wholesome and cut-and-dry for my taste. It was too easy to hate the so-called villains and it felt all too clear who we were supposed to be rooting for. When a character did wrong, it felt too much like the evil characters were to blame and not so much a reflection of an interesting flaw of the character himself.

I liked the story overall – I think the world was what drew me in the most. Anyone read this one? What did you think? I know Lois McMaster Bujold is a staple of sci-fi fantasy – haven’t read any of her sci-fi works yet, but I do have Cordelia’s Honor on my shelf and I know her Vorkosigan stories have a huge following.

Rating: 3 deaths to break the curse.

 

 

 

 

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5 comments

  1. This author is new to me. I love the cover and the setting sounds nice too, but I would be turned off by the simplistic characterization.

  2. Nish – You know, after posting my review, I read some goodreads reviews and most people were saying the complete opposite of what I felt! A lot fo readers found Cazaril (the main character) and the rest of the cast of characters to be very complex and interesting characters. So, maybe it was just me that the book didn’t jive with!

  3. Lovely to see you posting 😀 I’m yet to read any Bujold, but I’ve been leaning towards her SF rather than the fantasy.

  4. Haha, I’m trying really hard to get back into the blogging world again 🙂 Yes, I actually think she’s got a stronger fan base for her SF – I’m still going to try her Vorkosigan series as this one seems highly rated!

  5. Nish – You know, after posting my review, I read some goodreads reviews and most people were saying the complete opposite of what I felt! A lot fo readers found Cazaril (the main character) and the rest of the cast of characters to be very complex and interesting characters. So, maybe it was just me that the book didn’t jive with!

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