I remember first reading this book, probably near the time that it came out. Trying to figure out how I even stumbled upon it - I finally concluded that it was probably a recommendation from the SciFi/Fantasy book club that I was a member of back then. Seeing that is had been recorded as an audiobook from the Audible Frontiers program, I decided to pay it another visit as I had vague, but favorable memories of the series.
So, enough history - what's it all about? Well, it is a bit of a different twist on the hero's journey. Paksenarrion starts off as a young woman who runs away from home to escape an arranged marriage that she has no interest in. Thanks to stories from her cousin, she races off to learn to be a fighter in a mercenary company. This first book focuses on her adventures of learning the ropes of being a soldier and the engagements her company get tangled up in. Along the way, Elizabeth Moon starts introducing the readers to the world she's created. While it's not the grand epic of Tolkein or Martin, I actually appreciate the rather lighter and more accessible nature of this by comparison.
The cast of characters is relatively small as well, with the story really focusing on Paks. That too, for me, is also a pleasant break compared to the heavyweights of fantasy and the hundreds of characters that you have to keep track of as any one of them may be important five books after we meet them. No, this is Paks' story and the other characters the come along serve their purpose in advancing her story.
I had not known until finding the audiobook version that Elizabeth Moon was a Marine before writing this first novel. It certainly shows as her writing provides a lot more detail into the efforts of training and the maneuvers of fighting than I typically see in a fantasy setting.
Overall, it's a solid book, especially for her first one. Probably the biggest weakness is the narrator. She speaks in a very clipped fashion. I can usually listen to audible at 1.25x speed without it having an impact on the reading quality. However, with this narrator, I had to slow it down to 1x speed to make sense of her. Audible has some very strong women narrator's, unfortunately, this book didn't draw one of them. Still, it wasn't bad enough for me to write off the series. In truth, the story remains interesting enough that I plan to go through the other two books again and most likely pick up the later novels set in this world.
The audio book is not better than the print book, but you all know why I buy audio books, because you do too. It is lovely to be 'read to', and Jennifer is a very good reader.
Paks and Stammel are equally endearing to me, but this is very much Paks's story. Stammel is her mentor and 'big brother', and both are great. Paks is a bit of an idiot in this book, and a bit prissy, but she is a heroine and grows up incredibly fast.
She reads the temperament and mood of the characters. While Moon is a great writer of atmosphere and mood, Jennifer lights it all up and brings it to the top.
I don't want to spoil anything, but Paks's big drama at the Duke's stronghold was a little heartwrenching. Very little in these books makes one laugh, but there are plenty of warm fuzzy moments too :)
Read this after The Legacy of Gird for maximum understanding of the main religion of the stories.
I've read and reread all of these books a number of times, and just keep coming back. I highly recommend them to anyone who likes strong female characters, fantasy, and warm fuzzies. It's idealistic and uplifting, but it has its darkness as well, which keeps it from being silly....well, too silly.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
Engine problems, because it never got started. Or better yet, barely got started by the end. The overall feel of "didn't go anywhere" of the book applies to the writing all along the way. There is a ton of description about meaningless stuff that doesn't lead anywhere. I really like detailed descriptions if they actually mean something to the characters or storyline, but this writer writes detailed descriptions about meaningless things, then flies through things that should be meaningful. If you like knowing that someone was "walking West along a wall that ran Southeast against the North side of the city perpendicular to the East-West crossing", then this is the book for you. I don't mind this kind of description if it ties into the story, or is going to be a long battle, or has some general purpose, but it didn't.
The narration is almost adequate. Better than just being read to, mostly.
If the whole book were like the last 20%, it would have been much better. There are lots of ways to get to know characters and tell their backstory without having to labor through it.
Both versions are superb.
This is a unique feeling story in a Tolkien like world. It follows an honorable mercenary girl who ends up in a heroes story despite setbacks. It has a great system for military campaigns and war that is matched by a unique system of magic. If you like good authors and series like WOT or Magician (Feist), then this will be a purchase that you won't regret.
Lets see, I like Science Fiction, Fantasy and anything that lets me live another life for a little while; so immersion is key.
yes, the story was engaging, it kept me coming back for more and I stayed interested.
Maybe a sword fighting book that focuses more on action and militaristic styles of writhing.
I would have preferred a faster narration with more passion put into the voices, almost like they were the ones living the characters.
Not really it made me feel like I would any other day, it happens to be a little dry if you are not interested in a militaristic style of writing.
I was an okay book and I plan on getting the next one in the series just to see if she really sticks it to her dad.
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, thrillers with sarcasm are my favorites with some Romance thrown in for fun.
I enjoyed the story of Paks and the narration but I agree with other reviewers that the writing focused on some of the wrong things.
I would have liked to see more character development for some of the secondary characters; then when it comes time for the 'big' scene where they are in the for front of the story, the reader would have more of an idea who these characters are/were and possibly have more emotions invested.
The majority of the story is told from the viewpoint of the lead character, Paks, but it threw me when all of a sudden the story jumps slightly back in history and is told through the eyes of a previously barely known character for a chapter.
I am currently undecided as to whether I will download Book 2 and 3.
I actually enjoyed listening to this to some degree, but it just didn't draw me in. I got another book I was eager to listen to and just stopped this one.
It's a kid's book, aimed at imparting morals, and describing the minutiae of a soldier's life, probably fun for a little girl who dreams of being a warrior or soldier.
Not very 'juicy' though.
When you listen to an audiobook and knit lace at the same time you will have to repeat both activities. I know this. I am resigned to it.The first time through the series the elves voices drove me crazy. If the reader had been present I might have hurt her. The second time through they didn't bother me nearly as much. And, to be fair, how does a human being reproduce a lilting, singing, nonhuman voice? I have no idea, and so I'm glad I didn't have the opportunity to hurt the reader.Final analysis - I loved the story, the perrformance was better than I would have said had I not messed up the lace pattern so badly. The lace was better the second time too.
No, both versions were very good. - I purchased this in addition to the The Deeds of Paksanarrion, omnibus edition, so I would have an option to listen to it as well as read it.
Yes, it may not be possible in all one sitting but I have no problem listening while doing other things and will find the time to finish it.
Great story and well told
I love everything from an epic fantasy to a book on virology. I listen everyday.
This book is a great listen and you don't want it to be over with. It's got a powerful woman lead which is always nice and I couldn't press pause. I bought all the books in the series and I didn't find any of them weak. I wouldn't have married a pig farmer either
If you liked this I think you should look into the Obsidian Trilogy, by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Not a female lead, but strong female characters with a longer more drawn out plot and sarcastic unicorns.