"Life is a school of the spirit." This is the lesson Aidan must learn in this sweeping historical epic set in the 10th century. The story starts a little slow as Aidan and his fellow monks prepare for their journey to take a holy book to the Holy Roman Emperor in Constantinople. Once they are attacked by Vikings, however, the pace quickens and never lets up. That's quite a feat for an 880-page book (paperback edition). It is a well written, well plotted story of discovery of the external world as well as Aidan's heart. I highly recommend it.
I still think back to this book often and remember with longing how engrossed I was in it.
If the story had been as concerned with the present as it was the past.
The constant flashbacks.
That I never seemed to have a couple of forks to stab into my ears so I didn't have to hear her whining.
Only the ones with names beginning with letters.
My review from GoodReads.com:
I seldom give up on a book, but about half of this one was all I could take. Within the first couple of chapters I was wondering why I'd thought it would interest me at all. Did I click the wrong link when I bought the audiobook? By Chapter 26 or wherever I finally quit I knew that if I had to endure one more flashback I'd eat the barrel of a pistol. I haven't returned to the story in about two weeks and still have no desire to pick it up again, so I'm just finished and moving on.
The story? This whiny teenage girl's uncle dies of AIDS in 1987. She's the only one who'll be friends with the dead guy's lover. Blah, blah, blah. Constant freaking flashbacks. I swear, I don't think Brunt wrote a page that didn't contain the beginning or end of a flashback. The dynamic between the sisters was trite, predictable, and so boring. The protagonist's relationship with her dead uncle was weird and, really, kinda hard to believe, and I never bought how she didn't immediately ask the hard questions of his lover when the dude kept making contact with her.
I hate quitting on a book. I do want to know what happened to these characters, and why the buttons were added to the shirt in the painting, but not enough to endure the rest of the book. If you want to give me a spoiler in the comments, go for it.
My disdain was only increased by Amy Rubinate's breathy whine of a narration. Just the thought of listening to her again made me choose the dreck of morning shows on the radio or the millionth listen of an old CD instead of this book.
Theology-based fantasy thriller
Cazaril's use of Death Magic.
Better. It made me think!
I remember a few decades ago reading Bujold's The Spirit Ring when it was new. At the time I thought it a fine story and she a very talented author. Then I kind of quite reading heroic fantasy for a long, long time. The Curse of Chalion has reminded me just how great the genre can be and what a fantastic author Bujold is.
This book is such a fine mix of a very well developed fantasy world, complex theology, political intrigue, and action/adventure that anyone who appreciates fantasy literature is almost sure to like it. It is a deep character study, following Cazaril as he goes from a nearly crippled, penniless vagabond to a god-touched player in Chalion's court. There are good men, evil men, ghosts, demons, gods and goddesses, and even a little of a love story at work here, with one elements never dominating, but all working together to create a wonderful story.
Bujold tells her story in a straight-forward style that never feels stripped down and never really leaves the reader wondering for the point of view of any other character. She has, without a doubt, one of the best voices in modern fantasy.
That narration, too, was amazing. Each character was given a distinct voice, and considering how many of them there were, it was nearly mind-boggling. Definitely two thumbs way up for Lloyd James!
I cannot recommend this book enough. Or relate how thrilled I am to find that Bujold has given us more books dealing with the five gods. By the Bastard's balls, I look forward to reading them all very soon!
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