The author brings a sense of history to this rich novel. Although at times the story was slow to develop, it was compensated by the warmth and truth of the characters. Simon Vance is a master narrator, and gave the protagonist a wisdom and sense of humor that was completely endearing. This was one of the first audio books I listened to, and it moved me. The expulsion from their home, being forced to flee and relocate in a completely foreign culture, and the internal changes neccessary to survive the trauma were captivating. Magic was scarce yet mysticism and spirituality abounded. I was sad when the story ended. I wanted to continue being a voyeur, watching the lives of the characters. Rarely has a novel captivated me in this way.
I found this book a tight story, and while not easy to follow, it was very enjoyable. I have listened to this narrator when he read other stories, and I had no issues with his work on this book. His narration, while not the best I've listened to, was well within my personal standards of taste.
As for the story, Bujold weaves an enjoyable story which kept me interested until the very end. Her characters were unique and compelling, and they were the aspect I enjoyed most about the book. I have gone on to purchase the next book in the series, Paladin of Souls, which I found to be an even better "read." I was not disappointed in this book in any way. I intend to revisit this book, for a second time, as I believe that would allow for a deeper understanding of the characters, background and situations. All in all, I feel it was worth my money.
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