Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.
©2004 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Bujold weaves a convincing and captivating fantasy world, well researched, with magic that works and gods that live without destroying the balance of this medieval society....A finely balanced mixture of adventure, swordplay, court intrigue, romance, magic, and religion makes this book a delightful read." (School Library Journal)
I love Bujold's novels - her themes of difference and tolerance pursued within a great story and engaging characters. I have listened to her Vokosignan series read by Grover Gardner who is just about perfect for them. Lloyd James is totally different and it took a while to get used to him, mainly because he was so over the top with his characters' voices. Once I got used to it, it was like listening to a play - in fact James tended to treat adverbs as stage directions - which was irritating at times because I would notice thus interrupting the flow of the story. But mostly great fun and enthralling. This kind of narration with the narrator's verbal skills taking precedent over the novel itself and with distinct voices for all of the characters can result in a high irritation quotient, especially if you don't like the 'voice' given to a particular character. But, overall, a great story narrated with style.
I really loved this book the first time I read it and I thought it would be fun to download the audiobook. While I think Lloyd James does a fine job of narration and distinguishing the voices of the different characters, I have to admit he is not at all who I would have picked to narrate this book. His normal reading voice is very American to me and since the story is European(ish), I was expecting someone with an English accent. Something like Tom Hiddleston's narration for "The Red Necklace" would have been perfect. However, I did and do love the book and will happily listen to it again.
I liked the book a lot - it took me a little bit to get used to the reader, but after a while I thought he fit the part. Well developed characters - I was pulled into the story and it was just right for my long comute to work. Everything about the book seemed new and different. I enjoyed the listen very much. I hoped the series would go on with Caz, but Paladin of Souls has a different lead character - each book stands as a complete story. I am enjoying the series very much.
Despite a somewhat grim beginning (made more so by the narrator's voice - you do grow to see the voice is perfect for the character), the novel takes many a twisted and delightful twist shortly after introducing the major players. Set in a Spanish-like setting, the plot grows greatly while following the redemption of the main character. Highly recommended.
Everything about this audiobook experience fitted together perfectly. Bujold's writing is masterful and the voice of Lloyd James is perfect for the story.
This is the 1st Audio book I ever listened to (several years ago) and I loved it. It turned me into an audible junkie, and after several years, I listened again, and enjoyed it just as much. A great fantasy with a well developed alternate world, religion & culture. It has just the right amount of supernatural goings on without overshadowing the intrigue and character development. I really like this narrator, he has a light touch, and very much inhabited the voice of the Caz, who you'll fall in love with.
Excellent book with a unique plot and Bujold's fantastic characters. The narrator's "voices" were hard to get used to, but didn't impede the flow of the book.
A fantastic story and a solid narrating job. I felt the narrator had too wry of a tone in a few bits, but I found that did not detract from my pleasure of it.
This must be one of the best fantasy books I've ever read/listened to. The story is so perfectly told, clear with no unnecessary padding and yet with enough detail to paint beautiful pictures. The hero Caz is wonderfully human and far from the stereotypes, but yet a real hero. The plot is complex and deepens into something of a mystery/detective story in a fantasy setting, and then it evolves even further... I will say no more since that would be spoilers.
I haven't read anything like this before, and I've read a lot of fantasy over the years. However, if you're expecting classic sword'n'sorcery and dragonslaying adventures, don't bother. This one is for the advanced reader who wants something more than the standard formula.
This is really original fantasy. Lois Bujold writes great stories, characters you want to have for friends (except the enemies who, themselves, are drawn believably) and worlds of imagination.
Lois doesn't just rehash the same old ogres, elves, etc., that are the staples of so many fantasy writers - she creates something new and fascinating.
The Curse of Chalion won the Hugo Award for the the Best SF/Fantasy of its year as voted by the fans - and it was well deserved.
Lloyd James did a REALLY GOOD job of narrating this. He has developed greatly as a narrator and his voices, emotion, pacing, . . . everything, were really appropriate to the content of the story.
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