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)
So Rich in detail that it made me feel apart of this brillant work. My review is a humble one not flowery or really discriptive at all but it was one of only a few that I did not want to end. Hung on every word and loved it all. Hope that this helps. Enjoy I am green with envy that you get to experience her work for the first time.
You follow a broken man back from complete destitution into the heart of a political & mythical struggle.
Yet, this isn't the tried powerless learns to be powerful story-line. It takes you along on a somewhat complicated and usual path. While there is some action, it is far from action packed.
I would recommend it.
Not your standard hero story, , from where this story starts to where it finishes is a great ride. I like a deep plot with lots of twists
Unassuming hero,, uses his brain instead of the sword. I just finished the second book and it is as good as the first. I am downloading the Third..
I highly Recommend this series..... even if the 3rd book sucks the first two make it worth the credits.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Lois McMaster Bujold has long been esteemed in the science fiction genre, so I expected great things from The Curse of Chalion, and I'm happy to report that I wasn't disappointed. This is an excellent piece of work! Bujold's story is completely fresh, and the world-building and magic system are unique, too. I was hooked from page one and it proceeds at a pleasant pace with plenty of surprises and plot twists. Characterization is deep and somehow Bujold made me really like the main character, Cazaril, right from the start, even though he is not the type of hero I thought I preferred. As a psychologist, I especially appreciate how the characters realistically maintained their natural personalities throughout the story while maturing (or becoming more immature) as they grew from their experiences.
And, so importantly, The Curse of Chalion is beautifully written. I'd like to especially mention the dialogue, which I think is so hard for an author to get just right. Some authors make their characters so annoyingly quick-witted and perfect in speech that it's completely unbelievable. Lois McMaster Bujold characters pause, hem and haw, and say "um" just like I do. And they occasionally have conversations that provide a dry comic relief (I laughed out loud many times).
Lloyd James is an excellent reader who has a nice voice and uses different voices and speaking styles for each character. It is very easy to follow and pleasant to listen to. I highly recommend this format for Curse of Chalion.
Curse of Chalion is the first in a series of books which are set in the same world and have some of the same characters, but which can be read independently. So, Curse can stand alone if you like, but I think you'll want to go on to Paladin of Souls because it's highly decorated (see above) and it tells a story which you'll want to hear after reading Curse.
This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to. The plot is subtle and surprizing, the narrator is more of a perfomer than narrator -- I believed he was Caz. I was so emotionally attached to him I needed to listen again once I finished.
The philosphy espoused by the religion central to the story is moving -- through our own free will and choices we make the world a better or worse place but surrendering your will to god allows you to bring their grace and gifts into the world -- beautifully articulated.
And to top it off, there is a occult magic, gentle romance and battle action. Highly reccommended!
However, the second book in this world -- Palladin of souls does not live up to the promise of the first.
I'm a Teen Services librarian at a Public Library. I love fantasy, history, realistic fiction, memoirs, sci-fi, and YA fiction/fantasy.
This is the first time I've ever listened to this author, but she's quickly become one of my favorites. With this wonderful fantasy which is part mystery and part thrilling political tale, she has created an entertaining and masterful story replete with characters you will come to love. Caz, the star of the tale, is multifaceted. He will make you laugh, smile, chuckle and wonder. His wry humor and ironic narration make the story even more fascinating than all the action, setting and plot can do; and they are as finely wrought as any of her characters. Fully drawn, you come to believe that Caz is a living, breathing man, and at the end, you wish you might continue your relationship with him even longer. Beautifully written, read aloud by a narrator who sounds just as you would expect Caz to sound, this intriguing story will make you wish it would never end.
This was my first book by LMB and I am not disappointed. In fact I am currently getting ready to listen to the next book, Paladin of Souls. I have to admit there is a reason I have rated it only 4 stars and if I knew how to do half stars I would give it another half star. My reason for this is because I had a hard time getting into the story at first. I found it a bit dificult to understand who is what and what the religion or superstitions of the culture are. I had to start it over a few times in the begining until it just didn't matter to me the who's and what fors. After getting along to the next cd I finally kept it going and got caught into what really matters in this story - the characters themselves. I loved the narrator's voices. He did a fantastic job on Cazaril....I nearly fell in love with him. I really don't want to get into describing what the story was about. I just want to say....its worth getting into but just be patient in the begining...it may take a few tries.
Certainly well worth listening to. It is a bit predictable, kind of a feel good type story. Character development is very good, and the characters ARE interesting. I am sad the 2nd book isnt available on Audible, I had to order from Amazon to read!!
This book caught me up right from the beginning. The characters are so well drawn they become real - you care what happens to them. The narrator of this book was excellent, conveying the essense of the characters completely with his vocal skill. I've listened to the book a few times and find it as engaging every time. LMB has created a world of intriguing characters, a theology that is wonderful in it's complexity and a story that is outstanding.
I chose this title because it was the "editor's pick". I was somewhat hesitant with the choice after reading the "Editorial Review"; therefore, I put it on the back burner for a while before finally breaking down and giving it a try. Wow, was I in for a surprise. I thought the book was wonderful! The characters and story are well drawn and believable (fantasy from an author who obviously has studied history - this always makes for a better spun yarn, i.e. Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, Tolkein etc.). The narrator does an excellent job as well, which can also make or break a book. Overall this is a great fantasy with something for everyone: war, romance, intrigue, magic, and mystery.
"Consider this an investment in pleasure"
Very cleverly constructed, balanced and interesting plot, enlivened by complex, humorous, often humane characters and pleasant dialogue.
The reader is a pleasant surprise and the pace of the book is well done.
In greater depth:
It is always a pleasure to see such tightly plotted stories working so finely as a composition of ideas, characters and narrative. There were several moments where I was able to delight in the pleasure of an event subtly foreshadowed, the soft click of apparently random puzzle pieces clicking together. While the story is not as convoluted as an epic, or as meticulously involved as a character study, it certainly is witty and intelligent writing amongst the best in fantasy.
A charming and sympathetic male protagonist written with great panache is also a rare present to cherish and here, as with other works by talented novelists, is another to join the stable of memorable characters in fantasy literature.
"A wonderful, absorbing book..."
Well - now what do I do? I've been captivated by this for the past few weeks, rationing myself to only listening while I'm at the gym to make the tedium of the treadmill bearable, and boy, did this book help!
I thought this was beautifully read, and I didn't find any of the problems mentioned by other reviewers. The narrator deals with several principal characters well, coping with males and females, and I loved the way he allowed the principal character Caz to develop slowly through the book.
Problems? The names are all slightly Italian'ish, and didn't sit well in my head, so I spent a fair bit of time unsure as to who was who, but I did get there!
This is a lovely, slow measured build of a book, that holds the attention, never drags, and totally absorbs. Well worth the listen!
"My Favourite Bujold Fantasy"
Cazaril, once courtier, courier/spy, captain and castle warder, now homeless, hungry and ragged, is a broken man, physically and mentally, seeking only a quiet refuge in a place in which he was once happy. To his surprise and extreme gratitude he is installed in the household of the Dowager Provincara, charged with the task of being tutor-secretary to her granddaughter Iselle, lively sister of the heir to Chalion's throne.
Thus begins a sequence of events that takes Caz back to the capital, a seething hotbed of poisonous intrigue with a weak and sickly ruler and an ambitious chancellor. Murder, greed and betrayal are commonplace, but there are unexpected allies as well. A shadow hangs over the ruling house, also threatening Iselle and her brother. Gradually Caz unravels the origins of a curse, but not without deadly danger and drawing the attention of the Five Gods down on himself.
Why do I like this book so much? Though it has plot in spades, the characterisation is what lifts it above the ordinary. Caz gradually rebuilds himself throughout the book despite, or perhaps partly because of being an unwitting tool of the gods. He never sees himself as extraordinary, even though he does extraordinary things. He retains integrity and honour and has a deep internal moral compass, yet he's not stuffy and owns a wry sense of humour.
There's a love story in this too: true it's very subtle and on first reading you hardy notice it, but it plays out well.
The story is a study of how one quiet but determined man can effect great change. It's a dialogue between free-will and divine intervention. Where does one stop and the other start?
Bujold never disappoints, and of all her books this is my favourite. I wasn't sure I liked Lloyd James' narration to start off with (the American accent jarred a little) but it quickly grew on me. Highly recommended in both written and audio format.
"Great book, reading a bit patchy"
I love this book and the sequel, Paladin of Souls. Mostly the reading is very good, and does capture the emotions well. However, sometimes he does voices/accents which are a bit overdone, eg the "yokel" accent near the beginning of part 2. And, annoyingly, the reader occasionally stresses or breaks up the sentences in a way that makes a nonsense of what is being said - I'm not clear why as mostly it's good. As I say, a very good book, but not the ideal reading of it.
"Gripping from beginning to end"
This is the first book by Lois McMaster Bujold I've listened to and I am now a fan. She has created a cast of believable characters for an intriguing story set in a world that has depth and colour. Lloyd James does a great job of the narration.
"a story which develops well"
I've read this as a book, so the plot was no surprise, but even so I took pleasure again in the development of our knowledge of the main character, Caz and of the world he lives in. What at first appears a simple medieval style fantasy novel of a world with it's own theology becomes deeper, more complex and a very satisfying story.
I have marked it down slightly as I sometimes found the narrator's voice too intrusive, but I always find it a mark of a good book that I'll go about the house listening to the book rather than switch the radio on, which I certainly did in this case.
I was a little nervous about listening to this book, as I read it years ago, and loved it, and didn't want it ruined by a poor narrator. I had never heard of Lloyd James, and so wasn't sure what to expect. It was magical. Mr James didn't so much narrate this book, as he performed it, and he did a wonderful job of it. As I said, I read the book years ago, and so was familiar with the story, so I knew that I would enjoy it. I can't praise the audio version of this book highly enough. The other two books in the Chalion series, "Paladin of Souls," which for me was ruined by Kate Reading, and "The Hallowed Hunt," passably well read by Marguerite Gavin, will most likely end up being returned. I wish that Lloyd James had been the narrator of the other two books, I might have kept them if that had been the case. I will be looking out for more books performed by Lloyd James, who is now among my favourite narrators.
"Really enjoyed it!"
Absorbing and riveting, with a protagonist who is heroic in a realistic way. The narrator was also very engaging.
"Excellent story, well read"
Slow at first but never dull, the story builds irresistibly to an awesome conclusion. Characters are strong and well rounded and the whole thing is a joyous rollercoaster.
I enjoyed the reading, injecting plenty of personality, if a tiny bit over the top in places.
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