Ahoy there me mateys! I be readin’ a lot of adult sci-fi and YA so far this year and had a hankerin’ for some fantasy. I was goin’ to read the paladin of souls but discovered just before I was about to read it that it be a book 2 of a series. So I picked up this book 1 instead. This was me first foray into this author’s work, and I be hooked. I can’t believe I missed enjoying her novels before. I will certainly be readin’ the second book.
This was a slow-burning, delicious world-building, character-driven story. The main character, Cazaril, is a broken woe-filled man with absolute horrible luck. He is only in his 30s but seems ancient and weather-worn. When met, he is on a desperate journey to throw himself on the mercy of his former employer in an attempt to find a job, any job, wherein he may work and try to obtain some measure of peace.
Of course peace is not what he gets. Instead he is pulled into a horrible situation he wants no part of. Politics, gods, curses, magic and impossible odds. Anything else I can say about it would only be a diminishment of how completely awesome it is. Seriously, ye have to read it.
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Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril, has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, as the secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule.
It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it will ultimately lead him to the place he fears most, the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies, who once placed him in chains, now occupy lofty positions. In addition to the traitorous intrigues of villains, Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle, are faced with a sinister curse that hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. Only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics, can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge—an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous, and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.
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