Ahoy there me mateys! Back in January 2018, I read book one of the original trilogy (in chronological order). I meant to read book two shortly thereafter but never did. Book two was therefore added to me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list. But upon working on me recent Series Shakedown, I was reminded that I hadn’t read it yet. So I went ahead and got the next two books in the series. But I had so much fun rereading, troubled waters, that I figured I would first reread book one, the curse of the chalion, for the pure enjoyment of it. So this here log will discuss all three books of the series.
the curse of chalion
Okay this really is a fantastic fantasy book and is on me all-time favourites list. It is me favourite of the trilogy. My notes on the first read still stand: “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.”
Well, what is a blessing but a curse from another point of view?
paladin of souls
This be me ninth book in me 19 in 2019 list! So this was the novel that started me foray into the series even though I read it second. It won the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo awards in 2004. When I set out to read it, I didn’t know it was a book two. I am glad I read Chalion first as this book is set three years after that one and features a prior side character. Ye can read this first though there will be spoilers for the first book. I would suggest reading them in publishing order. The main character in this one is a forty-year old noblewoman, Ista, with an atrocious past. This book certainly had more magic than the first book. That was the highlight of this book for me. Well that and watching a woman finally coming into her own power. As Ista grows more self-assured, she begins to allow her true personality shine. I absolutely loved Ista’s burgeoning humor and insight. Also I loved a side character named Liss. This book seemed more action-filled then the first and had a different tone. There also be some great twists. I thought the plot was fantastic and the ending was wonderful. It really was a great second novel.
Once, she had been her parents’ daughter. Then great, unlucky Ias’s wife. Her children’s mother. At the last, her mother’s keeper. Well, I am none of these things now. Who am I, when I am not surrounded by the walls of my life?
the hallowed hunt
This is the third book in publishing order and yet the first in terms of chronology. Though the book is set in the same world, it has a completely different set of characters from the first two. There still are the Five Gods in this book but there is also other (older?) magic in the form of shape-shifters. It was compelling and yet odd at the same time. The romance also takes a bit more of center stage in this one. That’s not a judgment though, just a fact. In this book, a young woman is charged with murdering the next-in-line for the throne. It was self-defense but no one cares about that. Ingrey is charged to take the body and the accused back to the capital. He is the only one who seems to care about the truth of the prince’s death. But the circumstances of the journey are far-reaching. The ending of this book was immensely satisfying and yet something was lacking in this tale overall. I think the story was compelling but I didn’t really fall in love with the main characters. But the writing is lovely and I do be glad I read it. Plus there be pirates and an ice bear! Arrrr!
Signs of the Bastard’s holy presence tend to be unmistakable, to those who know Him. The screaming, the altercations, the people running in circles – all that was lacking was something bursting into flame, and I was not entirely sure for a moment you weren’t going to provide that as well.
Now that technically be the end of the novels in the series. However there be a whole set of novellas (7!) that deal with Penric & Desdemona. I don’t normally read novellas related to series but the crew says these are great. And I loved the original trilogy enough that I certainly want to go back into this world. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about book one:
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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