Saturday, July 23, 2005

50 Book Challenge #36 & 37: Paladin of Souls & The Hallowed Hunt

I tore through the first book in Bujold's Five Gods series without a break. To distract myself from various panicky episodes over the last few days, I read the next two books.

Paladin of Souls I found rather repetitive. It had a fairly predictable romantic element which weighed down the narrative, and which punted on an opportunity to effectively subvert the social hierarchy toward the end. By focusing the narrative on a single castle's inhabitants and then rapidly expanding the story to include international and interdimensional conflict, Bujold whipsaws the reader and makes the repetitiousness of the previous story line less forgivable. More on crazy possessed queens, less on telling person number three the horrible story of a death we heard about twice already in this book alone!

The Hallowed Hunt was better, although I got confused about the precise theology at the end. Why would the souls of the Old Weald warriors want to ascend to the heavens of the Five Gods if part of what they were fighting against was encroachment by Darthacan Quintarians? Was there some kind of postmortem conversion? Or have I misunderstood the religious beliefs of the Old Wealdings? If they did worship the Five in addition to engaging in forest magics, why did they object to Darthacan missionaries? Hmm.
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