Ista thinks her little party of pilgrims wanders at will, but whose? When Ista's retinue is unexpectedly set upon not long into its travels, a mysterious ally appears, a warrior nobleman who fights like a berserker. The temporary safety of her enigmatic champion's castle cannot ease Ista's mounting dread, however, when she finds his dark secrets are entangled with hers in a net of the gods' own weaving.
In her dreams, the threads are already drawing her to unforseen chances, fateful meetings, fearsome choices. What the inscrutable gods commanded of her in the past brought her land to the brink of devastation. Now, once again, they have chosen Ista as their instrument. And again, for good or for ill, she must comply.
"Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters, not that the plot is anything to sneeze at." ( Booklist)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jane on 31-08-06
This is a really wonderful book, and it's great to find it unabridged on Audible. It spins an absorbing story around a minor and seemingly very unheroic character from *The Curse of Chalion*, the widowed Ista (note: you do not have to have read *The Curse of Chalion* to enjoy this, although you may well want to read it afterwards.)
Ista is 40 and seemingly rather defeated by life, having suffered the death of her husband and son and a prolonged bout of divinely-induced madness. She decides to set out on a pilgrimage to escape from her confined life at court, but quickly finds that the gods have not yet done with her. It's the kind of narrative that keeps you guessing - just when you think you've sussed out where it's all headed it suddenly takes a sharp turn in another direction. Nevertheless it comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I find it the kind of book that's a real pleasure to re-read because it's fascinating to see how the author sets up plot and character developments a long way in advance.
I suppose my one minor quibble is that the narrator sometimes makes Ista sound a bit too feeble and self-pitying, particularly to begin with. That said, she is a character who grows in strength and self-confidence in the course of the novel, so presumably the narrator was trying to reflect this. Other than this I found the narrator excellent: the different characters are voiced very effectively, and she manages to distinguish between the different levels of narration (narrator's voice, Ista's internal thoughts, Ista's speech, etc.) very clearly.
Overall, this is a strong character-driven novel with a clever and satisfying plot. I thoroughly recommend it, even if you're not normally into fantasy novels.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Nina on 13-05-17
What a beautifully crafted and exquisite fantasy novel, which fully desrerves the awards it has received. I have been hesitating for sometime whether to add it to my collection and I'm so glad I did.
The author did a magnificent job sculpting Ista, the main character, full of knowledge, beautiful emotion and strength within. Ista is no ordinary person and following her story you will lose yourself for hours. There are so many layers to her personality.
On the first thought, a strong heroine might appeal more to female readers, however I would recommend this book to anyone with a little bit of willingness to endulge yourself in a good and captivating story.
Kate Reading did a splendid job. It's a pleasure to listen to her voice, which so easily expressed all humanly possible feelings: happiness, sadness, fear, wisdom, love, excitement and so many others.
Listening to 'Paladin of Soluls' was a simple pleasure.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Dave S on 02-04-05
This is a first class sequel to a first class story (The Curse of Chalion). One could listen to them out of order but would miss a lot, because the author spends a lot of words in the first book creating a unique theology that provides the fantastic aspects of the story.
The plot is a standard "quest", set in a preindustrial world organized along feudal lines, but the characters are likable, and this writer is as good at involving the reader in the story as any writer I've encountered (check out her Miles Vorkosigan adventures). The main character (like the author) is female, and to my (male) mind, she is a believable heroine who succeeds in her quest in a way that would not make you think of Sir Galahad (or Gandalf for that matter.
If you like fantasy, you'll love this
28 of 28 people found this review helpful
By Madeleine on 29-03-09
I had never read any other books by this author, but this one drove me to find her others.
Paladin of Souls was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The characters are extremely well-crafted, the dialogue is written with a very deft hand and the plotting is truly satisfying. It was delightful to stumble across a quick-witted, sharp-tongued and vibrant middle-aged woman as the heroine of a fantasy novel where so often the genre presents the reader with hopeful young warriors or plucky young maidens.
I truly enjoyed it from start to finish and the reader was excellently suited to the story.
25 of 25 people found this review helpful