The Curse of Chalion

Lois McMaster Bujold
The Curse of Chalion Cover

The Curse of Chalion


This was an easy story for me to be drawn into, character-driven -- and how! Lupe dy Cazaril is not your typical fantasy hero. He is a man damaged, betrayed, and afraid. This, of course, begs the question: How on earth is he going to accomplish his heroics?

The use of demons and gods is complex and intriguing, providing a unique religious presence that -- while a significant aspect of the story -- is not "preachy." Bujold handled it neatly, showing the entirely human tendency to wander back and forth on the road of faith. The kinship between the gods and demons of her world, and between gods and the world, is intricately and beautifully sketched. Add to that the development of a complex political situation shaded by the magic. Or the gods...

I loved that the characters were incredibly well developed and "whole." No flat or cookie-cutter personalities here! While they could be described via "the usual fantasy cast of characters," they don't stay stuck in those molds. None of them have black-and-white qualities; they are shaped by the setting, by their interactions, by the choices they make. No one is simply evil, and no one is perfectly good.

The language is marvelous, though occasionally complicated. There is a sad and desperate sort of humor that reminds me of the axiom, "We laugh because we must not cry." All in all, a book entirely worth reading.