fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Lois McmMaster Bujold The Hallowed HuntThe Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold

I think Lois McMaster Bujold has exactly the right idea with the Chalion series. Each book stands alone, but if you have read the first one (Curse of Chalion), you get all the background material you need to understand the geographical, political, and religious systems of her world. This means that later books (Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt) can have fresh new characters and plots, but we don’t have to endure many info dumps. The magic system, meanwhile, gets more and more complex, as we learn more in each book. Perhaps best of all, the plot can wrap up at the end of each novel.

What I like best about Bujold is her wonderfully imaginative and complicated magic. I love how she lets the reader discover it a little at a time (it would be overwhelming if she threw it all at us at once). We learn about the magic as the characters do, and this makes for a lot of mystery and tension. Plots get deeper, more complex, and scarier throughout this series.

Bujold’s characters are always deep, especially the point-of-view character whose private thoughts we are privy to. In The Hallowed Hunt, that character is Ingrey, a nobleman who bears a wolf spirit and has been charged to transport the noblewoman Ijada to the capital, for she’s been accused of killing the prince who tried to rape her. The prince was dabbling in some dark sorcery which affected Ijada, and together Ingrey and Ijada must unravel the mystery of the spirit animals. As they learn more and more, the magic get deeper, darker, and actually quite frightening.

The Hallowed Hunt is another excellent installment in the Chalion series. I’m not rating it as highly as the others, though, because I felt like the climax at the end wasn’t quite as tight as the previous two books. Ingrey, the hero, ended up correctly guessing some of the solutions and Bujold threw in a bit of romantic fluff involving two beating half-hearts that made my eyes roll. But, all in all, it was a very good fantasy and I sincerely hope that Bujold will grace us with more Chalion stories in the future.

~Kat Hooper

book review Lois McmMaster Bujold The Hallowed HuntNot recommended for animal-lovers: Lots of spirits (mostly of animals) being pulled into the souls of people (mostly through throat-slitting), causing various powers to manifest. Complex world-building, but it just didn’t engage me the way I’d hoped. I read to 75% and skimmed the rest. For whatever reason I tend to like Bujold’s SciFi better than her fantasies.

~Tadiana Jones

The World of the Five Gods — (2001-2016) Publisher: On the eve of the Daughter’s Day — the grand celebration that will honor the Lady of Spring, one of the five reigning deities — a man broken in body and spirit makes his way slowly down the road to Valenda. A former courtier and soldier, Cazaril has survived indignity and horrific torture as a slave aboard an enemy galley. Now he seeks nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, in the noble household where he served as page in his youth. But the gods have greater plans for this humbled man. Welcomed warmly, clothed and fed, he is named, to his great surprise, secretary tutor to the Royesse Iselle — the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is destined to be the next ruler of the land. But the assignment must ultimately carry Cazaril to the one place he fears even more than the sea: to the royal court of Cardegoss, rife with intrigues and lethal treacheries. In Cardegoss, the powerful enemies who once placed Cazaril in chains and bound him to a Roknori oar now occupy the most lofty positions in the realm, beneath only the Roya himself. Yet something for more sinister than their scheming hangs like a sword over the royal family: a curse of the blood that taints not only those who would rule, but those who stand in their circle. The life and future of both Iselle and her entire blighted House of Chalion lie in dire peril. The only recourse left to her loyal, damaged servant is the employment of the darkest and most forbidden of magics — a choice that will indelibly mark Cazaril as a tool of the miraculous… and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Huntfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCurse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Hunt

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