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30 review for The Hallowed Hunt

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clouds

    The general consensus regarding The Hallowed Hunt seems to be "good, but not as good as the first two." I disagree. My twee summary would be "greater than the sum of it's parts." The Hallowed Hunt is a complex beast (excuse the pun) and leans more heavily on expositional dialogue than is Bujold's usual practice, but I found this theosophical adventure both engaging and rewarding. Due to the aura of disappointment palpable in the cumulative body of Goodreads reviews, I was reluctant to start this The general consensus regarding The Hallowed Hunt seems to be "good, but not as good as the first two." I disagree. My twee summary would be "greater than the sum of it's parts." The Hallowed Hunt is a complex beast (excuse the pun) and leans more heavily on expositional dialogue than is Bujold's usual practice, but I found this theosophical adventure both engaging and rewarding. Due to the aura of disappointment palpable in the cumulative body of Goodreads reviews, I was reluctant to start this one. I keep a pool of unread books available to select from, and something else was always more tempting. It seems I'm not the only one to feel this way: Book 1 - The Curse of Chalion - 16,956 GR ratings Book 2 - Paladin of Souls - 12,518 GR ratings (74% flow-through) Book 3 - The Hallowed Hunt - 5,441 GR ratings (just 42% B2 to B3 & just 32% B1 to B3 flow) So less than half the readers of PoS are following on to THH, and less than a third are making it all the way from TCoC to THH. That's a poor finale rate for a trilogy. So what's the problem? Well, the Chalion trilogy is not a 'classic' trilogy in that it does not follow the same group of characters over different arcs of one cohesive adventure. In that kind of 'classic' trilogy, you get very strong flow through rates because it's really all one story broken into three books, and readers want to see how it ends. The name of the series is the clue, Chalion is a kingdom (in a fantasy world), and the first two book are both stand-alone stories set in that kingdom, and while the stories aren't part of the same arc, there's enough commonality in terms of shared characters, environs and themes that the link is clear, strong and cohesive. They are two slices of the same cake. (I actually read them in reverse order, book 2 and then book 1, and they enrich each other without being required reading.) Book 3 breaks from this on a quite fundamental level - it's not set in the kingdom of Chalion. Chalion is mentioned a couple of times as a distant land our heroes could maybe flee to, if their predicament grew too overwhelming, but that's as far as we go. As such, the name of the series is misleading to readers - if you expect another story set in Chalion, and instead you get some other land entirely... there's bound to be some confusion, which jars that initial engagements with a story. What The Hallowed Hunt shares in common with the previous two books, is the religion Quintarianism - a truly wonderful creation which underpins all three books; a divine pantheon family, Father, Mother, Daughter, Son... & the Bastard. This is the same religion, but a different country and culture entirely. The common element of the series is the religion, not the kingdom of Chalion, so really this should be referred to as the Quintarian Trilogy - but that's just me being picky. Note: The series has been renamed on goodreads to 'The World of the Five Gods' since I wrote this review, so clearly someone agreed with me... So why has Bujold done this? I think I get it, I really do. Inspiration isn't always neat and orderly. In this world, the Five Gods are not remote and unheard - they reach down and get involved with the mortal world. Not on a daily basis, but regularly enough that each of the five orders that worships them contains a few god-touched saints at any one time, working as their paws. I think Bujold got hooked on the idea of what came before this? What was the equivalent of paganism in this land before Quintarianism spread and became the dominant faith binding many kingdoms together? She hit on the idea of spirit warriors, transferring animal spirits into their souls to give them increased powers. Once Bujold started running with this idea, spinning of variations and complications, she had enough golden nuggets to build a book out of - with that interplay between the old religion and the new at it's heart. But the land of Chalion that she'd constructed for the first two books didn't have this history of pagan spirit-warriors - if it had, some echo would have cropped up in the first two stories. So Bujold moved this story into new territory with a new history and back-story. Makes sense so far. Now, talk to me about this issue with expositional dialogue. Okay. Well, Bujold tries to make every book she writes stand alone. Her most successful series, The Vorkosigan Saga is a super-awesome space-opera that has produced 15+ books and is still going. I love it. But despite being a long-running series, with the majority focused on one hero (Miles) she still succeeds in making each book stand alone. So Bujold is never going to rely on the audience having picked up a good working knowledge of Quintarianism from the first two books, that needs to be covered off here. And we're also setting up a whole new fantasy landscape - political structure, geography, culture, etc. All of that she handles without it impacting the story. Where it gets gnarly is when the revelations about the pagan religion start landing: this is a dead religion, our heroes are not experts in it, they've heard bits and bobs, but when you get into the twisty nitty-gritty, it gets complicated and even though Bujold does her best to pace it out, mix up the delivery through dialogue, dreams and visions, clues and intuition, etc - there's more telling than showing - which is a storytelling 101 issue that I'd never normally level at Bujold. I can though say, hand on heart, that I didn't mind one bit. I remember another reading saying that it felt like anything could happen and often did, and that made it all kind of meaningless. I didn't get that vibe at all. I love Brandon Sanderson's work for his ability to set out the laws of a magical system quite bluntly, and then work through the various combinations and connotations and unexpected interactions of those rules, and make a fun and witty adventure out of it as he goes. To me, this had a lot of that vibe. Once I caught the thread of the logic, each further twist down the rabbit-hole seemed perfectly reasonable, well foreshadowed and obvious in hindsight. She takes you to a place of very muddled ethics, where ancient history poses timeless challenges. For me, it all tracked-through perfectly, and I thought it was a top concept, really expertly illustrated. OK - lots of praise - but only 4 stars. What held it back? The male lead: Ingrey. The two previous Chalion leads were inspired. 1) A very bright soldier, broken by war, is given a teaching role in the royal household as part of his rehabilitation and grows from a nervous wreck into a bold adventurer. 2) A depressed, middle-age woman, escaping her sheltered, hermetic life to go on a pilgrimage and growing into a resolute, formidable saint. Here, we're given Ingrey. A morally ambiguous courier, who has repressed his hertical spirit-animal, grows from being a detached loner into a caring husband (and morally-good hero). It's a safer, less evocative choice. I don't know if Bujold was trying to offset a more complex concept with a more staid character, but I don't feel that trade worked. Many of the supporting characters were delightful, but the lead was glum; he did an awful lot of glowering. He doesn't make friends easily, so there's little humour or banter. Yes, he falls in love - but he does it very seriously. In short, he's not terribly likeable, which is a difficult quality to quantify, but one Bujold can normally harness at will, so it's a bit of a shame that the supply dried up here. It felt a little like a protagonist carefully designed to fulfil the requirements of exploring a delicate plot, rather than a protagonist designed to be loved outright, who then explodes into a plot! (see Miles Vorkosigan). Do you realise how much you've wittered? Gosh, yes, that's rather more than I intended to write, actually! In conclusion? It's a fab book - just go into it expecting something new and you wont become surprised, confused and/or dissapointed - and try not to let Mr Glowery put you off!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    This third book is much the same and significantly different than the others, so much so that they're all about the same amount of difference between them while in the same world, but all of them have so much of the same gentleness and levels of extreme intensity. It's very odd to describe, and I'm sorry for making a hash of it, but it's still valid. The gods are always making a mess of things, and sometimes it's so much worse than we think. Here's to the wolf! And here's to the Horse! Can we This third book is much the same and significantly different than the others, so much so that they're all about the same amount of difference between them while in the same world, but all of them have so much of the same gentleness and levels of extreme intensity. It's very odd to describe, and I'm sorry for making a hash of it, but it's still valid. The gods are always making a mess of things, and sometimes it's so much worse than we think. Here's to the wolf! And here's to the Horse! Can we rely on the gods to help us in the mortal realm, or do they just wanna deal with the souls? Well, that's a big and important question across all the novels, and rather than just making a saint or creating a Paladin, I actually get to feel really sorry for Ingrey, our resident werewolf and god-ridden hero and the love of his life, the spirit-touched geas-ridden Ijada. Such a fascinating and torturous tale, from how both of them are plagued by gods, how their world distrusts them, to the geas they both must fulfill, separately, even as they learn to love each other in such a serious, serious affair. I can say, honestly, that the climax was all sorts of awesome and scary and quite unusual for a fantasy tale. The mythos that Bujold describes has been consistently borrowing from common symbolism but it's very deep and powerful all on its own and quite amazing. :) Just thinking about all those animals, iterations of animals, gives me the chills. Very good novel and worth a lot more praise and close reading than I think it has gotten by the general public, perhaps. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mayim de Vries

    “There never was a golden age. It was always only iron.” The World of the Five Gods is one that the readers get to know slowly. In the “Curse of Chalion” the theological rudiments are delivered, “Paladin of Souls” broadens the vista, and the Hallowed Hunt takes us deeper into the darkness coiling somewhere between the human and divine passions. It is more primal, and less sophisticated story, but nonetheless complex if not as gripping as the other two. What you can expect is that this book, just “There never was a golden age. It was always only iron.” The World of the Five Gods is one that the readers get to know slowly. In the “Curse of Chalion” the theological rudiments are delivered, “Paladin of Souls” broadens the vista, and the Hallowed Hunt takes us deeper into the darkness coiling somewhere between the human and divine passions. It is more primal, and less sophisticated story, but nonetheless complex if not as gripping as the other two. What you can expect is that this book, just like the predecessor, does not follow a single character nor does it continue a single story line. In fact, it set before the events and in somewhat different location. This time Ms Bujold takes us to the land of Weald, which still adheres to its pagan druid-like ways under the veneer of quintarian religion of Five Gods. The old ways and the new ways of religious worship, a tradition pitched against tradition will be therefore the main axis of the unfolding tale. All starts with a gory murder and if this is not enough for you or you think that detective stories should not take forays into the fantasy genre, rest assured that heretical sorcery, mysterious geas, suppressed animal practices, and all sorts of political chaos follow promptly. You could say that the pace is rather slow (particularly that the protagonists spend a lot of time traveling and discussing various things), but I cannot say it acts to the detriment of the book especially that the whole intrigue unravels bit by bit, leading and misleading the reader with various prompts of which some are true and others unfounded. This requires close reading and concentration; otherwise, one can get lost easily in this intense density of tropes. Character exposition and development is where Ms Bujold shines. Both main protagonists, Ingrey and Ijada, are beautifully flawed and intriguing in their ordinariness: a trusted aide and a dowered maiden. Again, the plot unfolds through the middle rather than the upper crust of society making the story all the more interesting. The secondary characters are even better; I enjoyed the romantic prince with a pet polar bear and the walking chaos of Learned Hallana, particularly that they brought some lightness into this very dark tale. Sadly, Ms Bujold lost me in the last part of the novel. Once the mysteries had been solved and only needed to be dealt with, the whole thing deflated. I found the finale disappointing, both on the mundane and the divine plane. Hollow instead of hallowed, so to speak. Good but lacking the genius of the other two books in the series. Still, it undoubtedly is a novel worth your time. Actual rating: 3.5 -- Also in the series: 1. The Curse of Chalion ★★★★★ 2. Paladin of Souls ★★★★★

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    The Hallowed Hunt was another good instalment in the Five Gods series. Just like the first two books in the series the story had a mix of mystery, intrigue, romance, and magic. Bujold favours a sedate pace but still has an engaging writing style. She also has a talent for making it tough to guess which direction the story will take next! Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff has been tasked by his master to collect both the body of Prince Boleso and his murderer and return them to the capitol. One for the The Hallowed Hunt was another good instalment in the Five Gods series. Just like the first two books in the series the story had a mix of mystery, intrigue, romance, and magic. Bujold favours a sedate pace but still has an engaging writing style. She also has a talent for making it tough to guess which direction the story will take next! Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff has been tasked by his master to collect both the body of Prince Boleso and his murderer and return them to the capitol. One for the funeral and the other for a trial. It seems an easy task but is complicated when it becomes apparent Ijada, the noblewomen who killed Boleso, did so in self defence and that the Prince himself was caught up in forbidden sorcery. It could not have happened at a worse time as the political situation in the Weald is tense as the old Hallowed King lays in his deathbed. As if that was not bad enough the Gods themselves and a malevolent sorcerer have an interest in the happenings in the Weald and both have turned their eyes on Ingrey! The story was quite enjoyable. We learned about a different sort of magic in this instalment but also learned how it was similar to the demon based magic of the previous books. The plot was interesting and managed to keep up the mystery most of the way through. Ingrey and Ijada both proved to be likeable characters and they were supported by a solid cast of memorable secondary characters. All in all I quite enjoyed this one. It was on par with the second book in the series for quality and I look forward to reading more books set in this fascinating world. Rating: 4 stars. Audio Note: Marguerite Gavin did a good job with the audio of this one.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    We have been discussing on a different thread how a person's mood, frame of mind, surroundings etc. might effect their outlook on a book. I'm forced to say, maybe that's so here. I really liked the first in this series of books, it is exceptional as is the second. Each (especially the first The Curse of Chalion) snagged me and dragged me into the story. They held my interest from the first. Now we come to the third. I could not get into it. The author seeks here to expand further the details of We have been discussing on a different thread how a person's mood, frame of mind, surroundings etc. might effect their outlook on a book. I'm forced to say, maybe that's so here. I really liked the first in this series of books, it is exceptional as is the second. Each (especially the first The Curse of Chalion) snagged me and dragged me into the story. They held my interest from the first. Now we come to the third. I could not get into it. The author seeks here to expand further the details of the world's religion (which up to now has held up fairly well, hasn't taken away from the story and has worked internally). Here it (in my opinion) failed. We get treated to long interminable conversations about what "animal got into who" what having an animal's spirit portends, why it got there, how it got there, what it can and and can't do...on and on and on. I really liked the earlier volumes here and rated them 5 stars. I found myself "skipping and skimming" in this one and knew I was in trouble. For me the 2 star rating is a stretch, I didn't quite feel right about going all the way to 1 star however. Happily these books aren't that tightly interwoven and I don't lose the first two by disliking this one. I hope others of you who were looking forward to this book enjoy it more than I did, but for me...nope. For me this is a rambling book that attempts to build a story on a religious system that worked earlier but has been stretched to the breaking point in it's building, with a convoluted political plot that just doesn't hold up. That is however as I always point out, just me...I definitely plan to read more by the author I only hope maybe I get the chance to have one book out of many "not be up to what the others were" in my own writing. Okay...I greatly liked the first 2, didn't care for this one. 2 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lightreads

    Third in her Five Gods universe, dealing with the son. I liked this better a year and a reread later. It is very much a Bujold book, by which I mean that the main character, while operating within the inner circles of power, has some affliction (curse and blessing) which makes him an outsider to the society he works to serve. In this case the affliction is the possession of an animal spirit. Which is why, I think, I enjoyed this book but it did not grab me by the heart and gut like Curse of Third in her Five Gods universe, dealing with the son. I liked this better a year and a reread later. It is very much a Bujold book, by which I mean that the main character, while operating within the inner circles of power, has some affliction (curse and blessing) which makes him an outsider to the society he works to serve. In this case the affliction is the possession of an animal spirit. Which is why, I think, I enjoyed this book but it did not grab me by the heart and gut like Curse of Chalion did – the structure of the magic and Ingrey’s role in the story ensure that he has only a passing contact with the gods of the universe. And that’s the highlight of the series for me, the way damaged people are placed in the path of indescribably vast power, and how the power itself does not so much change them, but the having of it compels them to change themselves. It’s the best of both worlds, really – books that push my destiny button but also insist on absolute personal responsibility. That is not as true in this book, partly because the new magic here is not quite as compelling to me personally. Also, I feel like the canvas is just a bit too crowded – the five people who do have prolonged contact with the gods plus the additional two or three magical practitioners dragged into the final tableau are a bit much for a book with close third narration on a single person. It leaves them all deftly but over quickly sketched, so they are a bit more caricatures of strengths and flaws than I would like. It is still a very good book, though. Ingrey is a Bujold protagonist, and by that I mean that he is very often unaware of the ways he is extraordinary. The villain is also thoroughly creepifying, and I particularly like the way the book ends, tied up neatly but with threads of uncertainty and loss and future trial woven in, much like life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    I have to say... this one felt kind of like a disappointment to me after how much I enjoyed Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. This one is actually a prequel which is set before the events of the other two, but it was written later on by the author. In this story we follow Lord Ingrey who is tasked with bringing the Lady Ijada (accused and self-confessed killer of Prince Boleso [a rapist]) to justice. He's supposed to journey with her to the place of her trial, but along the way he starts to I have to say... this one felt kind of like a disappointment to me after how much I enjoyed Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. This one is actually a prequel which is set before the events of the other two, but it was written later on by the author. In this story we follow Lord Ingrey who is tasked with bringing the Lady Ijada (accused and self-confessed killer of Prince Boleso [a rapist]) to justice. He's supposed to journey with her to the place of her trial, but along the way he starts to feel something is wrong with him and realises not all is as first appeared and Lady Ijada may be innocent and the only one he can truly trust... The story started out well and I was definitely interested in the God's involvement and the links between humans and animals, but as it went further I found the plot becoming muddied and I felt it lost its way. I really enjoyed the first two Bujold books I read because they brought an older and more wisened character to the forefront of the story which is something different to what I predominantly see in fantasy. Although this book also attempted to do that I feel like this character just didn't get the emotional connection I had with the first two and when that was combined with the slow world-building and messy plot, I just got a bit bored with it all (not great). The ending of the story was pretty good at times, the beginning I really liked, the middle...meh. I feel like the real meat of the book, the central sections, just didn't wow or engage me as I wanted them to. Maybe I just wasn't excited by the character and so found it harder to enjoy this one, but sadly this prequel was one I could easily have skipped and felt no worse off. I do fully intend to read the Penric novellas set in this world as I love the concepts Bujold creates and of the three books I have read by her I've really enjoyed two. However, this one just wasn't great for me and I found myself not willing to finish it until I forced myself to sit down and power through the last 70ish pages (not a good sign). Overall, it was ok, not great, not terrible, just kind of meh. Not one I'd recommend starting with as I imagine it may put you off the author, and yet I know some people have liked it a lot so this is just my opinion. 2*s from me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    'The Hallowed Hunt' is book three in The World of the Five Gods series. I was enthralled! However, a reader should start with book one The Curse of Chalion to completely understand author Lois McMaster Bujold's magical world building in this unique fantasy. Each book follows a character introduced in a previous book in the series, so most of the continuity between books is about the world Bujold has invented and the five gods. The gods are real! There are a variety of rules and rites designed to 'The Hallowed Hunt' is book three in The World of the Five Gods series. I was enthralled! However, a reader should start with book one The Curse of Chalion to completely understand author Lois McMaster Bujold's magical world building in this unique fantasy. Each book follows a character introduced in a previous book in the series, so most of the continuity between books is about the world Bujold has invented and the five gods. The gods are real! There are a variety of rules and rites designed to communicate with or placate the gods, some of which are required by the gods and others which have been developed by those god-touched or by those who are pedantic who have chosen or were chosen to serve in the temples. The gods' function is to accept the souls of people who die - or not accept them, condemning a rejected soul to permanent non-existence. Each god has his or her preferences of the human personality types whose company or lifestyle they like. But sometimes they all refuse a soul or are unable to accept one, condemning the soul to slow dissipation. 'Sins' depend on the seriousness of the crimes and can be expiated. Sometimes not. There are magical spells and talents from powerful humans infused by animal spirits or demons that even the gods are unable to undo. Being infused by an animal spirit while living is a permanent condition - and it means that that person's soul must walk the Earth after death as a ghost for decades, even centuries, until fading away into nothing. Having an animal's soul caged inside gives people extra perceptions and strengths. Few choose to commit the sin of capturing an animal's soul within their bodies in the current era of belief, but it is secretly done occasionally, especially by those who are ambitious for power. Other unlucky victims have it forced on them. One such is Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff. He once was heir to his father's large holdings and authority of rule. But after an illegal animal infusing ceremony his father was performing went horribly wrong, Ingrey escaped the punishment of being killed by the temple by agreeing to a process to bind the wolf spirit now inside of Ingrey's body. Binding stopped almost all linking and communication between Ingrey and the wolf's soul. The murder of young Prince Bolesco, the heir of the current Hallow King, stirs up a political storm. The murder took place in a rural castle far from the capital city of Easthome. Lord Ingrey is dispatched to bring Bolesco's body and the murderer back to Easthome, where the rites of burial can be performed, and the trial of the murderer can begin. The murderer turns out to be a beautiful and young naive girl, whom Bolesco was attempting to rape. Bolesco's body has paint in ritual designs still on it in spots despite someone having tried to wash the paint off. Ingrey recognizes Bolesco was killed while performing an animal soul infusing ceremony. Did it work? He insists on seeing Bolesco's bedroom. The dead leopard is still hanging from the rafters, the servants afraid to touch anything. Lady Ijada, the young woman, is not only beautiful, she is intelligent and angry. Ingrey realizes she has the leopard's spirit. She has been locked in a cell, but she is being treated well due to her aristocrat birth and connections. However, her family connections will not save her if she is brought to trial. But first Ingrey must get her to Easthome safely. It becomes clear during the journey someone is trying to kill Ijada before they travel many days by horse and wagon on the rutted trails through the forest - himself!?!?! Oh, hell. A sorcerer must be afoot. This is a wonderfully entertaining series, full of inventive world building, thrills and chills, mystery and charming characters. Each book can be read as a standalone, but the magic and the gods are best understood if the series is read in order. Bujold slowly reveals clues as the hero overcomes dangerous situations. I think Bujold runs close to the style of chick-lit genre, if not quite going there full-on, but she does not shy away from gore or realpolitik maneuvers or imagining realistic male protagonists.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Xu

    I don't understand why all the dislike for this book? Glad that this book wasn't the 1st in the series. If The Hallowed Hunt was the first book McMaster wrote in her World of the Five Gods trilogy, would most people continued on with the series at all to win all those awards and recognition that the first 2 books have?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I screwed up & listened to this as the 2d book in the trilogy, not last. I don't think it's that big of a deal since it takes place way before the first two & has nothing but the world in common. I read the first of this trilogy when it came out & then the second, but never got around to this one. The gal that read this was quite a good reader, but different from the other two books. The first half of the book dragged for me. I almost quit. Way too much description & thinking I screwed up & listened to this as the 2d book in the trilogy, not last. I don't think it's that big of a deal since it takes place way before the first two & has nothing but the world in common. I read the first of this trilogy when it came out & then the second, but never got around to this one. The gal that read this was quite a good reader, but different from the other two books. The first half of the book dragged for me. I almost quit. Way too much description & thinking (exposition) on the parts of the main characters for a mere few days traveling. Yes, there was a lot to set up, but it could have been done a lot better. The last half was very twisty & action packed. The hero was somewhat subtle. We knew his courageous, tough, & somewhat sinister reputation, but he had little ability to show it off during the first half. In the last, it shined even with the romantic theme that ran so strongly through the story line. There were a lot of excellent characters; good, bad, & 'damn-if-I'm-sure'. Some were neither due to complicated politics & theology. I pitied the best & the worst, as well as liked or disliked them. It all added up to a great story, but due to the slow beginning, I just can't give it a 4th star.

  11. 4 out of 5

    D.G.

    **4.5 stars** What a wonderfully complex book! Lois McMaster Bujold is a master storyteller, waving such intricate plots which she doles out little by little but still leaves some questions to the imagination. I feel like I must read this book again because I'm sure I missed a lot of the subtlety. I can't go much into details about this story because a) I'm bound to get something wrong and b) I will give spoilers and I think this story is best enjoyed when it's uncovered by the reader. I will say **4.5 stars** What a wonderfully complex book! Lois McMaster Bujold is a master storyteller, waving such intricate plots which she doles out little by little but still leaves some questions to the imagination. I feel like I must read this book again because I'm sure I missed a lot of the subtlety. I can't go much into details about this story because a) I'm bound to get something wrong and b) I will give spoilers and I think this story is best enjoyed when it's uncovered by the reader. I will say though that even though this is set in the universe of Chalion, the only connection to the first two books in the series is the Quinterian religion and the 5 Gods (the Father, the Mother, the Daughter, the Son and the Bastard.) What each God stands for and the tenets of the Quinterian religion are all explained here so there's no need to read the first two books if you don't want to, although both stories are as terrific as this one. The main character, Ingray kin Wolfcliff is the kind that you want to get behind. Extremely smart and deadly, but full of compassion and inner strength. He is one of those heroes that start the book wounded in soul and spirit because he cannot accept a part of himself. As the book progresses and he comes to understand himself and his powers, a slow transformation occurs and by the end, he comes not only to accept himself and who he is but be proud of it. The narration by Marguerite Gavin was fantastic but with a man as the main character, I think the audiobook would have benefited from a male narrator (as long as it was as talented as Ms. Gavin, of course.) She had a wonderful range of male voices - you could really hear the wolf in Ingray's voice - and lots of subtlety. This was a story were language was fluid and intricate and Ms. Gavin narration's did it justice. I'll definitely check out Ms. McMaster Bujold backlist and read more of her books. Thanks to my friend ShoSho who made me pick up this book sooner rather than later.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    Enthralling and magical, The World of Five Gods novels has all the right ingredients: sympathetic main characters that make you want to root for them immediately, intricate magic, steady pacing with very little fluff/padding, and most of all, the horror of ambitious men and women who would do whatever it takes to reach their often morbid goals. Bonus point: Gods in fantasy is one of my pet peeves. Here, their involvement is not annoying at all. I was enraptured, ensnared and bewitched. Enthralling and magical, The World of Five Gods novels has all the right ingredients: sympathetic main characters that make you want to root for them immediately, intricate magic, steady pacing with very little fluff/padding, and most of all, the horror of ambitious men and women who would do whatever it takes to reach their often morbid goals. Bonus point: Gods in fantasy is one of my pet peeves. Here, their involvement is not annoying at all. I was enraptured, ensnared and bewitched. Definitely a worthy Hugo winner for best series. Onwards to the Penric novellas!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    2.5 rounded up to 3. Bujold is a great storyteller, but this particular audiobook listen frustrated me, because I had a hard time absorbing the concept of weald magic, which seemed so awkwardly tacked on to the existing world of the five gods. Too much about it had to be explained by the narrative means of characters puzzling things out in their heads, right up to the very end. I also found that over the course of the month or so I spent listening to this, I failed to retain many key plot 2.5 rounded up to 3. Bujold is a great storyteller, but this particular audiobook listen frustrated me, because I had a hard time absorbing the concept of weald magic, which seemed so awkwardly tacked on to the existing world of the five gods. Too much about it had to be explained by the narrative means of characters puzzling things out in their heads, right up to the very end. I also found that over the course of the month or so I spent listening to this, I failed to retain many key plot details (perhaps because they had been told and not shown?), so in one way or the other I often felt I didn't really understand what was happening.

  14. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there mateys! 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 Ahoy there mateys! 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! Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Not sure where this book actually fits in the series. If it's a prequel to the Challion books, then they carried none of the knowledge forward. If it's a sequel it's far into the future. Same religion, brief mention of Challion. ??? Anyway, I'm glad I didn't read it first 'cause I never would have read the other two and that would have been my loss.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    I LOVED the first two books in this series. Like, five stars, MUST READ, loved. I had extremely high hopes for this one, but it just didn't feel very connected to the other two. The plot was pretty stand alone from the previous, and seemed really exposition-y with the animals spirits, taking place in a different region, different characters etc. It started off well but just led to me skipping a lot to the end. I'm not sure what happened, I love this author but would probably recommend sticking I LOVED the first two books in this series. Like, five stars, MUST READ, loved. I had extremely high hopes for this one, but it just didn't feel very connected to the other two. The plot was pretty stand alone from the previous, and seemed really exposition-y with the animals spirits, taking place in a different region, different characters etc. It started off well but just led to me skipping a lot to the end. I'm not sure what happened, I love this author but would probably recommend sticking to the first two of this series. Hoping she goes back to the series roots with the subsequent books. BIG FAN.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    A little convoluted. I like the World of Five God, but this was not my favorite story. Fortunately each book is a stand alone.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kostas

    8.5/10 In The Hallowed Hunt, the third installment in the World of the Five Gods, Lois McMaster Bujold brings us to a different era that takes us, for the first time, farther from the kingdom of Chalion, deep into the unknown country of the Weald, and also in a new story that - through her incredibly wonderful craftsmanship - comes again to enchant us and to lead us to a great adventure of love and devotion; to a magical world as we have never seen it before! From a time long-forgotten the people 8.5/10 In The Hallowed Hunt, the third installment in the World of the Five Gods, Lois McMaster Bujold brings us to a different era that takes us, for the first time, farther from the kingdom of Chalion, deep into the unknown country of the Weald, and also in a new story that - through her incredibly wonderful craftsmanship - comes again to enchant us and to lead us to a great adventure of love and devotion; to a magical world as we have never seen it before! From a time long-forgotten the people of the Weald lived once free and wild, following their own religions; until all that changed when Audar the Great, the leader of Darthaca, came with his army and brought them under his rule, leading them later in a continuously great war that lasted for many years before, at long last, they succeeded to regain their land's independence again. But now, having passed many years since these events, the people of the Weald will be faced with a new turmoil when Prince Boleso - the Hallow King’s youngest son who was exiled after an unnaturally peculiar incident, is found mysteriously dead by Lady Ijada’s hands. Ingrey, a young lord who has gone through his own, dark past, will be sent to the late prince’s remote castle to discover the events that brought him to his death, and also to bring his accused killer - who inadvertently was given an unwanted burden that can have great consequences - back to Easthome's royal court to be judged. However, when it will be revealed to him later that a curse is following him - a curse that could force him to do something out of his control - their return to the town of Easthome will prove something more difficult than they had expected, and as their adventures they’ll have just begun, they will find themselves amidst a ploy that will threaten to bring the hallow king’s fall, and the rise of an ancient, forgotten power. Together, Ingrey and Lady Ijada will try - with the will of the gods - to find a way and stop it all before it's too late because, if they fail, it may well lead them even to the destruction of all of what they knew. With the previous two books focusing on the kingdom of Chalion, earning worthily high reviews and many awards for her wonderfully crafted stories, Bujold takes in this one a big challenge and brings an entire fresher story as she takes us into an unknown country to the distant past, well before Cazaril’s and Ista’s adventures. Even though the book has, certainly, a much different feel than the previous two it has, too, its own special magic with Bujold managing not only to bring a very beautiful story, but also to take us and to a world so much familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, showing us of a past that hides its own, dark secrets. On the other hand, of course, Bujold’s writing is, truly, a true pleasure amidst the world of fantasy literature as, once again, she manages to enchant us through her wonderful - and very well-written - characters, and also to take us to another very beautiful, magical adventure. Overall, it is a very beautiful book that, although it is certainly much different than the previous two, as Bujold brings us into an unknown world and with completely new characters, she manages to bring again another wonderful and very special story that, through her writing, cannot but enchant you. Ελληνική κριτική: (view spoiler)[Στο The Hallowed Hunt, το τρίτο μέρος της σειράς του Κόσμου των Πέντε Θεών, η Lois McMaster Bujold μας φέρνει σε διαφορετική εποχή που μας πηγαίνει, για πρώτη φορά, πιο μακριά από το βασίλειο του Chalion, βαθιά μέσα στην άγνωστη χώρα του Weald, αλλά και σε μια νέα ιστορία που - μέσα από την απίστευτα υπέροχη δεξιοτεχνία της - έρχεται ξανά για να μας μαγέψει και να μας οδηγήσει σε μια μεγάλη περιπέτεια αγάπης και αφοσίωσης· σε έναν μαγικό κόσμο όπως δεν τον έχουμε ξαναδεί! Από μια εποχή εδώ και πολύ καιρό ξεχασμένη οι άνθρωποι του Weald ζούσαν κάποτε ελεύθεροι και άγριοι, ακολουθώντας τις δικές τους θρησκείες· μέχρι που όλα αυτά άλλαξαν όταν ο Audar ο Μέγας, ο ηγέτης του Darthaca, ήρθε με τον στρατό του και τους έφερε κάτω από την εξουσία του, οδηγώντας τους αργότερα σε ένα συνεχή μεγάλο πόλεμο που κράτησε για πολλά χρόνια πριν, τελικά, καταφέρουν να επανακτήσουν την ανεξαρτησία της γης τους ξανά. Όμως τώρα, έχοντας περάσει πολλά χρόνια από αυτά τα γεγονότα, οι άνθρωποι του Weald θα βρεθούν αντιμέτωποι με μια νέα αναταραχή όταν ο Πρίγκιπας Boleso - ο νεότερος γιος του Καθαγιασμένου Βασιλιά που εξορίστηκε μετά από ένα αφύσικα περίεργο γεγονός - βρεθεί μυστηριωδώς νεκρός από τα χέρια της Λαίδης Ijada. Ο Ingrey, ένας νεαρός λόρδος που είχε περάσει μέσα από το δικό του σκοτεινό παρελθόν, θα σταλθεί στο απομακρυσμένο κάστρο του εκλιπόντος πρίγκιπα για να ανακαλύψει τα γεγονότα που τον έφεραν στον θάνατό του αλλά και να φέρει την κατηγορουμένη δολοφόνο του - που αθέλητά της, της δόθηκε ένα ανεπιθύμητο βάρος που μπορεί να έχει μεγάλες συνέπειες - πίσω στο βασιλικό δικαστήριο του Easthome ώστε να κριθεί. Ωστόσο, όταν του αποκαλυφθεί αργότερα ότι μια κατάρα τον ακολουθεί - μια κατάρα που θα τον αναγκάσει να κάνει κάτι εκτός του ελέγχου του - η επιστροφή τους προς την πόλη του Easthome τους θα αποδειχθεί πιο δύσκολη απ’ ότι περίμεναν και, καθώς οι περιπέτειές τους θα έχουν μόλις αρχίσει, θα βρεθούν ενδιάμεσα σε ένα σχέδιο δολοπλοκιών που θα απειλήσει να φέρει να την πτώση του καθαγιασμένου βασιλιά, και την άνοδο μιας αρχαίας, ξεχασμένης δύναμης. Μαζί, ο Ingrey και η Λαίδη Ijada, θα προσπαθήσουν - με την θέληση των θεών - να βρουν ένα τρόπο και να τα σταματήσουν όλα αυτά πριν να είναι πολύ αργά γιατί, αν αποτύχουν, μπορεί κάλλιστα να τους οδηγήσει ακόμα και στη καταστροφή όλων όσων ήξεραν. Με τα προηγούμενα δύο βιβλία να επικεντρώνονται στο βασίλειο του Chalion, κερδίζοντας επάξια υψηλές κριτικές και πολλά βραβεία για τις υπέροχα φτιαγμένες ιστορίες της, στο συγκεκριμένο η Bujold παίρνει μια μεγάλη πρόκληση και φέρνει μια εντελώς πιο φρέσκια ιστορία καθώς μας πηγαίνει σε μια άγνωστη χώρα στο μακρινό παρελθόν, πολύ πιο πριν από τις περιπέτειες του Cazaril και της Ista. Αν και το βιβλίο έχει, σίγουρα, μια πολύ πιο διαφορετική αίσθηση από τα προηγούμενα δύο έχει, και αυτό, την δικιά του ξεχωριστή μαγεία με την Bujold να καταφέρνει όχι μόνο να φέρει μια πολύ όμορφη ιστορία, αλλά και να μας πάει σε ένα κόσμο τόσο γνωστό και άγνωστο ταυτόχρονα, δείχνοντάς μας ένα παρελθόν που κρύβει τα δικά του, σκοτεινά μυστικά. Από την άλλη, φυσικά, η γραφή της Bujold είναι, πραγματικά, μια αληθινή ευχαρίστηση ενδιάμεσα στον κόσμο της λογοτεχνίας του φανταστικού καθώς καταφέρνει για άλλη μια φορά να μας μαγέψει μέσα τους υπέροχους - και πολύ καλογραμμένους - χαρακτήρες της αλλά και να μας πάει σε μια ακόμα πολύ όμορφη, μαγική περιπέτεια. Συνολικά, είναι ένα πολύ όμορφο βιβλίο που, αν και σίγουρα είναι πιο διαφορετικό από τα προηγούμενα δύο, καθώς η Bujold μας φέρνει σε ένα άγνωστο κόσμο και με εντελώς νέους χαρακτήρες, καταφέρνει να φέρει και πάλι μια ακόμα υπέροχη και πολύ ξεχωριστή ιστορία που, μέσα από την γραφή της, δεν μπορεί παρά να σε μαγέψει. (hide spoiler)]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    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 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. Read more Lois McMaster Bujold book reviews at Fantasy literature.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    I have to agree with others who have said "good, but not as good as the first two." However - it's still squeaking into the 4-star range. I also feel that in this case, marketing this as "Chalion #3" is doing the book a disservice - though set in the same world as 'Curse of Chalion' and 'Paladin of Souls,' this is a fully self-contained, stand-alone novel. Ingrey, a bad-ass but good-hearted soldier, who just happens to have been saddled with a forbidden spirit-animal as a young man, is sent to I have to agree with others who have said "good, but not as good as the first two." However - it's still squeaking into the 4-star range. I also feel that in this case, marketing this as "Chalion #3" is doing the book a disservice - though set in the same world as 'Curse of Chalion' and 'Paladin of Souls,' this is a fully self-contained, stand-alone novel. Ingrey, a bad-ass but good-hearted soldier, who just happens to have been saddled with a forbidden spirit-animal as a young man, is sent to deal with the fallout of a crime - a woman has murdered the prince. However, upon arrival, he believes Lady Ijada's story - she killed in self-defense, while the prince was assaulting her as part of an occult ritual sacrifice. Now she also, as a result of that ritual, has a spirit animal. Ingrey finds himself taking Ijada's side, as they find themselves caught up in a complex spiral of religious manifestations, magical plots, and political machinations... Ingrey is an enjoyable character, but my favorite character was actually the Learned Hallana - a motherly, powerful, demon-possessed doctor-sorceress with a down-to-earth attitude. I want more of her!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Not 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. Two and a half stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leseparatist

    I picked this book up in August, but my mood just wasn't right then; the world was bright and full of buzz and energy, and I was busy and lacked the attention span this novel demanded. It's a very difficult book for me to review because it is quite a bit more complex than it seems on the surface (and it reads light even though it is far from being slight!). Very few things about it match what they seem at first. It zigs when you think it would zag. It is a novel that has very little action and I picked this book up in August, but my mood just wasn't right then; the world was bright and full of buzz and energy, and I was busy and lacked the attention span this novel demanded. It's a very difficult book for me to review because it is quite a bit more complex than it seems on the surface (and it reads light even though it is far from being slight!). Very few things about it match what they seem at first. It zigs when you think it would zag. It is a novel that has very little action and yet things keep happening; it is a romance between a man and a woman but the greatest tension is found between male characters; there's a lot of humour and it reads like a breeze, but it's also thoughtfully spinning a metaphor about how trauma of genocide and destruction of a culture and a religion can hold over hundreds of years. And how things and people survive despite many difficulties. I loved the two previous novels in the World of the Five Gods, but this one really made me fall in love with the world Bujold built; I one-clicked the first Penric novella the moment I finished reading this (she exaggerated but only slightly).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Whitehead

    There are books that are fun and exciting to read. There are also books that explore ideas in depth, providing commentary on some of the passions of human existence. Sometimes a book can be both of those things. The frequency with which Lois MacMaster Bujold is able to accomplish that with her books is astounding. The Hallowed Hunt appears to be equal parts fantasy thriller and romance story but that is just a cover for what it really is: an exploration of forgiveness, redemption and mercy. Bujold There are books that are fun and exciting to read. There are also books that explore ideas in depth, providing commentary on some of the passions of human existence. Sometimes a book can be both of those things. The frequency with which Lois MacMaster Bujold is able to accomplish that with her books is astounding. The Hallowed Hunt appears to be equal parts fantasy thriller and romance story but that is just a cover for what it really is: an exploration of forgiveness, redemption and mercy. Bujold has a powerful ability to immediately introduce likable characters then throw them into a plot that grips the reader and drags them through without giving time to stop and look around. The fascinating thing about her stories is that she peppers them with details about the world, culture, and history that can easily go unnoticed because the plot is so gripping that anything extraneous falls out of focus. The Hallowed Hunt is about Ingrey Wolfcliff who was imbued with the soul of a wolf during a pagan ceremony when a small child. Now he has mastered his wolf and he is sent as a sort of bounty hunter to bring the murderer of the youngest son of the king to justice. He arrives to find that the murderer is a young woman named Ijada who has inherited a strange and powerful destiny. Through the next three hundred plus pages Ingrey and Ijada discover secrets and mysteries that have been buried for hundreds of years and may have been better left there. This book takes place in the same world as the Chalion books but is located somewhere else in the world and with completely new characters. She has established an interesting trend of writing each book to focus on one of the five gods. The Curse of Chalion was — though not immediately obvious — the Daughter’s book. Paladin of Souls was about the Bastard. Hallowed Hunt is completely and solely about the Son. Each of the five gods represent different seasons and different parts of the body and different attributes. The Son is about forgiveness, so it is fitting that his book would dwell significantly upon that subject. Forgiveness and mercy go hand in hand. How many times should we forgive? Is there a limit, a point at which a person has committed a crime so heinous that it is beyond our mortal capacity to forgive? It’s probable that there is not, though I can easily imagine a number of things that I would have a very difficult time with. The Hallowed Hunt is rife with characters that have committed truly evil acts and the gods — in this case the Son — beg their forgiveness. Bujold does not shy away from a world in which religion is as real and important as it was in the Middle Ages of Western Europe. These people think about religion as every aspect of their lives… and it is real. The gods are only able to act through willing servants, people that are able to subject their will to a god’s control. Other times they have to act by sending multiple people to answer the prayers of an individual until one of them comes through. It has a feeling of controlled chaos. The gods want to help, to make the world right, but they are sometimes thwarted by people who make their own choices. When a person dies their soul is accepted by one of the gods, otherwise they are sundered, left untethered to a body like ghosts until they fade away into nothing, doomed to exist for eternity as immaterial and thoughtless spirits. There will be spoilers after this. There is a beautiful scene in which the corpse of the murdered Prince Boleso is undergoing the ceremony to see which of the five gods will accept his soul. This is done with spirit animals that represent the gods. Ingrey and Ijada are taken together, mentally, to another place where the Son appears and tells them that he cannot take Boleso’s soul because it is infected with a multitude of animal spirits that he has harnessed through similar rites to the one that gave Ingrey his own. The Son asks ingrey to use his own wolf spirit to draw out the infecting animals of Boleso’s soul so that Boleso can be claimed by the Son. Ingrey finds himself disgusted with the prospect of allowing Boleso, a rapist and murderer who has trod on the lives of countless people on his way to his untimely demise, a chance into heaven. This is where the Son points out to Ingrey that he is not also without need of forgiveness in his life by asking him if he would rather be judged by “my Father.” This scene happens early in the book and has implications that echo throughout the rest of the novel even down to the ending where once again Ingrey and Ijada stand, not as judges of good or evil, but as instruments of forgiveness for the gods who require their help and sacrifice in order to claim the souls of thousands of ancient dead. The message, of course, is one that reverberates through many cultures and is ingrained into many religions around the world: Forgiveness is not a mortal choice, it is our duty. Perhaps not surprising for a book that is fundamentally about a god called the Son who represents mercy, the hunt and spring time, this is a very spiritual book. It is a book in which the gods are real and nebulous and benevolent in all the ways that make sense. They are also infinitely patient and willing to work with the cracked and broken clay that is mortal men and women in order to save souls and make things right. I’ve heard many times that The Hallowed Hunt is not as good as the other Chalion books and I can see that it is different. The tone and culture are new and harder to understand but I found it to be every bit as gripping and just as powerful. Bujold has quickly established herself as one of the great writers and I will forever be grateful for the wonderful stories that she has given to the world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    When I stepped into the world of Chalion, I was introduced to its five gods—Father, Son, Mother, Daughter and the Bastard—and some of the rituals surrounding them, but I mistakenly assumed these gods were much like ours: believed in by some, but with little proof of their existence. But as with everything else in The Curse of Chalion, Bujold politely allowed me my assumptions, then gently pulled the rug out from under me and moved on before I even had time to catch my breath. Subsequently, I When I stepped into the world of Chalion, I was introduced to its five gods—Father, Son, Mother, Daughter and the Bastard—and some of the rituals surrounding them, but I mistakenly assumed these gods were much like ours: believed in by some, but with little proof of their existence. But as with everything else in The Curse of Chalion, Bujold politely allowed me my assumptions, then gently pulled the rug out from under me and moved on before I even had time to catch my breath. Subsequently, I leapt into the second book, Paladin of Souls, eager to learn more about her world and her gods, and soon fell in love with the Bastard himself. I grabbed Hallowed Hunt hoping for more of the same, but while this did offer more insight into the supernatural and a new form of possession, that of spirit animals, the story and characters themselves were disappointing. The story begins with the death of a prince, murdered in self-defense by the woman he meant to rape. Ijada is less concerned about her fate before judges who are unlikely to see her side of the story, than she is about the sorcery that the prince had involved, resulting in her acquiring the spirit of a leopard. She is to be delivered to her trial by Ingrey, the gruff and deadly sword of a noble lord, who happens to possess an animal spirit of his own. He came by his wolf under traumatic means, but has since suppressed the creature, despite its strength. Their journey together quickly leads them to the realization that their spirits are some how bound together, and they must unravel the mystery. After Paladin of Souls, where the character of Ista became my new hero, I apparently set my standards too high for Ijada. Not that Ijada wasn’t a good character. As usual, I am impressed with the way Bujold handles her women within a male patriarchal society. Her women are all aware of the inequality and may comment on it, but they aren’t desperately raging against it. They all overcome or out-manoeuvre within the rules, and they all show an consistence strength of will and an inspirational endurance. As this is told entirely through Ingray’s point of view, you don’t get much from Ijada beyond his views of her stoicism and his disbelief in her willingness to accept him so easily when most people are intimidated by his harsh demeanour. It’s obvious early on that Ijada and Ingray are meant to be together and, despite a few obstacles, that progresses more or less as expected. Bujold’s books often involve romances with unusual attractions, but the pairings are usually much more interesting and the build up to the realization that the one has feelings for the other is usually far more subtle. I didn’t enjoy these characters and therefore did not become invested in them or in the story itself. By the time things were revealed and proceeded on to the epic not-quite-showdown and ghostly turn of events, I was rather bored. However, I did enjoy the insight into demon possession, which mostly came through a few chats with a pregnant sorceress. Since demon possession and the subsequent sorcery status had negative connotations for the people in Paladin of Souls, it was interesting to see the counter view, since this takes place in another land where sorcerers are respected and their abilities are trained. See more reviews at The BiblioSanctum.

  25. 5 out of 5

    OhWell

    3.5*, but I cannot really bring it up to a 4*. I don't have time for an in-depth review, so I will just list my main issues here. (view spoiler)[1. The back-and-forth with Wencel being the villain. There was a bit of a doubt but he was pretty obvious for the most part. 2. The ending. It shouldn't have been on a sad note, as Ingrey should have remembered there must be other shamans in the world who could cleanse his soul after death. Why didn't he recall his time on Jokol's boat, when Jokol told 3.5*, but I cannot really bring it up to a 4*. I don't have time for an in-depth review, so I will just list my main issues here. (view spoiler)[1. The back-and-forth with Wencel being the villain. There was a bit of a doubt but he was pretty obvious for the most part. 2. The ending. It shouldn't have been on a sad note, as Ingrey should have remembered there must be other shamans in the world who could cleanse his soul after death. Why didn't he recall his time on Jokol's boat, when Jokol told him about the woman with the weirding voice who blessed his journey? 3. Last but not least, the magic introduced here was ambiguous. Sanderson's well-defined magic systems made me have higher standards:) (hide spoiler)]

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric Moreno

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was a bit put off at the beginning of this book as a result of there being none of the previous characters in the story. In fact, we have completely removed ourselves from Chalion to a border country. Once you get past the fact that none of the favorites are gonna make an appearance, its easy to get down to business and enjoy the story. Again, the protagonist was excellent. Ingrey was an old before his time badass with a crotchety attitude who didn't trust nobody! Itjade on the other hand was I was a bit put off at the beginning of this book as a result of there being none of the previous characters in the story. In fact, we have completely removed ourselves from Chalion to a border country. Once you get past the fact that none of the favorites are gonna make an appearance, its easy to get down to business and enjoy the story. Again, the protagonist was excellent. Ingrey was an old before his time badass with a crotchety attitude who didn't trust nobody! Itjade on the other hand was calm, trusting and heroic! The perfect foil for our stodgy hero. To bad she was dealt such a crappy hand and came up on the opposite side of the law. They start the story on the opposite side of a murder and begin their relationship as jailer and jailee. While the murder charge is true, not all is as clear as black and white. From ritualistic murder, to magic, to animal spirit warriors, to genocide, to succession questions and warring religions this book has it all! Ingrey takes it all in and is equal to the task, even though telling enemies from friends becomes increasingly difficult. The story had me reading all the way to the end to find out what the hell was going on, and I was not disappointed by the finale at Bloodfields aka Holytree! I thought Ingrey did an excellent job juggling all the incoming information and figuring out the jist of what was happening while still manipulating enough people to save his love. All was going well but missing the final piece of the puzzle, but in the end Ingrey was equal to the task. I am sad to see this series end, but I feel as though I have read and witness legends from the Chalion world. Stories that would become immortalized like Troy and passed down through generations. The saint who died three times for the house of Chalion. The Royesse who rode under a cloak of darkness to unite the kingdoms of Chalion and Ibra under persecution from a would be usurper. The mad dowager Royina who made a pilgrimage, saved a kingdom and became a saint to banish the bastards minions. The wolf lord and his leopard princess who cleansed the Holytree and welcomed the gods back to Bloodfield. Just great stories, and I have enjoyed reading them. Time to read Bujolds scifi series? ;)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I was blown away by the first two books in the Chalion series. Perhaps my expectations here were too high. The Hallowed Hunt is not a bad book by any means, but it suffers from a slow start, less developed characters, and sometimes confusing theological plot twists.[return][return]Prince Boleso has been murdered. Lord Ingrey has been dispatched to bring his murderer to justice, and finds things are not at all what he expects. The murderer is a young woman, defending herself from rape. To make I was blown away by the first two books in the Chalion series. Perhaps my expectations here were too high. The Hallowed Hunt is not a bad book by any means, but it suffers from a slow start, less developed characters, and sometimes confusing theological plot twists.[return][return]Prince Boleso has been murdered. Lord Ingrey has been dispatched to bring his murderer to justice, and finds things are not at all what he expects. The murderer is a young woman, defending herself from rape. To make the tale even more sordid, the prince dabbled in ancient magics and killed a jaguar--a jaguar whose soul then entered the woman's body. Lord Ingrey has suffered from a similar condition since he was a teenager, and endured much suspicion and condemnation because of the wolf residing in his body. Now, he finds a like soul--and is likely returning her to the capital to face a lopsided trail and certain death.[return][return]Part of my joy in the first books was in the involvement of the deities. Here, their presence felt more detached for the first half of the book. Everything was about the animal spirits, and that just didn't grab me the same way. Ingrey is a like able enough fellow, but sometimes he feels weak and whiny. Lady Ijada, possessing the jaguar, never really had a chance to come into her own; this is a shame because Bujold's other books displayed such strong, confident women.[return][return]The Curse of Chalion and The Paladin of Souls will have a permanent place on my shelf; this one will be traded in.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is... good? I admit I’m surprised. This series has been a strange one, which gets better as it goes. Interestingly, the second book is better than the first because of the strength of the central character, even though it takes place in the same world as the first (and therefore shares the same flaws in its worldbuilding), but this book is even better - and it shares practically nothing with the first two. I found it different - which was surprising, given how derivative I found a good This is... good? I admit I’m surprised. This series has been a strange one, which gets better as it goes. Interestingly, the second book is better than the first because of the strength of the central character, even though it takes place in the same world as the first (and therefore shares the same flaws in its worldbuilding), but this book is even better - and it shares practically nothing with the first two. I found it different - which was surprising, given how derivative I found a good chunk of the earlier books - and compelling enough that I kept reading. Which makes this the first Bujold I’ve actually liked. Then again, I finished this and picked up a McKillip. And there’s really no comparison. This is good - but on-a-sliding-scale good.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen526

    Hmmmm... I went into this knowing it had a reputation for not being "as good" as the first two books, and I can see the reasoning for that, for sure. The first half of the book somehow managed to feel like it was giving me not enough information and too much information at the same time. "Not enough" in that the book was off and running with a lot of new-to-the-series concepts right out of the gate (with all the spirit-animal stuff) and the lead characters seemed more lightly sketched than we Hmmmm... I went into this knowing it had a reputation for not being "as good" as the first two books, and I can see the reasoning for that, for sure. The first half of the book somehow managed to feel like it was giving me not enough information and too much information at the same time. "Not enough" in that the book was off and running with a lot of new-to-the-series concepts right out of the gate (with all the spirit-animal stuff) and the lead characters seemed more lightly sketched than we usually get from this author. "Too much" in that the first half is pretty heavily weighted toward dialogue of the "what does this all mean?" variety, so it was prone to feeling a bit "sloggy" as characters pondered what it all meant while waiting for the next clue to fall into place... and then lather, rinse, repeat. That said, once things enough clues came together and things started to become clear with regards to the stakes at play and how the Five Gods fit into the narrative, I enjoyed the back half a great deal. The big climax was genuinely moving and I think it's going to stand out as a particularly memorable scene for me, so overall, I found it well worth the read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I loved this. Of course, I generally love Bujold's work and give her a good amount of leeway, but she didn't disappoint. I've heard some people say they didn't like this one as much as The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. It was a bit different (in a very different part of this universe for one thing and a couple of centuries for another), but I really enjoyed it. About half way through it took an unexpected right angle and went in a different direction from what I had expected. I thought I loved this. Of course, I generally love Bujold's work and give her a good amount of leeway, but she didn't disappoint. I've heard some people say they didn't like this one as much as The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. It was a bit different (in a very different part of this universe for one thing and a couple of centuries for another), but I really enjoyed it. About half way through it took an unexpected right angle and went in a different direction from what I had expected. I thought this made the story a lot stronger, but it may be what annoyed other readers. To me, it gave the whole story a lot more depth and purpose than just the simpler level of tale we began with. You don't really need to have read the first two books to enjoy this one, but you will have a better understanding of the Chalionese gods if you do and that may help the sense of the story as, once again, it is a theological tale as well as an adventurous one. [Copied across from Library Thing; 16 October 2012]

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