I’ve called Bujold’s Vorkosigan books “Dave Duncan in space.” Well, since Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls is fantasy, I suppose that it’s just plain ol’ “Dave Duncan.” And, really, it could be; if the name on the cover were different, I’d not have noticed a thing.

Like Duncan, Bujold sets her story in a unique and interesting fantasy world with a novel magic system — or, rather, theological system, since all the supernatural events here are caused by gods or demons. Like Duncan, Bujold populates the world with interesting people who do interesting things in a story so well-paced that it’s all-but-impossible to put the book down before it’s done. (I ended up reading this one until 5:30 AM.)

Paladin of Souls isn’t a work of boundary-pushing genius that makes you rethink the possibilities of the genre, but it’s a superbly crafted work that displays the possibilities of the genre in fully realized form — everything it tries to do, it does damn near perfectly. If you like this sort of thing, you’ll like this thing.


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