Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Hallowed Hunt breaks the cardinal rule of Fantasy That Doesn’t Annoy Me: It trots out all the stupid old-forbidden-blood-magic and sacred-magical-king-and-the-land tropes. Those managed to just about bring down Kushner and Sherman’s Swordspoint sequel, and they do the same to Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion sequel.
Hunt is the story of a grizzled and grim man, who (you will not be shocked to learn) possesses a dark and secret past involving ancient magycks. He meets up with a young damsel in distress, who might just have the spunk and spirit to break through his reserve and make him fall in love. Along the way, they’re going to have to deal with all sorts of stupid, semi-incoherent mystical crap that’s mostly revealed to them in dreams and long expositions from the villain. Much angsty torment and moody what-not ensues.
I didn’t dislike the book as much as this review makes it sound, but that’s not saying very much. Overall verdict: A hearty and emphatic “enh.” Thanks to the execrable Falling Free and the amateurish Shards of Honor, this isn’t Bujold’s worst book ever, but that’s not saying very much either.