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#56 The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold

After the murder of Prince Boleso, Lord Ingrey is called in to collect the body of the victim, and escort his murderer, Lady Ijala, to trial. Then Ingray discovers the truth behind Boleso death. It was not just an attempted rape that led to Boleso's demise, but dark magic which has left it's mark on Ijala in the form of a spirit animal. As Ingray further examines this dark magic, he discovers that he has feelings for Ijala, and the deeper truth behind his own spirit animal.

Reading has always been a highly emotional experience for me. My enjoyment of a book is ultimately based on my abilities to sympathize with it's characters, become emotionally invested in it's plot, and connect with the universe it takes place in. Books that create feelings of excitement, and admiration are positive experiences. Books that create feelings of frustration, and disgust are considerably less enjoyable. But every now and then a book will come that just leaves me cold, and The Hallowed Hunt is a perfect example of that.

First off, I want to make clear that I don't think The Hallowed Hunt is a bad book. Lois McMaster Bujold is a very talented writer, and that is still apparent here. Part of my problem with The Hallowed Hunt comes from the fact that I really enjoyed the first two books in the series, which featured different characters, but took place in the same universe. What I enjoyed the most about the first and second book was Bujold's ability to create insanely likable protagonists. Igrey is not a bad lead, but after Cazaril and Ista, he just didn't grab me that much. On top of that, the romance was a little bit of a let down. I felt like Ijala should have been fleshed out a little more. There were times where I wish that narration had been split between the two characters, so we had a chance to learn a little more about her.

My second main issue with The Hallowed Hunt is mainly related to pacing. While the first two books were exceptionally paced (well balanced between fast and slower moments), The Hallowed Hunt feels as if it's constantly tripping over itself. At first, the reader gets bombarded with new information that is just packed into line after line of dialogue. The result is time that should be spent getting to know the characters, is spent trying to understand what's going on. After that, it feels like a lot of time is spent sitting around and talking about things, but very little actually gets accomplished. There are times when the story picks up and really begins to shine, but these scenes were disappointingly few.

Much like The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Hunt has a complex plot, a wide cast of characters, and lovely writing. Unfortunately, despite a few exciting scenes and a satisfying ending, the novel lacks what made the first two books so engaging. This left me with a rather “blah” feeling, which is disappointing considering how much I loved the first two books. I also experienced The Hallowed Hunt as an audiobook. The narrator, Marquerite Gavin, did okay, but I often found myself wishing that they had selected a male narrator, giving the fact that there was a male protagonist and a lot of male characters. Crafting a wide variety of voices for the opposite gender can be tricky even for the most talented narrators.

Rating: three stars
Length: the print version is 448 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library- OverDrive Media Console
Other books I've read by this author: The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls

Next up I will be reviewing Ghost Story by Jim Butcher, and Mississippi Jack by LA Meyer

xposted to temporaryworlds , bookish , and goodreads
Tags: xxx author last name: i-q
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