Skip to main content

The Deed of Paksennarion - my review on Goodreads

Such a good book. One that I fought with, but came out loving it even more because of the challenge. Do you want to see how to do polytheistic cultures?

The Deed of Paksenarrion (The Deed of Paksenarrion, #1-3)The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s pretty hard to talk about a book of over 1000 pages that sprawls across a continent and cataclysmic heroic events without spoilers, but that’s my goal here. Before I start, I want to say that I fought with this book for the longest time, but resistance was futile. I ended up in love with the characters and the world-building impressed me tremendously. Elizabeth Moon, your imagination is amazing. Your story will live in my mind, if I am lucky, until my last breath. Thank you for writing it.

I bought these 3 books on sale at Amazon. I read the first one in an 2 week period last year (that’s trudging for me) and bitched the entire time. My first impressions were that Paks is some perfect, order-following recruit that gains favor by brown-nosing relentlessly. Just call me Barra, ok? Grrr… Anyway, everything goes well for her for a long, long time. She follows orders without much dissent until she is confronted with the old problem of the good that chooses to wear the face of the evil, if only for a time. A moment where she stops the Duke from making a terrible mistake with Siniava becomes vital for the rest of the story, and we find that we have fallen into the velvet hand of a master storyteller. The last 700 pages of the story were swallowed like a glutton at a feast.

My first impression was that the characters were a bit too rote, but that changed over the story, and I (am the last one?) realized something (along with Paks) and now it’s clearly the intent of the author to demonstrate how people’s perceptions of others change over time. At one point in the story Paks realizes that people that have older have already lived a good part of their life before she meets them (or maybe she is hearing a story as such - I can't find the quote) and at that point you need to reevaluate all the different relationships.

A lot of people who say it is too easy for Paks (myself included early on) go dumb by the middle of he 2nd book. What this character endures from Liart and The Webmistress is truly unspeakable. If I had to make a criticism at all, I don't think that it's necessary for Paks to be so "pure" to make the point of her degradation. She seemed at times asexual to me which was off-putting, but this becomes a small complaint. The characters ascend to almost Pantheonic proportions by the end of the tale.

Before I go I have to talk about the world-building. I was thoroughly caught by surprise, because you are not immediately immersed. I don't know really when I started breathing air from Paks's world, but I did. By the end of the story the gods made sense, the different guilds and sects made sense, and the characters, their nations, their races... EVERYTHING became natural. I don't know how else to say this, but it's not often I am this pleasantly surprised. If there were six stars I would give them. I fought the Moon and the Moon won.

View all my reviews


Popular posts from this blog

Amanda Gorman is a rock star poet.

Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world: (ed. my stanzas and line breaks which are probably not right) When day comes, we ask ourselves Where can we find light in this never ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We braved the belly of the beast. We've learned that quiet isn't always peace And the norms and notions of what "just is," isn't always justice. And yet the dawn is hours before we knew it, Somehow we do it, Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed A nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished. We, the successors of a country and a time, Where a skinny black girl descended from slaves And raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, Only to find herself reciting for one. And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, But that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose, To compose a country committed To a


Wazimbo's "Nwahulwana" Found this on a German site: Warum wanderst du von Bar zu Bar? (“Why do you wander from bar to bar?”) So, the first time I heard this I thought I recognized some Portuguese, but it’s illusory; the language is actually Ronga. I suppose it was just the echoes of Brazilian music. I found, though, a translation into Portuguese, which I will translate to English, but here’s the thing: this transcription of the words isn’t correct. Also, I’m almost certain I hear “vôce” which means “you” in the lyrics. First, “nwahulwana” itself is a soft expression for prostitute, hence “night bird” is the poetic meaning. I thought it was a love song. My wife thought it was a prayer (probably because of the way Wazimbo lifts his eyes to the sky when he sings “Maria”). So, it is something like this, but there are mistakes, because the lines don’t match up. Also, I wonder if he is singing “Nwahulwana” when the song starts - . It’s hard to know since I don’t

The History of White Onliness in America

Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen My rating: 5 of 5 stars A long horrific account of America's deliberate segregation, its underlying current of white-onliness, born out of Loewen's personal journey of awakening to the fact he was surrounded by Sundown Towns, those locales so hostile to blacks that the communities orchestrate ways to keep them out. It's a long, hard slog, filled with disheartening stories, marks of shame of our past, of our present really, but books like this are so important both as eye-openers and motivators. Nobody conscious to American culture--again not just its history! We are talking about the present in many instances here--can deny these exclusionary practices, but Loewen focuses on the scale using census data and adds anecdotes that personalize the experience. I read a lot of reviews here that mention how terrible reading this makes everyone feel, but for my part, I am overwhelmed by optimism, because it is