quizcustodiet: (drunk)
[personal profile] quizcustodiet
I just finished reading The Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon. I picked it up because a number of you have said good things about it over the years, and I enjoyed Sassinak when I read it as a teenager.

Overall I really enjoyed it - I'm a sucker for stories that include school or training, and so I particularly enjoyed the sequences as a recruit to Duke Phelan's company and further training at Fin Panir, but those were just highlights. The whole thing was very enjoyable, and I've probably been annoying [livejournal.com profile] shreena more than a little with my focus on finishing it!

I liked Paksenarrion well enough, but there's no escaping the fact she's a bit of a Mary Sue. I thought it was ok that she was very, very good with weapons, as we saw enough of her putting in the training to earn that skill. I wasn't as convinced by her spiritual character: I may be misremembering, but I don't think we ever see her seriously tempted to do the wrong thing. There is a long passage between books two and three in which she's less than admirable, but I think the author hammers home that this is NOT PAKS' FAULT. But this may just be a realistic depiction of the sort of person who'd become a Paladin.

Which brings me on to my final point. Having spent many happy hours playing one form of Dungeons and Dragons or another, I was entertained by how closely a paladin's powers in this world were modelled on a 2nd Edition paladin's powers. For a period, I almost had a checklist running:

  • Detect Evil - got it!
  • Protection from Evil, 10' radius - got it!
  • Lay on Hands (Healing) - got it! (Albeit with a much more convincing mechanical limit than AD&D's 'once per day')
  • Paladin's Mount - got it!
  • Immunity to Fear - got it!

Wikipedia suggests that part of the inspiration for the novels was to lay out how a Paladin would really behave, in contrast to many people's failed role-playing of the class, which makes sense. I thought the novel's approach to being a paladin vs following orders was particularly interesting, and a nice challenge to the usual stereotype of Lawful Stupid.

On a geeky mechanical point, I think the approach taken in Moon's world (where paladins are chosen from established warriors) makes more sense than the traditional 'I am a paladin of right! Watch me be torn to shreds by an enraged rabbit' that comes from starting at level 1.

ETA - I see there are a number of prequels and sequels in the same world. Are they any good? I saw some in the library today, but decided to hold off in case they were just an attempt to milk the success of the first trilogy.
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November 2013

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