29 August 2010

Day 155: The Curse of Chalion

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold.  ISBN: 9780380979011.

I found the pacing of this somewhat plodding in paces, but I rather like the unlikely hero in Cazaril.  He's not a bumbling idiot, but neither is he particularly smart.  He's not overly athletic, although he is capable.  He is very middle of the road with no real ambition, just a will to survive, and yet he leaps at the chance to do good and prove his loyalty to those who deserve it.

I think we like these underdogs because they are so rare (although probably less so in this economy).  There are few people who seem to be in dire straights through anyone's fault but their own and those who are have often been poisoned by it.  I know I've had difficulty remaining positive through my long unemployment, despite my middle class privileges and degrees.  People who have done nothing but work for a living must be even more devastated by job loss, with no savings or friends and family to fall back on (as you tend to be friends or related to people in the same economic class).  Cazaril's attitude makes it impossible not to root for him.

There really is something to be said for positive thinking.  I can get really down on myself and make myself miserable.  Danny knows this better than anyone, and so do a few other select individuals.  I don't know if my attitude has prevented me from getting a job, but it has certainly made this period a lot more difficult.  That's part of the reason I started this blog.  It is a major distraction from things that get me down.  More importantly, it has been a source of joy for me, to see new people following, to read comments (particularly ones from people actually reading and digesting what I'm writing), and to discuss it with family and friends.

And yes, I see myself as a bit of an underdog.  I haven't had it as rough as Cazaril, haven't been betrayed several times or forced to be a slave on an oar ship only to find myself tangled in court politics that require desperate measures that lead to...well spoilers, so I can't go on.  But I am struggling, and there are certainly much bigger dogs out there than me, dogs with more experience who don't care that all that's offered these days is gristle and bone, because they still have to eat.  So in the meantime, I will worry at the edges of this blog and hope something comes from it, even if it just puts me in a better position to take a reader's advisory position in a public library.

This post was awfully me-centric.  They slip in occasionally.  Help me out with some comments.

How do you feel about unlikely heroes/underdogs?  What's your favorite novel about them?

I'm not quite finished, but so far I agree with this review on Goodreads.


  1. I love a good underdog! I'm sure there are others but the two that come automatically to mind are Sam and Frodo from the Lord of the Rings. Have you tried adding Ads to your blog? Google blogger as a feature for it. I'm thinking of it.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your book!

  2. I haven't added ads yet because I'm not sure how much control I'll have over them and I don't want Google deciding what's "relevant" to my blog. I'm leaning more towards using the Amazon connect feature since that would be added value. I'm also thinking of starting t-shirts when I hit about 100 followers and/or have decent feedback on what people would like. I already have several people who are very interested in Rupert the Magical Pony merchandise. My friends are weird, and I love them.

    The rest of the book was definitely less dry and more entertaining than the first half or so. It was that kind of high fantasy that makes you chew through the tough outer layer before getting to the gooey center, rewarding, but obnoxious.


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