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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The making of a Paladin., 28 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Deed Of Paksenarrion: The Deed of Paksenarrion omnibus (DEED OF PAKSENARRION SERIES) (Paperback)
This book is an omnibus edition that combines the books Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold into one volume. The trilogy was written as one story and tells the tale of Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter, or simply Paks to her friends.

Paks is the daughter of a sheepfarmer from a small hamlet in the middle of nowhere. In order to escape her betrothal to a pigfarmer and a boring life in insignificance she runs away from home at the age of eighteen and joins a local lord's mercenary band. We follow Paks as she goes through her training and her first years on campaign. We see her change from a young peasant girl, head filled with dreams of glory and fame, to a veteran scarred by many battles, scars both mental and physical. We follow her as she makes friends for life and as she loses those friends to war and betrayal. We follow her as she goes through moments of intense joy and triumph and as she lives through undescribable horror. And slowly, through loss, pain and mistakes but also through her inate strenght, the goodness of her hearth, and an unwavering loyalty to her friends, the naive sheepsfarmer's daughter grows into something much more.

I really liked this book, Paks makes for a credible, rich and engaging main character. The other characters all have their own personalities, strenghts and flaws. And through the realistic depictions of strategy, battles and armies on march, Elizabeth Moon lets her background in the military and as a historian shine through. The same goes for the individual sword fights and the descriptions of weapon play. All the combat has a gritty sense of realism to it without being overly gory.

There are, however, a couple of points that could potentionally turn people, especially more experienced fantasy readers, off this story. First of all it is very obvious that the world that Moon has built is based on roleplaying settings like D&D. It's obvious from the magic system, both arcane and divine and a lot of the characters fall into clear roleplaying archetypes: the wizard, the rogue, the cleric, the paladin, ... There are elves, dwarves and gnomes who all fullfil the classic stereotypes.
Further there are descriptions of barely relevant landscapes that seem to go on for pages in certain parts of the books, all very Tolkienesque in style. Also, something that really bothered me personally, there are the archaic speach patterns in the dialogues. It all comes across a bit contrived to me and can turn reading into a bit of slog at times.

Granted the reason that most of these 'flaws' are there is that these books were written in the late eighties. The fanasy genre and it's readership has evolved since that time, and what worked or what was commonplace then can be a turnoff for modern readers.

If you aren't bothered by fantasy clichés and are looking for a good story with a strong female lead then I highly recommend The Deed of Paksenarrion.
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