Paladin of Souls picks up three years after The Curse of Chalion, when the dreadful curse that plagued Chalion's rulers was lifted. Dowager Royina Ista is fed up with her padded prison at Valenda and is ready to live again. When her mother finally passes on, the 40-year old Ista seizes the chance to go on a religious pilgrimage around Chalion. Ista is not particularly interested in the gods, as they have so long ignored her prayers, but it soon turns out that the gods are not quite through with her and still need her to accomplish a task for them.
Ista soon finds herself in Porifors, a fortress on the border of Chalion that has long kept the enemy Roknari at bay. Ista cannot be comfortable there, however, as it is the home of the dy Lutez family, the family that Ista and her husband had so grievously wronged years ago. But comfortable or not, Ista finds herself embroiled in the dy Lutez family's problems and finds herself strongly attracted to both Arhys dy Lutez, the dashing young commander, and Illvin dy Lutez, Arhys' half-brother, who lies still and cold on his bed, stricken with some unknown malady. Seeing her chance to assist the dy Lutez family, as they had tried to assist her while she was the Royina, Ista reluctantly begins using her god-given gifts and finds that there are many sinister plans afoot in this forgotten corner of the Chalion empire...
Although Paladin of Souls is a sequel to The Curse of Chalion, it is not a traditional sequel in that the stars of The Curse of Chalion are mentioned only briefly here and the peripheral characters are given a chance to shine. Ista was a wonderful character to get to know and I felt that I understood the choice she made in The Curse of Chalion much better now that I have learned more about her personality. It was also fun to see Ferda and Foix, seen in the first book, pop up again and have a more prominent role. I also loved the fact that Bujold chose to write this story to help give closure to those who were wronged from the curse in the first book, specifically Ista and the dy Lutez family. It does a great job at wrapping up those little loose ends that otherwise would just be left alone. Although I still rated it at 5 stars, The Paladin of Souls is not as good as The Curse of Chalion, but Bujold is such a wonderful author that I loved this book anyway.
This report prepared by Debbie