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review 2017-03-10 17:06
Divided Allegiance / Elizabeth Moon
Divided Allegiance - Elizabeth Moon

Paksenarrion, once a sheepfarmer's daughter, now a veteran warrior, meets new challenges as she breaks up a robber gang, dispells an ancient evil possessing an elvish shrine and is accepted for training at an academy for knights. Clearly, a high destiny awaits her.

 

The biggest impression that this book made on me was thinking, “We still don’t treat our wounded veterans very well.” Paksenarrion, the golden girl, leaves her fighting unit for a while to do advanced training. Being the Mary Sue character that she is, she shines at all of it, and is ear-marked to become a Paladin of Gird until she is captured & tortured. Suddenly, her fellow fighters & superiors are questioning her future, even questioning her past dedication to her profession.

Moon was a Marine, and her service experience colours the Paksenarrion saga. Not nearly as dark as Glen Cook’s Black Company series (she obviously had a less traumatic experience than he did), her portrayals of camaraderie in the ranks are pretty sunny until late in this book, when Paks has what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and things get pretty bleak for her. As things still are for returned veterans who are suffering, making this still a rather timely book.

The extra portions of angst for Paks actually make this a better book than the first installment, where she could do no wrong. It is much more interesting & engrossing. No question about whether I will read book 3—it is already in my book bag as my next “work break” book.

Book 248 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2014-10-27 15:34
Divided Allegiance - Elizabeth Moon

The second of the Deed of Paskenarrion trilogy, I find it even better than the first.   Paks is still growing up and going through trials, and she's learning to think on her own (thank the baby monkey).

 

The plot is fast pace and entertaining...  It does feel a bit dated, but not so much so that I find it problematic.  If anything, it's just not the current "style" of fantasy being churned out, but it's nice not to read anything gritty and horrible (at least, not constantly horrible).  It is the middle of the trilogy, following Paks from when she left the Duke's service in the first book through the discovery (and what happens after) of Luap's stronghold.  


While obviously a middle book, it's an entertaining middle book, not dragging at all.  Very fast paced, very entertaining and very interesting.    This is one of my favorite trilogies and I keep kicking myself for not having read it years and years ago.

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review 2014-01-15 00:00
Divided Allegiance
Divided Allegiance - Elizabeth Moon I feel like this trilogy should be one - albeit long - book.
I don't like how it was split into three books.
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review 2013-12-27 02:34
Review of "Divided Allegiance (The Deed of Paksenarrion #2) (Paksenarrion #4)" by Elizabeth Moon
Divided Allegiance - Elizabeth Moon

This reader's personal opinion, ©2012, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


For 90% of the thing, Paks was Paks and my enjoyment of story had its ups and downs. Ups with the story progressing, Paks finally on way to serving Gird, learning more of Paladins and various races; downs with one too many mysterious underground choose-your-door things, companions often untrustworthy, and way too many encounters with godlike beings, good and bad, with blurry to outright loss of memory.

 

Then a cliffhanger ending with Paks no longer the character whose story I was reading a somewhat formula (but well written) fantasy to follow. And, what was up with all the blonde talk and how hair-up meant soldier and down meant frail female or potential rape victim?

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review 2013-05-03 00:00
Divided Allegiance (The Deed of Paksenarrion, Book 2)
Divided Allegiance - Elizabeth Moon Fantasy Review Barn

This is the second part of the ‘Deed of Paksenarrion’ trilogy. The first part told how Paks left her home to avoid a forced marriage, joining the local Duke’s private army and discovering they were mercenaries. There was a lot of detail about army life, with numerous skirmishes and battles, and Paks made many friends and attracted the attention even of the Duke himself with her fearless fighting and loyalty. I enjoyed it very much and looked forward to more of the same. And within a chapter, this book has veered sharply off in a different direction altogether.

Not liking the Duke’s support for the violent methods of a pirate-turned-nobleman, Paks leaves the army and sets off over the mountains for home, accompanied only by what must be the world’s most devious elf. No longer are we following the realistic lifestyle of the mercenary troop, we’re into full-on fantasy quest mode, with a succession of threats to be defeated and magic everywhere. Magic beasts, magic rings, spells conveniently summoned to get out of trouble. Here’s a mysterious underground place, obviously full of evil, but Paks has a ‘feeling’ that someone is calling for help. Which way to go? Another strange feeling tells them. How shall we get rid of the evil spirit? I know, let’s use this magic scroll - no idea at all what it does but - oh look, it worked. Now, I have no problem with the principle of magic (I read fantasy, after all, it comes with the territory), but it shouldn’t be a universal get-out-of-jail-free card for all occasions.

Fortunately, the whole book isn’t like this, and soon Paks is back on more prosaic turf. The real difference between this and the first book is that she is essentially alone, cut off from the familiarity and support of the company. Paks is in many ways the perfect soldier - tough and hard working, willing to follow orders but without losing her innate sense of right and wrong. Her weakness comes from inexperience with the world, which leads her to accept people at face value and follow along without questioning, or even thinking much about the consequences. This is fine within the structure of a military outfit, but isn’t so good when she is travelling about on her own.

This book made me uneasy. I like Paks as a character very much. She’s the complete antithesis of the typical fantasy hero - well, maybe being handy with a sword is quite typical, but still... She’s self-effacing, honest and straightforward, yet she constantly seems to bump up against people who are more complicated, people who lie to her, or trick her, or withhold information, or push her into things that perhaps she’s not suited to. She’s very easily persuaded, especially when there’s an attractive adventure in the offing. Sometimes Paks seems quite stupid in her simple-mindedness, but that’s as much her lack of education as anything else, plus the innocence of youth, perhaps. But still, I ached for her to cut through the web of other people’s schemes and see her way to something more than being pushed around.

This book feels much choppier than the first. Even though they both have episodes of action interspersed with slower passages, the first book had the uniformity of always being set within Duke Phelan’s company of mercenaries. This book hops about - the company, the journey with the elf, the village of Brewersbridge, dealing with the robbers, training with the Girdsmen, the journey west and so on, and none of them very well connected. They seemed like a more or less random collection of events. Each time, there are new characters to get to know, new circumstances to understand, new mistakes for Paks to make. And each time there are histories to recount and long philosophical discussions to be got through regarding the essence of good and evil. Paks floundered a bit with these, and I confess that I didn’t understand a lot of the points either. It might be thought-provoking, if it wasn't analysed in exhaustive details by a whole succession of characters. It begins to get repetitive after a while.

The action parts are terrific, though, even if they seem a bit dated now - all those underground passages, evil beasties and magical this-that-and-the-others. And it does seem a little too easy, sometimes, that Paks manages to survive all these trials. Somehow there's always a magical gizmo or a character with convenient powers to rescue her. And then the ending. Few books have moved me quite as much as this one. Poor, poor Paks! Her tragedy is heartwrenching, and it’s hard to see that she herself did anything wrong to invoke such a terrible fate. This is a very uneven book, but, as with the first one, the final chapters more than overcome the earlier flaws. Four stars.
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