I feel as though I have been lax in my geek duty to you all. I have not reviewed any fantasy books! I don't know what go into me. To make up for that, I will do my first fantasy review on what is possibly my favorite trilogy to date. I will spare you all my reviews of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, since I suspect most of you have either read the books, watched the movies, or heard enough about them. I will begin, instead with:
The Deed of Paksenarrion
The Deed of Paks is, as stated before, a trilogy. The individual books, Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance, and Oath of Gold, tell the story of a girl named (wait for it) Paksenarrion (Paks for short). In book one, Paks runs away from home to join an army of mercenaries rather than marry a pig farmer.
"'And I say you will!' bellowed the burly sheepfarmer, Dorthan Kanasson. He lunged across the table, but his daughter Paksenarrion sidestepped his powerful arm and darted down the passage to the sleeping rooms. 'Pakse!' he yelled, slipping his broad leather belt from its loops. 'Pakse, you come here now!' His wife Rahel and three smaller children cowered against the wall. Silence from the sleeping rooms. 'Pakse, you come or it will be the worse for you. Will you go to your wedding with welts on your back?'
'I'll not go at all!' Came the angry response."
And the tale begins. From there, you will follow Paks as she trains with the mercenaries, becomes a soldier and fights. It becomes clear that Paks is destined to be a hero -- not only for her skills as a fighter, but because she is marked by the gods. After several adventures that prove her worth, Paks leaves the mercenary company to train in the garrisons of Gird. From there, Paks has encounters with evil gods, Elves, and dwarfs. She suffers, she triumphs and in the end... well, you'll have to read it for yourself.
This book is one of the most engaging I have ever read. I re-read it two or three times a year. The author, Elizabeth Moon was actually a member of the military which makes her battle scenes realistic and interesting to read. The world of fantasy is similar to Tolkien's, but isn't just a cheap retelling. The heroes are great yet human. The villains are evil enough to creep me out.
These books are my favorite books of all time. I actually like this series more than Lord of the Rings. (scandalous, I'm sure) There is a prequel titled "The Legacy of Gird" which tells about the (Obviously) life of Gird, Paks' patron saint.