Where the seasons last for generations, winter is a hard time suited to hard religion. The theocratic Starbridge caste consider themselves virtuous wardens in a sinners' purgatory, reading infant cries and birthmarks to judge the unpunished crimes of previous incarnations. On the battlefield, all but nobility are denied medicine and anaesthetic. Only the Antinomials have eWhere the seasons last for generations, winter is a hard time suited to hard religion. The theocratic Starbridge caste consider themselves virtuous wardens in a sinners' purgatory, reading infant cries and birthmarks to judge the unpunished crimes of previous incarnations. On the battlefield, all but nobility are denied medicine and anaesthetic. Only the Antinomials have endured winter outside this oppressive social system. People without language, eaters of meat, they are being driven from their lands in the north to seek sanctuary against the very belly of their tormentors, in the slums of the great capital city of Charn. Here a Starbridge doctor and a drunken prince begin a dangerous experiment in compassion that will soon demand heavy sacrifices, just as the people brace for spring, with its flammable and suffocating sugar rain...
|Title||:||Soldiers of Paradise|
|Number of Pages||:||291 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Soldiers of Paradise Reviews
Paul Park is really more of a literay writer, I think. He's a wonderful fellow to talk to, and very literate. He uses fantasy and SF as a way to touch on the themes he feels are important. If you're looking for space opera or heroic fantasy, for adventure, then Park is probably not for you. His stories are complicated and rich. They're worth the effort but you won't find them to be quick reads.
This book is another of my random secondhand book selections, and I was pleasantly surprised. I have made it a goal to read more fantasy, and this was one of the few at Bookfest that looked interesting (the cover shows men on horned, bird-headed horses), but I really did not know what to expect. What I did find was a detailed bit of world-building, and two very well written cultures set against each other on a planet with strange and long drawn-out seasons.The book starts with the first culture, a nihilistic society that lives in the present and spurns everything else - planning, thinking, memories and even names. They dance and sing and play music and live only from moment to moment, preferring to speak with music rather than words. They only survive with the help of 'biters'. These are the members of their society that fail to live up to their nihilistic standards and who plan ahead and use words instead of music to communicate.This society soon clashes with the other prominent culture on their version of Earth - this society has a rigid caste structure ruled by rich families and priests who use strange arcane technologies which involve both magic and science mixed together. This society is waging war against many others, including 'heretics' among their own race, and their sprawling city is full of slums and slaves and untouchables, as well as mansions and temples and priests performing convoluted rituals.While the world building is rich and well-structured, the story itself seemed to ramble from character to character and I found the various endings partial and unsatisfactory. It made me think this must be part of a series as so many threads were left untied (I've yet to check if this is the case because I don't like to read anything else about a story before I review it). This left me feeling a little lost and it made it hard to care about the fates of the many and varied characters introduced in the story. The book ends with at least one cliffhanger and a lot of death and chaos but the purpose, if any, is unclear and the outcome a complete mystery.But overall the book is worth it if only for the depiction of the cultures and the alien yet familiar planet with it's strange seasons that can last a life-time and the peculiar orbit of it's planets and the gentle way the reader is introduced to the strangeness of the world - you may assume for instance that the 'horses' referred to are just like ours until the author mentions their beaks, and not until the end do you discover their vestigial wings. It's a great way to have a reader discover the world in bits and pieces instead of one long initial exposition.
Not an easy read for me..but worth the effort..has some great characterization full of anti-heros who evolve dramatically as their stories and complex misfortunes unfold pushing the characters to their limits and pulling them into various modes of insanity as they fail to cope with a world of insanity and religiously ordained chaos. The plot seems to play off of familiar social disparities in our own contemporary world, successfully making a mockery of various socio-religious dogmas most noticably the Christian ethic of demigoguery and Hindu-istic caste devotationalism take to alien level extremes. Once I learned to accept that this world has almost no trace of comparison to our own except that maybe I could imagine that these inhabitants could have been a remnant of a humanity whose ancestors migrated from ours, completely lost hope and began to manufacture their own kind of hope, which has by now gone terribly wrong since then..it eventually became easier to accept the extreme characters and their extreme cultural values or anti-values as realistic. I like how there is an element of occult/supernatural ability in some of the characters yet instead of this being so enigmatic as to become a central point of the plot, it is presented quite matter of factly as if it is actually no more enigmatic or advantageous to them as an unusual eye color would be.
I read Soldiers of Paradise for the first time 20 years ago. I just read it again and am happy to say it still holds all the same beauty and mystery as it did for me as a teenager. This novel is so dense despite its slim size, it can't be read in a sitting. A few pages reveal a world of unlimited imagination to ponder. The characters are angry, hurt, fallible and failing people living in a corrupt society of such violence and danger and poverty and privelege that it might be our own. Except, incredibly, it isn't. Soldiers of Paradise breaks all science fiction/fantasy rules. It is not plot-driven, nor simple, nor based on its environment. It is a painting explored, a portrait of a world so different from our own that it reminds us of all we should hold dear, and don't.
i don't think i could really tell you what this book was about. i didn't really care for the characters, Paul Park definitely does not give you any kind of pay off (which i appreciated), the setting is unexplained and pretty impenetrable, and the plot meanders and frankly seems absent. that being said: bravo. i can't imagine ever writing this book, and i'm not entirely sure that i'll read the later books, though i might. reminded me of a less verbose David Zindell, and not quite as cryptic Gene Wolfe. it was good. i wasn't blown away, but i was happily surprised that i enjoyed it as much as i did. i would love to talk to Mr. Park about this book.
Park's Starbridge Chronicles are an amazing example of literary science Fiction. The fictional world is as rich as Dune with its detailed culture and religion. The society has an extremely maladaptive caste system in which children are marked with tattoos to mark their place in society for life based on omens at birth. There are the antinomial outcasts who reject names and live in the wild. The plot almost gets lost in the richness of the setting. These books deserve a much bigger audience than they have found.
I hope to have a more substantive review soon, but for now all I can say is this really blew me away.It's my first Paul Park, and I'm pretty damned excited to see what else he's done. Dense, evocative, literary SF, reminiscent of Gene Wolfe and John Crowley, but definitely not obviously derivative of either.As in the best SF & F, it is deeply otherworldly while being strongly resonant with lived emotional reality.
A Truly Wondrous StoryOne of the strangest and most lovely books I’ve ever read, Soldiers of Paradise is a rare gem, a truly alien world, but one that makes you feel a depth and breadth of human emotion.
I remember nothing about this book, apparently.