I started to read it years ago, but I gave up because the protagonist seemed very much "bullied by other students, but really the best of her kind," just at the period when I had really started to find such stories tedious.
Um, that might be a theme in the first part of book 1, but the rest of the trilogy goes far beyond that. The bulk of it (especially by the 3rd book) deals with the nature of courage and faith. Basically it is the author's attempt to write an actually convincing paladin (i.e. a story that involves a sophisticated treatment of faith and what it would mean to be a warrior-priest in a world where gods actually exist and intervene regularly and obviously). As an atheist I found some of the faith stuff to be a little nauseating, but at least it was interesting and a change from most fantasy.
If you can look past the D&Desque cliches that pepper the book, and the style of writing, it's a good trilogy that is worth reading all the way through.
See, I would like to read a philosophy of faith, but I still object to stories where the gods come in to rescue the heroine. Sometimes it's done literally; other times, the heroine gets given a quest or special knowledge by the gods earlier in the story. I find it distressing unless there's a similar level of knowledge going on absolutely everywhere. And even then, I have a special distaste for dark situations that are only ameliorated by the gods rescuing someone.
This is a setting where the Good deities hold free will in _extremely_ high esteem, though, so they generally don't ride to the rescue, and prefer to work through champions.
The only way Paks is special (well, aside from her being among the ~5% of women big enough to develop the kind of muscle mass you need to survive in melee) is that she is a "natural" paladin. But even that is just a matter of potential, and whether and how she develops it(including the help she accepts) is largely up to her. And boy(or should that be girl?) does she stumble on her way.
I'm going to disagree with the other commenter and say that from what I know of your reading habits, you really won't enjoy the rest of Deed. I loved it the first time I read it - when I was fifteen. Less than a year and a half later I was looking back at it and going " . . . but that makes no SENSE." I also felt the Special Heroine Disease was very firm all the way through (and that's as a writer of Special Heroines), right down to Miraculous Salvation By Deity From Horrible Situation.
Eh, except the 'Miraculous Salvation by Deity' story is precisely the sort of ending that is meant to occur in religious/'spiritual' writing of which "Deed" bears more than a passing resemblence -- the hero gains the favor of the gods by committing some act of ultimate self-sacrifice, and by keeping faith with the gods even at the darkest hour. In a certain, pretty literal sense it's a Deus Ex Machina, but when the story actually has gods who are prone to lots of splashy miracles it's not like you can complain that their intervention in the story comes out of left field. I suppose the story could have been more powerful if the gods had not ...well, you know...but that also would have been an incredibly dark note to end the book on.
If limyaael won't enjoy "Deed" I think it will probably have more to do with the worldbuilding (which never rises far above the usual D&D cliches), and the fairly pedestrian prose.
I really honestly find it to be a fairly standard offering of the Specialest Heroine Evar sort. With subheading "I've piled on so much pain I have to have the gods rescue her, or else this will be a very unhappy ending." With, as you say, D&D worldbuilding. YMMV, of course; my standards for epic fantasy tend to be set quite high. But they also tend to sit around where our hostess' do, in terms of what she seems to like and dislike, so I felt I needed to mention.
*quite high and to a specific taste. Drat. I've gotten used to LJ's new edit-comment function faster than I thought I would.
I actually liked the trilogy when I read it a few years ago, but that was a few years ago.
I do remember reading something that might explain the "D&D Worldbuilding." Apparently, the author got the idea for the story after watching someone play a certain tabletop RPG as a Paladin and completely mauling the role. Hence, I think that the similarity is probably entirely intentional on the author's part.
Paksenarrion does, indeed, smack of "special snowflake syndrome". In several places in the first book, I looked up and went "Why is she doing this when [x] would be a more appropriate choice?"
Also, aside from a much too long sequence in the second (?) book, she never suffers much from the consequences of her actions.
So yeah. A good book to read if you don't want anything too challenging, but a bad book to read if you're looking for something remotely interesting.</i<
Yeah. I think I might have used copies of the books packed away somewhere, but I'm not really in a hurry to read it. As I'm sure you've noticed from reading the rants, I dislike it when authors paint themselves into a corner and can only solve it by introducing the gods (or something equally implausible/inconsistent with the story's rules, like the heroine being able to control her magic suddenly when she could never control it before). I think I'd prefer the dark ending.