I read this in a marathon, started at 10pm, read til 4am, and then all day today--while I was getting a hair-cut, eating my leftover pasta for lunch, walking down the street to get coffee.
So that gives an idea of the ability of Ms. Bujold to suck you into her world and only spit you out, exhausted and dizzy, at the final page. It is a first-class fantasy world, beautifully written, with one of those amazing, utterly unlikely Bujold heroes, Cazaril, marked as much by doggedness and decency as anything grander or more cinematic. I did not find [b:The Curse of Chalion|61886|The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1)|Lois McMaster Bujold|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1322571773s/61886.jpg|1129349] as earth-changing as the Vorkosigan sci-fi series, which, truth be told, foisted on my unsuspecting middle-aged brain an entirely new set of criteria for "best book ever."
So not the best book ever, an admittedly high bar to overleap--merely a thrilling, lovely, humane story written by an absolute expert. In other words, there's no "merely" about it.