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review 2017-01-25 17:15
Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold - My Thoughts
Beguilement (Sharing Knife Series #1) - Lois McMaster Bujold

This book was a surprise to me.  I wasn't expecting quite as much romance.  I think part of that is that a good friend of mine really loved these books and she's not so much of a romance nor a fantasy reader.

The first half of the book tells the fantasy tale of Fawn, a young woman farmer, who is running away from her home and family, and Dag, a veteran Lakewalker patroller possessed of some very interesting magic.  They have adventures fighting the malice - bad, awful, deadly, gross horrors that threaten their world.

Then, close to the middle of the book, we turn to the more romantic side of the tale as the two begin to get to know each other and fall in love.  Of course, their vastly different cultures hold myriads of pitfalls and difficulties, never mind their big difference in age.  But it's really a fun romance, I thought.  I enjoyed it alot and I also enjoyed how Dag was able to be Fawn's protector with her family and how he encouraged her to be her own woman.

I only gave the book 3.5 stars because it felt rather unfinished.  It seems, as I discovered near the end of my reading, that Beguilement is actually the first half of a full book,  The second book, Legacy, is the other part of the volume.  Beguilement is about Fawn's people and how they react to the could and it seems that Legacy will be about how Dag's people will react.  And you know... I've grown to kind of resent books that do this.  I tend to feel tricked.  In retrospect, I wish I'd maybe waited to read this until I had book 2 in hand - but now I shall wait until it goes on sale.  :)

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review 2013-10-11 21:00
Passage (The Sharing Knife, Book 3)
Passage - Lois McMaster Bujold This is the third book in The Sharing Knife series, and the first thing you should know is that these books are not self-contained. In fact, I read the four volumes of The Sharing Knife was intended as one novel, but was split up because of the length. So what we have is the middle part of a novel, perhaps the least action filled, with the young Fawn the farmer and her quite older Lakewaker husband settling into their relationship and with Fawn's brother along for the ride as they travel downriver. I really love this world and Bujold's characters. But then when haven't I? I see hints in this series that this might be science fiction as much as fantasy, that this was once our world and the magic might have scientific explanations. The world feels not like a faux medieval Europe, as in so much high fantasy (including Bujold's Chalion) but rather a frontier North America. And Bujold writes strong secondary characters, so her riverboat allows for an interesting mix. Certainly if you liked the prior two books, you shouldn't find this one disappointing. (And if you haven't read the prior books, I guarantee you will be disappointed. See, above. This isn't a book to be read on its own.)
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review 2013-10-11 21:00
Legacy (The Sharing Knife, Book 2)
Legacy - Lois McMaster Bujold Reading some reviews I'm rather glad I hadn't read the Vorkosigan saga first. Not that I don't love that science fiction series of Bujold, which I discovered later, but I didn't go into this one with expectations shaped by that series. No, this isn't science fiction (although I think there are hints there could be a scientific explanation for what looks like fantasy). And yes, this involves a May/September romance between an eighteen year old and a 55-year old. If that bothers you, you might want to put the book down and back away slowly. Above all, this isn't a stand alone book. You can even see that in the covers of the first book, Beguilement and Legacy. Put the two books side by side and they make one picture. The entire four-volume The Sharing Knife was conceived as one novel, then split up due to length. This is therefore the middle portion of a whole, and as such like many middles not I think quite as involving as the beginning and end books. But yes, I do like this book very much. Fawn is from the farmers, who are in conflict with Dag's group of magical Lakewalkers. This takes place after their marriage and the inlaws are unhappy. And right there is a lot of what I like about Bujold as she works the implications out. Neither side has all the right or all the wrong in this. For me, anyway, a lovely blend of fantasy and romance.
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review 2013-10-11 20:55
Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, Book 1)
Beguilement - Lois McMaster Bujold Reading the reviews, the detractors seem to fall into certain categories. Those who were expecting something like her Vorkosigan series and are disappointed it's fantasy. (Hello, it's pretty explicitly marked as fantasy from the description to the cover.) Those who were expecting something like her Chalion series and are disappointed the emphasis on this first book is on romance. (Yes, it is. I think it's tons better than the usual book on the romance aisle, but if you sneer at books built around a love story, by all means you'll want to pass this by.) Finally, several seemed disturbed that this is a May/December romance about a teenager and a man over fifty. (And one that unlike Angel or Edward *gasp* doesn't look young, apparently the only thing that matters.) The age difference doesn't bother me. That Fawn is so young might have, but it does help this is a frontier society. They grow up fast and marry early there--and given Fawn is already pregnant when Dag meets her, it's not as if I feel he "corrupts" an innocent waif. For me, that this isn't anything like Chalion or Vorkosigan is a good thing. I like versatile authors who don't write the same book a gazillion times. This is a very different world than either of her other series. Not faux European high fantasy nor futuristic Space Opera. Instead this has the feel of the American frontier--perhaps a transformed world from our own far future. I found the entire world Bujold created with the malices intriguing. And as with her other books, I love her characters. I liked spending time with them. And as this is only the first part of a four volume series that can be seen as one novel, that's important.
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review 2013-10-11 20:05
Horizon (The Sharing Knife, Book 4)
Horizon - Lois McMaster Bujold I recently had read the first 3 books in this series, and they just kept getting more intriguing. I'd read and loved Bujold's other fantasy series that started with The Curse of Chalion, and found them a great read. I'd call that one High Fantasy, this is a series though that has hints of science-fiction in it that could explain the magical world, and is set in what could be our far future, but has a 19th century American frontier feel. The first "Sharing Knife" book, Beguilement, is more a set up for the books to follow, which pull you closer and closer into this world where life-destroying "malices" are fought by Lakewalkers with quasi-magical powers. Especially because they hold themselves apart, they're distrusted by the surrounding farmer community. When in the first book Dag the Lakewalker and Fawn the farmer fall in love, they find they're accepted by neither community and in this book undergo a journey to find a place and way they can gain acceptance. The first book plays somewhat like a conventional romance book (somewhat May/November, Fawn is 18, Dag 55, but they work well together), only far better written than the books I find in the romance aisle. Bujold is wonderful at world-building and at creating characters you can fall in love with, and even her more unsympathetic characters are rounded and understandable. All the Sharing Knife books are certainly page-turners, and this one is arguably the best of the four and did not disappoint.
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